The release of the new Seiko 5 Sports line, cleverly nicknamed the 5KX (due to its resemblance to the very popular and now discontinued SKX line) was met with a mixed response. The new line includes a hacking and handwinding movement. However, it also lost some important specifications of its predecessor. These include a screw down crown, 200m water resistance, a lume pip on the bezel, and ISO certification. At the same time, the MSRP of this watch was just about $300 (although we have seen the price of this line slowly fall over time). To many, this was less watch at a higher price, which has been a theme for Seiko as of late.
Enter the Orient Kamasu. While the MSRP of this watch is $460, they are usually available for between $200 – $300. With a hacking and handwinding movement, 200 meters of water resistance, a screw-down crown, and a sapphire crystal, the Orient Kamasu is a killer value proposition that has all of the specifications many hoped for in the new 5XK line (perhaps falling only short of ISO certification).
As Seiko continues to reposition itself in the market, I think it is time to pass the crown of the value king to a different Japanese brand: Orient Watches. Let me introduce you to one of their impressive offerings. Let me introduce you to the Kamasu.
A Well Proportioned Case and a Sapphire Crystal
Orient Kamasu Size and Case Dimensions
- Case: 41.5mm
- Lug to Lug: 47mm
- Lug Width: 22mm
- Thickness: 13mm
- Crystal: Flat Sapphire
The Kamasu has essentially the same case as Orient’s popular Ray II model. A crowd pleasing middle of the road size, this affordable dive watch is going to be right at home on a wide range of wrists. While there is nothing too fancy about the case finishing, it is well executed with a combination of brushed surfaces on the top and high polish surfaces on the sides. The lugs curve down gently which helps with the overall comfort of the watch on the wrist.
The bezel has a coin edge that can be a bit difficult to grip. However, the 120 click bezel action is very smooth and consistent which actually makes it very easy to turn. The bezel insert is aluminum.
My only major complaint with the Orient Kamasu case is that the crown is too small and this, in combination with the crown guards, make it difficult to screw down (I usually have to use my shirt for extra grip).
The crystal is a flat sapphire, and this is where the value over Seiko really starts to shine. You won’t find a sapphire crystal in any Seiko diver at this price.
A Deep Red Dial with Nuclear Lume
The dial of the Orient Kamasu is killer. A wine red that reveals a ruby sunburst in direct light (it also comes in green, blue, and black dial variants). The applied indices seem to float above the dial, in part due to the lack of a chapter ring. The handset is pleasing, with a very long minute and second hand that reach all the way out to the dashed minute markings.
The day and date window is nicely framed and presented on the Orient Kamasu. Also, the Orient logo, with its splash of red, blends in nicely with the dial.
The lume on this watch can go toe to toe with any Seiko diver. Not only is it flashlight bright, it is also exceptionally responsive.
A Fully Brushed Bracelet
I appreciate the choice to go with a fully brushed bracelet. An oyster style with hollow end links, sizing is accomplished with standard split pins. The clasp is a double push deployment with a safety fold over. White the Orient Kamasu bracelet has a pressed metal clasp, I still find it secure when closed. There are four micro adjustment positions to help you get the perfect fit. The Orient Logo is etched into the clasp.
The watch is comfortable and feels well balanced on the bracelet.
In-House, Hacking and Handwinding Movement
- Caliber: Orient Cal. F6922 (automatic, handwinding, hacking)
- BPH: 21,600
- Stated Accuracy: +25/-15 sec a day
- Power Reserve: 40 hours
The Orient Caliber F6922 is an in-house movement that is based on the 46943. This new caliber was released in April of 2016 and first featured in watches like the Mako II and Ray II. It is great to have an accurate, handwinding and hacking movement in the Orient Kamasu. Due to how new this movement is, there is not a lot of data on how they will hold up over time. However, if I had to speculate, these made in Japan movements will prove to be reliable.
I think the Orient Kamasu is one of the best dive style watches you can buy for the price. It is an absolute spec monster for its price bracket. You will be hard pressed to find another dive watch with a sapphire crystal, an in-house hacking and handwinding movement, a screw down crown, 200 meters water resistance, killer lume, and a bracelet at this price.*
Orient Watch Co. is the Value King
I believe Seiko is slowly repositioning themselves to occupy a slightly more expensive part of the market. We have seen this pattern repeated first in the 5KX, and then again with the Alpinist (I even speculate that the new Seiko SZSB line is the replacement for the Seiko Sarb033 and Sarb035, with a similar pattern of price increase).
I am glad a brand like Orient exists and I think they are in a great position to capture the more affordable end of the watch market. One thing is for sure, if Seiko really is trying to move up the price scale, someone is sure to fill the vacuum they leave behind.
Check out the Orient Kamasu on Amazon!*
Follow TBWS On Instagram
Jason was catapulted into the world of watch obsession by an innocent gift from his fiancée. An accountant by trade, he is obsessed with finding the best value for money. Naturally, he gravitated towards the Two Broke Watch Snobs affordable take on watch collecting. His other interests include video games, movies, and science fiction.