Every manufacturer should have at least one model that is indelibly etched in the minds of watch collectors and enthusiasts. One such piece is the Orient Bambino, which has been a hit since its launch with its simple, clean, no-frills beauty. After countless variations, now a model that many have missed from the Bambino’s history has arrived, the smaller 38mm version.
Orient Bambino history in a nutshell
Although it may often feel like one of Orient’s most popular pieces has been with us for decades, this little favourite is actually only 10 years old. Yes, the first generation of Orient Bambino models arrived in 2012 and has evolved considerably over the last 10 years without changing a thing…
Two generations of the Orient Bambino have been born up to 2022, stylistically called Bambino I and Bambino II, and possibly also known as Bambino Gen1, Bambino V1 and Bambino Gen3 and Bambino V2 in some areas.
The main difference between the two generations is not in their appearance but in their calibres. The first edition, in 2012, still used the Orient 48743 calibre, which in its simplicity was neither manually wound nor did it have a „hackable” seconds hand, meaning that it could not be stopped by pulling out the crown, making it difficult to compete online for hundredths of a second accuracy, which is a priority when buying a watch these days, isn’t it?
So the second generation of the Orient Bambino arrived soon after, now with the modified calibre F6722, and later with the F6724 calibre.
Orient was also careful about the look, as the Bambino became one of the most successful dresswatches (or suit watches, as we mostly call it in this country) on the market.
With roughly eight different editions of the two generations in total, it offered quite a range of women’s, open-dial and small seconds versions, despite being 10 years old.
There were also options in terms of sizes, with the 40 and 42 mm for men’s watches being perfectly average, the smaller one perfect for dressier wear, while the larger one was perfect with a jeans and T-shirt combination.
The evolution, or rather the change, of the Bambino generations was mainly visible on the dials, indexes and hands.
The elegant versions were made with straight, dauphine, sword and Breguet hands, while finally, with the new model just arrived, Orient returned to the dauphine style hands, the most favourite of all for the writer of this article, although the straight hands with stick indices were also a great favourite with their “Bauhausianity” (sic!).
The fifth generation was a watershed in styles and novelties, such as the transparent glass back, the open heart dial or the „small second”, although a forgettable Arabic numeral version also came with it.
Orient Bambino 38 mm, the coveted size
Scouring the watch media, I noticed how much the industry was looking forward to the 38 mm version of the Bambino, reading articles from colleagues about how much they missed this size.
We have witnessed an interesting resurgence in the year 2022, at least as far as watch sizes are concerned. Among the new pieces from Japanese and Swiss manufacturers, a size rarely seen in men’s watches since the early 2000s, the 38 mm, has been appearing more and more frequently. This magic number is a size that is still acceptable to most men and, with the right design, does not look small at all on the average wrist.
By appropriate design, I mean that a diving bezel significantly reduces the case size optically anyway, and if it starts at 38 mm rather than 40-42 mm, it will be out of the filter for many – but a new target group may enter, the watch-loving ladies, for whom 38 mm may be perfect.
But the Orient Bambino 38 mm (like all the others) has the most classic look, so the round, flat case shape with its convex crystal, slim hands and indexes specifically magnifies its appearance, so the Bambino 38 mm case hides under the sleeve without looking small – win-win.
Bambino 38 mm case, shapes and finishes
This little classic boasts a finish that puts the big ones to shame. The diameter and thickness of the case are perfectly proportioned, and the polished and threaded surfaces are beautifully (or rather, beautifully) finished, with just the right proportions and placement.
The top and bottom of the case are mirror polished, and the sides are thread-polished, which I particularly like on the gold (plated) case edition, perhaps if the gold finish were polished all over it would be too garish for me.
The craftsmanship everywhere is top notch, be it the case, dial, buckle or strap, again, the Orient Bambino takes on the big boys.
Dial, indexes and hands with a little twist
Or rather than a twist, a little bend – one of the nicest parts of the dial is the tip of the large index, which follows the dial in a small arc, which also dips slightly downwards at the edges. But the beauty of it all is that Orient has almost made all this play for itself, as the convex glass means that it’s only visible if you look closely, but of course it’s there in the overall effect, and it’s little details like this that make the overall look so likeable.
The crown is nice and proportionate, thankfully it’s a usable size and the Orient lions hold the shield on it as they should.
The dial on the two watches on the revew is white, or rather silvery white, with a silky sheen to it slightly, a sunburst effect to it slightly, and it matches the colour scheme of the two Orient Bambino 38mm models well.
The indexes have grown up over the ten years, their current shape is perfect, almost mirroring that of the hands, and there is a small elegant notch on their surface. The index is again the so-called „dauphine” shape, which is sword-like with straight edges, yet with a slight curve to the small index, just to add a little design twist here.
The Orient logo is applied, while the inscription itself is painted on the dial with the other important information. From the inscriptions we can see that it’s an automatic movement and 3 Bar water resistance, what this is enough for is already described in detail in this article, it’s worth a read.
Bambino F6724 calibre, the perfect solution
The Orient F6724 has been refining its construction for some time now, making it one of the perfect representatives of its category. The mechanical automatic movement can be wound by hand, which its 30-metre water resistance makes it easy to do in the morning without a crown lock.
Its accuracy is typically adjustable to a few seconds a day, but there are many pieces that can do this out of the box – so don’t expect Spring Drive-level accuracy in the hundreds of thousands category, even if everyone in our Facebook group has the same watch.
As mentioned above, we can admire the caliber through the glass back, which, if not decorated itself, at least has patterns on the rotor, the Orient logo, the Japanese inscription and of course the Epson logo, which is indispensable for Orient.
Orient Bambino 38 mm – did we like it?
There’s nothing not to love about it, if you like Japanese watches, value for money and classic values, you’ll love it too. We loved it, although the 38 mm size is not the writer’s own, but this Bambino hit the spot.