Impressions of Orient LE Reissue King Diver SEM7F001B

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Impressions of Orient LE Reissue King Diver SEM7F001B

Post by conjurer on 2013-01-11, 19:02



Sorry to say, but this one's a dog.

As big a fanboi as I am regarding Orient watches, this one doesn't quite make the cut:



Well, it's not all that bad. But it isn't all that great, either. This is known as the Orient Limited Edition 40th Anniversary King Diver (SEM7F001B--US market designation-international markets may vary.) It was released a year or so ago to celebrate the Orient inhouse 469 automatic movement. There were 2000 made in plain vanilla stainless, and 1000 more made in the black PVD plating. A few of these are still knocking around, and I got mine, as a Christmas gift from Mrs. Conjurer, from Long Island Watches, which has them marked down to $199.

When first released, there was a lot whining and screaming on the fora, mainly dealing with Orient USA, which was practically giving these things away with their absurd 50% coupon code, as well as a very low MSRP. A lot of overseas collectors, who couldn't buy from OUSA, were spending full boat (I think the stainless version was $450 and the black was $499) and were, well, somewhat upset.

Anyway, enough history.

The watch is pretty big, and bumps up against the line which I consider too large. It's 46mm across, 50.5mm top to bottom, a more sensible 14mm thick. The lugs are 23.5mm apart, and the bracelet is about 3mm thick, tapering from the lugs to about 20mm at the clasp.

Inside is the 469 21-jewel movement, which in the best tradition of Japanese automatics, neither hacks nor handwinds. To get it going you pick it up, give it a few shakes, and the rotor gets everything moving. Wearing it for a few hours should give you a full wind. It's very accurate, too--mine was running about +5 seconds a day, then losing a couple of seconds when I had it off, dial up, at night. The power reserve is at least 40 hours, although, like so many Orients, when the mainspring stars to wind down accuracy goes all over the place.

The dial is nice, sunray, with well applied indices and logo:



The big block markers make the dial easy to read in most lighting conditions, but the lume is appallingly weak:



The watch on the right is the Seiko OM. One can clearly see the difference. The King Diver is one of the few Orients I've owned that fails the quick-glance-inside-a-dark-car test. The lume on the hour and minute hands surprisingly lasts through the night, but one has to stare at them for a few seconds to make out the glow in the early morning darkness.

The three crowns on the side of the case operate the day-setting (top crown), time-and-date-setting (middle) and rotating the interior elapsed-time bezel (bottom.) All three crowns screw down, and the feel of them, as well as the finishing, is top-notch:



The crystal, which is mineral, sits proud of the coin-edged bezel, is very clear and doesn't seem to have any AR coating on it. The bracelet is OK, with hollow endlinks and the usual crappy Orient clasp that is somewhat hard to seat and latch.

The downfall of this watch, however, is the plating. While the PVD on the case is pretty good, it's absolutely terrible on the bracelet, and you can see how the edges of the links didn't get the plating well:



Or you would be able to see, if I could take a good photograph. I've already had a few scratches on the bracelet, although it doesn't seem to cut all the way through the bracelet. It appears as if the bracelet was plated while assembled, and it certainly shows.

On the wrist the King Diver looks good:



And fits well, despite it's large size. It's well balanced, and isn't fatiguing after a day at work.

In fact, at 200 bucks, I'd give it a reserved thumbs up, although, with the screwdown crowns and 200 meter WR, it's not really a diver. The seconds hand isn't lumed, and what lume there is is pretty worthless. The problem is that some retailers are still listing this watch at $500, which is nuts, because, quite frankly, it isn't worth it, especially when one considers you're getting into Seiko Sumo territory at that MSRP.

It's not a terrible watch, but, like so many mid-priced Orient divers lately, it could (and should) have been so much better.
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Re: Impressions of Orient LE Reissue King Diver SEM7F001B

Post by eddiea on 2013-01-11, 19:28

Surprised here....a question , is the bracelet fitted with SEL?
For an Anniversary Edition I would expect Orient to had put some thought into it...
Obviously not a Japan made or Japan market watch, puzzling.
Great read John...!

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Re: Impressions of Orient LE Reissue King Diver SEM7F001B

Post by conjurer on 2013-01-11, 19:44

eddiea wrote:Surprised here....a question , is the bracelet fitted with SEL?
For an Anniversary Edition I would expect Orient to had put some thought into it...
Obviously not a Japan made or Japan market watch, puzzling.
Great read John...!

Thanks, eddie! Nope, the endlinks are folded--although there isn't as much rattle to the bracelet as one would think.
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Re: Impressions of Orient LE Reissue King Diver SEM7F001B

Post by Mortuus on 2013-01-13, 19:17

Excellent review (as always), Conj.

I'm a bit non-plussed at Orient's (1) slippin' thuh bone to their fanbase in Japan, Korea, etc, and (2) their consistently bad bracelets for their low-to-midsized priced watches. Personally, I'd rather have the better watch and get my own bracelet, which for me is usually a mesh.

Do those crowns dig into the back of your wrist at all? (The pic sure makes it look like they do... affraid )

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Re: Impressions of Orient LE Reissue King Diver SEM7F001B

Post by conjurer on 2013-01-13, 22:16

Mortuus wrote:Excellent review (as always), Conj.

I'm a bit non-plussed at Orient's (1) slippin' thuh bone to their fanbase in Japan, Korea, etc, and (2) their consistently bad bracelets for their low-to-midsized priced watches. Personally, I'd rather have the better watch and get my own bracelet, which for me is usually a mesh.

Do those crowns dig into the back of your wrist at all? (The pic sure makes it look like they do... affraid )

Thanks, Mort!

To answer your last question first, as this is a 46mm watch and the largest size I personally will wear, there's a bit of digging from the crowns, which is what I expected.

In terms of bracelets, well, it's almost like the non-hacking, non-handwinding movements: it's kind of a tradition!

As far as pricing goes, the real culprit here is Orient USA (a privately owned etailer, not part of Orient Watch Company), which had been playing fast and loose with both MSRPs and coupon codes to goose their sales for at least a couple of years. Orient Japan put up with this for some reason until it became something of a joke, and a real boil on the neck of overseas buyers. Orient Japan finally put an end to this over a year ago, but when the King Diver came out, OUSA was fucking around with the MSRP so much American buyers were grabbing these things up for, as I recall, around $160 or so.

Since OUSA doesn't ship outside of the US, overseas buyers were effectively fucked--especially since, in a lot of Asia, Orient barely discounts at all--although their MSRPs might be somewhat lower.
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Re: Impressions of Orient LE Reissue King Diver SEM7F001B

Post by Ocean on 2013-01-14, 09:29

How is the IP John? I did get to see one of these not to long ago and the one I saw the IP was lack luster at best. I think it is a good pick up for an Orient fanboi but also think this needed a 41-44 for most.

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Re: Impressions of Orient LE Reissue King Diver SEM7F001B

Post by wottime on 2013-01-20, 01:27

Dam fine gift from Mrs. C. Appreciate your reviews and do like this watch. Enjoy it.

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