This brings us back to the ethos of this collection. Affordable watches that maintain a high level of quality and are attractively designed – signified by three stars on the dial. On the whole, the collection is focused on dress and casual watches, most designs being relatively simple – although there are a number of colourful models.
Which companies are the Orient 3 Star watches competing against?
Orient was not alone in wanting to maintain its watchmaking heritage. Many of the Swiss luxury brands were able to weather the quartz storm, although some were eventually sold to Swatch, one of the big beneficiaries of the quartz revolution.
At the centre of the quartz watch industry was fellow Japanese brand Seiko, who had released the first quartz fake rolex watches. Like Orient, Seiko continued to produce mechanical watches. Their Seiko 5 line is a direct competitor to the TriStar watches. Like Orient’s collection, the Seiko 5 line aims to meet minimum standards for affordable watches with automatic movements at their core (more here).
In Russia, Vostok has also consistently produced affordable mechanical watches. For different reasons, Russian watchmakers have put affordability and reliability at the centre of their collections. In the case of the Vostok, producing unsophisticated, bomb-proof divers watches (more here and here).
Where can I buy Orient TriStar watches?
For most of us, the internet is going to be the best place to buy Orient watches. In the UK you won’t find this Japanese brand on the high street the way that you can Seiko and Citizen. Amazon and Ebay will often be the ideal place to hunt for these gems, and in the US Jomashop is an additional option.
What are the Best Orient Tristar watches?
Below I present a selection of my favourite Orient 3-Star watches. As you’ll see, there’s a consistency to the collection often with only relatively minor differences between models. As ever, I encourage you to dig a little deeper and find your own favourites.
The first watch on the list perfectly captures the ethos of the collection and will look very familiar as you get to know the TriStar watches a little better. It’s modestly sized, has a round case and a slightly retro design. It’s a style that appears regularly in the range.
This particular watch is available in a few variations, with the black and silver models working best for me. Stainless steel is preferable to the gold-coloured case too.
Orient’s Tri-Star, or 3 Star range, is a budget line of automatic watches. They are designed to be affordable and reliable. The three pillars of the collection are simple. The watches are to be well designed, of good quality and be modestly priced. All watches in the range are powered by automatic movements.
The TriStar collection has been produced since the 1970s – making the range nearly 50 years old. The 3 star logo had been used on Orient watches since the 1950s, but as a specifically defined collection, the story begins a couple of decades later.
The 1970s were a difficult time for the watch industry, as quartz technology began to compete with, and supersede traditional mechanical watches. Many brands crumbled, particularly in Switzerland. Japan, the home of Orient, was not immune to these changes.
The default option for watch producers had been to embrace the new battery-powered movements. Why not? They were cheaper and more accurate than their mechanical counterparts. At this point, Orient had been designing and producing their own in-house movements for the best part of two decades.
Orient approached the problem differently.
The choice wasn’t between adopting quartz technology or dying as a business. The aim of the company was to retain its brand identity and its watchmaking knowledge.
They set themselves the task of creating mechanical audemars piguet replica watches that could compete at the same price-point as the new battery-powered models. They believed that there was a global demand for very affordable mechanical watches. Specifically, in the developing world where batteries were neither cheap and easy to come by, they saw the need for reliable mechanical watches. They would be priced cheaply and not incur the additional cost of regular battery changes.
The case is reasonably slim at 11mm, and with a 39mm diameter and a strap at a touch under 20mm, this is a comfortable dress watch – designed to slip nicely under a shirt cuff.
It’s what I’d class as a typical 3 Star watch. Classic, but with a touch of colouring – there’s a nice use of red and gold here.