A while back, the entire watch community was in tears when Seiko decided to discontinue their beloved SKX dive watch. They tried to console themselves with the “5KX” that came in its place, but here’s the catch… it’s not really a dive watch.
No screw-down crown, and a so-so water resistance rating of just 100m. Sure, it may look like a dive watch, but it isn’t.
But what if I told you there’s an alternative that won’t break the bank like an overpriced Seiko Prospex? And get this; it’s actually made by a brand under the Seiko-Epson umbrella!
In this review, we’re diving deep into the Orient Mako III “Kamasu”. Read on to find out if this watch is the perfect fit for you.
Orient, the “forum darling”
Orient’s dive watches have been the talk of the town in watch forums for ages now. I’ve seen countless threads where people were going crazy with nicknames like Ray, Raven, Kamasu, Mako…
Honestly, I’m not even sure if I remember them all correctly. I’d be lost if you showed me a bunch of Orient dive watches and asked me which one is the Ray. I’ve lost track of them.
However, not just their dive watches have a massive following. The “Bambino” dress watch is another crowd favorite. It’s the go-to choice for newbie collectors and folks who want a watch that catches the eye without breaking the bank or resorting to sketchy online shops.
Here’s a fun fact from the watch hobby sidelines: Orient is not only popular among watch enthusiasts. I have a colleague at work who rocks just one watch, and guess what? It’s the black dial and bezel version of the Mako II.
I totally get why he went for it. The “Explorer-style” dial design is a real head-turner even from a distance, and the versatile color scheme makes it the perfect match for any casual outfit. You can even pull off a smart casual look with that watch.
Man, when I laid my eyes on this bold color combo of the brick-red and coppery dial, with a splash of burgundy on the taupe bezel, it was a game-changer compared to my work colleague’s more conservative-looking Mako II.
Trust me; this watch has an impact that goes way beyond what you see in stock photos online. It’s a real eye-pleaser.
Now, let’s talk about the Mako III itself. Brace yourself, because this bad boy is beefy and bulky. Seriously, I’m not kidding. You better try it on before you commit to buying it. The case is chunky, and the bezel is pretty tall too, giving it that SKX-like vibe.
But there’s one thing that doesn’t exactly scream durability: the bracelet. We’ll dive into that topic a bit later.
Just as you’d expect from Orient, it’s got an in-house movement called the cal. F6922. This little gem debuted in Orient’s dive watch lineup in 2016, so it’s been around for quite some time.
I had to look up some photos of it, and honestly, I’m glad they decided to keep it hidden beneath a closed case back in this model. Looks-wise, it falls somewhere between the Miyota 8-series and the Seiko 4R35/NH35. I’d say it’s pretty comparable to the Seiko 7S26 in terms of design, but with a bit more sophistication.
But here’s where things get interesting. Despite its industrial build, the Orient F6922 brings those two little bells and whistles that so many missed in the SKX’s 7S26. In true tool watch fashion, it features a hacking function for the seconds hand and it can be manually wound. Kudos to you, Orient, for getting that right.
Now, let’s talk complications. Like Seiko’s 4R36 and 7S26, the F6922 has a day-date feature and a bilingual day wheel. That means you can choose between English or French for the weekday display. And let me tell you, it’s much better than having it in Arabic like my Seiko 5’s cal. 7S26.
The date changes relatively quickly, but the day wheel takes its sweet time to cycle. However, that doesn’t bother me one bit. I don’t mind seeing the weekday in French.
In terms of overall feel and performance, it’s got that familiar 7S26-ish vibe. You know, the rotor sound that’s kind of buzzing but not obnoxiously loud. Plus, the hand-winding feature is quite enjoyable to use.
From what I know, the factory tolerances for accuracy are 15 to +25 seconds per day, but as an average taken over a period of 7 days. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if they tightened up those tolerances a bit more. However, as I often say, if you’re not timing Japanese bullet trains with it, that’s not a dealbreaker.
When I compare it to Citizen’s entry-level automatic dive watches from the Promaster collection with their 8-series Miyota movements… Well, the Orient F6922 takes the crown without a doubt.
The case…and how it feels
First things first, it’s nicely finished, but man, is it hefty. I mean, seriously, it’s got some weight to it.
If there’s one thing I’d change about it, it’s the case back. I’d give it a slight reprofile to make it just a bit more flat. The lugs are on the shorter side, which makes it suitable for wrists like mine. But I’d recommend it for wrists no smaller than 6.7 inches, unless most of that is pure muscle and you’re a beast who loves rocking heavy watches.
Don’t worry if your wrist is a bit smaller, you can easily lighten the load by swapping out the bracelet for a leather, rubber, or NATO strap. So if you have a 6.5-inch wrist, you could still rock it. Let me put it his way: if you tried on an SKX007/009 and it felt just right, this one will treat you just fine too.
Here’s something that makes the Kamasu a fantastic alternative to Seiko – it’s got a sapphire crystal. Yep, no flimsy Hardlex or other mineral crystal that you’d want to swap out for an aftermarket sapphire. Nope, it’s already there, ready to take on whatever life throws at it.
The bezel action on the Kamasu is on point. It’s smooth as butter. Sure, I wouldn’t mind a bit more tension to prevent accidental turns, but it’s more than satisfactory for the price.
And despite being so smooth, there’s hardly any play in it. I’d rate it way above the wobbly wonder of a bezel on the Certina DS Ph200M. Hey, Certina, take a lesson from Orient. Orient nailed it for less than half the price you’re charging while you missed the mark.
Oh, and one more thing that deserves a shoutout: the lume pip on the 0/60 mark of the bezel. It’s recessed into the bezel, so you don’t have to worry about it falling out if your Mako takes a hit in that area. It’s the little things that count.
If this watch has one weak spot, it’s definitely the bracelet. It’s got that familiar rattly feel you might recognize from the Seiko 5 Sports 5K/DressKX. It’s slim, which helps keep the weight down. Maybe tightening the tolerances between the links could solve the issue, who knows?
But not to worry. You’re not stuck with that bracelet if it’s not your cup of tea. Since Orient dive watches have a cult following, several mod and bracelet stores offer aftermarket alternatives with end links tailored to fit them.
And let’s be honest, if the bracelet makes the Kamasu too heavy for you, chances are you’ll take it off anyway. I mean, who needs the extra weight, right?
I’ve long abandoned the idea that a watch’s stock bracelet (if it’s not an integrated one) should disqualify it. It’s worth noting that the bracelet’s lightness is both a curse and a blessing. If it were heavier, some folks might find the weight slightly problematic. So it’s a balancing act.
Let’s give credit where it’s due. The stock bracelet does have a few redeeming qualities. Even though some clasp components are stamped rather than milled, they’re not just slapped together as an afterthought. Plus, the clasp offers four positions of micro-adjustment, which is quite a rare find these days. Gotta appreciate those little details, right?
The bracelet might not be the Mako’s strongest suit, but I wasn’t expecting miracles for the money. Just know that you have options if this isn’t your thing.
There’s plenty to love about the dial. That red brick/copper color really makes the sunray pattern pop. And check out that glossy silver Orient logo, so sleek and tastefully done.
When it comes to quality, let me give you some perspective. I’d position this dial above the Citizen Promaster dive watch dials, and it’s just a smidge below my trusty Seiko 5 SNXS79. That’s quite a feat for an entry-level, budget dive watch from a reputable brand. Kudos to Orient, again.
I’m not exactly sure what kind of lume material they used here, but let me tell you, it holds its own against the Lumibrite on my Seiko 5. The Orient’s lume glows with a similar intensity, making it easy to read even in the dark.
And here’s a neat detail: all the hour markers with lume are applied. I really dig how they did it. You can see the steel bases of the indexes, but it’s not flashy or overly blingy. It’s efficient, well-executed, and adds a touch of class to the dial. Well done, Orient!
Potential for customization
Just like the Seiko 5 Sports and the legendary SKX, the Orient dive watches, including the Mako III “Kamasu,” leave plenty of room for aftermarket upgrades. We’re talking about stores like Strapcode, Long Island Watch, and namokiMODS, who offer a smorgasbord of upgraded bracelets and bezels.
Let’s talk about that stock bezel on the Mako. You know, the one with those bold serrations/flutings every 10 minutes? It’s a unique accent in an otherwise classic and well-balanced dive watch design.
Here’s the exciting part: modders have got your back with a wide array of bezel options that fit Orient dive watch cases, and guess what? These bezels can even take inserts for the SKX. Talk about limitless possibilities to make your Mako truly yours.
Think of it like a Volkswagen Golf or a Mitsubishi Lancer of budget dive watches. Straight out of the box, it’s already pretty darn good. But if you’re feeling adventurous and want to customize it to your heart’s content, the options are practically endless. So go ahead and let your imagination run wild.
The final verdict
The Orient Mako III is the real deal – a dependable and sturdy daily companion that’s up for any adventure, whether it’s diving into the deep blue or just splashing around in the pool. I actually know this guy who swears by it as his go-to timepiece.
If you’re not entirely sold on the bezel or bracelet, fret not. The Mako is a modder’s dream. You can easily tweak and personalize it to your heart’s content. Some folks might frown upon modding, but I gotta tell ya, it’s a game-changer. It gives you the freedom to make aesthetic and practical improvements, making the watch truly yours. Not many timepieces offer that level of customization, but thanks to its dedicated following, the Orient Mako does.
So, if you’re in the market for a Japanese dive watch and Seiko or Citizen just don’t tickle your fancy, the Orient Mako III is definitely a contender you should consider. It’s got style, quality, and a vibrant community of enthusiastic fans backing it up.
The Orient Kamasu is priced at 375 euros in the EU, considerably more than the Mako II. But let me tell you, the upgrade is worth every penny. The attention to detail on the Mako III is next level, and that sapphire crystal? Oh boy, it’s a much-welcomed improvement from the mineral crystal on the Mako II.
Not a fan of red? No worries at all! The Mako III comes in a whole bunch of other versions too. You’ve got loads of options to pick from and discover the perfect style that matches your taste.
- Reference: RA-AA0820R
- Diameter: 41.8mm
- Lug to lug: 46.8mm
- Lug width: 22mm
- Thickness: 13mm
- Movement: in-house Orient calibre F6922 – 22 jewels, frequency 21600 A/h, power reserve 40h+
- Case details: 316L stainless steel, sapphire crystal, anodized aluminum bezel insert, screw-down crown
- Water resistance: 20ATM/200m