Instagram: A glimpse at the #watchfam

Current favorites of the interviewed members

Since six weeks now I am publishing watch reviews on my blog. But it’s more than two years now since I posted my first picture on my Instagram account mpbene6110. Speeking in Instagram language I am part of the #watchfam. A really huge family, everybody I asked to guess how many people post watches on Instagram underestimated the number by far. A man’s world for sure, but some women are part of the family too…

But who are these people posting watches as a part of their life? What are their favorite watches and watch brands? Which is their dream watch? To celebrate my tenth blog entry I asked six members of the #watchfam five questions to find out something about this huge family. All members are long time followers of my account and vice versa. All have more than 1,000 followers.

So here are the five questions first:

  1. Tell us a few words about yourself…
  2. What’s your current favorite watch and why?
  3. Do you have a special watch you would never sell?
  4. Please name two watch brands you like very much and tell us why
  5. What’s your dream watch (think of a watch you maybe will buy in the next 3 years once you have the money)

This blog entry contains much more words compared to my watchreviews, hope you like it nethertheless! I really appreciate the content from my Instagram friends, a big THANK YOU to you for answering my questions!

A) @aboutwatches_UF – Germany

  1. A few words about myself:
    My name is Andreas and I am into watches, especially Diver Watches, since 10 years now. Since 2013 I am an active member of the Uhrforum and since beginning of this year I have my own feed on Instagram, where I have met a lot like-minded people already. I like OMEGA, SEIKO and interesting Microbrands
  2. My current favorite watch:
    My all-time-favorite is my OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300m – 212.30.41.20.03.001. It was a Birthday Gift from my wife. I grew up with James Bond with his OMEGA Seamaster – so this watch has always been iconic for me. I love the glossy dial with the applied logo of this above reference.
  3. The watch I would never sell:
    I think it is my SEIKO Monster, the SRP315,with an orange / black dial – a 2nd generation Monster. This one was my first SEIKO ever and it travelled with me to a lot of places, all over the world.
  4. Two watch brands:
    Right, OMEGA and SEIKO would be too obvious now, so let’s dive into Microbrands. GRUPPO GAMMA: I really like their development and admire their efforts in becoming a big brand (have you seen their Nexus!? Just Wow!) BOREALIS: Always surprising me with an extraordinary design and always delivering high quality. That is what I do expect from Microbrands.
  5. The dream watch:
    I don’t have a real Dream Watch. But I do have “Watch List”. And on the top there is the new, blue SEIKO Marinemaster 300, the SLA023J1. This one will come for sure. Sooner or later. 

B) @mattheram – UK

  1. A few words about myself:
    My name is Matt I’m from the UK and have been passionate about watches since I was young. I enjoy all sorts of watches from tool watches to dress watches and everything in between. I love taking pictures so instagram is the perfect outlet.
  2. My current favorite watch:
    Currently my favourite watch is the Timex Q it have a lovely vintage vibe but modern build and reliability. The colours and case shape is wonderful and the bracelet is just beautiful for the price it’s hard to beat
  3. The watch I would never sell:
    My Rolex submariner Kermit I would never sell. It has sentimental value and memories attached.
  4. Two watch brands:
    Zenith and Grand Seiko are two watch manufactures I love. Both create stunning pieces of art that are also wonderfully functional.
  5. The dream watch:
    Probably a Zenith El Primero. I’ve lusted after one of those for many years. It’s a timeless piece and looks beautiful.           

C) @meteorite16 – USA

  1. A few words about myself:
    I am an environmental professional, and have lived in New England my entire life. I have had a watch for as long as I remember in childhood but for some reason or another stopped wearing them entirely for about 15 years. A few years ago, I was looking to purchase a smart watch…but saw an interesting and affordable automatic dive watch that called to me. That watch rekindled my enjoyment of wristwatches, I never ended up buying a smart watch, and it has been a wild ride ever since.
  2. My current favorite watch:
    My current favorite watch is the Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression Diver (ZO9275). I love the more vintage feel and size it has, while still being a solid modern looking tool watch. I am especially fond of the details of the colorway as it has the most brilliant blue dial! I love bright colors that are put together in a cohesive manner and for me this one does it.
  3. The watch I would never sell:
    There are several, but the one that has the most sentimental value is my Hamilton Khaki Automatic from about 1994. I received it as a college graduation present from my parents and wore it for several years as my nicer watch when I wasn’t wearing my G-Shock.
  4. Two watch brands:
    Such a difficult question…I am particularly fond of microbrand/independent watch companies (while still appreciating more horologically significant brands). I feel a number of microbrands push the envelope of design to places the mainstream brands wouldn’t be able to go, while providing solid specifications and quality construction. If I had to choose just two, I would say at the moment Farer and Seiko (I know, not a micro, but has a lot of those qualities while still having abundant and significant history).
  5. The dream watch:
    The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer

D) @strixpixmix – Poland

  1. A few words about myself:
    My professional activity is related to broadly defined activities in the field of Internet promotion. Watches and photography have been my hobby for many years, that’s why I decided to publish photos of my watches on Instagram. I’m interested in a thousand other things, but let’s leave it for another interview 😉
  2. My current favorite watch:
    I have a few watches that I love almost the same, although they are designed for different occasions. If I have to choose one … let it be Dan Henry 1964 Panda … and Dan Henry 1964 Evil Panda version …:)) I love them both equally.
  3. The watch I would never sell:
    Yes, I have one watch that is special to me and will remain in my collection forever. This is the first generation Seiko Orange Monster. I bought it more than 10 years ago and I’m still crazy about this watch. The next generations of Seiko Monster no longer have the spirit of the first gen.
  4. Two watch brands:
    I am a visual person, I love watches that are visually interesting and I do not pay attention to the brand. My collection consists of about 30 affordable watches, but it is very difficult for me to choose only two brands that I like the most. But if I have to, let it be Seiko and Dan Henry Watches. Seiko, in its rich offer, has several models that are really great. And I like almost all Dan Henry watches. Dan just has a great feel and taste in terms of watches, which coincides with what I like.
  5. The dream watch:
    I love the Rolex Day Date design, especially blue dial version, but it might be as well Orient Day Date ref. 2EV03001D with gorgeous dark blue sunburst dial  :)) which is no longer produced. If Orient does not reissue this watch, I do not exclude the purchase of Rolex Day Date one day. But this is the only watch that exists on which I would spend much more than on any watch the past 10 years or even all of them put together :))          

E) @timemiser63 – Southern North America

  1. A few words about myself:
    My name is Tim and I live in the  southern part of North America. I was raised to be honest, work hard and respectful of others; during a time when life seemed a lot simpler. Some may say I’m old, but I prefer, experienced. I actually got into watches, while attending a knife show, when I saw a woman, wearing a Seiko “Orange Monster”. I became obsessed with that watch and the rest is history.
  2. My current favorite watch
    There was a time, that I could not have picked a favorite watch. That changed when I acquired my Seiko SBDX001 Marinemaster about 6 years ago. This was my grail watch for such a long time and it did not disappoint. This watch has four of the most important features to me; Aesthetics, Quality, Originality, and Robustness. There is not much room for improvement, in my opinion and is pretty close to perfect. It fits my 7.5″ wrist like a glove and I have yet to tire of it.
  3. The watch I would never sell:
    I have a lot of watches that I would never sell. There is one though, that is very special to me. It is my Great Grandfathers 1915 Elgin, “Father Time”, professional grade railroad pocket watch.  It is beautifully decorated and adjusted to 5 positions for accuracy. It was his most cherished possession and now it is one of mine.
  4. Two watch brands:
    My favorite watch brands would have to be Seiko and now…Tudor. (I am only speaking, from what I have owned.)  Seiko, for everything I mentioned previously and to add, it’s all done in-house. Even their price point is good, although it’s been climbing in recent years. Tudor is relatively new to me, having only owned the Black Bay Black for a little over a year. There is an obvious defining quality and heritage there, that is hard to match. Although this is not surprising considering its big brother.
  5. The dream watch:
    A dream watch or holy grail, can mean different things to different people. For me it is something typically unrealistic, such as an A. Lange & Sohne, rose gold, Saxonia Datograph 405.031. Yes I have drooled over this one for some time. As far as attainable “Goal” watches; hopefully there will be an Omega P.O. chronograph in my future or a Breitling Avenger II chronograph in Titanium or maybe a Tudor Pelagos. There is a Grand Seiko on my wish list as well. There may be others that could also come into play. There is no rush though, as I am happy with my collection and everything else that comes along, is just icing on the cake.     

F) @tobbensvensson – Sweden

  1. A few words about myself:
    My name is Torben Svensson, 50 years old, married to Marita. I have three wonderful children, all grown up and have left home, busy building their own lifes. I`ve been a banker all my working time, over 25 years in SEB and Vimmerby Sparbank (a local bank) together. Until year 2015 I got sickpension for a severe neckinjury. I’ve been operated on twice, but no success! From then on I look after myself and my family.
  2. My current favorite watch:
    Easy my Rolex Explorer2, ref nr 216570, polarwhite from 2019/08. A classic versatile sportwatch. Why: it’s my first ever luxury watch, I got it for my 50th birthday, and when I got lucky at a swedish AD my whole dream came through!! A big day for me. I love the history behind the Rolex Explorer2, the evolution of the watch from the first Rolex Explorer2, ref nr 1655, launched in year 1971
  3. The watch I would never sell:
    My 40th birthday watch, a Diesel Quartz watch DZ1273, bought in San Francisco. This watch was the watch which made me get into collecting watches and being a watchenthusiast. Ten years ago now. I’ve always been interested, but from then on I was hocked!! I will never sell this watch. I don’t care if it’s a fashion watch, I have a lot to thank this watch for! I’ve gained a lot of friends because of this watch and have wonderful memories connected to this comfortable quartz watch!
  4. Two watch brands:
    Obviously it’s the Rolex brand that first comes to mind. I love it because Rolex have a lot of different models in their portfolio. Also because it’s a luxury watch you can buy, it’s obtainable – dreamwatches you can achieve!  The second watchbrand I want to mention is a microbrand called SWC, the Swiss Watch Company. In 2018 they launched a own line of swiss made diver watches, with a date complication and a diver chronograph! The founder Stephen Roemer founded the company in year 1996. First he made watches to the army and firstresponders, from year 2008 he also started to manufacture watches for other big watchbrands. I love the watch; also I’ve become good friend with Josh Roemer, the son from Stephen. He handles all the social media within the company! Maybe this is why I love my SWC Diver, my personal connection to the watchbrand – marvelous!
  5. The dream watch:
    I’m boring you if I say a Rolex Master II Pepsi or the Batgirl, but I have an eye out for these two! To buy a Rolex, keeps me safe! I’m not going to lose any money, I feel very secure with my money when I buy a Rolex as an investment piece! Another piece I’ve had my eye on – this will be my best answer to you – the Zenith El Primero Original 1969, 42mm. Because this will be my birthyear watch, I was born in 1969!! The first automatic chronograph which operates in a high beat movement, 36.000 VpH!! Such elegance and sporty looks!  

G) @mpbene6110 – Germany (very few words about myself)

  1. A few words about myself:
    I live in Germany, married, one child. I am a watch collector since about 1985
  2. My current favorite watch:
    My new Grand Seiko Titanium Diver; a dream came true this year
  3. The watch I would never sell:
    The 20 year old Seiko 5 from my late father
  4. Two watch brands:
    Number 1 is easy: Seiko because of history, innovation, value for price. To name a number 2 is impossible, there are many other brands I like. History is always important, therefore I am not a big fan of microbrands
  5. The dream watch:
    After owning the Grand Seiko now it’s difficult…for sure a Doxa Searambler will come and maybe a second Grand Seiko or a Tudor Black Bay.

Members watches

Copyright aboutwatches_UF
Copyright aboutwatches_UF
Copyright mattheram
Copyright mattheram
Copyright meteorite16
Copyright meteorite16
Copyright strixpixmix
Copyright strixpixmix
Copyright timemiser63
Copyright timemiser63
Copyright tobbensvensson
Copyright tobbensvensson

Seiko 7A28-7040 – Quartz Chronograph went analog

Today I will show you my newest acquisition to my Seiko vintage collection: the Seiko 7A28-7040 from 1983. So we will talk a lot about history in this blog entry…

Let’s go back to the 80s. Quartz watches were common, but the great Quartz crisis from the 70s was almost over. You could see the first signs of a recovery of mechanical watches. In 1983 Jean Claude Biver bought Blancpain and the new credo of Blancpain became “Blancpain never sold quartz watches since 1735. And never will do”. Also in 1983 the first Swatch was released, a quartz watch, yes, but not with a digital display. People got bored from this digital watches and looking for old-school analogue displays.
But if you want to buy a chronograph you only had two choices: To buy a mechanical watch without the quartz accuracy or to buy a quartz watch with a digital display, normally LCD. Those LCD chronos were common at the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s and sometimes had some more special features like calculator, thermometer and even tiny built-in televisions. That’s the way Casio went and today I would guess 90% of this watches come from this other big Japanese brand

(Picture property of Casio)

If you want tot have the mechanical analog look and the precision of a quartz watch, well, you had to ask the good fairy of your favorite fairytale. Again it was Seiko to make the historical move. In 1983 they presented the first ever analog quartz chronograph – the 7A28.

Old ad (Picture property of Seiko)

Seiko did not intend to compete with the cheap LCD-watches. The 7A28 was and is a high sophisticated movement and the watches were advertised as a quartz milestone for hig-end consumers. And they were no cheap watches – my 7A28-7040 had a price tag of 675 Deutsche Mark, so it was more expensive than an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch!

The watches sold very well and there were 42 variations with more than 100 references of this chronograph. They were sold to private customers, issued to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense (the so-called RAF Gen.1) and the South African Air Force. Two models were featured in the movie “Aliens” because director James Cameron wanted “futuristic looking watches”. He chose the models today nicknamed “Ripley” and “Bishop” after the movie characters. Roger Moore wore a 7A28-7020 in the James Bond movie “A view to a kill”.

The relationship between Seiko and the UK’s Ministry of Defence started with this 7A28-7120, called RAF Gen.1. They were issued between 1984 and 1990. The RAF Gen.1 is one of most valued 7A28 among Seiko collectors (the other one is the “Ripley”). You can see a picture of this watch from my friend ajiba54.

Seiko 7A28-7120 aka RAF Gen.1 (Picture by ajiba54)

Let’s have a look at the technical side. Unlike most recent quartz movements the 7A28 featured 15 jewels (today: 0 for todays most movements), contained no plastic parts (today: almost entirely made of plastic) and could be regulated (not possible for most recent quartz movements). It is no problem to repair or service this movement, if you have the spare parts. It has four stepper motors, each protected with a rectangular plate. This sophisticated and robust construction explains why so many 7A28 are still working until today.

7A28 movement without the protecting plates (Picture by ajiba54)

Every subdial of the chronograph can be adjusted separately with the crown at 8 o’clock, first crown position. Watch the video for this:

The pusher at 2 o’clock starts and stops the chronograph, the pusher at 4 o’clock resets it. The pusher at 10 o’clock is for lap times.

Later Seiko also showed the 7A28 with a day-date complication (called 7A38) and a moon phase (called 7A48).

The 7A28 was produced until 1992 and was then replaced by the far simpler and cheaper 7T12.  The 7T family is used until today but the members of this movement family lack almost every expensive and elaborated feature of the 7A28. Nethertheless there were some interesting reissues of former 7A28 chronos. I will mention the issued RAF Gen2 and the reissues of the “Ripley” and the “Bishop” with more color options.

The 7A28 were also the first watches designed by famous Italian designer Giugiaro for Seiko (the fore mentioned “Ripley” and “Bishop”).

They were sold all over the world. Sometimes you can tell the JDM and the export versions by the dial: The labeling “Chronograph” is printed in cursive scripture letters on the dial for the export versions while the letters on the JDM versions were straight.

If you are looking for a 7A28 check this features:

  • Do the adjustments for the chrono hands work properly?
  • Is the dial clean?
  • Is the original bracelet attached?

Unlike other chronos correct setting to zero ist not essential because it is easy to adjust this. Replace a scratched glass is no big problem. But without the original bracelet the value of the watch is only half because it’s almost impossible to find an original bracelet for a good price.

To find one in NOS condition is not impossible, but you have to be very patient. It was sheer luck to discover this watch with original bracelet, never worn, no scratches, from the first year of the 7A28 release. And the bracelet fits my wrist perfectly. Lucky again, because there were no spare links in the set.

I think every serious Seiko collector needs a 7A28 in his collection. Happy I have my own now!

Stowa Marine Original Red LE: Elegance with the nautical touch

After my article about my Laco Flieger (https://michaelswatchblog.de/2019/11/01/laco-augsburg-blaue-stunde-affordable-history/) today I will show you my other German watch, the Stowa Marine Original Red Limited Edition.

Stowa calls their Marine Original Series “elegant watches” and they sure are! But this Marine watches were historically not intended for the gentleman’s next visit at the theatre, they are called “Marine” for a reason.

A long time ago in the 18Th century nobody knew about elegant watches or even wristwatches. And almost nobody cared about the exact time with one big exception: it was important to know the exact time to determine the exact position of a ship on the ocean. With the exact time and the position of the stars (with a sextant) it was possible to determine the exact position of the ship even if you could not see any land. If you are interested how this works look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitude_by_chronometer.

The watches to determine the exact time were called B-watches, deck watches, captain’s watches or marine chronometer. You can read about this watches here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_chronometer. This deck watches were huge, sophisticated, robust watches with high legiblitiy. The design of these watches were more or less the same as todays marine watches with a railway track for minutes and seconds and of course a small second – central seconds were not invented these days.

Lange&Söhne Deckwatch from 1948 (Picture copyright Lange&Söhne/Wikipedia)

Because the better you know the exact time the better you can determine the exact position, the deck watches became the first chronometers.  Two nations were famous for their deck watches: England and Germany, supplying both military and private fleets. Maybe the most famous one was Hamburg based Wempe, still producing deck watches until today: https://www.wempe-maritim.de/sortiment/chronometer/. As you can see many deck watches today are quartz watches because of the higher accuracy. But they are no longer necessary to determine the exact position of a ship on the ocean, Today all ships have GPS. So we can see: Like many other types of watches the Marine watches once had a specific role and purpose that today is no longer necessary. Think of military watches, Flieger or divers.

Let’s have a look at Stowa. The name of the company is derived from the name of the founder. Walter Storz founded Stowa in 1927 in the Black Forest where it is still located today. The rich history includes Bauhaus style watches and Flieger. Maybe Flieger are the most famous ones because Stowa is one of the five original companies building Flieger Baumuster A and B. You can read about this five companies in my blog entry of my Laco, https://michaelswatchblog.de/2019/11/01/laco-augsburg-blaue-stunde-affordable-history/

After the death of Walter Storz his son Werner Storz became head of the company. In 1996 the company was sold to watch enthusiast Jörg Schauer and he is still owner today. He brought the company to new heights, lancing historic models and newly designed watches as well. Under his lead the company won many watch awards, a new building was constructed and a museum was established (https://www.stowa.de/en/STOWA+history+from+1927-2017/). It was his decision to relaunch the classic design of the Marine watches and today they are true classic in the Stowa collection.

Let us now have a look at the watch. The movement is a hand wound Unitas 6498 with second hand at 6 o’clock, a reliable and easy to maintain workhorse. It’s not the top of horology but the rather big parts in the movement give much space for nice decorations. Look at the finished wheels the golden Stowa engraving! Stowa also improved the movement with a swan neck regulator and a screw balance. And you can see this beauty through a sapphire glass and enjoy it.

Decorated Unitas 6498

The dial is made of sterling silver, the hand are temperature blued steel and – finally – the second and hand and the 60 on the second subdial are red. So we have the name of the watch: Stowa Marine Original Red Limited. Limited because there are only 100 pieces of this watch and they are sold out right now. You can still buy the unlimited models with black second hand.

Dial made of sterling silver
Second hand subdial
Railway track on the dial

With a diameter of 41 mm the watch seems to have a mid-size. But with an almost 38 mm diameter of the dial this is a really big watch on the wrist. If you have a very small wrist maybe the 36mm version of this watch is perfect for you.

Lazy pocket shot

The watch came with a black or brown alligator strap of your choice. As one of the fist subscribers I had the chance to get a second strap for free and opted for the brown vintage leather version. This strap is standard version if you want the brushed version of the watch. It was a hard decision between brushed and polished, but finally I ordered the polished version. I like the contrast between polished watch and vintage strap. It still looks very elegant with a touch of sports – nautic if you like. I am still in love with this special piece in my collection!

Vintage Strap
Wristhsot
Popout palm shot
Elegant
Nautic
Hands look blue or black depending on light

Top of the Pops: Grand Seiko Diver SBGA231

I am a long-term watch collector. Most of my pieces I acquired for less than 1.000 Euro, many even for less than 500. I do own many Seikos, some Swiss brands, some German and very few microbrands. So the acquisition of a Grand Seiko is not a normal thing for me – it’s very very special, it’s top of the pops in my collection. And I don’t mean the price point. Well, at least not only…

Let’s have a look at history first, because history is important for every serious watch collector. The first watch called Grand Seiko was released 1960. It was manufactured at the Suwa Seikosha factory (today: Seiko Epson). The movement was the handwinding 3180.

First Grand Seiko (Picture copyright by Seiko Corp.)

In 1967 Daini Seikosha (today: Seiko Instruments) produced their first Grand Seiko, the 44GS. The design became a milestone for future Grand Seikos, you can see the genes of this design even in the recent collection. The movement was a milestone too: The 61GS was a self-winding movement with an accuracy of +/-2 sec/24h (that’s what Rolex guarantees today) and it won some Swiss Chronometer competitions, something never heard of before. Another great movement was the hand winding 5722. You can see the beautiful Grand Seiko from 1967 with this movement, watch is property of my my friend ajiba54.

44GS from 1967 (picture copyright by Seiko cCorp.)
57GS from 1967 with 5722 movement

I cant’t list all milestones from Grand Seiko, if you are interested you can visit the Grand Seiko Homepage of your country, where you can find lots of material. Two more events I will mention:

In 1988 the first Grand Seiko Quartz was released, the 95GS movement had an accuracy of +/-10 sec/month, better than todays normal Quartz movements. Grand Seiko watches with Quartz movement in the recent collection have an accuracy of +/-10 sec – in a year!! All components are made by Seiko itself, including the selected Quartz crystals.

Grand Seiko with 95GS Quartz movement from 1988 (picture and watch by ajiba54)

The other important milestone was the release of the Spring Drive movement, first appeared in Grand Seiko in 2004. I think we should have a closer look at Spring Drive, because this is a movement like no other.

In 1977 a young engineer named Yoshikazu Akahane had the idea to put the best things from a Quartz and a mechanical movement together in a whole new type of movement to bring his vision to life: a movement that shows the continuing flow of time. The second hand should not make one step per second like in Quartz watches and not some little steps like in mechanical watches (the High Beat movements make up to 10 steps per second), it should move without any steps in a continuous move. It took him and his team 22 years until this vision came true. In 1999 the movement worked as he wanted. It took another 5 years to optimize the concept for a Grand Seiko with the 9R65 movement. This movement is used until today and it’s also the heart of my SBGA231.

9R65 Spring Drive (Picture copyright Seiko Corp.)

Spring Drive has a mainspring like any mechanical movement as the source of the power and a self-winding mechanism to power it up, so no battery is needed. The self-winding mechanism is more or less the same Magic Lever construction as in any automatic Seiko. But the accuracy of the watch is not controlled by a balance wheel like in mechanic movements but by a highly accurate Quartz crystal oscillator and an electronic circuit. The second hand is moved by a flywheel and is slowed down by an electromagnetic brake. So you have the advantage of Quartz (high accuracy) and mechanical movements (high tourque, no battery) combined and as a special attribute the continuous moving of the second hand. Because of the mechanical parts the Spring Drive movements don’t reach the accuracy of the Grand Seiko Quartz watches. Grand Seiko guarantees +/- 1 sec/24h or +/-15 sec/month. However my watch after five days doesn’t show any difference compared to the atomic time. But the reason I bought a Spring Drive watch was not accuracy, it was the moving of the second hand. Look at the short video.

In May 2019 I put my hands on first demo models of the new Seiko LX series and decided: Once I have the money I will some day buy the LX Land. All LX models are with Spring Drive movement and all are made of titanium which makes the watches very comfortable to wear.

Seiko LX Land

But when unexpected the money knocked on the door I want to be really, really sure to buy the best Spring Drive Seiko for me and I tried some other models, including the GS Diver, although it seems too big for me reading the dimensions: 45mm diameter, 50,4mm lug2lug size and a height of 14,2mm. But it’s not the first time a watch has a completely different appearance as you would expect. The curved case fitted perfectly on my wrist (I had this experience with the even bigger Sumo before) and the special conical bezel insert gave it a height of only 12,5mm on the edges of the watch – this watch would easily fit under any shirt cuff.

GS Diver Titanium SBGA231

The GS Diver SBGA231 is – like the LX models – fully made of titanium. Surprisingly it doesn’t look like titanium, there is nothing left of that typical grey colour. Compared to my other titanium watch, the Shogun Red Zimbe (https://michaelswatchblog.de/2019/10/12/the-red-side-of-life-seiko-shogun-zimbe-red-spb099/) it’s even more shiny. I don’t think anybody will identify the material as titanium just from the looks. He only will be suspicious when he gets the watch in his hand. Why is this watch so light weighted? The total weight with full bracelet is 131 g, compared to 201 g of the steel version SBGA229. It’s also 1.000 Euros more expensive, but it’s worth every cent, believe me, because this is an extremely comfortable watch in this version.

One follower of my Instagram channel asked me to compare the GS Diver with my Marinemaster 300 (SBDX017). The MM300 has a diameter of 44mm, a Lug2Lug size of 49,6mm and a height of 15,3mm. So the MM300 seems to be a bit smaller. But that’s not what your eyes see. Especially the conical bezel insert makes the GS Diver looks smaller. And the MM300 has a weight of 230 g. Because of its monocoque case it’s even heavier than the steel version of the GS Diver. And the height gave it totally other proportions. It lays heavy on your wrist, feeling indestructible whatever will come. If you like this feeling more than a very comfortable watch, then the steel version of the GS Diver or the new Marinemasters are the right watches for you. If not…

Marinemaster 300 SBDX017

Let’s have a look at the bracelet: The very beautiful polished and satin parts gave the watch a distinctive and noble look. Shortening is very easy with the typical Seiko collar/pin System. The clasp is technically the same as the Marinemaster clasp with the same diving extension system, but it seems better finished. You have also four normal positions for micro adjustments.

The case has drilled lugs for easy strap change. But why do you want to change this beautiful bracelet? The case has the beautiful Zaratsu polish, hand made by experts in Seikos Grand Seiko factory in Shiojiri. This is for sure the most beautiful watch case I have ever seen. And even the indices are hand polished, you can see the high quality everywhere you look at this piece.

All in all it’s a true masterpiece and really top of the pops in my collection!

Diameter 45 mm
Lug2lug 50,5 mm
Height 12,5 – 14,2 mm
Movement 9R65 Spring Drive
Lug width 22 mm
Golden GS Logo indicates the titanium version
Conical bezel insert
Power reserve indicator (all Spring Drive movements have a power reserve indicator)
Perfect hands finishing
Lume pip
Crown
Bottom with GS Lion Logo
Lumibrite
Masterpiece
Wristshot

Seiko New Turtle: The watch with many faces

As a watch collector, especially as a Seiko fan it is obvious that I have a New Turtle in my collection. No surprise so far. But looking into my suitcase I see four of them?! How could that happen? Let’s have a closer look at the New Turtle. Expect some more pictures as usual…

In 2015 Seiko released the New Turtle. It was a remake of the 6309-7040, nicknamed Turtle because of the shape of its case. The 6309 sold in high numbers in the 80s. Today it’s a collector’s piece. It’s not difficult to find one, it’s difficult to get one with no aftermarket parts and in good condition. Prices for such pieces have crossed the 500 Euro line and are still rising – not as fast as the famous predecessor, the Willard – but rising. If you are interested please be sure to get an all-original one otherwise the value is rather low. My piece is an all-original from 1983.

6309-7040 from 1983 in original box

It is said, that the New Turtle was not the idea of Seiko Japan, but of Seiko Thailand. The new case is very similar to the original 6309 case, but slightly bigger. With 44mm in diameter it seems to be a big watch, but with a lug2lug size of 46mm it will fit almost any wrist, including female ones. The movement is the recent standard Seiko movement 4R36, handwinding, hacking, 21.600 bph, day-date wheel with the standard blue Saturday and red Sunday (I love this coloured weekend). Also the Turtles glow like flashlights in the dark thanks to the latest formula of Lumibrite (see picture of the bicolour Turtle)

The first batch included the classic black SRP777 (the only colour the 6309 was issued), the blue SRP773, the black-gold SRP775 and the Pepsi SRP779. A Coke (black-red)  SRP789 and a Batman (black-blue) SRP787 followed in no time. Soon there was a discussion about the Prospex X on the dial. My personal opinion: The X (or better a P/S for professional specifications) looks good on modern divers but not equal good on vintage inspired pieces. So I would have preferred a dial without the “X”, but I think we all got used to the sign right now…aren’t we?

It was in 2017 when I was looking for a new summer diver and the New Turtle was an obvious choice. I loved the case and I was especially looking for a Pepsi, so the SRP779 became my first Seiko ever.

New Turtle Pepsi SRP779

The New Turtle became an instant success and in 2017 Seiko released the first limited editions. The most famous one is the grey Zimbe Turtle, high valued by collectors. It’s a special watch because it was also the first Zimbe Edition ever. Today we have twelve Zimbe editions (you can read about Zimbe and the edition No. 11 here in my blog: https://michaelswatchblog.de/2019/10/12/the-red-side-of-life-seiko-shogun-zimbe-red-spb099/).

Other colours followed, some with gold cases, some totally black ones (Ninja Turtle) and other special coloured editions, for example the Blue Lagoon. You have to distinct two kind of editions: The real limited editions, which means there are a limited pieces of watches available (like the Zimbe) and the special editions, which means the watch is produced for a limited time (like the Save-the-Oceans). Many of the limited or the special editions are only available in some special countries (like the Zimbe in Thailand).

In 2018 Seiko announced a cooperation with Fabien Costeau, grandson of the the most famous explorer of the seven seas, Jaques Costeau. They made some special “Save-the-Oceans” editions including a New Turtle. The dial is a blue-black one with a special texture that resembles a whale’s skin. It was also in 2018 when some pieces with sunray dials appeared (SRPC-Series). And it was in this year, thanks to Seiko Germany, Europe gets his limited edition, the Grey Dawn (SRPD01), limited to 2018 pieces. It is still one of the most beautiful watches I have seen, so I had no choice to buy one. And it is still my favorite Turtle (second only to my 6309).

Dawn Gey, limited to 2018 pieces, Europe only

A few months later in 2019 I was looking for a bicolour black-gold watch. A favorite colour in the 80s bicolour watches became extremely out-fashioned in the last 30 years but the last two years they made a little revival. So if you want to buy a bicolour watch for some special moods and don’t want to spent much money, why not buy a third New Turtle? I replaced the bracelet with a bicolour one from Strapcode and the look was perfect.

Turtle Bicolour with Strapcode bracelet

In Spring 2019 Seiko released the third Save-the-Oceans edition (the second one was the same as the first but with a black case, a black bracelet and a slightly blacker colour of the dial) and I had the chance to put my fingers on a pre-release example on our Seiko get-together in May. Most other fellow collectors soon fell in love with this piece, I didn’t. Although it’s a really gorgeous piece with some thrilling details: the dial shows a little shark fin, the counterweight of the second hand resembles a shark fin and it has a bezel insert with engraved numbers and engraved round grooves. It’s a complete different insert, like no other insert from the New Turtles, because all others are flat. The model is called “Great White Shark” (SRPD21). And, well, it’s the same old story, sooner or later such special details catch me and so I added the fourth New Turtle to my collection only a few days ago.

Save the Oceans III

A last look at the straps: The New Turtle comes either with a steel bracelet or a black rubber (silicone) strap, depending on the model. Some limited editions have two straps in their box. The Grey Dawn for example comes with the steel bracelet and a grey rubber strap. The rubbers are soft and comfy but very dust attracting, so I don’t use them (replace it with the excellent strap of the New Arnie, if you like rubber). The steel bracelet is a really good one in its price range, having polished and brushed parts. It looks good on every New Turtle. Shortening is a bit difficult, so let your dealer do this. With a lugwidth of 22mm of course there is a universe of other straps for this watch and the drilled lugs support easy strap change. My Pepsi is on a Chevron Strap from Crown&Buckle and I don’t think I will ever change this perfect combo. The bicolour Turtle is on a Strapcode bracelet as mentioned, a too expensive choice to say the truth, but wanting a bicolour bracelet with fitting endlinks there is no much choice. The Grey Dawn and the Shark are on their original bracelets. I have seen the Grey Dawn on grey-orange Erikas and that’s a pefect choice too.

All for models are special in my eyes: The “fits every occasion” Pepsi, the special mood Bicolour, the noble and distinctive Grey Dawn and the colourful White Shark. So every piece has its place in my collection and my heart.

Do I think about a fifth New Turtle? Well, why not… The Ninja is in my mind and I am sure Seiko will continue with new versions. So have a look at the collection, if you don’t already have one. I am sure you will find a perfect piece of your choice of this watch of many faces.

My New Turtle family
Wristhshot Dawn Grey
Wristshot Bicolour
Wristshot Pepsi
Wristshot STO III
A stack of Turtles

Laco Augsburg Blaue Stunde: Affordable History

To be honest, I am not a big fan of “Flieger” watches. I have been collecting watches for many years now, but mostly divers. There are some (few) dress watches in my collection and I do have a Seiko Flightmaster (SNA411). But I didn’t have a real Flieger, which means a watch designed more or less in World War II in two variations: Baumuster A and Baumuster B. You can read something about the history of these two dials here: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beobachtungsuhr (German).

In summary the Baumuster A has a triangle instead of a number 12 while the other indices are arabic numbers, Baumuster B has the minutes 5 to 55 instead of the hour indices. They were not worn by pilots, but by the navigators. Both designs are highly legible, especially Baumuster A is hard to beat if you want to read the time with a very short glimpse. Baumuster B in my eyes looks a little bit strange und uncommon with its big arabic numbers for minutes, while Baumuster A still looks very modern: a legible, clear, no-nonsense design. So, the few times I was looking for a Flieger it was always Baumuster A.

Being a watch collector for me the historical background is always important. So let’s move back in time and take a look which companies produced the Flieger watches back in the forties.

Five companies have been chosen by the Ministry of Aviation to produce these watches and all five are still alive today, some had vanished and rose again, some are part of a bigger company now and some are still or again independent. Four of them have at least one Baumuster in their portfolio today. So when I decided to buy a Flieger it had to be one of this five – and that’s the historic point in this article.

Let’s have a closer look at the fore mentioned five:

First: A. Lange & Söhne:
A true German company based in Glashütte, not existent for decades and rebuild after the downfall of the GDR by a descendant of the Lange family is now a true luxury company with many complicated and expensive watches. It’s also part of the Richemont company, one of the biggest names in watchmaking industry today. But it’s also the only company of the five that doesn’t have a Flieger in its portfolio today. So if you are in for a Lange it has to be a historical piece. Good luck and be sure to hit the lottery jackpot first.

Second: International Watch Company IWC
IWC (also a part of Richemont) on the other side has many Flieger watches in their Portfolio, including the famous “Le Petit Prince” and “Spitfire”. I think the “Le Petit Prince” was the first blue Baumuster A on the market, an eyecatcher for the connoisseur. They don’t sell Baumuster B, but that’s not my problem because a blue “Le Petit Prince” would be fine for me. But there is the price point: IWC is also a company with luxury watches like Lange (not that exepensive as Lange though) and the cheapest Flieger in their portfolio has a price tag of 4.500 Euro. Way too big for what I was willing to spend. So let’s move over to the third company.

Third: Wempe
Wempe, widely known as a retailer of luxury watches, has a long history in watchmaking. For more than 100 years they manufactured highly precise marine chronometers. This history continues today in the Sternwarte Glashütte, where they certify watches according to the German chronometer norm. They have a few Flieger watches in their portfolio (also no Baumuster B) starting at 1,500 Euro. I do like this so called “Zeitmeister” watches because of their excellent finishing, but that was still too much money for my Flieger (remember, I’m more the diver type). But there are two more and smaller companies left, both based in Germany

Fourth: Stowa
I love this company – I have a Stowa Marine Original in my collection which is truly one of my favorites. I love the service and the heart for the customer, ask them something via telephone or email and you see. So this was the obvious choice for my Flieger watch Baumuster A (and to add: They also sell Baumuster B). Still you have to pay about 1.000 Euro ( a little less) but that would be ok for me. They only problem remaining: I was in love with the blue dial of the IWC “Le Petit Prince” and Stowa didn’t offer any blue dials. And besides that, 1.000 Euro is still a lot of money, what if it’s not a long time love with my Baumuster A? So let’s take a look at the fifth company.

Fifth: Laco 1925
Laco offers the widest range of Flieger watches of all five companies, including Baumuster A and B, different color dials and different qualities. Colors include black (of course), taupe and blue. Yes, blue! And a real nice sunray blue dial it is! And they offer them in their simpler quality for only 340 Euro. For this amount of money you get a sandblasted, originally shaped case in your choice of size (39 or 42mm), a sapphire crystal, a see-through bottom (I could live without that) and a Miyota 821A movement (not hacking, but handwinding). The Miyota got a custom rotor and is regulated to an accuracy of -10/+20 sec by Laco.

Surround view

Laco names its watches after (mostly) German cities and the Baumuster A with Miyota Movement and blue dial is called “Laco Augsburg Blaue Stunde” (blue hour, which is late afternoon). Of course the blue dial is nothing but historical correct, but I highly recommend this eye catching colour. The 42mm model has a height of 11,8 mm, a length of 50 mm and a lug width of 20 mm. I think you can hardly get a better looking Baumuster A at this price point. Ok, you can go for a Chinese brand, but I don’t know why to do this if you can get a superb looking watch from one of the original companies for 340 Euro. And that’s the affordable point in my article.

Any downsides? Yes, the strap. The watch comes with a silver grey Nato strap of simple quality. To my opinion the watch deserves a better strap. Laco offers to deliver with a different strap and according to your choice you may have to pay extra money. I didn’t ask. I replaced the strap with an affordable leather strap Flieger style. I have tried several colours but liked black the most. Maybe you prefer a brown one.

For me now, my wish for an affordable historic Flieger comes true with this beautiful watch!

Baumuster A with triangle at 12
Made in Germany…
…by Laco 1925
Nightshot Superluminova
See-through bottom…
…with Miyota 821A
Original strap and case
Natural light
Wristshot
Diameter 42 mm
Lug2lug 50 mm
Height 11,8 mm
Movement Laco 21 (Miyota 821A)
Lug width 20 mm

The Seiko 62mas Reissue: An Important First

In my new article I will take a closer look at the Seiko 62mas reissue, reference SLA017. I will explain why this watch is an important “first” for Seiko – and also for me.

The SLA017 was a surprise at Baselword 2017 in some points. It was the first true reissue of one of the famous divers form Seiko’s history especially for collectors (not counting the historical collection from the year 2000). The original historic diver was the famous 6217-8000, nicknamed 62mas, the first Seiko diver, released 1965.

Well you can say, the New Turtle is a reissue of the 6309-Turtle, but that’s not the same as with the SLA017 as you can easily see. With a price tag of 3.800 Euros in Germany and 2.000 pieces worldwide the target group of the SLA017 was clear.

The SLA017 was the first of the collector reissues followed by the SLA025 in 2018 and the SLA033 in 2019. So here we have the first “first”.

Original 62mas. Picture by ajiba54. The watch has a diameter of 37mm, slightly smaller than the SLA017

The watch came with a retail price of 3.800 Euro and that means – as far as I know – it was the most expensive Seiko ever (not counting Grand Seiko, Credor, …). And the watch scene, especially many Seiko fans had to chew on that. Seiko, that’s the brand with the SKX, the most modded watch, very good quality for very good price. But a Seiko at that price point?

Let’s take a look back in time. Until 2012 buying a Seiko in Germany means you were going to a big, non-luxury department store or a rather small watch retailer. Normally you bought a watch for 200, maybe 300 Euros. At least that was the normal way. For the fans and insiders it was well known that Seiko manufactured better and more expensive watches, but they were not available in Middle Europe. They were sold in Japan. The probably most famous of this watches was with no doubt the SBDX001 called Marinemaster 300. To buy this watch you had to import it from Japan and only few people did this.

Marinemaster 300 – SBDX017 (successor of the SBDX001)

In 2012 something changed. Seiko Germany decided to add the MM300 officially to the German collection. The retail price was about 2.000 Euros, marking the top of the mechanical collection in Germany. The same discussion as five years later with the SLA017 began, but time by time the scene accepted this retail price (and you could get a 15% discount easily, the same as with other brands). It was a good watch for a good price point (again…), even in comparison with the Swiss competitors. In many eyes it became a bargain with it’s 8L35 movement, the same as the Grand Seikos 9L (but undecorated). The monocoque case is truly unique, no helium valve needed. In tests the watch stands much more than the guaranteed 300m water resistance. Ok, the Hardlex remained a point of critics, but whatever advantages a sapphire crystal has, it splitters in thousand pieces if it gets hit really hard. No good idea for a diver. Hardlex crackens, but keeps intact, so it’s technically a better crystal if you are diving. If…

Well and today? The MM300 became a collector’s piece. It’s hard to find a flawless MM300 for less than 2.000 Euros and prices are still rising.

And then, five years later, the SLA017 appeared, same movement, sapphire crystal, only 200m water resistance, no monocoque case but with a more than 50% higher price point. Take that!

While many Seiko fans talked about the “far too expensive watch”, others bought. I have heard of some Rolex fans who bought this watch as their first Seiko and were impressed by the quality. Since I have a SLA017 and a MM300 I can tell you that the SLA017 is really one step ahead, not a big one, but a step. Yes, there were some incorrect placed crystals and this should not happen at this price point. Seiko had still some things to learn. But they corrected every piece they get and the SLA025 and SLA033 didn’t have any issues like that.

The SLA017 didn’t sell fast, but it did sell. About a year later all were sold. Some too optimistic buyers thought about quick money and tried to sell them fast for a higher price. But usually this didn’t worked out. You still can get a very good piece for about 3.300 – 3.500 with good patience. The best time of the SLA017 is yet to come, this I am sure.

But this first luxury diver made room for the later reissues, which are more expensive than the SLA017. And in 2019 Seiko released the even more expensive Prospex LX line. I don’t think they had done this move if the SLA017 had been a fail in selling. It was the SLA017 who paved this way. And this is the very important second “first”.

We will come to the last “first” and that’s my personal one. It was not my first Seiko and I sure wasn’t a Rolex collector any time. In the summer of 2017 I was looking for a replacement for my summer holiday diver, a blue Longines HydroConquest. The bad microadjustments made it impossible to fit this watch perfectly to my wrist. And well, to be honest, I had some hunger for a new watch. I think you can understand this. I don’t want to spend more than 300 Euros and that’s the price tag where it’s very hard to beat the big Japanese watch companies. I bought the SRP779, the New Turtle Pepsi, because I like the looks and I didn’t had a Pepsi before. When I received it, I was astonished about the value you get for 300 Euros – a true Seiko experience. Only four weeks later I was looking for a black diver and found the Sumo SBDC031, which was a real upgrade compared to the New Turtle. But the price was still very reasonable, I paid around 500 Euros! Compared to my Longines, the Sumo was better in case, finishing, bracelet and dial. Until today in my opinion you can’t find a better diver for a 500 Euro budget.

So in October 2017 it had to be a big move. I decided to buy the new SLA017 (gladly my wife accepted). Would it be as good as my most expensive watch so far, my beloved Panerai? Yes, it was. I got a flawless piece and it’s still my all time favourite watch today. If I had to sell all my watches – horrible scenario – and keep only one piece it would be the SLA017.

At the same time I had the pleasure to meet the best Seiko expert in Germany (and maybe in Europe), Mr. Baris Ö. aka ajiba54. I am proud that we became close friends in the last two years! You can read an interview with him in the last Seiko Germany magazine. So that’s another personal first.

The SLA017 came in a “German-retail-non-online” edition which means it came in a pelicase with the watch, two straps, a miniature of the Japanese expedition submarine Shinkai 2000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSV_Shinkai_2000) and some documentation. Seiko Germany decided to value up the international set, which only contains the two straps – if you buy this watch through a retailer in a shop and not an online store. There are only 70-90 pieces of this set, I don’t know the real number. Compared to 2.000 pieces of the watch a rather small number.

So this was my personal “first”: the first really expensive Seiko in my collection. The Marinemaster 300 SBDX017 followed ten months later, let’s see what the future will bring.  

Diameter 39,5 mm
Lug2lug 48 mm
Height 12,5 mm
Movement 8L35
Lug width 19 mm
SLA017 on a Wjean chocolate bar strap
Flawless hands
Signed crown
Dial detail
Bezel and lugs
Date window through the domed sapphire crystal
Drilled Lugs
Caseback with dolphin
12 o’clock index
200m water resistance
Lumeshot (SLA017 on sturgeon leather strap from ch-vintagestraps)
Wristshot

Why the New Arnie (SNJ025) is my favorite Seiko release 2019

Seiko SNJ025 “New Arnie”

2019 was a great year for Seiko fans. The Japanese company released more new models than all other watch companies together, at least it seems so. Of course, I am little bit biased…

So let’s take a closer look at the novelties.

One really big move was the release of the new Seiko LX line, the most expensive Seikos ever (of cource not counting the Grand Seiko, Credor…). Made of titanium, spring drive driven high end models – they fascinated me from the first time I saw them on a private Seiko event in May 2019.

Another model shown on this event was the New Turtle Save The Ocean 3, loved by almost every person in the room, but not touching me (I love the New Turtle, but not the STOs).

Save the Ocean 3

They also showed the new Sumo, sapphire upgrade, new movement 6R35 and of course new price point. The movement is for sure interesting, but when it comes to looks I prefer my old Sumo. I like the fat numbers on the bezel.

The most surrounded watch on this event was without any doubt the reissue of the “Willard” (SLA033), one of Seiko’s most sought after icons and a real eye catcher.

SLA033 “Willard Reissue”

And last but not least some weird looking analogue/digital watch which in my mind I suddenly marked with the attribute “ugly”. Of course I knew the famous predecessor H558, worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in various movies in the 80s. We will talk about history later. But Seiko only showed the Pepsi version of the “New Arnie” (there was no Pepsi version of the H558), which is still not my favorite watch.

Later in the year Seiko released the new Seiko 5 Sports. You can read about this in my last blog entry. And the year hasn’t finished yet and I did not mention the countless special editions from other Seiko Models.

So why I am so fascinated about the New Arnie today? I will try to explain this.

First: History
The H558 was a true child of the 80s. With its both analogue and digital dial, its multiple functions including alarm and chronograph and its 150m water resistance it was technically an interesting watch and the first hybrid diver with all this attributes. It was released in 1982 with a price tag of 45.000 yen and built until 1990. There were some hybrid watches at this time from other companies. But it did not become famous because of the interesting technical points. It was action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger that wears this watch both private and in some of his best movies including “Predator” and “Commando”. He didn’t wore it in ”Terminator”, but as most people identify Mr. Schwarzenegger with his most famous role, the H558 became the terminator watch or more popular simply “The Arnie”. That’s one thousand points for coolness, even many years later, I guess.

Seiko H558 (photo by ajiba54)

For 29 Years Seiko didn’t made any successor and then as a surprise at Baselworld the SNJ025 appeared, quickly nicknamed “New Arnie” (you don’t need much creativity for this…). It’s not a 1:1 reissue, they changed the look of the watch, and in my opinion improved it. The big crowns on the left side make a better balance to the usual crown an 3 o’clock. I have heard this from many fellow collectors, so it seems Seiko made a great job here. They transported the rich history in a more modern shape without changing the design really much. Well done!

Second: Coolness
You can’t really separate this from the historical view and I don’t know how you really measure coolness. But it’s a difficult thing to find a cooler watch than the one, the biggest action star ever had worn. Funny thing is, I heard the attribute “cool” even from people that don’t know the Arnie connection. And do you know, how time setting works? You set the time on the digital display, push in the crown and the analogue hands follow like slaves. I have tried to show this in the video. Pretty cool, too.

Third: Uniqueness
Also a difficult thing, but I think this watch really stands out here. You can recognize the New Arnie from 10 meters away when you can see the wrist of its owner. Well maybe you mistake it for a H558, but I think that doesn’t count. In my mind that’s a remarkable thing today with thousand of lookalikes and wannabees. I think the Arnie will stay pretty unique even in the future, no Microbrand has the abilities to produce such a watch at this pricepoint, I am sure.

Fourth: Reliability
It’s a quartz watch, ok, and many collectors don’t like quartz watches. Its movement is made of plastic and contains no jewels. But it’s solar powered and if you put in a dark room for half a year it will still work. Buy and wear it, and for more than ten or twenty years you will not have any problems. You don’t have to set the date, it changes automatically until the year 2100. Its accuracy is good enough (Seiko says about 15 sec a month, mine runs with an accuracy of 5 sec a month) for almost every situation.

Fifth: Price point
The recommended retail price is 469 Euro in Germany, so this is an affordable watch for every collector. You don’t get a new Sumo for this and for sure no LX oder Willard Reissue. You can take the STO Turtle if you prefer mechanical watches. You don’t have to be wealthy, it’s still a watch for normal people.

One thing I almost forgot: The SNJ025 comes with a brand new developed flat vent of excellent quality. It’s very soft and comfortable and finally a diver strap from Seiko that doesn’t attract dust!

So in summary it’s a very cool and unique watch with rich history, reliable in every situation for a very reasonable price – and that’s why the New Arnie is my favorite Seiko release 2019.

Variations Black (SNJ025), Pepsi (SNJ027), Gold (SNJ028). Alas, no orange model like the H558.
Functions Time, Date, Chronograph, Alarm, Second Timezone, Backlight, Battery Level
Analogue Hands Stepper Motor (every 15 seconds a quarter minute), automatically following the digital display time
WR 200 m Water Resistance
Movement H851 Solar
Size 47mm x 50mm x 14mm, Tuna shape, 22mm lug width
Digital display in modus day/date
Solar powered H851 movement
Second hand hits the indices almos perfectly
Right crown screwed down (or better screwed up, because you close the crown the other was as usual), left crown not
Controlling the watch with the big crown on 3 o’clock
The superb new Seiko Flat Vent
As reliable as it could be
200 m water resistant
In my palm

Seiko 5KX – Thumbs up or down?

This year few moves from Seiko made a bigger wave in the scene than the end of the SKX and release of the new Diver style Seiko 5 Sports, quickly nicknamed 5KX.

Since I am one member of this scene, owner of a SKX (and some of it’s predecessors) and since a few weeks also owner of two new 5KX, I think I share my thoughts on this ‘case’.

Normally it’s a good idea to look at history first, for this will often clear some facts: neither is the SKX the first watch with this case design nor the best (in my opinion). That famous watch didn’t pop out of nowhere. In fact, the first watch with the SKX design was released in 1978. The reference was the 7548 and you wouldn’t believe it – it was a quartz watch. Today many collectors hull up their nose when it comes to quartz, but the 7548 movement was far better than our standard cheap quartz movement today (which power 99,9% of todays quartz watches). It was adjustable, had 5 jewels, contains no plastic parts, built to last. One of his successors, the 7C46 is still used in one of Seikos best dive watches, the Tuna family. The 7548 was a great success in his time, laid the base for future SKX-style watches.

Seiko 7548 from 1980

Successors of this watch were for example the famous 200m Professionell (also a quartz watch), the 7002 as a automatic watch and, in the late 90s, the most famous of all, the SKX. If you ask an expert which of this watches is the best, he will probably name the 200m Professionell.

The SKX was sold for many, many years (more than 20!) and became an icon for watch collectors, even if they are not especially Seiko fans. The downsides they gladly accept – the screwed down crown is in my eyes not very good and it’s almost impossible to fix the crown with the first attempt. Neither the second. The movement 7S26 was a reliable workhorse, but without hacking and handwinding very oldfashioned. To start the movement, one has to do the Seiko shuffle…a little bit weird.

Around the year 2015 something changed in Seiko’s portfolio, the Prospex X (or better P/S for professionell specifications) appeared and soon became an object of many bad comments from the fans. But Seiko continued (as always) and started new lines (for example the New Turtle) or prospexed old lines (for example the Sumo). The Turtle today is one of Seikos best selling watches. Turtle and Samurai became the entry level of the Prospex line of real divers.

Real divers? There was this old SKX left in the portfolio, loved by the fans, old fashioned, 20 years old. And now, with a bang (for many; others had awaited this years ago) Seiko discontinued the SKX. Take this, watch aficionado!

In my eyes, Seiko had three options:

  • “Prospexing” the SKX with a 4R36 as a direct competitor to Turtle/Samurai. The fans would have growled in anger because of the X on this icon!
  • Upgrade the SKX as a competitor to the Sumo with a 6R Movement. The fans would have growled in anger because of the remarkable higher price point!
  • End the SKX line for now and release the case design in a lower line like the Seiko 5, making it no competitor for any other diver. The fans would have growled in anger because of the downgrade (even it was not intended to make this watch the SKX successor)!

See something?

As we all know, option 3 was chosen. The handsome design came to the Seiko 5 line and the fans yelled “downgrade”. But that’s not right, it’s no downgrade, it’s a complete new watch with all features typical for a Seiko 5: movement 4R36, 100m WR, see-through bottom. The SKX is history. Some say “for now” and maybe in the future Seiko will bring option 2 to life…

Let’s have a closer look at the new Seiko 5 Sports now. I bought two of this new watch line in the last weeks, the orange SRPD59 and the crème SRPD67. The finishing of the watches is remarkable for this price point. I have heard many comments about misalignments, and yes, this happens, but my watches are perfect. I bought the two of them by two different authorized dealers (the Creme ist not available in Germany).
The 100m WR allows swimming and even snorkelling with this watches, but not real scuba diving – well I think very few of us are scuba divers and they use diving computers. So it’s more something that happens in your head. Then there is one thing I really don’t miss: the screwed down crown, as I mentioned before. The normal crown is much more convenient to my opinion. The screwed down crown of the SKX wasn’t really comfortable, in other price ranges Seiko can do this a lot better.

Let’s come to the bracelets. The Orange came with a new Oyster which has one thing in common with the famous SKX Jubilees: It rattles like a snake, at least my piece. So you have one familiar thing more…Otherwise it’s a reliable bracelet, absolute ok at this price point. The Crème came with a Mesh/Milanaise, which lifts the price about 70 Euros. I don’t know why. I would prefer the Oyster every time and I don’t like this bracelet, especially it’s clasp. Ok, truth to tell, I don’t like any Milanaise, so I am biased. I removed this and put on a GL831 from Uncle Seiko, which in my eyes is a perfect match. It’s easy to replace the bracelet because the 5KX has drilled lugs – which the SKX lacks.

They use the well known 4R36 and my watches are real good when it comes to accuracy. The Orange gains 5 sec/24h, the Crème gains 2 sec/24h, excellent for this movement.

With so many different colors of the new 5KX I think everyone will find his favourite and I highly recommend this watches. They are an eyecatcher for small money!

So for me: Thumbs up!

  SKX Seiko 5 Sports aka 5KX
Movement 7S26, no hacking, no handwinding 4R36, hacking and handwinding
Case 42mm, screwed down crown 42mm, drilled lugs, no screwed down crown
Water resistance 200m 100m
Glass Hardlex Hardlex
Bottom Screwed down, massive See-through
Price (Euro) 299 259-329
SRPD59 Orange
SRPD67 Creme
Processed With Darkroom

The Red Side of Life – Seiko Shogun Zimbe Red (SPB099)

Dear friends,

Today I want to introduce you to my new addition, a Seiko Shogun. But a very special Shogun: the Zimbe Shogun Red (SPB099). I was thrilled when I saw the first picures, but the price was too high for me…for two days. Then I could not resist this red dial. A red dial I had not in my collection and I also have a soft spot for well made LEs (see my Blue Alpinist).

What does Zimbe mean:
“Zimbe” is the name Seiko gave the Thailand Limited Editions, special editions that are sold only in Thailand and come in very few pieces, in this case, only 500 were manufactured.
Zimbe comes from the Japanese word for whale shark: Zimbe Zame. To meet a whale shark is one dream of a diver. These fish are extremely rare in Asia. Since I am not a diver, I can not tell, what it is to meet a whale shark. The whale shark logo can be found on the box, on a hangtag and on the back of the watch . Zimbe watches are generally very popular collector’s items, they sell out fast and prices move rapidly. The Shogun Red is the eleventh Zimbe.

Why is this Zimbe red:
The colors are reminiscent of the ceremonial armor of a Samurai – even if the watch is not a Samurai, but a Shogun. Shogun is the leader of the samurai, for centuries, Japan was in fact ruled by a Shogun. The common Seiko Shogun is only available with a black dial, but there was a Zimbe Shogun before with a black and blue dial.

A word on Titan:
The Seiko Zimbe Shogun is made of titanium, which is a love because of the low weight for some collectors and a hate for others for the same reason. Many – including me until a few months – connect a subjectively lower quality impression. I can reassure the skeptics: the impression of quality is top notch and hard to beat in the price league, I think the macros speak for themselves. Sharp (but not rough), clear edges, fine brush cut, precise processing, everything was great! Japan is the leading country for precision titanium processing (my titanium glasses from a traditional Swiss manufacturer are also “Made in Japan”) and Seiko here has particular expertise. This shows, for example, also the new Prospex LX line.

And what movement is in it?
In the watch works the 6R15D, the latest edition of the 6R15. In accuracy and stability of the rate in individual positions significantly improved over previous versions.

Red Zimbe with Zimbe Hangtag
Lumeshot