Amazingly stylish and surprisingly elegant, the new Orient Dyno Alarm collection of inexpensive quartz chronograph makes it possible to look smart and cool without breaking the bank. It is almost like if your Toyota Prius was designed by Bertone.
I am not really sure whether it is a cultural thing or just a lack of good design skills, but so called “affordable” timekeepers that are marketed by such Japanese brands as Orient, Citizen and Seiko, are rarely pleasant to look at. Often generic and clearly lacking character, they try to compensate their deficiencies with exaggerated design that usually involves extra rugged bezels, strangely shaped hands and dials that mimic famous guilloche patterns of their Swiss-based competitors.
Having said that, I must admit that it is truly a pleasure to also say a couple of hundred of good words pertaining this beautiful Orient Dyno Alarm collection of dressy chronographs. Although at Orient’s USA website the timepieces are listed at just $355 (and you can find one on eBay at just over $210), the gadget looks very convincing featuring a nice blend of elements that, while clearly inspired by their European rivals (mostly Omega, I think), still look very organic.
Surprisingly enough, the internal slide ruler on the bezel flange (it is operated by a crown at 10 o’clock) features finely printed numbers that are easily readable and do not make an impression of a total mess (it looks especially good on the ref. FTD09005W that features a silver-toned dial with a cool black outer ring).
Yes, the indicators on the sub-dials (there is a 60 minute chronograph totalizer at the 12 o’clock, an alarm sub-dial with hour and minute hands at the 6 o’clock position and a rare -for a quartz watch- running seconds counter at nine hours) are very thin, but, being gold-plated, there are quite contrast and easily readable.
Frankly, I am not really sure about the shape and proportions of the hour and minute hands, but must admit that they feature an adequate amount of a luminous compound and do obstruct view at the numerals on the internal ring of the slide ruler.
According to official specs, the watch is powered by Caliber KFA00, which is, as far as I know, is a Seiko 7T62 clone, which means that its central chronograph second hand will beat at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour thus mimicking a lot more expensive mechanical chronographs (and it also makes the chronograph part more precise allowing you to measure time intervals with precision of up to 1/5th of a second). While nothing really to brag about, it still looks quite cool.
While the rose gold plating on the stainless steel case of the watch will sooner or later reveal its true value, you will still have years to enjoy this Oriental beauty. The only thing that worries me a little is the dreaded “Japan Mov’t” inscription on the dial. It probably means that the watch, while clearly powered by Orient’s own in-house movement, is made in China, and we all know how buying their goods is often close to Irish Sweepstakes. On the other hand, at an online price of just over $200, it is almost a steal.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 4/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Orient Dyno Alarm Quartz Chronograph (Refs. FTD09004B and FTD09005W) watch specification
Price: $355 (MSRP)
Movement: Quartz, Caliber KFA00 (Seiko 7T62 clone), Made in Japan
Power reserve: A couple of years
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Case material: Stainless steel, rose gold-tone
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 10.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Black (FTD09004B) / Silver (FTD09005W)
Hour markers: Rose gold-tone, luminous
Hands: Rose gold-tone, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black or brown leather
Case back: Solid