Waltham Vintage Hi-beat

Watch review Waltham Vintage, High Beat.

I picked this one up on impulse, along with a quartz Seiko.  It is a surprisingly clean watch, with a 8 bps movement (28,800 BPH) that keeps great time.  I have not even polished the crystal.  Just removed some dirt and put it on a metal bracelet.

The dial is a silver, radial sunburst with Arabic markers at 12 and 6.  At the 3 o’clock position is the date.  The applied  hour markers are stick and appear to be rhodium plated, like the Arabic markers, with a luminous dot.  The minute markers are simple, printed black markers.  The hands are simple sticks, with Tritium paint luminous material.  Overall, the dial design is understated simplicity.  The Waltham name is accented with a stylized W, which pops against the dial. The crown is signed with a large W and has all of the original plating.  The crown is also pleasantly over-sized and easy to wind.

The case is base metal, with a high polished, chrome plated finish.  It is a smaller, 34mn diameter case, with 17mm lugs.  The case back is stainless.  The chrome plate has no wear through.  The crystal is a lightly domed acrylic, with no cracks and very little scratching.

The movement is a 7 jewel, high beat movement at 28,800 BPH.   I opened up the back of the watch and the movement is spotless with no signs of water or dust.  It is keeping very accurate time, as to be expected with a high beat.  The power reserve looks to be about 40 hours as well, so no need for servicing soon.

This is my second Waltham watch, and I am very pleased with it.  It is a shame they went out of business, the styles and quality are excellent, from all the pieces I have handled so far.  I put it on a Jubilee style metal bracelet, which works well with the watch.  I don’t think it was worn all that much by the original owner, since the plating is in excellent shape and the movement is performing flawlessly.

Features:
Case: 34mm,  chrome plated base metal, water reistant.
Back: Stainless Steel, snap on, claims water, shock, and dust resistant.
Crystal: Acrylic, domes.
Movement: Waltham Hi-beat 28,800 BPH movement, 7 jewels.
Complications: Date.
Other: Stainless after market jubilee style .  17 mm lugs.

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Watch Review, Seiko SQ Quartz, 1990

This is one of my latest finds (which was free, since I am a ‘good’ customer) is a Seiko Quartz watch from 1990.  It was in pretty sorry shape when I got it:

Pretty sad looking for a watch which probably cost about $100 new, just 20 years ago!  Well, here is where Brasso and some hard work come into play!

After about 10 minutes of polishing and cleaning, this is the result.  There are still a few scratches, and there are a few small cracks, but now it is a usable watch again.  It also has a stainless steel case, so it is a perfect replacement for my base metal Timex beater. The case is all stainless steel with a flat crystal.

It will be a beater, but what a beater.  Super clean design for the face and hands, with Day and Date, and best of all, it is a Seiko.  I put it on a Timex expedition, leather band.

Features:
Case: 39mm, stainless steel, water resistant.
Back: Stainless Steel, screw on, Seiko serial number made August, 1990.
Crystal: Acrylic, flat.
Movement: Battery operated quartz, SQ series 5Y23, made in Japan, Seiko in house movement.
Complications: Day and Date.
Other: Leather band, aftermarket.  18mm lugs.

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Dave’s Home for Wayward Wristwatches


Picked up two new-to-me watches, one is a fine, high beat Waltham, hand wound watch:

It is a surprisingly clean watch, with a 8 bps movement (28,800 BPH) that keeps great time.  I have not even polished the crystal.  Just removed some dirt and put it on a metal bracelet.

My second find (which was free, since I am a ‘good’ customer) is a Seiko Quartz watch from 1990.  It was in pretty sorry shape when I got it:

Pretty sad looking for a watch which probably cost about $100 new, just 20 years ago!  Well, here is where Brasso and some hard work come into play!

After about 10 minutes of polishing and cleaning, this is the result.  There are still a few scratches, and there are a few small cracks, but now it is a usable watch again.  It also has a stainless steel case, so it is a perfect replacement for my base metal Timex beater.  It will be a beater, but what a beater.  Super clean design for the face and hands, with Day and Date, and best of all, it is a Seiko.

In case you were wondering, “Home for Wayward Wristwatches” was not my idea, I have to thank Ricky Lee on the Poor Man’s Watch Forum.  He did inspire me to rescue some really trashed watches.

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Vintage vs. Modern

Vintage Vs. Modern

As you may have noticed, my collection of watches is split between modern and vintage pieces. Why? The are many reasons, cost, style, practicality, and general coolness sums up why I have both types.

Why modern?

With a modern watch, you get a watch with features that are lacking in a vintage piece. A big difference is the amount of water resistance of modern watches. Even dress watches now have a 5ATM/50M water resistance, with 100 and 200M being very common on very inexpensive watches. It’s nice to know that if you are caught in a rainstorm, or a flood for that matter, you don’t have to worry about your watch. Another nice thing is the robustness of modern watches. Modern automatics generally have more shock protection and robust components than many vintage pieces. Quartz watches, even more so. Luminous or electronic luminescent material is another feature you will only get with a modern watch, unless you get the watch re-lumed. Modern glow in the dark material are light years ahead of what used to available.

Another aspect is the some people prefer modern styling (read BIG watches). Most watches are at least 38mm, with up to 54mm not uncommon. Vintage watches are usually 34mm for men’s and just plain tiny for women’s. Finally, modern materials have an advantage over vintage pieces. Most watches are all stainless steel, with base metal watches only on the very bottom end of the market. An all stainless steel vintage model is a rare fine.

Why vintage?

Style , movements, and price. Many modern pieces try to emulate styles of the past, and often cost a lot of money. You can pick up the inspiration for a fraction of new. A nice 70’s funky watch costs less than $10. With movements, the build quality and finish of even mid priced pieces is excellent, exceeding modern, machine made movements. When all there was was mechanical movements, the manufactures got really good at making them small and accurate. Hand wound only movements are particularly thin, rivaling or exceeding the thinness of quartz movements. Even the cheap Timex automatic movements were remarkably thin and very robust.

If you want a complicated watch, like a mechanical chronograph, look into vintage. A Seiko 12 hour 1/5 of a second, day and date, automatic watch can be had for less than $200, where a new Seiko with the same features will cost you over $2,500. Same goes for Swiss movements. If you want a modern, all metal, automatic movement, you are looking at $ 300 or more, whereas in vintage it will be less than $50. My most expensive vintage pieces set me back $20. Try to get a modern, Swiss made mechanical for that price. Even a Swatch automatic will set you back at least $100 and some of the components are plastic.

What should you buy?

If you want a watch you can wear every day and not worry about it, buy modern, heck, even a quartz. If you want affordable style and classic looks, go for the vintage. If you a budding watch collector, the thrill and challenge of finding working mechanical pieces is a big part of collecting. A word of warning, avoid vintage quartz, if possible. Starting from the mid 70’s to the mid 90’s, there was a lot of junk made, particularly in the 80’s. The cell (battery) may be hard to find, or if it was not replaced in time, may have leaked and destroyed the quartz module.

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Watch lover’s nightmare

In the last 6 months or so, Oakbrook Center Mall (in Illinois) went from being a watch lover’s mecca to almost a desert.

They have lost, in order:

  • Bailey Banks & Biddle
  • Swatch company store
  • Movado company store
  • Mont Blanc company store

Bailey Banks and Biddle went out of business earlier this year.  Swatch and Mont Blanc closed these two under-performing stores, and Movado closed all of their boutiques, except for New York and outlet stores.  It’s really sad, since three of these stores were located in a row!  Now, all that is left is Rodger’s and Holland (bleech service, but good watches), C.D. Peacock (Rolex, Panerai, and Cartier), and Macy’s (High and low end watches, craptastic customer service).  Also, there is Michael Hill (quartz as far as the eye can see) and Sears (it’s a Sears.)  I think I miss the Swatch store the most, the prices were reasonable and the watches were interesting and Swiss made.  Overall, there is a lot less to look at, watch lover wise, in Oakbrook.  I guess I will have to head downtown to get my high end watch fix.

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