It looks like a joke, and it sounds like one too, but it’s a serious piece of wrist equipment. The name Orfina Golden Flame Double Automatic Twin Special sounds like a headline from a cheap tabloid — a watch you couldn’t take seriously today. But looking at it closely, there are so many distinct details to explore.

Even though the Orfina name doesn’t ring a bell for many collectors, Orfina matters. Orfina was a Swiss company owned by Italian racer Umberto Maglioli, a former Porsche Racing driver, who was commissioned to manufacture the Porsche Chronograph 1. Yes, that’s the legendary watch featured in the original Top Gun movie. You can also see it in the recent Top Gun sequel thanks to the producer who kept the watch safe and lent it again for the shooting.

The Orfina Porsche Chronograph 1 was a groundbreaking watch. In fact, it was the first watch ever treated with PVD. Although the black matte finish didn’t hold up well, and the shiny, bare metal became visible on the edges a bit too early, the patina is kind of charming to me. As seen in a print ad from 1974 below, it also featured the then-new Valjoux 7750. At that time, it was a very innovative movement because it offered a quick-set day/date indicator, the first of its kind in a sports chronograph. But now it’s time to switch your focus to the watch sitting slightly south-east of the famous chronograph…

Image: Europa Star

What is that disco watch?

Well, at first glance, you have to face the shock of knowing that those two watches come from the same brand. In contrast to the timeless design that Porsche revived recently and priced at almost €9,000, you’ve got the other Orfina watch that looks like a very ’70s weirdo with its chunky case, eclectic color gradients on the dial, and shapes you struggle to find a name for. No offense, but you are looking at poor man’s Patek Philippe Aquanaut Dual Time.

First impression of the Orfina Golden Flame Double Automatic Twin Special

Full of expressive curves and half arcs, the case shape feels a bit feminine, but that feeling disappears when putting it on the wrist. When I first strapped it onto mine, it actually felt like an Apple Watch rotated 90 degrees. A gentle feminine feel also comes from the double ellipse dials that provide independent time displays. Two signed crowns and two Orfina-stamped case backs indicate that the watch is powered by two automatic movements operated independently. Simply put, you wear two watches at the same time.

Orfina Golden Flame Double Automatic Twin Special wrist shot

Primary time zone

Before I go on, let me ask you: which dial do you naturally consider the main one? Although they look almost identical, I tend to focus more on the dial on the right side. The positioning close to the right crown helps. So do the three Arabic numerals that give that dial more attractiveness.

A circus

Orfina’s use of five different fonts to highlight every name or signature on the dial may give you a headache, but once you make peace with it, it can amuse you. “Golden Flame” probably refers to the copper-brown sunburst finish that reflects interestingly in direct sunlight. Then your eyes fall on the “Twin Special” signature, and you get confused as to why this watch has two different names on it. Maybe the folks at Orfina liked both names so much that they put both of them on there.

Orfina Golden Flame Double Automatic Twin Special

Another explanation

There are many dual-time watches with two dials and two movements. What really got me were the two windows dates and how they’re implemented! One sits on the top of the dial, the other one on the bottom. It’s a bit of useless “feature” but a pleasant detail to see. If you look closer at the picture above, you can also notice that the numbers on one of the date discs are printed in a light blue color to match the central seconds hand.

Orfina Golden Flame Double Automatic Twin Special close-up

Details to notice

There are a few more details worth mentioning. Both signed crowns are slightly sunk into the sides of the case. They are pretty thick, so winding the Double Flame is easy. Well, it’s as easy as winding a left-side crown for a right-handed person could be, but it’s excellent exercise. The stamped bracelet clasp and applied logo on the dial confirm that Orfina paid attention to the little things that matter.

Orfina Golden Flame Double Automatic Twin Special close-up

Last thoughts on the Orfina Golden Flame Double Automatic Twin Special

A big “thank you” goes to my watch friend Karrim from Luxembourg, who borrowed this watch for me for a day so that I could have first-hand experience. I would probably never buy it, but it was weird enough for me to want to see it in the flesh. It may seem a bit cumbersome, but the 40mm diameter makes the Golden Flame Double Automatic Twin Special pretty wearable. If you have about $800 to spend, with a bit of patience, you can land one from a handful of colorful dial variations.

Here’s a fun fact at the end: this watch inspired the idea to create a company that would create watch-model names. I would certainly love to be in that room when the names were brainstormed, shortlisted, or approved. Happy hunting!