The steel case is attractively simple and done with a brushed finish. The screw-down crown and 100 meters of water resistance are nice added features that I didn’t expect at a watch for this price. Over the dial is a mineral crystal – sapphire would have been nicer… but again, you must consider the price. In terms of branding, the case is pretty spartan with no signed crown and a simple stamped caseback. In fact, it is spartan enough to make you feel that a watch like this is much more related to classic aviation watches than many of the modern luxury versions out there.
Inside the Orient Flight, Orient uses its commonly relied upon in-house made in Japan caliber 48743 automatic movement. With 40 hours of power reserve this time and date mechanical movement is as effective as you need it to be. I found it to be acceptably accurate for a low-cost mechanical movement but the only issue is that it does not hack or hand-wind. For the price, I can live without the former, but the latter is something which is a bit more annoying. It isn’t terrible, but consumers new to inexpensive Japanese mechanical watches need to know that many automatic movements simply don’t include hand-winding. That does sort of take it out of the sphere of being like a traditional pilot watch (where hand-winding was a big part of the experience), and it also means that when you need to wind it, you are going to end up looking like you are vigorously mixing an invisible martini shaker.
I grew up with Japanese watches, and they continue to hold a special place in my heart. The day I learned you could buy $5,000 and up Seiko timepieces, I was equally sad and happy, but for me the real value to Japanese timepieces is their reasonable pricing (especially when compared to prices in Europe). Seriously, it sometimes makes me think that prices in Europe (for pretty much everything) are so high they are actually trying to discourage you from buying things. The consumer economy in Japan and other parts of Asia is much more practical in many of their approaches. Though, when it comes to things like watches, I am not sure where Asian companies would be today without benefiting from the influence of European design.
Orient Watch USA retails the Flight ref. FER2A004D0 (aka FER2A004D, ER2A004D) for $295, but given their frequent sale promotions and the street pricing, that price is closer to about $160 for the Orient Flight watch. Hell of a value for Orient’s take on the classic pilot piece – and a good take at that. orientwatchusa.com
>Model: Flight (ref. FER2A004D0)
>Price: $295 USD
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone interested in an affordable pilot-style watch with a hint of character.
>Best characteristic of watch: Fit and finish along with attention to detail is great for the price (love the blue dial color as well). Watches like this should put luxury brands on notice to make high-end watches appreciably better.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Stock brown strap isn’t ideally attractive; non-hand-winding automatic movement.