It looks like the Japanese watchmaker is finally going to reintroduce its M-Force series of sporty timekeepers to the North American market. The offensive will begin with the new Wunderwaffe: the 2011 Orient M-Force 200M (refs. EL03001B, EL03001D & EL03002M) automatic diver. Available in three colors of its dial (black, blue and orange with the pale green luminescent substance on its hour markers and hands,) the new timekeeper is officially rated for 200 meters, which makes it a perfect companion for recreational scuba diving.
It would be stupid to use a mechanical watch as the main diving tool, but, if partnered with an electronic diving computer from Suunto or some other serious diving gear manufacturer, it will be a nice back-up watch. Still, despite its rugged look, the new M-Force can easily be worn as a casual watch for those who want to draw some attention to their active lifestyle.
According to the Japanese company, the new M-Force is powered by the Japanese made Caliber 40N50 self-winding movement. Built on 22 jewels, it beats at a rather slow frequency of 21,600 vph. Not affecting accuracy, the “heartbeat” increases the mechanism’s longevity reducing the wear of the moving parts.
Unlike their older lower-grade calibers, the cal. 40N50 can actually compete with some Swiss made mechanisms thanks to its better precision. The ability to wind the mechanism by hand, as well as introduction of a hacking seconds module, too, makes the movement a lot more interesting proposition for a watch that is going to be offered at a minimum recommended price of $720 USD. Being introduced just four (or five?) years ago, there is still not enough data as for the mechanism’s reliability in the long run, so I can’t say anything about its long-term reliability. On the other hand, a watch in this price range is not a piece of art that you are buying in order to pass to your grandson when he joins the Army, so this shouldn’t worry you too much.
The movement is hidden inside a massive stainless steel case and is protected from salty water with a screwed solid case back and a screw-down crown, which is ergonomically placed at 4 o’clock: a feature that many consider a must for something that poses as “tool watch.” As all normal diving watches, the new M-Force is equipped with a rugged-looking unidirectional rotating bezel.
There are three versions of the dial, but each one comes equipped with huge luminous hour markers and hands. Even the seconds hand has a small dip of lume closer to the tip. From where I stand, the power reserve indicator on this model is not particularly necessary but is still a nice feature to have if you don’t plan to wear the watch on a daily basis.
Build Quality: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Photos: Orient Watches
Orient M-Force 200M specification
Price: $720 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber 40N5A, 21,600 vph, 22 jewels, Made in Japan
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 46.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Case height: 13.30 mm
Dial: Black (Ref. EL03001B) / Blue (Ref. EL03001D) / Orange (Ref. EL03002M)
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp
Back: Solid, screwed-in