Let’s take a quick break from Seiko and look at another quality Japanese watch brand: Orient has been producing quality mechanical watches since 1950. They are known in part for their reliable in-house movements and affordable pricing with decent designs.

One of Orient's most popular lines is the Ray dive watch, which comes in two generations - the Ray I and Ray II. In this deep dive, we'll explore the history and evolution of these tool watches, how they compare to other Orient greats like the Mako and Kamasu, and what makes the Ray good enough to go toe to toe with the legendary Seiko SKX.

History of Orient and the Ray Series

Orient was founded in Tokyo in 1950 and has specialized in mechanical watches ever since. In 2004, Orient introduced a new diver called the Ray. This 200m water resistant sports watch featured the brand's reliable automatic movement 46943 in a stainless steel case with unidirectional bezel.


wrist shot of orient ray 2 with grassy field in the background

Source: @mywatch_collectionn on IG


The original Ray proved popular for its quality and value, cementing Orient as a go-to brand for affordable dive watches. In 2010, Orient released an upgraded Ray II model, bringing improvements like hand-winding and hacking capability, a 120 click bezel, and upgraded bracelet with solid end links. The Ray series built up a reputation for delivering specs and styling that follows the looks of pricier diver's models.

The Brothers Ray, Mako, and Kamasu

The Orient Mako and Kamasu watches share a similar aesthetic and feature set to the Rays. These three lines have the iconic divers watch look - stainless steel cases with screw-down crowns, circular bezels with diving scales, luminous dials and hands, and durable bracelets. They all run on Orient's in-house automatic movements.


orient watch with two detached bezels

Source: @timeeveryday on IG


The trio line all offer 200m water resistance and unidirectional rotating bezels. The Kamasu has upgraded specs like sapphire crystal and a power reserve indicator. But overall these three models have more similarities than differences, giving customers choices for a robust dive watch under $300.

What Makes the Ray Stand Out

So what makes the humble Ray stand out, particularly the upgraded Ray II? For starters, its accessible sub-$200 retail price for an automatic dive watch makes it one of the top choices in the entry level category. Powering the watch is the sturdy Orient caliber 46943 movement that beats at 21,600 bph with a 40+ hour reserve. The 120 click bezel has firm clicks and zero play when locked in, making for a truly satisfying operation of the bezel. The screw-down crown and case back provide 200m water resistance, suitable for recreational diving.


Orient Ray 2 Black Watch over computer parts

Source: @wrist_of_ian on IG


The steel case measuring 41.5mm wide is nicely sized for most wrists, and mixes brushed and polished finishes for visual interest while the dial has bold indices and hands with lume for legibility underwater - all the hallmarks of a capable dive watch. While affordable, the Ray doesn't compromise on being a great dive companion.

Ray I vs. Ray II Differences

While they share similar aesthetics, the Ray and Ray II have some key differences. The Ray II added hand-winding and hacking capability to the movement for more precise time-setting. The Ray II also has a more precise 120 click unidirectional bezel compared to 60 clicks on the Ray I. The Ray II bracelet features solid end links with no play, an upgrade from folded links on the first model. Finally, the Ray II has a “Pro Sat Diver” bezel insert made of more scratch-resistant material compared to the aluminum insert on the Ray I.

Comparing to the SKX

The Seiko SKX is a legendary and now discontinued affordable dive watch, and it’s one of the more common comparisons for the Orient Ray (along with the Mako and Kamasu). The SKX retailed around $300-400 though, so the Orient Ray offers similar capability for less. While die-hard Seiko fans will prefer the SKX, those wanting a more affordable but still capable dive watch should give the Ray a second look. They deliver most of the specifications and experience at a friendlier price tag.


a collection of multiple watches with orange dials

Source: @probablywatches on IG


What makes the Seiko a more favorable choice over the Orient’s offering though, is its much, much larger community and modding support. For now, you can only change the bezel and insert on the Ray I and II, and while a bezel swap gives a watch a noticeable change, it is still a long way off from Seiko mods, where you can basically build one entirely from scratch.


orient ray watch modified with new bezel


Still, the modding potential of the Orient Ray is not 0, so you’re fortunately not stuck with just a vanilla watch. If you take one of our “adapter bezels” for the Orient Ray, you’d be able to use any SKX bezel insert with it so you can still make it match your style. You have a choice between the popular Submariner style bezel, and the equally liked Coin Edge bezel to spruce up your watch.

Wrap Up

With its strong value proposition, versatile styling, and well-executed diving specs, it's easy to see why the Orient Ray series can be looked at as a worthy alternative to the SKX007. The Ray and Ray II offer almost everything buyers want in an affordable dive watch - automatic movement, 200m water resistance, precise bezel, legible dial with lume - without breaking the bank. Whether you are an amateur diver or just a fan of watches, the Ray should be on your radar.

If you are a proud Orient Ray 1 or 2 owner, be sure to check out our 130+ bezel inserts that you can modify your watch with. We have all the sought after designs and you’re sure to find one (or more) that fits your tastes. Just make sure you’re also getting yourself an adapter bezel to make the SKX bezel insert compatible with your Orient.

Happy modding!

March 02, 2024 — Jeremiah A

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