Orient Sound Monitor 771105-40

Orient Sound Monitor 771105-40

Today Orient is a sub-brand of Seiko, along with Pulsar and Alba (and probably others). But in the 1970s and 1980s Orient was a force all of its own and came up with some amazing watches during this time.

They were making LCD watches as early as 1976 (some say 1974) and one thing that stayed with them across all their models was the quality of the cases.

These aren’t low-quality, throwaway-when-the-battery-dies pot metal cases.

They are solid, stainless steel, and very chunky on the wrist.

If you can find an Orient watch today, chances are it will be in nice condition – maybe with a scratched face, but the case will likely still look nice.

The reason why Orient watches aren’t as common as other brands of the era is that they were mainly sold in Japan – JDM (Japan Domestic Market) watches.

They did make similar styles to their competitors – melody alarms, solar power, game watches, sports watches – and this one.

By far my favourite of all the Orient watches is this one – the Sound Monitor, or Double Face 771105-40.

It has a dual LCD with an analog face and a digital face (much like the Casio QW103 watches, Seiko G757 watches and many other Hong Kong brand watches too) – hence the moniker Double Face.

Features-wise it’s quite fun too. In addition to the analog and digital time, there is a date screen, alarm (set in analog mode) and stopwatch/chronograph.

The feature that is quite unique is the hourly time signal. You can set it on or off to the exact hour. For those people who like an hourly time signal, they often have to remember to turn it off at night otherwise their sleep could be disturbed by an hourly beep-beep.

Not so with the Sound Monitor. You can set the time signal (like I have) to sound on the hour between 7am and 6pm only for example. It’s a fun feature and one I haven’t seen on any other watch.

The one downside to this Orient (and many others I’m guessing) is that the circuitboard isn’t a solid structure, instead having the components soldered to a flexible plastic substrate.

When I first received this watch several functions wouldn’t work and one button wouldn’t work either.

I thought it was possibly mechanical or from oxidation on the circuitboard, but after taking the watch apart, found some of the tracks were broken from the circuitboard flexing (likely from a bad battery change, or the wrong battery being inserted, or just wear over time.

Conductive silver paint wasn’t going to work on this kind of repair, so I gently soldered the broken tracks, trying desperately to avoid melting the plastic substrate which was a real possibility. Luckily, a combination of the right temperature of the soldering iron and being very careful, I was able to repair the tracks, reassemble the watch, and now we have a 100% working model – huzzah!

This watch is rare-as and, when it can be found, is often not working or not working well. This is one I’ll cherish for as long as I have a collection!

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