Vintage fun

Been thinking about what my next watch should be.  I saw a nice Bulova hand wind in an antique store, for only $45!  It was decent looking, but the bracelet was awful (twist-o-flex), also known as a hair grabber.  It was a little small, but very thin.  It was a hand wind, only, with no claim of jewel count on the face.  Small seconds dial, which is pretty neat.  I still can’t find a picture of one.  Personally, I kinda of like automatics, you don’t have to really think about winding them.  With that in mind, I think I found a vintage one I like:

It is a Seiko 6139 based chronograph, ‘white helmet’ design.

It meets several criteria I really want in my next watch:

  • White or cream faced.
  • It’s a Seiko.
  • It is a vintage, but not too old, late 70’s.
  • It has day and date.
  • It is an automatic.
  • It is a chronograph WITH a Tachymeter scale.  (I really like Tachymeters)
  • It is not too big, about 40mm diameter.
  • I think it looks cool.
  • Prices are reasonable, but really good examples are not the easiest to find.  Price seems to be in the $100 to $150 range for clean examples.

This would be my first foray into a vintage watch, but considering a NEW Seiko mechanical chronograph is upwards of $2000, this is a steal.  The cheapest Swiss chronos are usually over $1,000.  The other alternative is Russian (Poljot) chronographs as well.  Not sure which way to go, but I think I like the thought of a vintage watch.

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Cream Faced

I am looking for a nice cream or white faced watch.  I don’t have any ‘nice’ watches right now that fit that bill.  Here are a few I like:


A Seiko 5 Sport SNZE85K1.  A really nice looking watch that is not too big (40mm), has a 22mm lug width, so it can share bands with my other divers,  and has two neat features I like.  The face is luminescent and it has a compass bezel!  It is a very rugged looking watch and I love the hands.  It also comes on a solid link bracelet, which is a nice touch.  A little pricey at $160 shipped, but it is a new favorite of mine.


A Seiko 5 SNKE57K1.  Nice, clean watch with luminescent markers and numerals.  37.5mm diameter, similar to most Seiko 5’s.  The hand design is very nice as well.  Folded link bracelet, but it can be swapped for leather.  I like the look of the bracelet, looks like an Omega Seamaster bracelet to me.   Less than $75 on ebay, shipped.


An Orient CEV09001W dress watch.  40mm in diameter, not too large.  Clean, dressy look, with some of my favorite hands.  I like the full day of the week.  Less than $90 shipped on ebay.


Another Seiko 5, the SNK797K1.  Another full lume face, 37.5mm diameter.  Clean looknig watch, but the hands are little plain for me.  Less than $80 on ebay, shipped.

That’s it for now.  I’ll have to add these to the “watches I really and kinda want later.”

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Finally got to see some Panerai watches.  As you may know, they were the official watches of the Italian navy, including their divers.  They are huge, almost ugly, but very popular, with many homages out there.  I was able to try some on at C.D. Peacock.

The first one I tried on was the Luminor Marina:

A nice looking watch, not too big, at 40mm.  Ugly ass cyclops magnifier over the date.  There is a 44mm available as well.  Neat, but pointless crown guard at 3 O’clock.  Way overpriced, over $4,000.

The next was the Radiomir:

A beast at 46mm or so.  I have to say, it didn’t hang over my wrist like I thought it would.  Unless you are legally blind, you will be able to read this watch.  I liked the look of it, then I looked at the back.

Jesus, the movement filled the case.  I looked it up later, 44mm diameter movement.  They basically took a hand wind pocket watch and attached to your wrist!  As a comparison, the Seiko 7S26 is 27mm across, the Seiko 4206 is less than 23mm.   I am sure it is solid engineering, but BIG movements are cheap to make.  At $4,800, I was not impressed.  A pretty face with a cheap movement don’t work for me.  They even have temperature compensating weights on the balance.  A feature not needed in 100 years.   It adds cost and does nothing for accuracy.  Much like a tourbillon. which does nothing as well.  (More on these points on a longer post I am writing.)

Overall, they were very nice looking, but very expensive watches.  They are very desireable now, but what about 10 to 20 years down the road?  You can get watches that look very similar, with probably better movements for about 1/50th the price.

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