Along with its cousin Blue Mako, the Orient Blue Ray has been remaining one of the most favorite affordable dive watches for many years. Take a tour around some reputable watch forums and you will be more than likely to stumble across these Orient diving pieces with a lot of positive reviews.
Despite some shortcomings which seem to be inevitable with an entry-level dive watch, the Blue Ray is still an excellent choice for those who want to get the most bang for their buck. However, a good product doesn’t mean to be ideal for all users. By reading my full review of the Orient Blue Ray, you will be able to determine if the watch meets your demands or not!
- Along with its cousin Blue Mako, the Orient Blue Ray has been remaining one of the most favorite affordable dive watches for many years. Take a tour around some reputable watch forums and you will be more than likely to stumble across these Orient diving pieces with a lot of positive reviews.
- Despite some shortcomings which seem to be inevitable with an entry-level dive watch, the Blue Ray is still an excellent choice for those who want to get the most bang for their buck.
- Solid finishing
- Eye-catching appearance with a radiant blue dial
- Reliable & accurate automatic movement
- Affordable price
- Look a tad like the Rolex Submariner
- No hand-winding function
- Vulnerable crystal
- The bezel is quite stiff at first
Design – a sportier version of the Blue Mako
In other words, you can say the Ray is actually the Mako in a new dress. Technically, these two watches are totally the same, they’re just different in the way they look. While the Mako still keeps some traits of a typical dress watch, the Ray, on the other hand, is designed to look more like a standard diving piece:
- Circle-dot hour markers make for clearer readability from a far distance or in total darkness (the Mako features thin-bar and Arabic-numberal indices).
- A sweep hand with luminescent tip (the red-tipped sweep hand on the Mako is not luminous).
- The numbers on the diving scale get bigger and sharper than those of the Mako.
- The hour & minute hands are more distinguishable in the dark, they have total different shapes (those 2 hands on the Mako are both sword-shaped).
While this new design makes the Ray look more like a pro-diver, it also dilutes the unique style of the watch. There’re few people who confuse an Orient Mako with a Rolex Submariner, but if you go out with a Ray on your wrist, you would be asked this question more than once “Wow, your wristwatch looks so beautiful, is it a Rolex?” There’re a lot of dive watches that have circle-dot markers, but people tend to only remember the iconic Submariner. That’s true!
The Blue Ray is so charming, but it’s not for those who want a unique-designed timepiece!
Despite looking sportier than the Mako, the Blue Ray is still dressy enough to go with formal outfits. You can easily dress it up or down depending on different occasions. A black or brown calfskin strap would add much to the Ray’s dressiness, while the stock weighty metal band would give you a rock-solid feel.
My taste runs into the metal band as its heavy weight always reminds me of the watch clinging on my wrist and makes me feel stronger and more confident at the same time. How about you? Which type of band do you choose for daily wear?
The one thing I like most about the Blue Ray is its radiant dial. In dim light, this dark blue face looks almost inky-black, but when being exposed to the sun or a direct strong light source, it glints up and radiates charming bright beams like sunbursts.
The chrome-bordered markers and the highly-reflecting crystal also add some interesting flares to the radiant dial, making it look even more attractive.
In brief, the whole dial is designed to sparkle under strong light!
The stainless steel bracelet is another noticeable part of the Ray. Orient has made the Ray’s bracelet by adding flashy chrome accents to the old Mako’s brushed triple-row band.
In my opinion, the Ray’s bracelet is much better looking than the Mako’s, because it at least has a focal point while the Mako’s is too monotone.
The 46943 caliber – Orient’s in-house automatic movement
Orient is well-known for making all of their automatic movements in-house, not by outsourcing like Invicta or many other watch brands. In the eye of the quartz revolution initiated by Seiko, Orient has chosen to stay loyal with traditional mechanical watches. It was a right move back then that led to Orient’s reputation in today’s market as a prestigious auto-watch maker.
The 46943 caliber that’s beating inside the Orient Ray is just an entry-level auto movement, but it’s precision and reliability can put other expensive calibers to shame.
It’s not complex-structured, you can see that through its humble number of jewels – only 21 (the average number of today’s auto movements is 24). Its oscillation frequency is not so high, too (only 6 beats per second or 21,600 beats per hour). Despite that fact, it still outperforms many other movements that cost twice its price. It only runs off about -9,10/+9,10 seconds per day, really exceeds expectations for a budget movement. Some users have reported that they even experienced an outstanding accuracy of -5/+5 secs per day with their Rays.
One more strong point of this movement is its rotor. Automatic movements normally feature a semi-circle rotor for self-winding, but the 46943’s is just quarter-circle. This design allows the rotor to rotate more freely and collect more energy from your arm’s motions. That means you don’t have to wear the Ray for long hours each day just to keep it running, and it only needs a few gentle shakes to start up.
Diving functions – not outstanding but acceptable
The Blue Ray is not an excellent product when it comes to diving functions, but it still meets all the demands for a true dive watch:
- The 60-click unidirectional bezel is a little stiff and hard to turn single-handedly at first. But don’t worry, it will loosen up soon.
- The lume is tad better than on the Mako, but it’s still only so-so, not impressive like the LumiBrite technology on Seiko’s watches. It dies out after about 45 minutes, just enough for using through a typical bottom time (over 30 mins).
- There’s no diver’s extension on the metal bracelet. It would be somewhat inconvenient if you intend to wear the watch over your wetsuit sleeve because the band might get too tight-fitting.
- The 200m (660 feet) water resistance rating is trustworthy although Orient doesn’t claim their dive watches as ISO 6425 – certified. This has been confirmed in a lot of tests carried out by Orient’s customers. The unqualified rate is extremely low. Orient’s core value is their high level of craftsmanship, so they cannot afford to make a false advertisement about their products.
Despite being an entry-level dive watch, the Orient Blue Ray embodies attention to detail. Of course it has some flaws, but this is totally acceptable in the budget price range. The Blue Ray is a versatile watch which is:
- Accurate in timekeeping
- Dependable in diving
- Dressy in everyday wear
However, I have to say this once more “A good product doesn’t mean to be ideal for all users!” Thus you should be very clear on your own demands before making the purchase!
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