“Another day, another skeleton from Orient Star?”
Well, not quite. For starters, this is limited to 900 units worldwide. And secondly, this entry into the Modern Skeleton line continues on from Orient Star‘s recent design direction to draw inspiration from elements found within nature. Which sounds suspiciously like what another high end Japanese brand is doing…
But I digress… In any case, let’s take a look at our guest for today. The Orient Star Modern Skeleton, reference number RE-AV0120L.
“First things first. The technical specs.”
We’ve got a stainless steel case measuring 41.2 mm in diameter and 12.2 mm thick. Lug to lug is 48.8 mm. On the brushed/polished bracelet, it weighs 135 g. Lug width is an odd 21 mm. Best keep that in mind when you’re shopping around for aftermarket straps or bracelets yeah?
Now, looking at those numbers again (and from the pics), there’s no hiding that this is a chonky boi! Throughout the entire review period, the sheer heft of the thing never really went away. You know with some supposedly large watches, you don’t really feel or notice them after some time but with the (inhale) Orient Star Modern Skeleton RE-AV0120L, you definitely feel its presence all. The. Time.
Now I know some people out there like to feel that they are wearing a sizeable watch but in my case, I’d prefer to almost forget I’m wearing one until I catch a glimpse of my wrist again. In its defense though, the bracelet does wear very comfortably. Oh, and another note on the bracelet, be very careful when resizing the links because we’ve got a ‘pins-and-collars’ setup here.
Inside, the 24-jeweled in-house Calibre F6F44 beats at a rate of 3 Hz and has a power reserve of 50 hours although our own testing saw it continue beat past the 54-hour mark. In terms of accuracy, we recorded +/-6.5 seconds per day which is way better than the quoted figure of +25/-15 seconds per day. So the movement itself may sound fairly workhorse-y but beneath the mineral crystal display caseback, there’s a decent amount of finishing.
The skeletonized rotor has gold text with the logo stamped on it and the plates feature perlage touches.
“Now, how does the whole skeleton aesthetics work?”
It’s not even strictly a skeletonized watch, right? Semi-skeletonized would be the right term. Disclaimer, I’m not particularly fond of skeletonized designs in general but I think Orient Star has the proportions down just right with this one. The dial has a lot of visual space but the skeletonized region at 9 o’clock helps to minimize that. I’m not sure if it’s the actual sheer size of the dial or the colour scheme but it makes the watch look way bigger than its 41.2 mm diameter suggests.
On my 6-inch wrist, it definitely affects how the watch wears. The lug to lug of near 49 mm means that there’s just no hiding the fact that it wears just a tad too big for my wrist size.
“Wearability aside, how does it look?”
It’s got visual impact, I’ll give it that. Putting the size and heft aside, the colour scheme isn’t easy to ignore. The dark green (almost deep turquoise) dial coupled to lashes of rose gold on the bezel, hands and hour markers make for a pretty eye-catching combination.
Does it work? Personally, I feel that it can be toned down a bit as there are one too many elements on the dial fighting for your attention. One surprising element that worked for me was the Roman 12 o’clock marker. Against the rest of the baton markers, I initially expected them to clash but the effect wasn’t as in-your-face as I assumed it would be.
Other good points? The applied Orient Star logo at 3 o’clock is a nice touch and the rehaut has minute markers to allow you to track the time down to the minute. Of course, not forgetting the Orient Star trademark power reserve display at 12 o’clock. Winding the non-screw down crown (itself a pretty nice tactile experience) and seeing the needle zip to ‘Full’ is always a visual treat.
But unfortunately there are flaws. And that brings me to…
“The Achilles’ heel of this Modern Skeleton.”
The inconsistent focus on legibility. The rose gold hands have the potential to look good in isolation but against a dark green dial that’s semi-skeletonized, it can be hard to tell the time at a glance. And while the base of the hour markers, hour, minutes, and power reserve hands have lume, it’s not exactly the brightest thing in the room when the lights go out.
Look, if it’s going to be an aesthetic-driven timepiece, scratch the lume and stop putting in more elements to increase legibility because to a certain extent, the whole thing just ends up looking too busy.
At certain points, it can almost feel like Orient Star wasn’t sure who this watch was for. Sure, the 100 m water resistance might be useful for a daily beater that sees plenty of action but on a semi-skeletonized watch? With that said, I very much appreciate it, along with the AR-coated sapphire crystal too.
“Ouch! Okay, plus points, then?”
The biggest plus point is that despite the legibility issues, it feels like a quality timepiece. The heft, the combination of polished and brushed surfaces on the substantial steel bracelet with a deployant buckle and push-button release and the alternating finishing on the case – brushed and “Sallaz” (Zaratsu?!) polished according to Orient Star.
All these add up to a watch that feels completely appropriate to have come from Orient Star. So the tactility and wearability (bar the size) gets the nod but it misses out on top marks for having just one too many elements crammed onto the dial.
And at a listed price of $608 (RM2,672), it’s not exactly mind-bogglingly expensive. More so when you again remember there will only be 900 units of these around. Would I get one myself? No, but only because it’s a tad too big. The colour scheme seems to detract from the viewing experience in my eyes. If I was looking for a semi-skeletonized Orient Star, I’d go with the RE-AV0004N. I heard its ash grey-brown dial isn’t a limited edition model and I do like grey dials, after all.