Industrial Designer + Seiko = Cool looking watch

Riki Watanabe is one of the most famous industrial designers in Japan.  He worked with Seiko/ALBA (yet another division of Seiko) to create this watch:

It’s the Riki AAAA101.   The lines are so simple, yet elegant.  It is also powered by Seiko’s 7S26m which really makes it a very fancy Seiko 5.  Modern, but not to big 37.5mm across.  It is modeled after Riki’s industrial clock designs, with rectangular hands and easy to see across a room markers.  It also comes in black and a rose gold face.  About $200.

Thanks Riki for a tempting timepiece.

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Although the 2 or 3 handed watch/clock on a center pivot is the most commonly accepted form of time keeping, this was not always the case.  There are other ways to tell time.  My wife, Tiffany, and my older brother got me thinking about what else is out there.  Here are a few interesting examples.

This is an automatic, mechanical watch with a digital display, including seconds and date!  It has wild, funky looks for less than $75.

This interesting piece is one my wife Tiffany brought to my attention.  It is called “The Infection”   I really don’t quite get how you read it without really fuzzy timekeeping, but it sure looks cool. I wonder what the battery life is like? $183 from Japan.

This is a binary watch.  A true geek tool.   One of my Co-workers actually spotted one in the wild (he is a watch geek as well) and was impressed by how it looks.  A rather reasonable $69.99 on

Another ThinkGeek watch. This one goes all out, you can do digital, binary, octal or hex.   Only 200 were made and the quality looks pretty nice for $149.99.

This is a classic Casio Mudman with an integrated chronograph.  They are shock resistant, and can have more features than a Swiss Army knife.   It is a simple, low power LCD with backlight.   It is also very much a tool watch.  It tells time and does not look pretty doing it.  They can cost into the hundreds, with all the bells and whistles.

Finally, we have retrograde watches.  There are some which are quite reasonably priced (less than $150.) to well into the $1000’s to $100,000+ range.    Not a huge fan of retrogrades myself, but some do like the look.      The Alpina take on retrograde is my favorite.

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I finally made myself a light box (also known as a light tent)  for taking some better photos of small objects, particularly watches.  I would rather spend money on watches than photographic equipment, so I followed these instructions.

Ironically, I have not taken a photo of my light box yet, but here are some of the resulting photos.   These are very quick and dirty, but I like the results so far.  What do you think?

no images were found

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Got it…

Been busy, but I did get my latest watch, the “Pepsi” bezel Seiko.  I really really like this watch.  The watch even  better than I expected.  I almost never wear the same watch two days in a row, but this watch is an exception.  It is super comfortable on the wrist, the finish is great, overall a super watch.  I’ll write a full review when I get a chance.  I see why everyone has a version of the Submariner, they really do look and feel nice.

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So Close…

The good news is, my next watch is 2 blocks away, in a locked post office safe. The bad news is is that is it in a locked post office safe, 2 blocks away. So, come 7 A.M Monday morning, I will pick up this little beauty. I just knew they would try to deliver on a day we were not home. Oh well. Still looking forward to my Submariner/Sea Dweller style watch. Good thing is costs 1/50th the price, with an in house movement, from a watch company that has been making watches longer than Rolex.

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What makes a Seiko a Seiko

As you can probably tell, I am a big Seiko fan, however, I do own a Timex and a Fossil as well. Today I was wearing my Fossil Speedway chronograph, and I was wondering, are my Seiko’s really that much better? What makes a Seiko a Seiko? So, let’s compare 2 watches:

Fossil Speedway Red:

Seiko SNK615K1

Both watches have integrated bracelets, both have a metallic face. The original retail for the Fossil was $95, the Seiko about $125, but usually about $75 online. So, they are in the same price point.


The bracelets on both watches are folded links, the Fossil is a little more squeaky. The gaps are smaller on the Seiko and it tends to pinch less. The Seiko is brushed all around, the Fossil has a polished center. The Fossil does use round pins, which I like. The Seiko uses flat pins and is a little harder to adjust.


The clasp on the Fossil is friction lock and pushbutton, the Seiko is just a two pushbutton design. The being said, the Seiko deployant is smoothly polished and the edges rounded. This makes pinching much less probable. The Fossil is bead blasted with hard edges. The deployant on the Seiko always lines up perfectly. On the Fossil, it seems to get skewed when closing and a little fiddling is needed. Both clasps are signed. The Seiko has 3 fine adjustment holes (making it the width of one link. The Fossil only has two, spaced closely together. It is easy to get the Seiko to a perfect fit, no so much on the Fossil.

Head of the Watch:

This is the most important part, the actual watch. Both watches have a “Racer” design which tapers into the bracelet.

-Bezel The Seiko has a finely polished and machined bezel. It appears to be screw down and can be replaced. The Fossil does not have a bezel and makes the watch look a little less expensive. The crystal may only be accessed by removing the movement.

-Face and Hands. Both watches have similar hand designs, strait to a rounded taper on the Seiko and strait to a point on the Fossil. The Seiko has more luminous material and finer finishing on the hands. The second hand on the Seiko is tipped with luminous material and stands out well. The Fossil second hand ends in a triangular point, no luminous material. The printing on both watches is precise. The Seiko and 5 are applied markings, the Fossil Speedway is just printed. Both watches have starburst radiating machining. Seiko did a neat thing made a matte band to print on the minute markings. The Fossil has well defined sub dials and a two layer face. The hour markers are large and well defined on both watches, but, again the Seiko has more finishing. The center of the hour markers is filled with luminous material. The Fossil has a square section applied to the markers.

-Crystal Both use mineral glass. The Fossil is domed, the Seiko flat. The Fossil seems to smudge a lot, not sure why. Time will tell who has the stronger crystal.

-Crown and Stem Unsigned on both watches. The date quickset function is much sharper on the Seiko. Another odd thing about the Fossil, when the crown is turned to adjust the time, when you turn clockwise, the hands move counter clockwise. The Seiko clockwise=clockwise seems more intuitive. The Fossil’s crown is larger and easier to use. The Seiko’s crown is at 4 o’clock and recessed, making is much less likely to dig into your wrist.

-Case back Screw down on both. Fossil is stainless with simple markings. The Seiko is a ‘display’ back, stainless steel and hardlex glass. This is common on mechanical watches to display the movement.

-Case The Seiko really shines in this area. All of the edges are nicely polished and well machined. The are also many more curves and cuts on the Seiko. The Fossil has several hard edges which do tend to pinch.

-Movement Hard to compare these two. Not really a fair comparison. The Fossil is a battery operated quartz, the Seiko an automatically wound mechanical movement. The Fossil is more accurate, but will need a battery change every few years. Seiko is known for movements that last almost forever.


Both watches are a great value for the money. The overall finish of the Seiko seems better than the Fossil. Seiko also has over 100 years of watch making behind them as well. To be fair, I should compare a Seiko chronograph to this Fossil, but I honestly think the Fossil would fare poorly. Seiko chronographs have more features (alarm, dual time zone, 1/5 second tick or better) and are usually made in Japan. For what I picked up the Fossil for, it was a steal, and I really do enjoy the watch. The Fossil really has impressed me with the overall quality and value, The face design is unique and I am sure it will have good collectors value as well. All of my Seikos are a joy to wear. This particular watch is very comfortable to wear and keeps excellent time.  I can see why Seiko is one of the largest watch makers in the world.  For the money, they are almost impossible to beat.  Even at this price point, the Seiko is finished impeccably.  Every machined surface is perfectly cut and polished and makes ‘fashion’ watches look pretty cheap in comparison.

Feel free to let me know what your impressions are of Seiko and Fossil watches.

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Watch disappointment and excitement.

Finally got my belated Orvis watch birthday present. From the moment I saw it, I didn’t like it. The face of it was huge and an ugly shade of brown. The movement was an ugly Chinese Seagull movement, nothing like what was shown on the website. I still don’t know how a movement can have 20 jewels. Every other watch movement has an odd number of jewels, i.e. 17, 21, 23 are common. Why is it usually a odd number? Because jewels are used in two situations: For pivots for gears and rotating parts (paired to together) and on the lever which interfaces with the escapement, this usually uses 3 jewels, usually called pallet stones. They must forgo the 3rd pallet stone on the lever.

Here is what the movement really looks like:

Ok finishing and some fake tool marks. It did hack and hand wind, which was nice. It looked like 21,600 or 18,000 BPH and it was a little jerky. My Seikos are much more consistent moving the second hand around the dial. Needless to say, we are returning the watch. For the amount of money, it was pretty poor quality. The case finishing was poor (between the lugs was poorly finished) and the leather strap, well, sucked. Felt like plastic and was almost impossible to bend. But, there is a silver lining. For about the same money (well, a little less, actually) I am getting another Seiko!


The SKX033.  One of my favorites.  A “Pepsi” bezel with a coin edge.  Not a true diver, but I like the smaller case and Submariner styling.  The hour markers are huge and should glow like a typical Seiko.   I actually tried on a SKX031 in the store (black bezel) and was very impressed.  Seiko really does spoil you with quality vs. money.  All in house movements, nearly a century of watchmaking, and Japanese quality control.  You can’t ask for much more.   So in a week or two I should be wearing my new ‘033.

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CH-2365 Red Speedway Review


CH-2365 Fossil Red Speedway

Fossil red faced 12 hour chronograph, 3 sub dials.
General Comments:

This is my first analog quartz chronograph. We went out browsing at
an outlet mall to get out of the house and Tiffany spotted this watch.
I have been wanting a chronograph, as it is the only type of watch
really lacking in my collection. I believe it was a mis-price, since
they didn’t have a tag on it. From what I have seen, it was $95
originally, I got it for less than a quarter of that!

Case: 42mm diameter, stainless steel, 100m water resistance.
Back: Stainless steel, screw down.
Crystal: Mineral Glass, Domed.
Movement: Battery driven quartz chronograph, Caliber OS10. Hacks when crown pulled, quick set date.
Complications: Date, elapsed seconds, minutes and hours, up to 12 hours, conventional seconds on lowest sub dial.

Other: Luminous hands and markers, luminova?

This is a very nicely made watch, at any cost. The bracelet is 20mm
all round with a 2 button deployant clasp with safety fliplock. All
surfaces are finished well. The face of the watch is unique and easy
to read. The face is surprisingly uncluttered. The metal used on the
face has starburst finishing. The chronograph pushers have a
satisfying click when pressed. Overall steal of a watch with only a
few shortcomings: The luminous material used is adequate but nothing
more. The bracelet squeaks a little, but my Seiko 5’s do a little as
well. Lastly, it is a quartz watch, which means the occasional
battery. For what I paid, I can’t complain. Overall, an excellent
watch that looks amazing on the wrist, and I really wanted a red watch.

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