Tailored suits, red carpets, and fine dining — all these describe the natural habitat of a dress watch. It is no wonder people expect a dress watch to be expensive. But wait until you meet the Orient Bambino. This watch proves that you can wear an elegant timepiece with only a 3-digit price tag and still feel at home with all the opulence.
It is clear that this beaut is a knockout. However, people often feel confused about which type of Bambino to buy due to its numerous versions. Read on to find out which of these Orient Bambino versions is the perfect one for you.
The Different Orient Bambino Versions
Perhaps the Orient Bambino has one of the most diverse lineups among dress watches. In fact, it offers more than five versions of the timepiece. While they are all elegant and classy in their own rights, each version has its own key characteristics.
All of these options may seem overwhelming at first. So to help you narrow down your choices, let’s show you the differences of each version.
Orient Bambino Version 1
One of the first things that you’ll notice about the Version 1 is its thick set of hour markers. They come in a clean rhomboid shape with a colour that matches the hands and the case. Its hands are also thick and triangular. Apart from that, it has a small date window just beside 3 o’clock.
This complication has drawn some flak from conservative people who think that dress watches should not have any complication on it at all. Nevertheless, Orient chose function over form as there is no denying the usefulness of a date window.
Orient loves giving consumers options so with that said, the Version 1 is available in two dial colours and three case colours. The white dial version is available in a silver, yellow gold, or rose gold case. On the other hand, the black dial version comes with either a silver or rose gold case.
Orient Bambino Version 2
Among the Orient Bambino versions, the Version 2 is the most old-school. Really, it looks something like what the folks from Mad Men would wear. Its dial is more cluttered than the first version, although it is still considered clean if you would compare it to non-dress watches.
On the outer part of the dial, you’ll see a minute marker train with two lines. And moving closer to the centre, we’ll see Roman numerals as hour markers. In my opinion, the choice of font is one of the things that gives the watch a retro vibe. Moreover, the Version 2’s hands are significantly thinner. This is probably to lessen the clutter and give the watch a more sleek look.
To add, this version uses a thicker case with a larger and tapered crown. If you would notice, the crown has a shape that resembles an onion. This type of crown adds to the retro vibe as it can be seen in vintage Flieger watches.
Lastly, the 2nd version of the Orient Bambino has three dial colour options instead of two. In addition to the white and black dial, there is also an off-white version. The off-white version is one of the most popular colourways of this watch because it is reminiscent of vintage dress watches. In fact, it reminds us of old white watches that developed a patina on the dial.
Orient Bambino Version 3
Despite being a Japanese brand, Orient took inspiration from the Germans with the Orient Bambino Version 3. Some fans would even call it the Bauhaus edition of the watch and we can see why!
Like other Bauhaus-inspired watches, this model takes minimalism to a different level. You can’t even see any numbers on it apart from the tiny date window beside the 3 o’clock position. Indeed, most that you’ll see on the dial are thin, clean lines.
As expected, the hour markers are thin indexes. The 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock markers are a little thicker than usual. This is to break the monotony and make the dial more legible as it is easier to distinguish the hours. Meanwhile, the hands are very Bauhaus with their square ends. In fact, they look similar to the thicker hour markers, which is a nice touch.
To keep things simple, the Orient Bambino Version 3 gets only one case colour — silver. Indeed, this is the perfect hue for the Bauhaus design as rose gold or yellow gold would not match the aesthetic that it’s going for. However, customers have more choices when it comes to the dial colour — black, dark grey, white, and navy blue.
Orient Bambino Version 4
The Orient Bambino Version 4 is similar to the first version but with a few differences. You can call it the diet version of the Version 1 due to its slimmer hands and markers. Meanwhile, its date window is similar to the Version 1 with the white border.
Its hour markers have a more rounded shape that tapers at the end. Moreover, the hands are slim and feature a colour that matches the markers. A very interesting addition to the seconds hand is the red-coloured tip. While very subtle, it makes the watch interesting to look at.
What makes this watch truly stand out is the sunburst dial which comes in three choices — blue, green, and grey. With this, the Version 4 of the Orient Bambino manages to stay classy while having enough flair.
The blue dial comes with a silver case while the green one blends in well with its yellow gold case. Meanwhile, the grey version is the most unique among the three. It is the only model that has a case that does not match the colour of the hour markers and hands. To demonstrate, its case is silver while the indexes are bronze. Apart from that, it comes with a plain tan leather strap while the others bear a black alligator pattern.
Orient Bambino Version 5
The 5th version of the Orient Bambino is the latest iteration of the whole Bambino collection. Launched only in 2018, this classy beast has taken over the watch community by storm and with good reason. The Japanese brand surprised us by introducing two distinct Version 5 models.
First is the more elegant model which is available in three case colours — silver, rose gold, and yellow gold. However, the dial comes in only one configuration with minimal differences. Each dial comes in a white background. Moreover, the hour markers are made with Arabic numerals in an old-school serif font. To add, there is a dotted minute train that surrounds the dial.
On the other hand, the second version gives a more sporty vibe due to its stainless steel case and bracelet. In fact, this is the only Orient Bambino model that has that bracelet as the rest were fitted with leather straps. But that’s where the sportiness ends because its dial is as elegant as the others.
In truth, this model’s dial looks a lot like the Version 4 with its slim hour markers. Both the hands and the indices are tapered and there are no numerals on the dial except for the date window. It comes in a navy, black, or white dial. The first two colours feature silver hands while the latter has a set of metallic blue hands.
Orient Bambino Small Seconds
Want your Orient Bambino to have fewer hands and more sub-dials? Check out the Small Seconds version of the watch. This model foregoes the seconds hand and instead uses a small seconds tracker just above the 6 o’clock position, making it look a lot like a Patek Philippe Calatrava Small Seconds watch.
Most of its hour markers are similar to Version 4. At the same time, Arabic numerals are used for the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions. It also features a dotted minute train at the edge of the dial. Although you won’t see it unless you look closely as Orient tried to keep it as subtle as possible. The Japanese brand also kept the date window as small as possible to prioritize simplicity.
Finally, the Orient Bambino Small Seconds features a see-through case back where you can admire its movement. This is the first Orient Bambino model to have this feature. When it comes to options, it is available in three cases — silver, yellow gold, and rose gold, and three dial colours — white, cream, and black.
Orient Bambino Open Heart
The Orient Bambino Open Heart is the boldest spin on the dress watch collection. There is no doubt it still has that simple and elegant style, but it tries to stand out with its skeleton-style layout. It doesn’t have a date window at 3 o’clock but it has an open heart view of the watch mechanism at 9 o’clock.
Furthermore, it uses the Bambino’s signature domed dial and crystal for that classic look. Inside, it uses the polished calibre F6T22, a movement specifically made to power open heart watches. This makes the Orient Bambino Open Heart the only model in the collection to use this calibre.
Moreover, you have decent colour options for this model. The black and navy dials come in the silver case only. Meanwhile, the white dial comes in a silver, yellow gold, and rose gold case.
To conclude, the Orient Bambino Open Heart is best for people who like wearing their watch’s heart on their sleeves. Admit it, it’s addicting to watch how the balance wheel and hairspring swing back and forth.
Orient Bambino Generation 1 vs Generation 2
One of the most confusing things about the Orient Bambino is its naming convention. What makes it more confusing is that the watch has several variants. Simply put, the version of the Bambino refers to the design of the dial. On the other hand, generation points at the internal mechanisms used for the watch.
To put it another way, a Bambino Version 1 of the first generation looks the same as the Version 1 of the 2nd generation. Their only difference is the internals used for each watch. Furthermore, Versions 4 and 5 do not have a first generation counterpart.
When you’re buying a Bambino, some online sellers won’t bother indicating the generation of the watch, so knowing their differences can be handy. Here are a few differences to look out for when trying to tell one generation apart from the other one.
One of the most significant upgrades between the first and second generation of Bambino is the movement. The former was powered by the Orient Calibre 48743 movement while the latter used the Orient Calibre F6724.
Both of these movements are reliable and both feature a date complication. However, the calibre F6724 packs a few more treats. It includes both a hacking and manual winding function, which a lot of people find useful.
It is also important to note that the Small Seconds and Open Heart are an exception to this rule. Both of these versions require a special calibre due to their different layout. The Small Seconds uses the F6222 movement which is a sibling of the F6724. Whereas the Open Heart uses a calibre F6T22, which is specially made for open heart watches.
Looking at the dial is the easiest way to tell the Generation 1 apart from Generation 2. The first generation of Orient Bambinos have a major typographical error at the bottom of the dial. Just above the 6 o’clock position, you’ll be able to see the words “water resist” printed on it.
Luckily, Orient noticed the blunder and corrected it when the 2nd generation came out. Thus, the newer batches have the words “water resistance” printed on the dial instead.
Pros and Cons of the Orient Bambino
1. It is one of the cheapest automatic dress watches in the market.
Saying that the Orient Bambino is affordable is an understatement. In fact, it is one of the cheapest automatic dress watches you can find on the market today. Considering its great styling and reliable movement, this watch is sure to give you the best bang for your buck.
2. It has a lot of designs to choose from.
The Orient Bambino has seven dial designs to choose from. Apart from that, each version features fantastic colour combinations from toned down to loud. Whatever your style is, you’re sure to find something that fits your personality.
1. It is too big for a dress watch.
Dress watches are typically known for their small sizes. A lot of them fall between the 33mm and 38mm range. However, all Orient Bambino models except for the Version 4 have a size of 40.5mm. The Version 4 comes in a larger 42mm diameter.
Compared with the rest of the watches on the market, the size may seem average. But do remember that this is a dress watch and this may be a dealbreaker for people who are conservative when it comes to their watches.
2. The lug width is uncommon.
If you’re the type who likes experimenting with straps, then you should be wary of the Bambino’s lug width. Like the previous item, all versions of the Bambino except Version 4 have a lug width of 21mm. This can be a problem when you’re looking for a strap replacement because most manufacturers sell straps in even-numbered widths.
Undeniably, the Orient Bambino is one of those watches where you can easily fool people into thinking that it costs $1,000. Its designs will definitely make heads turn. Add a reliable workhorse movement into the equation and we have a winner. If you’re looking for a dress watch that delivers great value for your money, look no further than this one.
Looking for something in the higher tier? Check out our review of the Rolex Air King!