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  • Planet Orient Collection

    MSRP
    $430.00

    Model No. FFM0003B0

    Automatic Watch

    Description
    The FFM00003B0 fits nearly any style with sharp color gradations and a leather strap for comfortable positioning. This Orient Automatic Watch will make anyone stand out from the unvaried crowd of watch wearers.
    Watch Manual
    Watch Reviews
    'OMG is all I can say' Review by Richard on 8/3/12
    Rating
    This watch is beautiful. Already got compliments in two days of wearing it. Winds smooth and power reserve is max in no time. Love this watch and the band is slick with the orange outline on the edge. Love all my orient watches. You guys rock!!!
    'This watch is the Best Bang for your Buck' Review by michael on 10/27/11
    Rating
    Looks really really really really really really good on a wrist. Thee watch for ANY occasion. I wear it so often I've had to order replacement wrist bands.
    'Dressy, Sporty, & Refined Watch at an amazing price!' Review by CK on 5/19/11
    The Orient brand has a great reputation among watch fans and it deserves to be a more widely known brand to the public at large. This watch, commonly called "Planet Orient" due to its resemblance to an Omega design called "Planet Ocean", is meant to be a sporty though stylish watch, less of a beater than the entry level Makos, but more attractive and unique.

    In truth, the Planet nickname is not really that accurate a measure of the model's appearance. The Orient model includes a very different graphic style and different complications than the Omega Planet Ocean series, and the Orient also sells for about 5% of the price of those Swiss watches. The Omega of course is made of higher quality materials, uses the revolutionary co-axial escapement, has the COSC certification (explained later), and retains a significant part of its value over time.

    The Orient is about the same size as the bigger Omega Planet Oceans (that is, 46 mm) and in some cases uses an orange bezel and highlights on the face as some models of the Omega do, but these are slight similarities. I will use the nickname "Planet" throughout the review for convenience, as compared to say "CFM00001B", but for better or worse, be aware that you are not buying a watch that would pass for an Omega Planet Ocean unless in the eyes of the most unobservant admirer.

    Orient is a small Japanese company that is partially owned by Seiko. They've been around for more than 50 years, and their claim to fame is that they are a mechanical watch producer that designs and makes 100% of their movements in-house. The in-house designation is significant as it means the company does more than just buy off the shelf designs but rather is directly involved in creating and tuning the mechanical heart of their product. Rolex is know for their in-house work, but even such costly brands as Omega, TAG Heuer, and Breitling have most of their movements made for them by other companies (ETA for the most part). To have a finely crafted automatic watch in this price range that has been designed and manufactured by the company selling it is rare to say the least. The watches are also hand made, and in Japan as well.

    As mentioned this is an automatic watch. The watch cannot be hand wound so you need to shake it to start it, and then it winds itself as you move your arm during the day - no batteries needed. The timekeeping is a tad less precise than a quartz, and for this movement (Orient's 469 series) the manufacturer states you can normally expect to lose up to 15 seconds or gain up to 25 seconds each day. (More on this later.)

    Two related points: if you want to keep reasonably accurate time, you need to reset your watch every week or so, and if you are utterly sedentary during the day (i.e. drive to work, sit at a desk, drive home, sit in front of the TV) the watch may not get enough winding to stay working. You hardly need to run a marathon, maybe 15 minutes of walking total throughout the day will probably keep your watch (and yourself!) functioning well. Max power reserve on this model is about 42 hours, which figure is supported by my own tests. (This is the time the watch will take to stop after you take it off when it is fully wound up.)

    The watch has a date complication in the form of a circular dial with an indicator hand that points to the date. This dial is found in the 6:00 position on the face. The manual cautions users that the day and date should not be adjusted from the hours of 9 PM to 4 AM as the gears are in the process of slowly rotating both day and date dials in that time frame.

    More interestingly, the watch also has a power reserve meter at the 12:00 position on the face that lets you know the number of hours that the watch will run for if you were to take it off and cease charging it. This feature, a useful one, is normally found only on European watches costing 5 to 10 times more than the Planet. The 469 movement is used in many other Orients, and the variant here is called the 46U40, which I believe designates the 469 series with the circular date and power reserve complications.

    Minor annoyance for precisonists: the second hand cannot be "hacked" - that is, when you set the time by pulling the crown out, the second hand continues to turn. That means getting an exact time sync is a challenge, as you will be always be fast or slow by however many seconds the third hand is away from 12 o'clock when you push the crown in. Unless you are leading a commando team on a raid, this probably will not be a major issue, but more expensive Swiss movements like those by ETA do offer the hacking feature as do some pricier Seikos. This and the accuracy issue is the biggest negative differences between quartz ownership and owning an automatic.

    As to accuracy --- Orient avoids building your hopes up as the manual tells you to expect +25 to -15 seconds of time loss of gain per day. However, over 3 weeks of testing, my Planet keeps time to within +11 seconds per day. This is in the realm of the Seiko 7S26 and Citizen 8215 movements. OK, but my two other Orients, the much cheaper Mako I and the Mako II, which is in the same cost range as the Planet, both keep much better time with what appears to be the same movement. (+5 and -4 seconds per day respectively). These higher levels of accuracy are within the realm of COSC standards (the expensive and prestigious Swiss timekeeping standard that watches that cost twenty or more times as much as the Makos are tested to). The Planet, though, at +11, is off the COSC scale altogether, and this accuracy, though typical of most inexpensive autos, is disappointing when compared to its brethren. This variance may just be examples of the acceptable build quality variation for the movement, or may be related to the somewhat different complications added to this model. You, of course, may get a higher or lower level of accuracy with your own example.

    As for durability --- the face and back of the watch are made of mineral crystal, not sapphire. The bracelet is solid filled links, and feels and looks costly. The watch itself is water resistant to 100 meters, and features one screw down crown for time and date setting. The bezel is steel, and turns relatively easily; it is scalloped, not coin-edged (i.e. needs your thumb not your fingernail to turn). The bezel has both a countdown set of numbers as well as a tachymeter. Lume is on the dial numbers, the hour and minute hands, and on the second hand. The 12 o'clock position of the bezel however has no lume on it, unlike the Mako Is or other diver watches.

    The lume is highly visible at first, and the face looks striking when the lume is fully charged. But the brightness fades quicker than the NY Knicks' playoff hopes this season, nowhere as good as say the Seiko Monster series, and also worse than the Mako I - Planet's darkness visibility seems to last for maybe 2-3 hours of visible light after sustained exposure to bright light.

    Warranty is one year through the manufacturer. Packaging is mundane, the manual supplied was the correct one for once. ( The Orient tradition is to almost always ship the wrong manual with the watch.) As with all autos, the watch will probably need a lube and tune up once every 3-5 years, my estimate.

    The watch is attractive and bold in style, and is eye-catching. The band and face look and feel high quality and the design of the face is imaginative and unique. The 45mm size is properly shown in the large expanded FACE of the watch, instead of the large rectangular FRAME of the watch that the face sits in, a stylistic miscue that Orient and some other watch mfgrs commonly make with larger watches. (Take a look at Seiko Kinetic diver to see what I mean.) The hour and minute hands are decent sized swords, and the second hand is a nifty little orange needle. There are Arabic numerals on the face for a few numbers and hash marks for the rest. The watch can look dressy, especially with its black or white faces, and the orange bezel is very striking, though orange may or may not be a color that stands the test of time in men's watch styling.

    The neatest thing about this (or any other good automatic) is watching the sweep of the second hand. The watch mainspring beats 6 times per second (21,600 bph), and the second hand has 6 distinct stops between each marked second on the face. This slow majestic sweep is far more elegant that the clunk-ka-chunk precise once per second movement of a quartz analog. The back of the watch is an "exhibition" design, which shows the movement inside. The movement is entertaining to watch for a bit, but it is more of a showpiece and a novelty than anything else.

    Upshot: The watch itself is superbly made. Everything feels solid, from the bracelet to the crown to the bezel. There is an Orient logo on the face and on the bracelet that is not problematic due to its subtlety. This doesn't look like its namesake Omega, but the aesthetic is as good or better, and the level of quality is immensely impressive given the price. Most observers will think this watch costs three or more time more than its actual price due to the level of fit and finish realized. is a cheap watch by just looking at it.

    All in all, for a dressy though sporty office watch, you can't go wrong with the Planet in one of the more conservative variants. The orange highlighted model may be more of a transient fad, as Omega has arguably overused that color to death for men's sports watches recently. This is not much of a "beater", due to low water resistance and poor lume, but it is reasonably sturdy and handsome, yet also inexpensive enough that if you somehow did damage it, you wouldn't be crying the same tears that you would if you mashed up your $4,000 Omega Planet Ocean. You probably would not want to use this as a regular water sport watch, though an occasional dunking would probably be OK as long as you weren't swimming vigorously for an extended period.

    The Planet Orient is a handsome watch, superbly made, and all in all, is a fine value. The only downer is that my particular example of the breed is a fairly average timekeeper and does not reach the high points of accuracy set by my other Orients. Still, if you want a unique, attractive, and well made automatic at a fraction of the price charged by the European makers, this is one of your better options.
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