Orient Bambino V2 Review
The Orient Bambino is the Best Automatic Watch You Can Buy for Under $250
The Bambino is popular on watch blogs and watch forums. In discussions about the best mechanical movement watches you can buy on a budget, it doesn’t take long for the venerable Bambino to be suggested. Earlier this year I decided to get one for myself and see what this Orient is all about.
I bought this one – a version 2 Bambino, model FER24008B0 – and took delivery early January. Since then I’ve worn it to the office, taken it out on the town, and put it through its paces. I also checked its accuracy using Toolwatch.io (which is a great site, by the way) and dug around to learn more about the in-house Caliber 48743 automatic movement.
Orient Bambino V2 FER24008B0 Technical Specifications
Orient Caliber 48743 automatic
Estimated 40 hours
Orient Bambino V2 Aesthetics & Design
The Bambino comes in three flavors, referred to as version one, two, and three. All three use the same movement, and have similar but distinct looks. Of the three, the V2 variety is definitely my favorite.
Orient has done a good job with the rose gold case, hands, and markers. It looks classically reserved, and I like that Orient has kept the case diameter at 40mm.
Rounded 21mm lugs match the design set by the roman numeral hour markers and dauphine-style hands.
This watch gets the details right. You can see that a lot of time was put into the small pieces, like the knurled inwardly domed cauldron-shaped crown or the rose gold crest that matches the hands and markers (but contrasts with the yellow gold branding). Even the slope of the lugs matches that of the domed crystal.
In my opinion, this version of the Bambino nails every classical detail and shows far above its $280 MSRP. It pays homage to the timeless designs of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s while also showing its own contemporary style. The domed crystal, in particular, really stands out.
Comparing the Three Versions of the Bambino
Of the three Bambino’s, the V2 is my favorite.
Compared to the V1, the hour markers are more attractive and easier to read. The crown gives the case on the V2 a resemblance to a vintage pocket watch. The dauphine hands on the V2 are also slimmer, adding a refined touch to the dial.
The recently-released V3 Bambino is much more contemporary, maintaining simplicity with a modern aesthetic. The V3 loses the printed outer ring on the dial, with hour markers that now extend right to the outer rim. It’s attractive, but my preference still lends itself to the V2, which looks smaller on the wrist (despite being the same size).
Orient Bambino V2 Build Quality
The only other Orient watch I have reviewed to date is the Leo FET0L002D0. On the Leo I noted that the watch case and dial both seemed well built, but the strap didn’t convey a real quality feel (and it was awkwardly shaped at the lugs). The Bambino doesn’t suffer from similar problems, and is built as good as it looks.
Crystal, Case, & Dial
The domed crystal is mineral. It’s scratch resistant, but not scratch proof. Its shape makes it a target, too- you don’t realize the difference the extra few millimeters makes when getting into vehicles, reaching into drawers, and on.
The rose gold case will wear well. It’s had many hours on my wrist and looks as good as the day I got it. I also quite like the level of polish- it reflects light without showing every fine scratch and mark on it.
Finally, the dial is a combination of applied elements (the Orient logo and hour markers) and printed elements (company branding and the outer rim). Each element is applied with care, with no defects or workmanship problems visible to the eye or under zoom.
Strap & Clasp
The only part of the Bambino that reveals its price point is the strap. Its looks are fitting (the crocodile grain feels right at home with the rest of the aesthetic), but it feels underwhelming in comparison to the rest of the watch. It isn’t as soft as it could be, feeling about as good as the strap on the Stuhrling Original Delphi Acheron. Overall, not bad but nothing great either.
The clasp looks and feels good. It matches the case’s rose gold and is engraved with Orient’s branding. The buckle stays securely closed.
Orient’s In-House Caliber 48743 Automatic Movement
You don’t usually see an in-house built movement in a watch that sells for $200. Most watches in this price range use Japanese automatics (the Miyota 8215 is popular) or Chinese automatics (Sea-Gul movements are popular). In the Seiko 5 you see the Seiko 7S26 movement, and Swatch uses the ETA C10.111 automatic in the Sistem51 series of watches.
The Caliber 48743 doesn’t hack and can’t be manually wound.
Where a lot of movements in this price range incorporate plastic parts, the 48743 is all metal. It’s widely known to be a tough, reliable movement. There are mixed feelings regarding accuracy, with the general consensus being that it’s not necessarily as accurate as it is consistent.
According to toolwatch.io, this one is +11 seconds per day.
Where to Buy
Like the Seiko 5, the Orient Bambino Owns Its Niche
When I reviewed the Seiko 5 SNK809, I noted how well the Seiko served its niche. In that respect, the Orient Bambino and the workhorse movement inside it does an excellent job filling its niche as well. There are a lot of people out there that are looking for a quality watch for under $250, and in my opinion the Bambino V2 is the best choice for a dress watch at that price point.
That you can buy this watch for $250 or less means that you don’t have to buy an inexpensive watch that is cheaply made. You can buy an inexpensive watch that looks good and is built with reliable processes and components. The Bambino is one of those hidden gems- a genuine good value that wears and feels way above its MSRP.
Orient Bambino Version 2 Review Conclusion
My thoughts Orient hit the nail on the head with the Bambino V2. This is a great looking watch, and of the three versions of the Bambino, I think that the V2 is the best looking. The quality of its build is evident all over, with no corners cut in its construction. Overall, the Bambino is an excellent watch. I recommend it.