As far as dive watches go, there are dive watches and then there are dive watches! The latter being robust timepieces that will handle chasing Sea Monsters almost to the bottom of Loch Ness. Most watch manufacturers usually have one beast of a watch within their catalog, and today, I am talking about a deep diver from Orient Watches.
Orient is well known for many reasons and many watches, but they have really captured the limelight in the last few years with their Mako, Kamasu and Kanno watches. However,the champion of them all right now is the Orient Neptune which, up until recently, was called the Triton (not sure why the name change was needed).
I often refer to the Neptune as the poor man’s Marine Master, namely because of the similar industrial look both watches have and, of course, their size and robustness.
Even though the Marine Master edges out the Neptune in water resistance, the Neptune claims the title because of its overall value. A Marine Master will set you back $2,500 while Neptune’s street price of $400 will leave you some cash for the rest of your diving gear.
As my standards go, the Neptune marks off many checks from the list of features I expect at this price point….and then some. At the $400+ mark, your watch better be ready to throw down with some serious competition, which includes many watches from Orient’s parent company, Seiko-Epson, as well as several micro-brand companies and several ‘not so micro-brand’ watch builders.
Well, as you will see, I think the Neptune rules them all for an actual JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) compliant dive watch.
It Will Always Be The Orient Triton To Me!
There are some really great reviews of the watch on Youtube, and the Neptune is definitely a well-known offering, but I think it’s an often overlooked watch in Orient’s catalog. This is probably because it’s overshadowed by the greatest value diver of all time, the Orient Mako USA II. You can read my review of the Orient Mako USA here. However, even though the Mako and others are 200m certified divers, I would lovingly refer to them as desk divers. They get the job done and are super tough, but the Neptune is a hammer!
Looking at the watch, you’ll notice one feature right away that makes it a stand out: the power reserve indicator. I never realized how useful these were until owning the Neptune. I rotate through several of my daily-driver automatic watches every week, and the power reserve indicator is cool to see when you need to grab the watch, either to wear it or even just to give it a few shakes to wind it up.
The watch is striking, there is simply no other way to say it. If you like a Seiko Tuna (and solid watches of the same kind) you will love this guy. The nice thing about the bulk and style of the Neptune is that the watch wears all the heft so well. It doesn’t look like a giant metal disc on your wrist and it’s actually the opposite.
You would be hard-pressed to guess it’s almost 44mm in diameter just by looking down at someone’s wrist. I feel it wears much smaller than its official 43.4mm measurement. Height wise, it’s surprisingly shorter than you would think coming in at 13.6mm.
The Neptune also uses the same in-house movement that’s found in the Pro Saturation Diver as well as the M-Force, so you know first hand that this watch is built for a beating.
Now, Orient refers to the reinforced case of the Neptune as having “…it’s own shock resistant case structure.” Orient doesn’t go on further to elaborate, but I am guessing that to get the JIS certification, it needed to be able to handle the shock test as well as the thermal shock test, both of which are pretty harsh on a regular watch. The Neptune also uses the same in-house movement that’s found in the Pro Saturation Diver as well as the M-Force, so you know first hand that this watch is built for a beating.
The bracelet aside, this watch has nary a fault. From stellar lume and time keeping to amazing fit and finish, this watch is one you can pass down to your kids or give as a gift to mark a momentous occasion. This is a watch in which the sum of all its parts propel it to greatness. Sounds lofty? Maybe a little, but the beauty of this watch is in the details; let’s get to it.
The dial is probably what’s the most striking. It’s also what makes a traditional diver look a little more unique. First, the bezel really highlights the watch’s face.
The insert itself is sized perfectly with minute markers. The edge has deep knurling, but is kept closer together to give it a more refined look. What I really love besides the power reserve indicator is the near-vertical inner chapter ring.
It helps give the dial a deep look and also is one of the reasons the watch doesn’t look so big on the wrist. Your attention is captured more for the dial depth than the overall diameter. The chapter ring is marked up for the seconds hand and is very legible.
I’m sticking with the dial for a little bit longer because that really is the star of the show here. Layed out with traditional lume drops, the dial looks sharp and classic.
Orient went a step further in the detail department once again and placed the lume drops on a metal backing, this gives them a gilt-edge appearance. However, Orient kept them a tad muted so it doesn’t look too fancy, which also helps with dial legibility during dim conditions. They make a great foil for some crazy lume.
Now, the lume is outstanding, but not as stellar as you would have expected considering the high marks for everything else. I said the bracelet was my only mark against the watch. While this is true, I would have loved to see the lume on the Neptune last longer. It still does give you a few good hours.
Orient Triton vs. Orient Neptune
I mentioned it above, but for all practical purposes, the orient Triton and early Orient Neptune are identical watches. The newly released Orient Triton Divers no longer have the power reserve which is a shame. However, they are great deal with several of the models well below $300. Orient also switched to a crazy numbers only name system.
Rounding out the specs on the watch are anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal, screw-down crown and case back, drilled lugs, a signed crown and a 120-click uni-directional bezel. An interesting note here is Orient only lists the watch with a 1-year warranty. I have had many Orient watches and never had an issue, but still, at least a 2-year would have been nice to see.
The question we always long to know around here: should you buy this watch? Yes, is the definite answer! I say this for several reasons, as you can see above, but most importantly because these are consistently on Amazon. At that price point, what you get for your money is crazy amazing. Have you been drooling over one of the Seiko Prospex divers? The Neptune is a nice alternative. It seems Seiko-owned Orient is really delivering the good deals and value proposition that Seiko once offered. They have a rock-star of a watch on their hands with the Neptune.