Not everyone has thousands of dollars to spend on a fancy dress watch. Fortunately for us, some watchmaker's core business is to provide excellent mechanical watches for the most affordable price possible.
Orient is part of those companies that main goal is to find ways to make better watches every year with the lowest cost possible. If you're like me, the first timepiece that comes to mind when hearing Orient is the Bambino.
The Bambino ticks all the boxes for a great dress watch but it can be easy to get lost with all the generations and versions available. This article will present everything you need to know about the 2nd gen Orient Bambino Version 4. For a rundown of every other Bambino models, visit this article.
People shopping for a 2nd gen Orient Bambino often assume every version has the same dimensions. This is partly true, since almost every 2nd gen Bambino measures the same, with the exception of the Bambino V4.
The V4 can be considered the big face version of the regular Bambino, with its 42mm case diameter, it is 1.5mm larger than other Bambinos. The disparity is even greater in the lug-to-lug length, which measures 48.5mm compared to 46.5mm for the rest.
There are a few upsides to the bigger measurements. For example, the 22mm lug width (instead of 21mm) makes it much easier to find a strap replacement since most manufacturers only sell them in even-numbered width. As for the 11.8mm thickness, it is the same as every other 2nd gen Bambino.
Considering the dial-to-case-diameter ratio, the Bambino V4 wears quite large for a 42mm watch. Fortunately, the curved lugs makes the watch hug around your wrist, so it doesn't look THAT big, but I can't recommend it for men with 6.5" or less wrists.
Even if the styling of the Bambino is jaw-dropping, the hardware inside also plays a big part in all the recognition this watch gets. Orient uses in-house movements even for their entry-level timepieces such as the Bambino. This is very rare for affordable watches, as manufacturers usually buy generic ETA movements since it is much cheaper to produce.
The Orient F6724 caliber is beloved by collectors for its durability and for the high-end functions you get. Notably, the Bambino gets automatic winding, hacking (seconds hand halt) and hand-winding. The F6724 is a very polyvalent caliber that is one of the most refined on the market for this price range.
On the technical side, the Orient F6724 uses 22 jewels, beats at a low-frequency of 21,600 bph and has a 40 hours power reserve. The estimated precision according to Orient is between -15 to +25 seconds per day. Even if it isn't that precise, it's mostly prized for its Japanese reliability, which makes it last several years without servicing.
To me, the crystal of the Orient Bambino V4 is the main selling point. Of course, I don't love it for its material since it uses the same mineral composite as any other affordable watches. What makes it so unique is the way it is domed over the dial.
A domed crystal is a classic feature on a watch, particularly those with dressier styling. Enthusiasts know it is almost impossible to find a domed crystal watch for an affordable price, except for the Bambino.
As you can see in the picture above, the crystal protrudes quite a lot, which is surprising considering the relatively thin 11.8mm case. What makes it so thin is the completely flat top of the crystal, which enables it to slide easily under shirt cuffs.
The bezel of the Bambino V4 contributes in a great manner to the classic look of the domed crystal. Orient beveled the bezel to give continuation to the slope of the crystal, and it looks really good.
As for the finish of the stainless steel, both the bezel and the sides of the case are polished. On the flip side of the timepiece, you get a beveled screw-down case back, which is brushed and features an engraved Orient Logo.
Situated at the 3 o'clock position is the beautiful push-pull crown used to set the date and time. Even if it is unsigned, I still find it to be good-looking because of the dented pattern around it. Obviously, push-pull crown equals so-so water resistance, which is 30m on the Bambino V4 (ok for showers at most).
The Version 4 of the Bambino is currently offered in three different color schemes (more on that in the "variations" section), which are available with 2 different straps. The first two models are equipped with a black crocodile pattern band, while the other one wears a beige suede leather strap.
Considering the price point, the original band does the job very well and is comfortable enough, but you will almost certainly end up buying a different one since it is part of the fun of collecting watches.
The reason why the Bambino is so popular is undoubtedly the beauty of the dial itself. No matter which color of the Bambino V4 you get, the dial features the same gradient - going from a very dark (almost black) matte finish at the extremities, to a light sunburst color in the middle.
When taking into consideration the curvature of the crystal, the color gradient, and the sunburst pattern, the Bambino really gives a light show under the sun. You will find tons of different hues depending on how you hold it under the light, and it can get mesmerizing.
According to Orient, the Bambino V4 is an homage to the firstgen Bambino with a few tweaks inspired by models that came along the way. For example, the thinness of the dauphine hands comes from the Bambino V2.
Another cool feature that is specific to the Bambino version 4 is the thin seconds hand, which tip is dipped in bright red paint. This addition helps with legibility since the outer ring of the dial is painted in a dark matte color.
Apart from what is stated above, the rest of the dial is pretty basic. You get a minute tracker, a small framed date display and an applied "Orient Automatic" logo.
There are a few cool design traits that are easy to miss if you glance too quickly at the watch. For instance, the applied stainless steel indices look pretty normal from afar, only up close can you see their rounded diamond shape.
The general styling of the Bambino V4 is much more suited for formal/dressy situations rather than casual activities. A lot of collectors like to wear the Bambino as an everyday watch, but to me this can only be accomplished using a Nato strap (to dress it down a bit).
If you plan on giving the Bambino as a gift, the watch comes in a beautiful Orient box with an aluminum plate on top, so you won't need to find a separate gift box. As long as you buy it from an authorized retailer, the 1-year warranty will allow you to replace a lemon easily.
The Bambino V4 8002F0 is my personal favorite of the bunch since it is the only version 4 Bambino available with a gold color case. I'm not usually a fan of gold cases (unless it is real gold), but this one contrasts beautifully with the forest green of the dial center.
Orient also used the same gold shade on hands, indices, and crown. This model is equipped with the crocodile-like leather band.
The 8003A0 Bambino V4 is the most conservative-looking of the lineup. The gray dial's light-to-dark gradient is almost unnoticeable and I think it's a shame. Fortunately, the 8003A0 has a few distinguishing features such as the rose gold hands and indices.
Also, this model is the only one that's offered with the suede leather strap, and from what I heard it's the most comfortable OEM strap.
The 8004D0 is the last Bambino V4 that is still available from Orient's USA website (you might be able to find rarer models from different retailers). This one features an alluring blue dial that displays very well the color gradient. All the other elements are stainless-steel plated.
As I said a bit earlier in the article, a nylon strap is a perfect way to dress down the Bambino to make it ok to wear in a casual situation.
The left picture below shows a collector who used a monochrome brown strap to match his blue Bambino V4. This is a "remaster" of the classic brown strap / blue dial by using a Nato instead of the usual leather band. I personally think it looks gorgeous and it gives a casual vibe to the Bambino.
On the right picture above, you can see a more playful use of a Nato strap. This Bambino owner chose a tri-color strap that is very reminiscent of the Gucci color layout. Unfortunately, even if this looks very good, it won't bring the value up to Gucci prices.
It is rare to see a third-party SS bracelet on a dress watch that's usually equipped with a leather band. The Bambino V4 is one of the few exceptions as there are A LOT of bracelet-swapped version 4s out there.
The 8004D0 (blue dial) Bambino V4 is the most popular one to be equipped with a stainless steel bracelet. Above, you see one equipped with a "twist-o-flex", which is an elastic bracelet.
The right picture above shows a Bambino equipped with a classic Oyster-like bracelet. In my opinion, this is the perfect bracelet if you want to keep the watch as dressy as possible.
On the other hand, the mesh bracelet presented in the left picture is in between classy and casual. It is a very polyvalent bracelet that will make the Bambino shine in any given situation.
The key takeaway from today's article is that the Bambino version 4 is an excellent watch if you have thick wrists and you're looking for something dressy. If God gave you slender wrists, by all means, look into the four other Bambino versions.
If you're still on the fence about buying the Bambino, look at the pros and cons list below. I also recommend reading my Seiko 5 vs Orient Bambino or Orient Symphony vs Bambino articles to get a few alternatives.