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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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”


Very Omega Speedmaster looking and the:

Seiko SDWC97P1


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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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.


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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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Tissot vs. Seiko

Looked at some watches at lunch. I am shocked how bad very expensive Swiss watches compared to the Seiko I was wearing. I looked at a Tissot Seastar 1000, retail for $550 and it looked a little hokey compared to my $150 Seiko. Ok fit and finish, crappy feeling bezel. If you ever look at “Diver” watches,the first thing to try is rotating the bezel. It is usually an indicator of the rest of the watch. The Seastar was only 60 clicks,not 120 like the Seiko and sounded cheap and hollow. The screw down crown was nothing to write home about either.

It did have a display back, which was nice. The Seiko has a simple Tsunami, which is cool in its own way. The ETA movement is very well finished. The domed crystal may be nice to read underwater, but it’s kind of distorted in plain old air. I’ll take the flat Hardlex any day for day to day use.

Overall, it may be Swiss made, probably by hand, but I will take my machine made Seiko for the money.

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