For those of us without deep pockets, Orient replica watches present an incredible value. With their solid built quality, reliable workhorse movements (in-house, I might add), and often pleasing designs, they are hard to argue against, and they’re often on the short list when people ask us to point them in the direction of affordable and well-built mechanical replica watches.
One thing that Orient does exceptionally well is dress pieces. The ever-popular Bambino series is a great case in point, as are numerous replica watches across their Star and Classic collections. Today, we’re going hands-on with a new member to the latter–the Monarch.
Introduced in early Fall 2015, the Monarch is a unique vintage-inspired addition to the Orient family. I say unique because it is one of the few manual winders in the brand’s catalogue. Beyond that, it also features a domed sapphire crystal, a power-reserve indicator, and an exhibition case back–elements not often seen on a replica watch priced at a MSRP of $335, but even less so in a replica watch costing $234.50, which is the price after coupon. Let’s take a closer look.
The Monarch features a polished stainless steel case coming in at 40 x 45 x 13mm. It’s a great modern size for a replica watch, but perhaps a bit larger than I would prefer for a dressier piece both in terms of diameter and height. Nevertheless, the bubble-like case wears well on the wrist, and it feels somewhat smaller than what its dimensions might suggest. This is achieved through the subdued lug-to-lug length (relative to the diameter of the case), and the break between the mid-case and the bezel. The replica watch also settles quite a bit into the wrist, so the 13mm height isn’t as obvious when worn. One of my favorite case details is the exaggerated onion crown, which has a slight tube at its base resulting in a small protrusion that recalls vintage pieces and also results in a much easier grip for winding.
Sitting atop the dial is an ever-so-slightly domed sapphire crystal. The sapphire is a nice touch at this price, and it’s far more pleasing aesthetically than a flat sapphire would have been. With that said, an acrylic crystal with a higher dome could have been a good option as well. On the flipside, you’ll find an exhibition case back. Along the perimeter of the metal part of the case back are some of the specs, which includes the 50-meter water resistance rating. There is an attractive fluted ring surrounding the glass aperture–a nice little detail that only highlights the mistake of the exhibition back (more on this later).
Dial and Hands
Orient describes the color of the dial as eggshell, but I would liken it more to a silvery white with a discrete sunray finish. Sunray dials can be a mixed bag depending on the execution, which in the case of the Monarch is actually quite nice. The finish here is subtle, so much so that you do not immediately notice that it’s there. It’s a nicer choice than just plain white, which can at times look flat and plasticky if done wrong.
The ornate typeface immediately pops. It’s the star of the show, and it’s certainly an interesting choice. The aesthetic is a bit of a “love it or hate it” situation, and while I am personally a fan, I could see how the look can be a bit much for others. It’s an exaggerated typeface and while I do have a soft spot for vintage railroad replica watches, I do think Orient could have achieved a similar effect with a more subdued typeface. In fact, the chapter ring along the edge of the dial utilizes a typeface that would have been ideal for this very purpose.
Paired with the dial is a set of Breguet hands, painted blue to mimic the effects of tempered steel. It’s a bit brighter than what you would find with tempered hands, and at times the paint reflects the light so dramatically that the hands become the focal point of the dial.
Right below 12 o’clock is a well-executed power reserve indicator set for approximately 40 hours, and above the 6 is the classic Orient logotype and crest logo with the word “Mechanical” in fine script. The inverse here is nice. I love the inclusion of the PR indicator, which brings a nice balance to the dial and actually serves a functional purposing. Overall, the whole thing comes together nicely.
The 48C40 driving the Monarch is a basic but wholly effective workhorse from Orient. It has 21 jewels, a beat rate of 21,600bph, it hacks, and it features a power reserve indicator. Initially, the 48C40 was used through Orient’s pocket replica watch range, which makes sense given that it’s one of the few manual Orient calibers (a similar movement was also used in the manual wind collection Orient released five years ago commemorating its 60th anniversary). Overall, it’s solidly built and reliable. With that said, it really isn’t worth seeing through a case back. It’s not a particularly attractive caliber, featuring a large plate meant to cover up the fact that this is essentially an automatic movement with the self-winding bits removed.
While I have no issue with the reverse engineering (though it does account for some of the thickness), the execution is certainly a bit pedestrian, and the replica watch would definitely benefit from a solid case back with some sort of ornate embellishment. As it stands, there is some light perlage, but it’s not as nice as what you might find on a higher-grade ETA 2824, though given the price of the Monarch that may be an unfair expectation.
Straps and Wearability
As you might expect, the strap that comes paired to the Monarch is perfectly serviceable. It’s a plain black calfskin strap with a slight taper, and while it works, it’s certainly a safe and somewhat boring choice. With a 18mm lug width, the Monarch can accommodate most aftermarket straps, so the options are endless. With the white dial and blued hands, the monarch would work great with some warmer brown tones, or even something as light as whiskey (see Gallery).
It’s a bit of a bulkier replica watch, but I found it perfectly comfortable for daily wear. As already mentioned, the replica watch does dip into the wrist a bit so you don’t experience the full 13mm height when worn. I’ve had no issues with shirt cuffs, so if you’re looking for a dressy daily wear replica watch for the office, the Monarch works.
The Orient Monarch is another great addition to the Orient stable. It’s a great companion to the ever-popular Bambino, and with a price tag that isn’t much greater there is a lot of bang for the buck here. It’s one to consider if you need a daily work replica watch, and it’s also different enough that it can find a spot in a collection without feeling redundant.
The Monarch is available in two other flavors: white dial with a gold-plated case, and a black dial with a stainless steel case. To purchase, head over to Orient Replica Watch USA. Don’t forget to use discount code ‘WORNANDWOUND’ for 30% off, bringing the price down to $234.50