Orient Mako Automatic Dive Watch


Holds up under pressure

Looking for a nice and reliable watch is a challenge, and doubly so if style and cost are both considerations. Quartz watches are great devices, usually inexpensive and highly accurate, but there is a certain romance to a precision mechanical watch. Where a quartz timepiece will eventually break down and need to be replaced, mechanical movements may last for decades if properly maintained.

Orient — a subsidiary of Seiko, and one of the few Japanese companies that make mechanical watches — produces solid timepieces with self-winding movements, meaning that as long as you wear the watch regularly it will power itself from the movement of your hand.

I purchased my Mako about a year and a half ago on sale for US$100, and I wear it every day. For a watch at this price level it has some nice features, including a stainless steel double-locking bracelet, rotating bezel to allow time keeping without having to do any complicated math, and an impressive 200m (660 ft.) water resistance, which is a feature seldom encountered in watches costing less than $200. And for those concerned with aesthetics as well as function, it comes in a variety of colors.

According to the manual this watch is not recommended for diving (and many retailers will caution against using any watch not rated to at least 300m/30 bar), but I’ve taken it well below 30m/100ft on several dives and have not experienced any problems that tend to occur when using watches not intended for diving (condensation being the most common).

Two caveats to the otherwise unreserved praise: the first is that any mechanical watch (Rolex and other ten thousand dollar watches included) will be less accurate (on average) than any quartz watch. Second, for those with extreme OCD the Mako has one significant design flaw: you cannot hack the movement, which means that even when you are setting the time on the watch, the second hand continues to move. It is the one thing I dislike about this model, but admittedly this is seldom a problem for anyone who is not a special forces commando who must be able to synchronize time to the second.

Overall, this is a beautiful line of watches for an eminently reasonable price, and if you are interested in a watch that holds up under pressure, this is the best around for the price.

-- Adam Wunker 08/29/13