If you are just getting into mechanical watches and want to get the best bang for your buck, then Orient watches are the way to go, and the Mako II is a great starting point.
Orient is a Japanese watch manufacturer that makes watches that are in the sweet spot of affordability and quality. If you are in the market for a reliable, sporty, automatic dive watch that can actually be used for diving, then the Orient Mako II may be the best option for you.
The Orient Mako II punches well above its weight by providing features that are rarely found in dive watches at this price point. Furthermore, it has all of the hallmarks of a good dive watch with its rotating bezel, stainless steel case with crown guards, large indices, and good legibility. Let’s dive deeper into what this watch offers in the review below.
Orient Mako II Review
The original Mako was introduced in the early 2000s, and since then has been one of Orient’s best-selling line of watches until now. There is a good reason for that: it is affordable and provides what the casual diver or first-time dive watch buyer needs.
As you can probably tell by the “II” in its name, the Mako is the second version of the original Mako. Most of the original design was retained on the Mako II so as not to alienate the original owners too much. One of the biggest differences between the Mako and Mako II is the removal of the quickset button to modernize its design.
Most importantly, the Mako II does this while keeping its price low and quality relatively high. With that said, at this price point some corners have to be cut and the question is, does the Mako II compromise too much on quality or is it a watch worth wearing?
- Movement: Orient F6922
- Accuracy: -15/+15 sec
- Jewels: 22 jewels
- Frequency: 21,600 bph
- Functions: Hacking seconds, manual winding, day, date.
- Crystal Material: Mineral glass
- Diameter: 41.5mm
- Band width: 22mm (tapers down to 20mm)
- Lug-to-lug: 47mm
- Thickness: 13mm
- Water Resistance: 200m/660ft
The Mako II has very standard measurements for a dive watch. Its diameter measures 41.5mm, with a lug-to-lug measurement of 47mm, and 13mm of thickness. These measurements should fit the average man’s wrist size, with a little wiggle room to spare. The 13mm thickness is considered slightly bulky, however this is similar in size to the Seiko SKX or the Ray II, Orient’s other best-selling watch.
The top of the lugs have been polished and are beautifully contrasted by the polished sides, which improve the overall look. The Mako II has rather pointed crown guards to protect the screw-down crown. A minor complaint some users have about this is that it can be difficult getting a grip on the crown with the way the crown guards are positioned, and the small crown could have better teething.
Turning to the back, we find a solid screw-down case back. It does not have a see-through case back which we see as a positive, since it minimizes potential leaking points.
Sitting on top of the dial is a mineral crystal. This material is not as durable as sapphire crystal, but at this price point we weren’t expecting sapphire. If the Mako II came with a sapphire crystal, it would surely be accompanied by a price increase. In case you want a budget watch with a sapphire crystal, then you should check out the Loreo Submariner instead.
Moving on to the bezel, the Mako II has a unidirectional rotating bezel with 120 clicks. The bezel has a notched edge which provides extra grip. With that said, the bezel doesn’t sit very tall and the case sticks out more, which can make it hard to operate it regardless. This is one area where Orient can improve in a future model.
The bezel has a navy blue aluminum insert with markers for the last 10 minutes, then markers every 5 minutes after. Like most diving bezels, it will track elapsed time up to 60 minutes.
Perhaps the most important feature of the Mako II is its water resistance rating of 200m/660ft. For a watch at this price point, it is rare for one to provide a rating this high which means it can actually be used underwater, instead of just looking like a watch that can.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Mako II is its eye-catching, striking navy blue dial with a sunburst brushed effect and finish.
The Mako II’s dial catches the light beautifully and, depending on how the light hits it, feels like it changes the watch’s personality over the course of the day. This makes the watch feel alive and exciting; it’s not a watch you’ll get bored of easily. The blue enables good legibility by creating a great contrast.
The crystal on the Mako II is just a simple mineral glass. We would have preferred a sapphire crystal, however you can’t expect too much at this price range. This mineral glass should be able to withstand some minor scratches, but if you wear this watch for years, it will pick up some over time.
There are lots of design features and details on this dial. First, there are the applied hour makers for the 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions. The ‘3’ is missing because they had to make space for the date window. The rest of the markers are thicker bars with a pointed end directed towards the center of the dial.
At the 3 o’clock position is the day and date window. They have a metal frame bordering them, with a section separating them, which makes it easier to distinguish them as well as enhances the feel of quality and finish.
Moving onto the hands, you have the usual hour, minute, and second hand. All of them are made of metal with luminova applied to them. Both the hour and minute hands are sword shaped. The second hand features a spear tip that has been painted red. This color contrasts nicely against the blue dial. In fact, it is the only other color on the watch, so it stands out overall.
As a nice added detail, there is a chapter ring around the dial whereby the seconds are printed in white. This adds depth to the dial. Just below the 12 o’clock marker is the Orient Logo, and just above the 6 o’clock dial is the depth rating.
The Mako II is presented on a brushed, stainless steel bracelet. When it comes to the quality of bracelets on affordable watches, they are often the component that the manufacturers cheap out on. With that said, the Mako II’s bracelet is serviceable but nothing special.
The top of the bracelet has a width of 22m and tapers down to 20mm. We would have preferred it if it tapered even more for a more comfortable fit. The stainless steel material gives the watch a weighty feel to it, and not in a bad way.
One negative about the bracelet is that it has hollow end links which are not as robust and makes the watch feel cheaper. The three-link bracelet fits the overall style of the watch’s overall design. The bracelet has a double-locking clasp that allows for micro-adjustments and comes with a push-button design. Just like the lugs, the clasp and bracelet are satin-brushed.
The Orient Mako II is powered by the Orient Caliber F6922 movement which is an automatic movement featuring hand-winding functionality, hacking (manually stopping the second hand), and superior accuracy compared to its predecessor.
If you’ve never heard of the F6922 caliber, it is an in-house movement manufactured by Orient in Japan. The Japanese are well-known for making high-quality movements, and they have honed their craft over hundreds of years.
The F6922 caliber succeeds the famous 46943 movement which has been used in Orient watches for 40+ years in other watches in Orient’s collection such as the Ray II, Bambino, Symphony III, and so on.
The main selling point for this timepiece is probably the F6922 automatic caliber. This particular movement provides the best of both worlds for watch enthusiasts since it is automatic yet can also be hand-wound, a rare combination for a watch this affordable.
This movement has a power reserve of 40 hours, 22 jewels, and displays the day and date. Its accuracy is somewhere between -15/+15 seconds a day, and the movement beats with a frequency of 21,600 BPH.
The movement is designed to be reliable and robust, which is crucial for a dive watch especially if you actually plan on taking it diving.
The Mako II has many variations to choose from. This might be slightly confusing and you don’t want to get the wrong one so pay close attention. There are the regular Mako II models and there are also the Mako USA II models. Both of these watch lines have different color variations. Let’s start with the Mako II variations.
The watches in the Mako II have a model number starting with “FAA0200###” with the ###’s at the end being the differentiating numbers. There are three models available: the FAA02001B9, FAA02002D9, and FAA02009D9.
The 1B9 has a black color scheme with its black on black dial and bezel set-up. It is probably the most understated of the three, however one can argue it gives off an elegant vibe. This model is also the most affordable model out of its peers.
Next, the 2D9 adds more color to the Mako line-up. This time, the dial is a deep blue, and the bezel is an even darker blue than that. It does a great job of providing color without losing its classy look. If you already have too many black and white timepieces in your collection, consider getting the 2D9. It’s the most expensive of the three, but only just.
Finally, the 9D9 model pays homage to the traditional watchmaking style. Like the 2D9, it has a deep blue dial, however the blue has more of a matte finish this time around. The standout feature is the Pepsi bezel. The Pepsi layout has become a sort of classic look for diver watches over the years, and so Orient just had to add another one to the list.
Mako USA II
The Mako USA II is an updated version of the Mako II for the western market. The USA model has identical measurements and some small cosmetic distinctions, such as larger minute marks and loss of arabic numerals.
However, there are some subtle but very important improvements that make the Mako USA II superior to the Mako II. First, the USA model has a sapphire crystal which is a huge upgrade over the mineral crystal in the Mako II. This is fantastic news if you plan on using this watch in harsh conditions, or if you just like knowing that you have a sturdier product.
Another improvement is a superior lume coating. The Mako USA II’s lume coating is much brighter and glows for a longer time in the dark. This is crucial when you are on a long, deep dive or during night diving.
Lastly, the Mako USA II has solid end links on its bracelet. The bracelet is somewhat of a weak spot in Mako II products. The Mako USA II attempts to fix this problem with the solid end links which are more durable and rattles less often.
Mako USA II Variations
Like in the Mako II range, the USA line also has three distinct products to choose from. This time, the model numbers start with “SAA0200###”, with the ###’s at the end representing the unique model number.
The SAA0200AB9 is the black version of the Mako USA, the BD9 is the blue model, and the CW9 has a white dial paired with a black bezel. Unlike the Mako II, this time there is no Pepsi design. Furthermore, since the USA range has higher quality components like a sapphire crystal and better lume, it is understandably more expensive but still affordable for a dive watch.
Orient Mako II: The Verdict
The Orient Mako II is a sleek and sporty dive watch that provides excellent value for your money albeit with some minor flaws. Try to find another automatic dive watch in this price range that provides the same features: 200m depth rating, hacking and hand-winding, finished surfaces, with its overall quality as high as this. You will not be able to find very many, if at all.
As with any affordable product, the Mako II does have areas that it has compromised on, such as its bracelet and crystal. However, its other components remain high quality. If you have the extra budget, you can opt for the Mako USA II instead, which has a sapphire crystal and better lume, among other improvements.
For what it is, the Mako II does what more expensive watches can do with its impressive movement and water resistance. On top of that, it can handle harsh conditions and take a beating as well.
If you are in the market for an entry-level dive watch that looks like the Rolex Submariner and feels good on your wrist, one that you can take diving if you want, then you should check out the Orient Mako II.
- Depending on the model, it is highly affordable at under $200.
- Caliber F6922 automatic movement which features hand-winding and hacking.
- Sleek, sporty design that looks great on your wrist.
- Screw-down crown and screw-down case back, with 200m of water resistance.
- Accuracy of -15/15+ seconds. Every few days, you should expect to adjust the time on the watch.
- Cheap bezel insert, bracelet, and crystal.
- Lume could be brighter.