Often associated with an impressively high level of finishing and attention to detail, Orient Star as a brand lays claim to a rich heritage officially dating back to 1951 and Tokyo, Japan. Late last year, Orient Star leaned into its impressive archive with the Orient Star Diver 1964 (now known as the Diver 1964 1st Edition), a limited edition of only 500 pieces based on the Olympia Calendar Diver from that year and positioned within the elevated Orient Star collection.
Today, Orient Star unveils a new Diver 1964 2nd Edition inspired by another of the brand's aquatic heritage designs, the Calendar Auto Orient. Complete with 200 meters of water resistance, a dual-curved sapphire crystal, the in-house F6N47 caliber, and visual design language that closely follows the 60s-era watch, the Diver 1964 2nd Edition demonstrates a versatile blend of sporty capabilities and refined aesthetics.
The new watch is offered in two distinctive dial variations, one with a more subdued mirror-polished black dial, and another with an especially striking matte green gradation effect inspired by the Ryusendo Cave, a Japanese cave complex 4 kilometers in length and containing eight underground lakes. For the professional research divers tasked with surveying the lakes (recreational diving is not permitted within the cave complex), the striking green dial variant will be immediately familiar, taking its inspiration from the Ryusendo Cave's lakes.
In either color, the Diver 1964 2nd Edition dial offers straightforward printed geometric indices that honor the original model while making room for Orient Star's luminescent material which is impressive in practice, offering a level of nighttime legibility that could come in handy in cave diving scenarios.
At twelve, Orient Star exhibits its most substantial update to the archive design with its trademark power reserve indicator, a key aspect of modern Orient Star's design language. Dial text is unobtrusive and located in the six o'clock position for balance, and a distinctive handset that feels directly lifted from the 1964 watch manages actual time telling, whether above or below the water's surface. In practice, the design is legible, attractive, and feels modern and up to date despite its vintage inspiration, with the vintage Calendar Auto Orient proving that strong designs stand the test of time. Despite the refinement in the dial execution, the Diver 1964 2nd Edition is a capable tool diving watch that complies with the ISO 6425 standard while being substantially built with a chunky stainless steel case.
While the shape of the case follows the lineage established by the historic model, the new Diver 1964 2nd Edition is in keeping with modern wearing dimensions, with a 41mm bezel diameter that is slightly wider than the underlying 40.2mm central case to allow for an easier grip in diving scenarios or with thicker gloves.
As a diving-oriented and ISO-compliant watch with capable water resistance, the thickness measures a healthy 14.5mm to the top of the domed, anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal. Those metrics, paired with an overall length of 49.6mm, bring this vintage design squarely into the present day, offering a mass-appealing dimension set that should work well on the majority of wrists out there. Further enhancing the wear is a stainless-steel, five-link bracelet with solid end-links that again demonstrates reverence to its historic inspiration while offering an up-to-date level of finishing, as well as a substantial push-button deployant clasp with a folding diver's extension. A well-executed silicone diver's strap is also included for diving or other sporty scenarios.
In line with the Diver 1964 2nd Edition's more refined level of finishing, the case exhibits a higher level of attention than one might have reasonably expected in 1964, presenting a blend of brushed and polished elements across the central case, faceted lugs, and domed screw-down crown, while retaining the basic case architecture of the original. Of course, a dive watch is only as good as its ability to track the time, and this ruggedly-built model from Orient Star relies on one of the brand's newer in-house calibers, oscillating safely beneath a screw-down stainless steel caseback.
The in-house F6N47 is ISO 6425 compliant, and hacks and hand-winds while providing a power reserve of 50 hours. And while there are similarities between this new watch and the Diver 1964 1st Edition that preceded it, including the use of this elevated caliber, the watches stand apart in a few key areas. Compared to the new model, the 1st Edition was based on a different model in the Olympia Calendar Diver, and the modern watch takes its inspiration from that model's design codes, including the stainless steel bezel, rectangular indices, and more angular hands including an arrow hour hand.
Overall, the Diver 1964 1st Edition feels a bit more refined whereas the 2nd Edition demonstrates a more rugged presentation, complete with the anodized bezel insert and highly-legible dial and handset intended for diving duties. In addition, the Diver 1964 1st Edition was a limited edition of 500 pieces, whereas the 2nd Edition comes in as a standard production model for the Orient Star collection.
Combining the design format from one of Orient Star's most beloved and historic diving-oriented models with modern sizing, specifications, and finishing, the Orient Star Diver 1964 2nd Edition offers an elegant balance between the refinement that comes with honoring the original design with real-world toughness capable of tackling the depths of the Ryusendo Cave that inspired its unique dial color. Overall, the Diver 1964 1st Edition feels a bit more refined whereas the 2nd Edition demonstrates a more rugged presentation complete with the anodized bezel insert and highly-legible dial and handset intended for diving duties. In addition, the Diver 1964 1st Edition was a limited edition of 500 pieces, whereas the 2nd Edition comes in as a standard production model for the Orient Star collection.