TLC

Spent the time to clean up my Kinetic watch.  It is a very nice watch and gleams like new again.

I took off the bracelet and soaked it in a jewelery cleaner and then soaked and cleaned the watch itself.  It is pretty amazing what dirt comes off after wearing a watch 5 years.  Overall, the watch has held up well.  There is some wear to the underside of the bracelet (rubbing against a desk) which is pretty typical. It still keeps amazing time, even for a quartz watch.  It is currently dead on to N.I.S.T. time, no adjustments over the last 5 months!  The worst I have seen it is about 0.5 seconds off at the last daylight savings time change.  I don’t wear t nearly as much as I used to.  My Orange Bullet Diver’s and my Blue 5 get worn at work all the time, and the green military gets worn every night at home. I think I will wear it soon to charge up the energy cell to 6 months charge again.  It is currently at about 2 months reserve.  Seiko still makes this exact model, which is a good sign.  I like the fact someone still makes a men’s standard size watch, 36mm, not the hubcaps you see strapped to peoples’ wrists now. 

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As always, looking, and first impressions.

Went to Kohls the other day to look at chronographs. Not entirely convinced if I should get one, or just stick with getting more automatics. I really do like autos. I did spot a really nice looking Seiko SNAA63 for half off. It still was $187.50 though. I can get a really nice auto for that kind of coin.

Sharp looking watch with the movement I like. Still not sure though.
I also looked at a Citizen for about the same original price $325 vs. $375 original. It was an ecodrive, which I have wanted to try. But, and this is a big but, you know what they say about first impressions? The Citizen was very disappointing. It felt cheap and light. The bracelet was hollow and squeaky. This is ok for a sub $100 watch, but not for over $300! The much bigger issue was when I went to use the chronograph function. I pressed the reset button. The second hand swung back into place but the 1/10 of a second subdial didn’t budge. Started timing, still didn’t budge. I thought maybe I was in lap mode. I reset it twice, still no movement. The Seiko, of course, reset perfectly every time. I don’t know, I know Citizen is supposed to be very good, the #1 Japanese maker (in sales) right now, but the first impression sucked.

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Not so torn anymore.

Went looking at some Swatch watches today. I looked at the “Windfall” in the store.
Three real deal breakers for me:
1) Looked at the watch critically today. The front is finished very nicely. The hands, meh. The back of the watch looks terrible. Very roughly machined with no polishing. I am sure they could justify this by saying it is to keep it on the wrist better, but the hard, sharp edges and rough grinding scream cost cutting to me. All of my Seikos are finely polished on the back and even between the lugs. Even my $65 Seiko 5 has all finely polished edges, even where you can’t see them.
2) Proprietary band/bracelet attachment. Some day I may want to change out the band. I would like to also be able to go to Target, Walmart, etc. to find a replacement. I did on my $30 Timex, and I can do the same for all of my watches except for one. I don’t want to have to go back to Swatch to get a new band. I could grind off the offending parts, which serve no purpose other to make the connection proprietary, but I shouldn’t have to. I am sure the cost a bit more as well.
3) A middling, at best, chronograph movement. I really hate the low end Swiss chronograph movements. The second hand ticks once per second, and the 1/10 second dial swings into position AFTER you have stopped the timer. Did I mention it SLOWLY swings to 1/10 of a second reading after you press stop? Like almost 2 seconds slow. This is really unacceptable. Seiko has either 1/5 second tick, which looks really cool, or they have a 1/10 of a second subdial that starts spinning the instant you press start, or they have a 1/10 1/100 of a second sub dial that starts the instant you press start. Thats right, that little hand is spinning at 600 RPM! The other issue is when you press reset, the Swiss movement jerkily and slowly swings back to zero. Seiko swings smoothly back to zero, and very quickly.
So, I am scratching Swatch off my list. Heck, even the “Cheap” TAG Heuers seems to have the same movement in their chronographs. Shame, really. Seiko is years ahead of them in quartz movements. They should be, they invented them.

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Torn

I am looking at getting a new chronograph. It is type of watch I do not own and have never owned, other than some digital models when I was a kid. I still don’t like digital. It looks ugly and hard to read for me.

So, here are the two watches I am torn between:

Swatch “Irony Windfall”

windfall.jpg

Very Omega Speedmaster looking and the:

Seiko SDWC97P1

sdwc97p1.jpg

Costs more, but has a better movement and looks like a TAG.

Not sure which….

I really only want one more battery based Quartz watch since I discovered the joy of Automatics.  Both watches are nice, but the Seiko does more (alarm) but I like the look and price of the Swatch.

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My Automatics and endless watch browsing

My 3 automatic watches are working very well. 
My green military has been keeping great time.  It looks like it is gaining less than 5 seconds a day now, after having it about 2 months. 
The Orange Bullet is still running a bit fast, about 15 to 20 seconds a day.  However, I have only had it less than a month, so I will see how it does over the next 30 days.
The blue 5 is really shocking me.  It is almost dead on right out of the box, less than 5 seconds a day as well.  I hope it keeps up the excellent time keeping.
Speaking of excellent time keeping, my Kinetic is still keeping unbelievable time.  Less than 0.5 seconds lost in 6 months!  Even for a quartz, this is pretty remarkable.  I wonder what accuracies other people have seen with their Seiko quartz watches?
The Timex still keeps excellent time as well, gains about 3 seconds a month. 

Made another trip to TJ.  Saw a nice Seiko 5 sports, orange faced watch.  Really sharp looking.  Even on the ‘low end’ Seikos, the rotating bezel feels much better than watches 20 times more expensive.  Also saw a few nice chronographs.  I really like the 1/5 second tick on some of the Seiko models.  Classic look and easy to read.

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Interesting old book.

For Christmas, my brother Ron bought us all really unique, if inexpensive gifts. For me it was a Dictionary of Clocks and Watches by Eric Bruton. It is pretty fascinating book for someone interested in horology. What make is really neat is the fact that it was published in 1963, so it is a snapshot the state of the art in time keeping in 1963.
It was time where quartz clocks existing, but still 6 years away from the quartz watch. Electric and tuning fork watches were around as well, a new novelty. In case you have never heard of a tuning fork watch, it is a watch where the time keeping is driven by a precise tuning fork. The watch literally hums at 300hz. Each time the fork oscillates, the second hand moves. The cool thing is that it results a super smooth second hand sweep. At the time, no one really knew what would be the next generation of watches. Turns out Seiko was right with miniaturizing quartz technology and quartz watches are by far the dominate form of watch.

The other cool thing is reading about how mechanical watches really work. Escapements, pallet stones, etc. It has given me even more respect for mechanical time keepers. I have almost read the book from cover to cover, yes, a little dorky, but it was a good read and a excellent reference book in the future.

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Memories

I was just curious, and I started looking around to see if I could find my first analog quartz watch. Turns out, not only did I find it, Casio STILL MAKES IT!

It looks darn near identical to a watch I wore for years. The lug design looks a little different, but the face, hands, and band looks very similar. It’s a Casio MQ247B (there is a a MQ247B2 as well, retro font for the numerals) which goes for a whole $8.50 on Amazon.
I am tempted to add it to my collection for sentimental reasons. I still remember the smell of the band when it gets sweaty. A gross memory, but a memory nonetheless.

This was the watch I pestered Mom and Dad about years ago when we were on vacation in the Smokies. It’s a cheap watch, but it was still the first.  I hated digital watches back then and I still don’t like them at all now.

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Saw a Black Monster

Went to TJ with Tiff today, and saw a Seiko Black Monster. In the last 2 weeks I have seen an Orange and Black monster in the store. The bezel still does not work for me. I like the classic bezel like my Orange bullet.  The hands are neat, but I  like the classic Seiko hands as well for readability.


vs.

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Addicted

Went out to TJMaxx at lunch today and tried on this little beauty:

It’s a Seiko SKX031, a 100 meter watch, not a true diver. It looks very similar to a Rolex Submariner, but with Seiko style hands. It also costs about $5500 less. TJ had it for $160, which is OK pricing, but nothing to write home about. On closer inspection, I could tell it was used (dirt inside the clasp and the band was resized) so it was not that tempting. However, the look was great. It is 39mm wide (3mm narrower) and thinner than my Orange Bullet. Looked very nice on the wrist as well. I’ll have to add it to my wish list. A Rolex homage with the hand style I like from Seiko.

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