Orient Mako vs Bulova Marine Star: Help Please!

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Notice the Uncanny Similarities between Orient Mako and Bulova Marine Star?

When you can’t innovate, copy!

Copying a product with proven success is probably one of the best strategy that any marketing student will tell you.

We don’t have to beat our brains to come up with a good example. Samsung’s smartphone business is one of the most recent high profile copycat business that rakes huge success.

I can quote many examples, but that’s not my point here. In this article, I’m going to highlight two considerably tough watches. If you’ve seen their pictures, you’d wonder if this is really the case of ‘two great minds think alike’. Or this is another copycatstrategy at work.

Orient Mako vs Bulova Marine Star

It is common for many tough watch afficionados to be undecisive between Orient Mako and Bulova Marine Star. Given the high level of similarities, not finding yourself confused will be an exception.

Let’s step through the various aspects that are important and make a contrast between the two.

Automatic vs Quartz

The biggest difference that sets Orient Mako apart from Bulova Marine Star is their movement. Orient is using automatic Japanese movement while Bulova is using quartz movement.

TKO! Fight is over!

For some, this single difference is enough for decision making. If somehow you had bad experiences while replacing your battery at the shop, you may be ruling out quartz battery-powered watches altogether.

If this is the case, your choice cannot be clearer. Otherwise, you need to read on further.

Warranty Period

One thing that I like to consider in choosing my watch is its warranty terms. I know the warranty period is important to some, but that’s not my main concern.

My main concern is usually who is covering the warranty. I prefer to stick with manufacturer’s warranty rather than shop’s or seller’s warranty. I think you need no explanation on why this is so.

When you buy the Orient Mako, it’ll likely come with manufacturer’s warranty. But for the Bulova, more often than not, you’ll only get seller’s warranty.

Make sure you check the warranty carefully before purchasing.

Does this give you enough reason move away from the line and make a decision? If yes, good! Otherwise, read on.

Clasp of Orient blue makoClasp of bulova marine star


The clasps used in Mako and Marine Star are slightly different.

The Orient Mako is using a fold over clasp with push button safety. The Bulova Marine Star is using a fold over claps with double push button safety.

I have watches using both types of clasp. I have no issue with both. Personally, I don’t see much value in the additional push button. Well, unless you’re really that sloppy.

Bezel, Dial and Crown Design

The Orient Mako that is currently selling offers a slight modification to the original version. Maybe it was being compared too much to the Bulova Marine Star.

But anyway, the bezel designs of both watches are highly similar, except for their colors. Thank God the markers on the dials are now distinguishably different (unlike the original version).

The Orient has a number marking on 6, 9 and 12 position. The Bulova does aways the number marking entirely. Orient Mako displays both the date and day while Bulova Marine Star displays only the date.

It depends on how much you rely on your timepiece to tell you what day of the week it is today. Personally, I’m used to reading only the date. Doing away with the day info is fine and in this case, it results in less clutter.

The two dials look very much similar but if asked to make a choice, I’d go for the Bulova.

Mineral Crystal

Given the price range of the two watches, don’t expect anything more than a mineral crystal. I’d say it is impossible to find a good watch with sapphire crystal at this price. Let me know if there is. I’m curious to know.


The case diameter of both watches are almost identical with only 1mm separating the two. However, Orient Mako is slightly thicker with 13mm compared to 10mm for the Bulova Marine Star.

I’ve tried both on my wrist and I can tell you the difference between the two is not much. The Mako might be a little heavier and sturdier but it is not significant enough to move the needle away.

It is a Seiko vs Citizen Fight

This is probably the best part of this comparison review! Most folks who are pondering their selection are unaware of the ‘real’ companies behind Orient and Bulova.

Since 2009, Orient has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Seiko. Bulova, on the other hand, was acquired by Citizen in 2007 as part of the company’s push to establish a presence in US market.

In case you’re trying to compare the brand quality between Orient and Bulova, I believe they are both good brands. I know sometimes it is not always wise to expect the same quality from a subsidiary as from its parent brand. But you get the complete picture now.

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Does This Help You to Decide?

You’ve now seen every important aspect that separates the Orient Mako from Bulova Marine Star. You should have a good idea on which model is right for you.

In the end, I think the automatic / quartz movement is the most vital punch of this fight. It is the knockout punch that will help anyone pick the winner between the two.

One Comment

  1. KF says:


    Thanks for the very nice comparison.
    I am currently at this same cross-road of getting my first dive watch.
    I only own a Casio G-shock at this point.

    Some comments and thoughts I like to share:

    1) The Bulova 98c62 does display the date and day like the Orient.
    2) Further, I read elsewhere that the Bulova provides “hacking” (where the second hand stays put during time adjustment). The Orient does not.
    3) The Orient Mako comes in another version (Orient Ray) that does not have the Arabic numberals. This makes both watches even more similar.

    The Bulova closely resembles a Omega Seamaster and even has a extension deployment clasp like a true diver watch. I also like clean look and Arabic numerals of the Orient.

    Maybe I would get a Bulova now and next time a different coloured Orient Mako/Ray. 🙂



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