Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Orient Watch

Can you remember the first watch you ever owned?

I was given a watch when I passed my Primary Six Entrance examination. It cost a hefty twenty Dollars. It was an Orient watch and I wore it until the day I got married, a total of 14 years more or less. It then became part of my collection of special watches.

At the time of choosing the watch I did not know much about the Orient Watch Company Limited (オリエント時計株式会社)which is a Japanese watch company, established in 1950. Unlike children of today, they would have a lot of product knowledge. I just asked my father to buy a watch with a blue strap.. And he bought one at a price which he thought was reasonable for a secondary school girl. My mother was delighted and thought that no watch was better than that. I treasured this watch.

Recently I read that "the Orient Watch company traces its roots back to 1901 and the horological marketing of its founder, Shogoro Yoshida, in Tokyo. For many years, Orient was number three in the Japanese watchmaking triumvirate of Seiko, Citizen, and Orient. However, Casio, riding on the heels of the quartz revolution begun by Seiko in 1969, quickly supplanted Orient with watches that were marketed primarily in the United States, but which were also popular in Japan and Asian markets. Nevertheless, Orient stayed the course with a conservative design philosophy and a marketing strategy that has largely ignored the US in favor of Japan and other Pacific rim countries, the Middle East, Russia, and South America. Orient Watch is the only manufacturer, among the big three, to dedicate themselves to mechanical movement watches.

Today, Orient has manufacturing facilities in Japan, Singapore, and Brazil, and offers a wide range of watch designs and styles, including mechanical, quartz, and light powered (similar to Citizen’s Eco-Drive line). Seiko Epson now owns a controlling interest (52%) in Orient.

In 1985 Orient and Seiko established a joint factory. Orient produces a wide range of automatic and quartz watches ranging in price from reasonably inexpensive (about 50 USD / 50 euro) to very expensive (7000USD). As of 2006, Orient Watch has the largest Japanese mechanical movement production exceeding Seiko's and Citizens combined production figures. Through large scale production, the value offered by their watches are considered one of the best in the industry. Orient Star and Orient Star Royal are the middle and high-end brands, with the Royal Orient being their flagship line.

Mid-priced Orient watches are perceived by enthusiasts as offering excellent quality and value for money. Orient manufactures its own movements, which is quite unusual because most manufacturers outsource this aspect of their business. Unlike Citizen, Orient does not sell their movements for OEM production.

Orient watches are not as popular in North America, but appear to be popular elsewhere in the world. North American purchasers can find Orient watches on the usual auction sites. Orient Star and Orient Star Royal watches are quite hard for North American purchasers to find." (wIKIPEDIA)

This watch had a few adventures. But the best one was how I lost it and got it back in London.

I must have a fantastic slip of mind when I washed my face in a London College wash room. By the time I realised that I had lost my watch I was too far away from the college. I went back the next day and wrote a note for the janitor. "Lost a childhood treasure - Blue strap - Orient Watch. Please return to Mr.......". He must have photocopied the note and pasted it every where possible. Three weeks later the janitor called me. I got my treasure back.

A lone Chinese girl, working full time in Oxford Street, got back her treasure!!

I was touched by the person who found my watch and returned it. But I never got to thank him/her. Here i am, saying thank you. I returned to visit the janitor very often while I was there - to talk about Sarawak, Malaysia, Asia and the Chinese in general. He was kind person, a good listener, and someone who talked about climate and the changes of seasons. And then I would wave a slow good bye wave and then almost suddenly with a quick step, I would be off to catch my train for Hampstead.

That's one part of the 70's of London I remember and treasure. I would sleep with my watch ticking, ticking, ticking the minutes of my life away, against my ear.

Very often I wonder if there are enough kind people out there to return lost items.

How many kind people will return lost husbands? lost children? lost sheep?

8 memories:

Gaharuman said...


It must be quite an experience working in London. I like London and perhaps you can write more on your experiemce there in your later posting.

Daniel Yiek said...


To put StatCounter on your sidebar:

In the template, try this:

1. Click Layout tab
2. Click Page Element
3. Click Add Page Element
4. Choose HTML/Java Script
Click Add to Blog
5. Title: This is optional but you can type in "Counter"
6. Click Edit HTML Tab
7. Paste your code given by Stat Counter
8. Save
9. Preview
10. Exit Preview
11. Save (if your Preview is what you like to see)

sarawakiana said...

Thanks Gaharuman. I will probably start another blog on my London days but I am at the moment thinking seriously if I can handle both. thanks for your encouragement.

Daniel. I am deeply touched by your kindness. I tried but at step 5 I have this problem with Content..what do I type in this box? I cannot proceed from there.

Quite a dinosaur.

Yan said...

As always, very nice piece!

I can't remember my first watch. But, the one or rather two that I wear alternatively now (two Oris watches) are treasures - memories of my mum who is now with the Lord.

Sharing with you another story of watches -

sarawakiana said...

Hi Yan,

Thank you. I must learn how to link your article on watches to this posting.

Thanks for your support. Oris watches are real treasures. I do not have one but what I have seen are wonderful time pieces. Worth collecting if you have the money.

I have a story about Rolex but I cannot post it in case I am sued...hahahahahah.

Daniel Yiek said...

Step 5 is just the title for your box at the sidebar. Just key in anything you like. eg: My Counter and this appear as your header above the counter.

Gaharuman said...

I remember reading an article on watches by a Chinese English lecturer. He called his first childhood watch "river" because it will stop if it is not winded.

Sarawakiana said...

thanks for the reference. I read almost all the books written by Chinese writers (in English) on China. There are now a lot of them. June Chang is a good writer and so is Eileen Chang. I am reading "Desert Rose" by Mary Weijun Collins.
I have no political or party inclination except faith in God, justice, fair play,and good ethical practice and loyalty. In the olden days or past life, I might have been one of the brothers or sisters of the Water Margin.


web statistics