Review of Orient Dolphin Automatic Diver

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Model # CER1A001B
At a Glance:
Brand/Model: Orient ‘Dolphin’ Automatic
Movement:  Japanese automatic
Material:  stainless steel case and bracelet
Complications:  date display
Price:  Street price around $100 USD
Plenty of photos follow the review.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.
This new Orient ‘Dolphin’ diver marks a homecoming of sorts for this watch to my collection.  I originally purchased the white dial/navy bezel version of this watch about three years ago and sold it about a year later.  I was always on the fence about whether I should sell it or not, but obviously I ended up doing so.  I’m not exactly sure why I did, I liked the white dial, maybe it was the blue bezel with the white dial that didn’t sit well with me. 
This time around, I decided to go with the black dial/black bezel version of the Dolphin.  This watch is also available in a blue dial/blue bezel and I believe an orange dial/black bezel combination, although I haven’t seen one, so don’t quote me on it.  Price was $100 USD brand new, delivered; an outstanding value for an automatic diver.
The stainless steel case on this watch is somewhat cushion shaped, fairly roundish and beautifully finished.  The case sides are polished, the tops of the lugs are brushed.  The screw down case back is satin finish stainless with the Dolphin logo.  The crown is unsigned and screws down.  Water resistance is rated at 200 meters.
This watch is powered by Orient’s 21-jewel in-house automatic movement that does not hack or manual wind, so just like a Seiko 7S26, you have to shake, rattle and roll to get it wound up.  It has kept great time since I powered it up.
Case measures about 41mm without the crown, about 14mm thick with 22mm lugs.  The shiny black bezel is a unidirectional 60-click style with a lume pip at the 12.  The top of the bezel is rounded and fits perfectly flush with the heavy domed mineral crystal, giving a very smooth feel when you rub your fingers over it. 
The rounded nature of the bezel gives this watch a slightly dressier look and some non-diver WISes have commented on the pleasing style of this bezel.
The dial is black, but to my eyes, looks to be really more of a dark charcoal grey/black with somewhat of a mild sunburst pattern to it in bright light.  It is not a deep glossy black, which disappoints me to some degree.  The markers and arabics are applied and along with the hands, have superb lume.  This watch exhibits Orient’s continued progression towards great lume.  The arrow style of the hour hand is also nifty, as is the long red tip on the seconds hand.
Another nice feature of this watch is that there is no silly pusher on the case to change the day, since it only has a quickset date, changed through the crown in the standard manner.  Those who dislike the pusher that seems so prevalent on Orient watches will welcome this cleaner look.
What really pumps me up about this watch, though, is the quality of the bracelet.  The style is a winner to me, although there are some people that don’t care for the look.  Maybe it’s the wider center links, but I like their appearance.  The top of the bracelet is brushed, the sides of the links are polished.  All links are solid.
The clasp is my favorite part.  A signed pushbutton double locking variety with a proper machined deployant that is wide, beautifully satin finished and even has a fitted pin that the clasp securely locks onto.  Well done!  Why Orient doesn’t put this clasp and deployant on the Mako is beyond me, because the two watches sell at the same price point. 
To me, this is the nicest bracelet and clasp on any Orient watch I have seen (not counting Orient Stars or Royal Orients).  The only thing this bracelet lacks is solid end links (SELs), which would really put this one over the top.
Fit and finish on this watch is very good, especially the quality of the finish.  It’s super smooth and shiny on the polished parts and beautifully understated on the brushed pieces.
Pros:  superb overall fit and finish, great bracelet and clasp with machined deployant, super lume, just about the perfect size
Cons:  no solid end links, a signed crown and crown guards would be nice, dial could be a deeper black, no hacking or manual winding capability
Verdict:  $100 USD buys you one of the best values in a 200 meter diver, bar none, with Orient quality, good looks and solid performance.  You just can’t go wrong with the Dolphin!
Enjoy the pics and thanks for looking.
Excelsior,
-Marc
UPDATE!
Well, you guessed it!  I sold this Orient Dolphin, too!  I really wanted to keep this one, but something about the roundness of the case didn’t sit well with me.  It’s still a superb piece, so don’t let my fickleness dissuade you from purchasing one.
-MCV, 6-24-11

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