As watch production was becoming mechanized in the late 1960's, Orient found that they needed a modern yet inexpensive movement for mass production. Rather than develop their own new movement, Orient licensed the then-new Seiko 7006, which had been designed for automated mass production. Orient also licensed Seiko's Magic Lever winding system from the aging Seiko 6600 family and brought these components together to become their 46 series. Since most of the industry was turning to quartz at the time, Seiko was not concerned about setting up a competitor for production of mainstream automatic watches.
The most common movement in this family is the 46940, the descendent of which, Cal. 46943, remains Orient's most popular movement today. It is little changed since its introduction in 1971 and millions of these movements have been produced. Although functionally identical, today's Orient 46 is less decorated and finished, though accuracy and reliability are unchanged. Like the Seiko 7006, the Orient 46 is a 19 or 21 jewel movement with Diafix on the third wheel and escape wheel.
Orient has added many complications to the basic 46 movement. The company has long been a proponent of power reserve indicators, and this is often found on their Seiko-derived movements even though Seiko themselves never implemented this on the 7000 series. Orient also often uses retrograde hands, especially for the day and date.
The 7006 had a quickset date feature, so the Orient 46 also has this. The crown is pulled out to the second position and the date wheel can be advanced rapidly. However, Seiko had not yet developed a quickset day-of-week feature on the crown, so Orient's 46 movements still lack this capability. Instead, Orient movements rely on a second crown at 2 00 to set the date wheel, and this has become a signature of their watches, notably the Orient Mako.