2 watches, 1 birthday.

Turns out, in addition to my Seiko 5 Black, I am getting another watch:

This will be the next watch, another automatic. It is an Orvis Automatic Field Watch, a larger watch, but it should be easy to read. I think I will more or less retire my light faced Timex after getting this watch. My watch drawer is getting full! I should be getting it late this month, when it gets back in stock. This is actually a good sign, it is the only watch Orvis sells that is out of stock AND gets great reviews. Looking at the back, it almost looks like a prettier copy of a Seiko 7S26 movement. I’ll take a look when I actually receive the watch.

In the photo, the rotor, balance wheel, wheel holder and (visible) winding mechanism seem similar. When I get the watch I will do some detective work and see if it does indeed use the Seiko Magic Lever system, what the BPH is, does it hack/hand wind, etc. I am looking forward to wearing it.  I hope it is a copy of a Seiko movement, they are some of the most durable automatic movements ever made.

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How not to sell a $2150 watch.

I was looking at Baily Banks and Biddle *again* and looking at this watch:


It’s a Breitling, SuperOcean in Coral. Pretty nice looking watch. The bezel turned well, with a little slop. Only 60 clicks, but acceptable. Oh, did I mention it costs well over $2,000? At the time, I was wearing this watch:

That’s my SKXA55K1 “Orange Bullet” The saleswoman held the watch up next to mine and mentioned that the Seiko had a richer looking orange face than the Breitling. Looking at it, I had to agree. The black, 120 click bezel on the Seiko stands out much better as well, another thing the saleswoman pointed out. I appreciate her honesty, but this is really not a good way to sell a $2150 watch! The Seiko costs well under $200.

Not that I dive, but if I did, I think I would appreciate the large markers and broad hands on the Seiko as opposed to the Arabic numbers and narrow hands of the Breitling.  I also don’t think many people would wear a $2000 watch for diving.

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Initial Impressions of my latest watch.


Seiko SNKE03J1 Black

All Black PVD Seiko 5 automatic
General Comments:

This is my fourth automatic watch.  This is another watch bought by Tiffany, the greatest wife in the world, for my 34th birthday. It sparkles on the wrist and looks very handsome, but not dressy. It is a Made in Japan Seiko 5, my first. The fit and finish are excellent all around. The blood red second hand really stands out. Although there is not much luminescent material, the large, silver markers against a black face allow for easy reading in poor lighting. The lume that is there is nice, Noon, 3, 6, and 9 have different sized markers, making it easy to read. The black day/date window is surrounded by a silver bezel, also a nice touch.  The PVD process really creates a black finish that does not come across well in photos.  It looks nothing like paint, it looks like black steel.

Case: 37mm diameter, stainless steel, 50m water resistance, PVD Black.

Back: Hardlex exhibition back, screw down.
Crystal: Hardlex, flat.
Movement: Automatic, 7S26B, Seiko in-house design. No handwind or hacking. Made in Japan.

Complications: Day of week, Date
Other: Luminous hands and markers, Lumibrite.

As stated before, this is a mechanical watch, and as such will never require batteries. Initial accuracy is about +6 seconds/day. The Japanese made 7S26 seems to be better regulated at the factory.

I have only had the watch 3 days, so these are just initial impressions.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Feeling a little sick today, but I did get a great Birthday Gift, a new watch!  (I just love watches, always have, probably always will.)

It’s an all black Seiko 5.  It is my first PVD watch, which is a surface coating technology which allows metal watches (or anything else metal) to be coated black.

It is very nice on the wrist, heavy, but not too heavy.

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Rich man watches that I like

I do really appreciate watches that most can afford, however, I do occasionally venture to the dark side and look at watches in the $1,000+ range. It is still my belief that you really experience diminishing returns over $500 or so, but I still like these watches:

Omega Speedmaster Pro


I tried on this bad boy at a Baily, Banks, and Biddle. It is the classic moon watch. It went to the moon and looks stunning on Earth. Easy to read and not too large, only 42mm. If I ever come into some real money, this will be on my short list.

Omega Planet Ocean:


I tried on this one as well. Very bold and orange. The saleswoman was actually pretty knowledgeable about watches. She asked me if I knew why the watch was orange? I told her it is because it is the last color that disappears in low light when diving. I wasn’t wearing my Orange Bullet that day. This is a pretty nice looking watch, but the Arabic numerals are a little pointless. Fit and finish were nice, but not crazy nice. The bezel is a lot easier to turn than the regular Omega Seamaster.

Seiko Marine Master


Ah, another Seiko. Have not had a chance to see this on in real life. It is the Marine Master. It is available in conventional automatic or the revolutionary Spring Drive. I like the classic look of the automatic. The unique thing is that is a single piece case. There is no screw on back, thus eliminating a leak path. The rugged looks and classic Seiko diver’s design are what appeal to me.

I’ll add more when I get a chance. Any rich man (or woman) watches are out there that you like?

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Sedentary lifestyle revealed in wrist watches

I have seen quite a few complaints on automatic watches online pertaining to the watch stopping at inopportune times.  The owners often admit they live a sedentary lifestyle.  I was wondering, how sedentary do you have to be to not wind your automatic watch? 
I did a little research and my automatic watches, which use a Seiko 7S26 movement, take about 3200 swings to fully wind.  This sounds like a lot, but for every stride you take, it swings the watch 2 times, so you have to walk 1,600 steps a day to keep it fully wound.  1,600 steps is really not a heck of a lot. Anything below 5,000 and you are considered sedentary.  So, we are talking about less than half of this.  An average person takes 2,000 steps to cover a mile.  So, if your automatic watch stops, you are walking less than 4/5 of a mile a day.  Also remember, you don’t need to walk to wind an automatic watch.  Just moving your arm around winds it as well.  So not only are you not walking, you are not even moving your arm around while you are sitting. 
Now, why would watch companies design a watch that stops occasionally?  Well, turns out nearly all of our ‘modern’ automatics were designed in the 1950’s.  The modern movements are just refinements of older designs.   I would venture a guess people in the 1950’s walked and moved around more than people in the ’00s.  So, yet another example of how Americans have degraded into useless couch potatoes/cube dwellers.  You can’t even move your arm enough to keep a watch wound.

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I was talking to a co-worker during a training session, and I noticed he was wearing a Seiko 5 (Automatic Watch) which was well worn.  He told me it was 10 years old now, and still works great with no servicing.  His previous watch was a Seiko 5 which he wore for 20 YEARS with no service.  He just got sick of the styling and gave it away.  Think about that.  Something that costs less than $100 lasting 20 years with no maintenance.  We are not talking about something sitting on a shelf here.  This is something strapped to your arm, with endless shocks, exposure to temperature extremes, and water.  Yet, this humble, little watch lasted 20 years with no complaint, and as far as we know, it is still ticking away somewhere.  I wish they could make everything that well.

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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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