Orient vs. ETA and Miyota: A Look at Movements

September 10th, 2012 Posted in Watch Comparisons | 30 Comments

When it comes to mechanical watches, it’s all about the movement. Of course, the style, functionality, and cost all play a role in which mechanical you choose, but so much of what makes a mechanical watch depends solely on the movement.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of Orient movements as opposed to the big watch movement producers, ETA and Miyota.

Orient Caliber 40G51 Mechanical Movement

Orient vs. ETA

ETA, owned by the Swatch Group, is such a big producer of Swiss watch movements that sometimes it’s difficult to find a watch without an ETA movement. That’s also because few watch companies produce their own movements.

Breitling, Omega, Tag Heuer, and IWC are some of the popular and pricey watch brands that use outsourced ETA movements in their watches. Orient, though, is one company that produces its own movements for use in its own watches, not anyone else’s.

Many people are surprised to learn that Orient, a brand that specializes in classic, affordable timepieces, produces its own movements. But it’s not all that surprising when you think about it.

In fact, a couple years ago, the School of Horology compared Orient’s popular Caliber 46943 movement to the comparable ETA movement, 2892.a2.

Omega Watch featuring an ETA 2892 Mechanical Movement vs. Orient’s 46943 Mechanical Movement

The School found that the Orient requires less movement than the ETA to produce a winding motion. This efficiency is also, in part, due to Orient’s more straightforward design. It’s less frilly, focusing primarily on functionality. The School also found that Orient’s use of fewer parts overall resulted in a higher conversion of kinetic energy than the ETA movement.

That’s pretty impressive, but it should be noted that both ETA and Orient produce a variety of mechanical movements, some more expensive and of higher complexity than others. Yet some things remain consistent:

  • All Orient movements are produced in-house
  • All Orient movements are built by hand
  • All Orient movements are used in Orient watches only
  • All Orient movements are high-efficiency

Can ETA say that? Now, let’s check out Orient vs. another big movement producer, Miyota.

Orient vs. Miyota

A bit closer to home, Miyota, like Orient, is a Japanese company. But unlike Orient, Miyota produces mechanical watch movements for a number of watch companies. Such companies include big brand names like Citizen, Invicta, and Festina. Orient, as mentioned, produces in-house movements for use in Orient watches only.

Though Orient and Miyota movements share a similar appreciation among watch enthusiasts for their standard durability, accuracy, and affordability, only Orient offers watches that feature traditional watchmaking craftsmanship. Perhaps that’s why Orient has been called a true watchmaker’s watch.

But furthermore, watch enthusiasts have noted that Miyota’s popular 82xx movement series is essentially non-serviceable because of its low replacement cost and main bridge construction. Orient, however, uses a 2 piece upper bridge for easy assembly and future servicing. So while your Miyota may run smoothly for years, when it needs service, you may be out of luck. All the while, Orient watches run strong and are easily serviceable for decades.

Orient’s M-Force LE featuring Orient’s 40N5A Mechanical, Hackable Movement

Additionally, Miyota movements are non-hackable. Though many Orient movements are also non-hackable, Orient does offer some fairly affordable and hackable mechanical watch movements. M-Force LE, which contains Orient’s Caliber 40N5A movement, is a great example.

Which watch movement do you prefer and why? Leave us a comment below!

  1. 30 Comments | Tell us what you think!

  2. By Andrew on Sep 10, 2012

    Personally I love my Orient watch movements the most of all of those found in my watches because of the high efficiency of the winding system and the ability to take a beating and keep on going. With Orient watches, I can modify my watch as many times as I want without worrying about the movement’s escapement getting messed up, and parts are easy to come by due to compatibility with non-OEM and OEM Seiko parts. Now if only OEM Orient parts were readily available (hands, dials), I could easily make my dream watches come to life!

  3. By Will on Sep 10, 2012

    I prefer in house movements like Orient makes. I like a watch to be fully brought to life in one facility. Also, there are times when I feel that people get a swiss movement just for the prestige of it being a swiss movement, and not because it is the best movement for their price range.

  4. By adam on Sep 10, 2012

    While I love my orient mako with the cal.46943,I also love my Seamaster cal.1120 (only based on 2892-a2) but the omega is far more refined in build and finish. If I could only have one it would be the omega. But for value for money the orient wins hands down. Love em both for different reasons tbh.

  5. By ryan on Sep 10, 2012

    I prefer the orient, as it’s the only one i have! takes a lickin, keeps on tickin..

  6. By Walt on Sep 10, 2012

    I definitely appreciate the craftsmanship of an in house movement. However, it’d say that i value features, accuracy and reliability more than who made the movement. Orient happens to make very accurate, reliable, affordable movements, so i consider the in house craftsmanship a nice plus.

  7. By Chuck Houser on Sep 10, 2012

    I have a number of of watches with Oreint and Miyota movements. When I’m off work for a few days my watches with Miyota movements occasionally stop because of lack of activity while my Orients never have done that. Seems like Orients have a better winding mechanism.

  8. By Vincent Cramer on Sep 11, 2012

    The style of Orient is simple yet beautiful, the idea of a fully in house watch really speaks to me.
    With a Orient you are sure where every part comes from and since that used to be the standart years ago I find it a watch with more soul.
    And that all for a better price range.

  9. By Rick on Sep 14, 2012

    I’m going to have to agree with you, Andrew. The watches really do have fantastic movements and the interchangeability of certain seiko parts is a definite plus. I do with that Orient made parts available. I certainly would like to give bleach fading my bezel another go, but I’d need a new bezel in order to do so, haha.

  10. By Rick on Sep 14, 2012

    Correction: I do wish that*

  11. By Tim Lemoine on Sep 24, 2012

    I have an orange mako diver. I love it. It keeps great time. In house movement rules.

  12. By Chris mclain on Sep 24, 2012

    I think it’s personnel preference although I don’t think anybody would disagree that the Swiss do very intricate cotes de geneve and pearlized rotors bridges etc. orients models while super competent and sometimes superior function(aka ball bearings rotor travel), may lack finishings on there exhibition sides. And there’s other reasonable priced movements out there swiss(Ronda,Isa etc). AND do not forget Seagull(respected Chinese brand) which is in about 1/4 of the worlds automatics and has rivaled eta in its double flying tourbillion. Orient must be applauded for keeping there movements in house and offering a great product. Keep up the good work!!!!,

  13. By Markus on Sep 25, 2012

    Well, I really like my OrientStar watch, but your article is not based on facts.

    1. Orient DOES use movements from other companies. The new OrientStar chronograph is equipped with the Seiko 6S38 movement.

    2. Orient does sell it’s movements to other manufacturers. You can find them for example in some Dugena watches.

    3. “hand made” is a relative term. If you have a look at the introduction video on Orients homepage it looks very much like an automatic, industrial production. No wonder, if you want to produce a high volume of low cost movements. Orient is not Breguet ;-)

    4. Miyoto does not produce movements FOR Citizen. Miyota IS Citizen – the movement department of Citizen Co.

    5. Yes the Miyota 82xx series is not hackable. But Miyota also offers the 9xxx series which seems to be more modern in design then Orients new 40xxx series. The 9xxx is both self- and handwinding, hackable and beats like the ETA movements at 4Hz, rather then Orients 3Hz in all of its movements except the super highline Royal Orient model.

    6. From my experience with an Orient 46S51 and a Citizen 4166 (which is almost identical to the Miyota 8217) I would say that they don’t differ substantially in accuracy. I have even experienced that the single direction winding Citizen movements seems to wind up more effectively compared to the 46S51 Orient bi-directional winding movement.

    Anyway I like the Orient style and you get a good value for the money. Apart from the movement I would compare OrientStar watches with higher priced Longines watches. They are that good.

    Greetings from Germany!

  14. By michael gilboy on Sep 29, 2012

    i really need a orient time piece because of all the great storys i have heard about them

  15. By Steve on Oct 7, 2012

    I love Orients and this is the reason why. The world is so full of companies that “design” the product but then ship it over to someone else to manufacturer (the true value-added process!). Orient does it from start to finish.

    I’ll be buying another one!

  16. By Francisco on Nov 23, 2012

    Hola a todos, vivo en España y hace poco que tengo un Orient Mako 1 movimiento 46943 y va muy fino, su exactitud me sorprende, a parte de que es un modelo que me gusta mucho, va de hora exacto, cada día estoy mas contento con mi Mako 1 de Orient. Muchas gracias. Un saludo a todos..

  17. By Luis Reffreger on Feb 12, 2013

    I own several watches including orients. In my opinion orients are real reliable watches at affordable price. In-house movements its a plus when you are talking about mechanical watches. I recomend for the people for are interested in mechanical watches with a small budget. You don´t have to spend a lot and you have a wonderful and beautiful watch!

  18. By ERMAK on Mar 16, 2013

    Tengo varios relojes,Polyot,Seiko,Citizen,Omega,Orient.El funcionamiento de cada reloj depende del uso y del mantenimiento.Tengo que reconocer mi sorpresa por el Mako 1.Va de maravilla:supera los Seiko´s y los Citizen´s en la duracion de la marcha,es muy contundente,me meto en la piscina o friego los platos sin preocuparme,mantiene buena visibilidad 24h,muy buenos acabados,tanto de reloj como del armis.Relacion calidad/precio=10.

  19. By gunther kern on Jul 19, 2013

    I own an Orient M-Force-LE with a 40N5A movement. Accuracy is within 3 sec and it is adjustable should you get one that runs faster or slower. The watch has performed flawlessly so far. Good quality for the money.

  20. By MARTIN on Sep 10, 2013

    Hi; I’m 52 years old and have owned several Orient watches and am about to get an M-Force Beast in black. I gave my wife a solar Orient for our anniversary and it’s more accurate than any watch in my collection !! Gotta respect a company that doesn’t outsource any stage of the construction or part manufacturing and still manages to offer competitive prices. Today’s Orient model rule over the other 3 big japs IMO.

    Martin from Buenos Aires-Argentina

  21. By robert on Oct 22, 2013

    For many years I longed for a swiss movement automatic watch. I finally got an invicta with a sellita sw200 movement. sheer disappointment due to its inaccuracy. It loves to run fast. Invicta should get into trouble for GIVING away some of their watches, let alone selling them. That being said, I also admit to talking down Asian movements for a good number of years. That has changed. I recently bought an android watch with the miyota 9100 movement. I would say they have the swiss beat hands down. And you don’t have to mortgage the house to find out. As far as orient watches go, I have no experience to comment with. I did not know that they make all their own movements. Would be nice to compare a comparable on to my android watch.

  22. By CHARNCHAI KASEMKOSOLSRI on Jan 10, 2014

    I am a doctor who needs a watch with clear distinctive second hand on the dial for measuring heart rate or respiratory rate. Most beautiful watches are difficult to read in dim light, while diver and pilot watches do not have a big and long enough second hand. I’ve tried an Orient SPORT AUTOMATIC EM7A005B for daily use and feel satisfied with it. I wish I could find a best legible watch which is designed for medical profession in ORIENT BRAND.

  23. By Bruno Langemann on Mar 17, 2014

    Where are the movements produced? You say “in house” yet other people have commented on the fact that Japan stamped on the rotor does not mean the movement was produced and assembled in Japan. That the movement factory is in China. What is the truth on this ?
    B. Langemann

  24. By nick on Mar 17, 2014

    Hey Bruno,

    Thanks for your question. All of the movements are made and assembled in Northern Japan. Here’s a behind the scenes video at the factory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MH1IZ9rA28.

  25. By Naruto on Jun 16, 2014

    Wow I didn’t know that the movements are built by hands. I only know that it was built in house, that’s why I bought Orient as my first automatic watch. It is very accurate. Now I feel like I’m wearing a Japanese Rolex.

  26. By Emerentino Quadro on Jul 16, 2014

    Very nice this blog. I am an Orient entusiastic. I have a classic model FFD0F001W (automatic mechanical caliber 46N45, with sapphire crystal). The accuracy is wonderful: less than 20s per week.
    A mechanical watches is forever. For some years, I used a very nice Swiss quartz watche (sapphire crystal, titanium case, chronograph, very beatyful etc). After 2 years, it was necessary to change the batt in a authorized service. A batt malfunction (leakage) destroyd the eletronic circuit. I lost the watche!

  27. By vaios on Oct 8, 2014

    I recently purchased a orient eminence and it is amazing, beautifully finished with great features as sapphire glass date and a sea through window back and front. All this for 175 aussie dollars. I have an eta watch a miyota watch and I must admit that this orient was a revelation, I love it very accurate too.

  28. By vahid on Oct 19, 2014

    I recently purchased a retrograde orient star watch. (de00001w). the accuracy is amazing. just 4 sec per week! I can’t believe how an automatic movement could be accurate! self winding system is wonderful. it will full charge by just 4 hours wearing. just one criticism is that the bracelet quality is not good as my Swiss quartz watch by ROAMER.

  29. By vkhiem ng on Nov 10, 2014

    I like what I have: Orient SK, Citizen Cristal 7 and Seiko 5. All they are wonderfull.

  30. By Andrej on Nov 21, 2014

    Do not buy swiss made wat hes. Waste of money. Buy Orient. Same quality but much cheaper.

  31. By ALAN on Dec 10, 2014

    I have had a orient racer crystal since 1973 movement cal 429 i have had excellent service,only problem spares are not so ready available as eta,you will probably know that orient is a part of seiko.

30 comments | Tell us what you think!