Comparisons: The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra vs. the Orient Star Standard-Date

April 18th, 2013 Posted in Watch Comparisons | 18 Comments

If you’re in the market for a classic or dressy watch, you definitely have a ton of options. But when you’re on a budget (as most of us are these days), the list of options gets shorter and shorter. We’ve had some customers comment on the likeness of our new Orient Star Standard-Date to the revered Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. Both are solid time pieces however one may be of better value than the other.

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The Omega Seamaster collection boasts two of the most popular Omegas to date (outside of the classic Speedmaster Pro)— the Planet Ocean and the Aqua Terra. With the Planet Ocean being the sportier of the two, many seek the Aqua Terra 8500 to be their classic-styled dress watch. It is offered in a variety of cases and colors in red-gold and steel and so one. However, as the quality of material increases, so does the cost. The regular steel on steel white dialed version of the Aqua Terra Chronometer (ref 231.10.42.21.02.001) retails at $5,500. The Aqua Terra features a domed sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating, an exhibition case back and a water resistance of 150m (which makes it worthy of being a Seamaster). The case is measures at 41.5mm across and features a polished stainless steel bezel as well as a mix of polished and brushed stainless steel lugs and brushed steel on the sides. The dial features a striped design that truly makes the watch dressier. This particular Aqua Terra houses the Omega 8500 movement that is self-winding, hand-winding and has the seconds hand halt function (hacking). As mentioned, it is priced at $5,500 MSRP which to many people may be insurmountable.

The new Orient Star Standard-Date DV02003w may well be the answer to the Aqua Terra. Those unfamiliar with Orient Star should note that it is the highest quality line of watches that Orient has to offer, and each piece is manufactured (from the movement manufacturing to full watch assembly) in Japan. Like the Aqua Terra, the Standard-date employs a stamped stripe design in its dial. The stainless steel bar indices are different; however both watches have a date window at three o’clock. The case is full stainless steel—polished at the top and brushed on the sides. While the Omega is on a dull polished steel bracelet, the Standard-Date’s bracelet features a fine combination of alternating polished and gently brushed stainless steel. Though the Standard-Date is 40mm across and has only 50m water resistance, it doesn’t necessarily make it less of a watch than the Aqua Terra. The crystal is indeed sapphire, coating with Orient’s new Super Anti-Reflective Coating on both sides. And while Omega uses its own in-house 8500 caliber, so does Orient (of which all movements are made in-house). The Orient 40751 is one of the newest calibers from Orient and is also self-winding, hand-winding and has the seconds hand halt function (hacking). While stylistically the Aqua Terra and Standard-Date may seem similar, the price difference is very great. Priced at $880 MSRP, you can get it from us for about $615 (after our 30% off promotion).

In all, the Standard-Date proves that it can keep up with its Swiss counterparts. Judging from the watch specs, the Orient Star can compete with the Omega, pound for pound. So if you’re on a budget and considering the Aqua Terra, it’s worth giving the Standard-Date a look. And at a fraction of the cost (85% less), who could complain?

  1. 18 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By jlmh on Apr 18, 2013

    I couldn’t be happier with orient stars quality. It stacks up to any watch its category.

  3. By Dave on Apr 18, 2013

    I like that you can hand-wind the Orient star too!

  4. By Hans on Apr 18, 2013

    After buying my first Orient a few years ago, I don’t even bother looking at other brands anymore.

    I now own >10 Orients, 2 new ones arrived today. Best automatic watches ever!

    Hans

  5. By Andrew on Apr 18, 2013

    The OrientStar is certainly a nice watch, and does seem to have superficial similarities to the Omega, but the Omega does have a beautifully finished in-house movement with a co-axial escapement that no one else offers. Is that worth the $5500 MSRP (which Omega boutiques likely won’t discount)? Probably not. The OrientStar is undoubtedly a better overall value in terms of bang for the buck, but the Omega shouldn’t be discounted as just ridiculously overpriced, although it is.

  6. By Anonymous on Apr 18, 2013

    It has everything except the WR and prestige that the omega brand name commands.

  7. By William Hudson on Apr 18, 2013

    The orient Star has always been a great watch! I have 5 Orient Watches myself and they are a great value for the money. If you want a great time piece with mastered craftsmanship at a great price you cannot ignore Orient Watch Company.

  8. By Neil on Apr 18, 2013

    If you are looking for a big name watch to impress your friends with buy the Omega. If you are looking for a quality watch to impress yourself with buy the Orient.

  9. By Nicholas on Apr 18, 2013

    I actually prefer the smaller size and less cluttered dial of the orient. Way to go on yet another great watch.

  10. By J. V. Lee on Apr 18, 2013

    The Orient Star certainly is an attractive timepiece. I think this watch will make an impressive addition to my small collection. I already have an Orient Mako XL and have been very satisfied with it. My model has the orange face and it elicits admiring compliments almost every time I wear it.

  11. By Matthew Wilson on Apr 18, 2013

    The Orient offering definitely looks like great value for money compared to the Omega.

    Couple of questions about the Orient:

    1. Is the sapphire crystal domed like the Omega or is it flat?

    2. Are the end links solid? I have several Orient watches (Mako and Multieyes in particular on steel bracelets) and it drives me *crazy* that the end links “rattle” when you shake the watch on your wrist. The Orient Star line is more expensive so I’m hoping it uses solid end links. The Aqua Terra is absolutely solid and silent when you shake it. [Note: this isn't to say I don't like the Mako and Multieyes -- they're both fantastic watches and incredible values.]

    3. Does the Orient model have the “traveler” feature of the Omega 8500 movement? This lets you move just the hour hand in one-hour increments… I thought it was a bit of a gimmick at first, but as a frequent traveler for business I’ve actually found it really nice.

    Being an owner of both Omega watches and Orient watches, I can absolutely say that Omegas are not objectively $5,000 (or more) “better” than Orients. But if you take the logos off and do a “blind” test with random people off the street, I don’t think you’d find anyone who wouldn’t guess correctly that the Omega is the more expensive watch. If you tell them that the price difference isn’t just a few dollars but rather $5,000, most people would say it’s not worth $5,000 extra for the marginal increase in perceived quality.

    But the people who buy $5,000 watches place a lot of value on that “last bit” of incremental improvement :-)

    Are there any Orient retailers with watches on display in the Portland, Oregon area? I’d be really curious to get my hands on the Orient Star and see how much closer it gets to Omega-level quality compared to my other less expensive Orient models.

  12. By Daniel Fecht on Apr 18, 2013

    The Orient looks quite comparable to the Omega, and the price difference would definitely make the it my choice. However, I wish it had a higher water resistance rating–say 100M.

  13. By Scott on Apr 18, 2013

    Matthew’s comments are right on; the law of diminishing returns is highly applicable to watches, and you pay a lot for small extras.

    That said, I think that pointing out that Orient Star has a new watch that compares in style to the classic Seamaster AT makes sense.

    There is one more criteria that the OS lags behind the Omega; beat rate. I’ve got Orient’s (including OS), Seikos and modern Swiss watches. The smoother sweep of the 28,800 bpm ETA movements is quite nice to look at.

    I do love my Orients, and this one looks like a great addition to the line-up.

  14. By Josh Ezell on Apr 18, 2013

    The two watches are both stunning in their own rights. Omega has rich history, a history that will no doubt live on for quite sometime. That being said, Orient has made several ripples in the horological world. Orient’s in-house movements are just plain awesome. Owning both brands has been an amazing experience. The performance of Omega is something to behold. The performance of Orient, at fraction of the price, is astounding and gives my Omega (s) a run for their money. I can only imagine that this Orient Star is no exception. Kudos to both!

  15. By Charles Ford on Apr 19, 2013

    I have lusted after the Aqua Terra for a year or so now. I own several watches, including a couple of Tags and two Orients.

    While the Omega is a fine watch the price point is going out of sight. This made me rule out paying over $4,000 for the Aqua Terra.

    I have been looking for something similar, Ball “Red Label” Mido Multifort couple of examples. But they just didn’t ring the bell for me.

    When I saw the videos of this model and the ones with the black dial and the one with gold accents, I was hooked.

    The watch to me is a sharp looking as the Aqua Terra, maybe even a little better.

    Sure the movement isn’t the vaunted Omega 8500, but I’m sure the Orient movement will be just as accurate and servicable.

    Hell, for what it costs to service an Aqua Terra (about $1,000) you could just buy another Orient Standard.

    The 5Bar WR isn’t a problem either, I’m not going scuba diving with it, and I have several other 5 bar watches I take regularly in my pool in the summer, no problem.

    From the video the decoration on the movement looks very nice, much better then a Seiko Sarb.

    Bottom line, this is my next watch purchase, now which one, I like all three!

  16. By Ian on Apr 19, 2013

    Definately an awesome competitor to the Omega!

  17. By Henry Haslebacher on Apr 19, 2013

    I don’t own this Orient but I’d like to. I own 2 other Orients. They’re both good, stylish watches. One has almost quartz watch accuracy, sometimes gaining or losing less than 1 second per day. The only thing an Orient lacks, especially an Orient Star, is the prestige of being a high end Swiss movement watch. I’ve always liked the Orient movement and this one doesn’t seem to give up much to the Omega: 40 hour reserve vs. a 60 hour reserve. If I had this watch, I doubt I’d leave it off my wrist for 40 hours so reserve time is a moot point to me. This one truly looks as nice as an Aqua Terra. If I had this Orient, I’d have a good watch and almost $5,000 left over.

  18. By Todd A. Day on May 1, 2013

    I am not a huge fan of Omega, I do own a vintage Seamaster though. The orients are right on the money for the quality they offer. I have a “Chicane” that I like. At the $5,000 price point I would have to go for the ROLEX submariner 14060 without the date. I also am a big fan of Longines and have two. I am looking at the Orient Star standard date two-tone as a gift for my dad, it seems to compliment his new love of Japanese made products, his LEXUS. Orient is like the LEXUS of watches.

  19. By vaios on Jan 5, 2015

    orient watches are the best kept secret I have 5 in my collection all are absolutely beautiful with the eminence model my favourite. I have it in black although I prefer it in white. that said what is really annoying is that orient does not produce the eminence anymore neither the producer series. both are out of stock everywhere. when they have a hot product they stop producing at some point even though the demand is there

18 comments | Tell us what you think!