Orient Kamasu Review: Seiko is Dead, Long Live Orient

By: Jason Tricoli

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.

Overall

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!*

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12 thoughts on “Orient Kamasu Review: Seiko is Dead, Long Live Orient”

  1. Thanks for mentioning the undersized crown…it’s disappointing they didn’t make it larger. I had a Ray II briefly and ended up returning it because I couldn’t screw it all the way in without needle nose pliers! That’s kind of a deal breaker, because I almost never bring needle nose pliers to the beach or pool with me.

    Reply
    • Rob, not only is the crown undersized on the Kamasu, it’s quite wobbly when pulled out to the second position to adjust the time. I’m hoping that Orient hears the feedback from buyers/owners and corrects this in their next release. Besides the small issue I have with the crown on my Kamasu, I’m quite pleased with my purchase and enjoy this timepiece. For what I paid for this watch, I’m happy to look past the disappointing crown.

      Reply
  2. Kind of dramatic don’t you think? Especially considering that both brands are under the umbrella if the Seiko group.

    Reply
    • Hey, Aerowind:

      Orient is owned by Epson and Epson is part of the Seiko Group. Seiko Group is a holding company that also owns the appropriate companies that are responsible for Seiko Watches. However, the two brands don’t have any shared corporate direction or any type of related nature. They’re totally different companies that happen to exist under the same Holding group. An example for comparison would be how Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company that owns GEICO auto insurance and Dairy Queen – they share a holding company but have no shared corporate structure that impacts their day to day decisions or large scale creative direction.

      -Kaz

      Reply
  3. I appreciate your review. Having been the proud (and impressed) owner of both the SKX009 and SKX013, I had turned into a bit of a Seiko fanboy. However, I was reluctant to pull the trigger on the “5KX” for the same reasons you listed. After a good bit of research, I came across the Kamasu. After a little waiting and shopping around, I got a decent deal ($199 US). I could not be happier! I have a very large collection of divers, but I frequently wore the SKX as my “beater.” Given the recent discontinuation, I’ve now retired them in favor of the Kamasu. If you’re like me (perhaps a bit of a watch “snob”), and never gave Orient a shot, the Kamasu is true bang for the buck. AND…no misaligned chapter rings here!! High quality…exceptional value…great diver.

    Reply
    • J Jackson…… I couldn’t agree with you more. The deep maroon Orient Kamasu is a great dive watch and offers a lot of bang for the buck (USD$280) and offers exceptional quality / value for what you pay. The maroon dial is really beautiful in both a dressy or casual setting. I have a number of Seiko watches but I think Orient has really captured my attention recently. The only one complaint I have with the Kamasu is the crown. Once Orient hears the feedback from owners, I’m sure they will improve on it in their next release.

      Reply
  4. Loved the review. Could agree with you more on the dial color and finish. I have the Ray II in blue and it’s one of my favorite every day wear. Love the size and color. I am looking to buy the Kamasu in either the green or the red but looking at your pictures and that rubber band combo, it is a KILLER!

    If you don’t mind me asking, where did you buy that rubber/silicone band? Looks amazing.

    Reply
  5. Worth a look at the new Orient Triton/Neptune without PR, ISO and divers extension if the crown and bezel action bothers you. Although the new tritons (some call them triton lite?) are a bit of a downgrade from its predecessor, the price is similar to the kamasu. It’s a bigger watch at 43mm DIA and 51mm L2L but the crown is proper sized and the bezel action is great, everything else is pretty much straight up kamasu anyway. It’s a shame as I prefer the sizing of the kamasu but also couldn’t get on with that crown. I may have e to get this red one for occasional use though as it’s beautiful!

    Reply
  6. I Just pulled the trigger on the kamasu ray 3,I have this spec killer in the teal green, talk about a talking piece I have been getting so much positive feedback on the looks I think orient should be giving me a kickback as 3 of my mate’s have already ordered one feels good snorkeling body surfing, and just as comfortable when I Wack on a suit and hit the casino “$220” Aussie dollars “up to the minute buy of the year” also I’ve been collecting and repairing watches for 40 year’s and have not come across better Lume on another watch as good as kamasu period. I’m stoked!

    Reply

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