Don’t Buy an Orient Bambino Before Reading This

The Orient Bambino is generally regarded as one of the best affordable automatic dress watches currently on the market.

Its elegant charm and modern execution are rare to find at this price point. The movement inside is made in-house by Orient themselves, again rare in entry-level watches. It’s quite affordable and has the styling of a watch that costs much more than it really does.

All that said, the Orient Bambino isn’t without flaws, and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.

I present to you, 5 reasons why you SHOULDN’T buy the Orient Bambino.

1. Too Large

There are 5 variations of the Orient Bambino, V1 – V5.

Orient Bambino V1, 2, and 3 all maintain the same dimensions – 40.5mm in diameter, while the V4 has a diameter of 42mm. The V5 is a bit smaller, with a diameter of 36mm. More about that later.

Combined with the domed acrylic crystal that gives the watch a total thickness of 12mm, that’s rather large for a dress watch. 

Orient Bambino Dimensions - V2 42mm vs Orient Star Classic 38mm
Orient Star Classic 38mm vs Orient Bambino V2 42mm

Sure, some variations, like the Bambino V2 have a smaller face on the dial that helps the watch to appear smaller than it actually is, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still relatively large, for a dress watch.

Now, don’t get me wrong, larger watches are ‘in’ right now. So if that’s your thing, go for it. And if you have larger than average wrists, you can ignore this altogether as it’ll probably fit just right for you, anyway. 

Related: How To Choose The Perfect Size Watch For Your Wrist

Orient Bambino 42mm on Wrist
Orient Bambino 42mm on wrist

But for me at least, I prefer my dress watches a little smaller and sleeker. 38mm is my sweet spot for my 7-inch wrists, but of course, everyone’s taste is different.

That’s why I’m really excited for the upcoming 38mm version which I think will be perfect.

2. Odd Lug Widths

Not sure why, but Orient loves putting oddly sized lug widths on their watches. 

The Orient Bambino V1, V2, and V3 all have lug widths of 21mm, while the Bambino V4 has a lug width of 22mm, and the V5 has 19mm.

The lug width determines what size strap you need for your watch and are typically seen at even intervals such as 18, 20, 22, and 24mm. 

Because the 21mm lug width on Bambino V1, V2 and V3 are so unusual, it can be hard to find quality replacement straps for them. 

Orient Bambino 21mm Lug Width vs Orient Star Classic 20mm
Orient Bambino 21mm Lug Width vs Orient Star Classic 20mm

PRO TIP: You can take a 22mm leather or person strap and squeeze it gently into the 21mm lugs as 22mm straps are much easier to find.  While it won’t be a perfect fit, it’ll be just a tad snug, and not at all noticeable to anybody except yourself. 

Like the watch itself, the lug width and larger straps are larger than average for a dress watch. 

Again, this just comes down to personal preference, but I find the sweet spot for the strap of a dress watch to be 20mm or 18mm on some smaller, vintage pieces.

4. Scratch Magnet Mineral Crystal

The mineral crystal on the Bambino is admittedly very attractive. It adds depth and a bit of distortion to the watch which makes it more visually interesting.

But, it has a few flaws.

It’s tall. It’s intended to be as such, and aesthetically, It’s a great design choice. But functionally, not so much.

Orient Bambino Mineral Crystal
Orient Bambino domed mineral crystal is prone to scratches

See, the crystal is made of mineral, a material that shows scratches very easily. Combine that with the thickness of the crystal and how it protrudes out of the case, you’re going to accidentally bump the crystal on many doorknobs, car doors and etc.

Over time, the crystal is going to scratch and will need to be replaced altogether.

4. Doesn’t Fit Your Wardrobe or Lifestyle

I think many watch enthusiasts fall into the trap of thinking you need to own a watch of every style to ‘fill out’ their collection. 

But if that watch isn’t going to get any wrist time, what’s the point? Let me explain.

The Orient Bambino is a very beautiful piece but is also a bit dressy. It’s a watch that pairs amazingly well with business casual attire, or especially a suit. 

But it doesn’t lend itself very well to more casual attire, such as jeans and a t-shirt. 

Orient Bambino On Wrist Pocket Shot
Orient Bambino can work well in casual attire, but works even better in business casual

So, if you’re someone who doesn’t ever wear business casual or more formal clothes, it’s likely you’re not going to get a chance to wear the Bambino as much as you’d think. 

On the other hand, however, if you are someone who rarely ever ‘dresses up’ and only needs a dress watch once in a while, you can also look at it as such the Bambino is the perfect dress watch for you, because of its affordability.

 It’s a great ‘once in a while’ piece.

But before pulling the trigger, you should consider if you’re buying this as a watch to fill a gap in the rotation of watches you’d wear, or if you’re just looking to fill up another slot in your watch box.

5. The Orient Bambino 36mm & 38mm Are Better

What if I told you that the watch that’s better than an Orient Bambino is… Another Orient Bambino? 

The Orient Bambino V5, in particular, takes everything we loved about the Orient Bambino and puts it in a much more wearable, 36mm case. It still has the same Orient F6222 in-house movement, a classy and elegant design, and the same scratch magnet mineral crystal.

It was originally marketed as a ‘ladies’ watch, but since, Orient has completely removed that branding from the watch, and for good reason! It’s a unisex piece that can suit men or women equally.

Orient Bambino 38mm Simple and Classic
Orient Bambino 38mm

Its 36mm diameter makes it the PERFECT size for a classy dress watch, in my opinion.

It also has a 19mm lug width, which is still an odd and unusual size, but also smaller, and a bit more proportional for a dress watch than the 21 and 22mm lug width on the men’s version of the Bambino.

Pro Tip: If you’re struggling to find a 19mm watch strap, simply take a soft 20mm strap (leather/nato/etc.) and it should still squeeze into the 20mm lug width. Note, this does NOT work with straps that have quick-release spring bars.

The Best Alternative to the Orient Bambino

The best alternative to the Orient Bambino is yet another Orient Bambino.

The Orient Bambino V5 is the current sweet spot of the Bambino lineup. Perfectly sized at 36mm, and can be found in 6 different variations.

However, Orient is soon releasing a 38mm Bambino that is even more perfect and will be the sweet spot of them all, in my opinion.

The Final Verdict

The Orient Bambino is as popular as it is for good reason. It’s a very affordable automatic dress watch, there’s a variety of different colors and dial styles to choose from, and well, it’s gorgeous.

Though the lack of versatility, inflated dimensions, odd lug width, and lack of a sapphire crystal may be a turn-off for some.

The newer, 36mm Orient Bambino V5 version has much more wearable dimensions and makes a great alternative, although doesn’t fix all of the gripes about the original.

The upcoming 38mm should be exactly the watch, with the perfect dimensions we’ve been looking for. Couldn’t be more excited about it myself.

What do you think about the Orient Bambino? Do you prefer the size of V1-V4, or V5? Let me know in the comments below.

– Anthony

Last update on 2024-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

21 thoughts on “Don’t Buy an Orient Bambino Before Reading This”

  1. I just got a Bambino 2nd gen cream dial. I immediately swapped the shiny band for a medium dusty blue leather strap to help accent the anodized hands. I complete disagree with your opinion on lack of versatility. I can wear this watch with jeans and a short sleeve button down as easily as I could with a custom blue suit. It’s no sport watch but it accents any casual to dressy outfit.

    • Hey Jonathan, great call on replacing the strap. That’s definitely one way to make it more suitable for everyday wear. And you’re right, it can certainly be dressed up or down. I just wanted to point out the Bambino’s level of “formality” more for those who don’t often think about that type of thing. But for a seasoned watch collector such as yourself, I’m sure you’re more aware of how to dress up or down a watch. Thanks for the comment, Jonathan!

    • Sorry, you don’t have a clue and i actually disagree with you.
      This watch is fantastic but as author said and i fully agree it is not and will not be a every day watch for number of reasons which has been discussed here.
      The mineral glass is scratch magnet and i had similar watch which within less than 6 months on occasional use had scratch all over them.
      Beside this is not a everyday watch but it is a fantastic watch to own but if you can’t wear it often for reason discussed why own a watch you want to keep in your draw!!

    • That’s a good point, Stu. ‘Easily’ might be a bit of an overstatement. It’s certainly doable, though with a good bit of elbow grease. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Hello Everyone. I was looking for sapphire watches when I found this website. I love to collect antique watches. In the above article about Orient watches, I want to say not everyone can be the same experience. Everyone owns the experience. If you ask me I bought 2 or 3 times Orient wristwatch and never have any kind of problem or glass scratches problem in it.

    Kristoffer Holten.

  3. So nothing really wrong with the watch..just your personal prejudices.
    Truly what is wrong with internet real substance, just person opinion.

  4. Firstly would like to say after owning a bambino v2, its a beautiful dress watch. I disagree that it can’t be dressed together with shorts or jeans. Its a versatile watch imo, you can even downplay it with nato straps. Works perfectly fine for casual outdoor. I agree however its lug width is rather awkward at 21mm for v2. I feel the vintage design played down the size of the watch so it sits nicely on my small wrist.

  5. I think you meant that 22mm bands are easier to find than the 21mm. Not the other way around. But then English is not my mother tongue.

  6. If you want some versatility for the Bambino, picture the black and silver Gen 2 V2 on a black and grey NATO. The NATO dresses down the watch while the watch elevates a pair of blue jeans and a black t-shirt. Add some black tennis shoes and it all ties together.

    There are a ton of NATO colors to choose from so you can mix and match for different outfits and colors of your Bambino. I like the Barton straps, not the Elite series, they are too thick. The 22mm fits just fine in the 21mm lug width.


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