Watch Review: Seiko SNZH40 Rose Gold Automatic

Seiko SNZH40 Rose Gold Automatic

At long last, here is my review of my Seiko SNZH40 Rose Gold dress watch.  I received this watch as a birthday gift (6 months ago!) but with health issues, I just have not found the time to do a proper review for this stunning watch.

As you can see, it is a bold, modern dress watch.  The case is rose gold plated stainless steel, 39mm across.  The plating is top notch and all the gold on the watch matches.  The dial is a radial sunburst black.  It is a true black, not charcoal or anything like that.  It has roman numerals markers at 12, 6, and 9.  The remaining markers are triangular.  The watch also has a chapter ring for minutes, in white, five minute intervals.  The hands are Dauphine style and are gold plated.  The minute hand is full length, and reaches all the way to the chapter ring, which is a nice touch.  The watch has day and date and minimal writing on the dial;  just SEIKO and Automatic.  The crystal is flat sapphire, my second watch with this material.  I wish they put some anti-reflective coating on there, but at least I never have to worry about scratching it.  It is a nice feature at the price point and a big step up from mineral glass. The crown is fluted and easy to use when  setting the watch.

Powering the watch is a a reliable 7S36B, 23 jewel automatic.  It is plainly finished, but is visible through the transparent caseback.  The caseback is mineral crystal, which is just fine.  No use making it sapphire where it can’t get scratched.  The movement is a pure automatic, no hand wind or hacking.  The watch, interestingly, is water resistant to 100 meters.  I did not expect that level of water resistance for a dress watch.

Finally, we have the band and buckle.  The leather is SEIKO genuine calf and very pliable.  It has a crocodile pattern embossed and is tanned to a patent leather shine.  It ends in an easy to replace 20mm.  The buckle is embossed with SEIKO and gold plated over stainless.

I really enjoy this watch, it is modern, with a diameter of 39mm, but unmistakably a dress watch.  It has no luminous marking, which would detract from what is supposed to be.  It has the look and most of the features of a watch that costs 20X more.  The sapphire crystal is a real bonus and puts this watch in the ‘SEIKO Superior’ line, instead of a 5.  The impressive water resistance adds confidence in wearing this watch daily, since rain will not bother it.  I have worn this watch quite a bit over the last six months, and it still looks brand new.

Case: 39 mm diameter, 12mm thick, Rose Gold over Stainless Steel.  100M water resistance.
Back:  Hardlex exhibition case back, screw down.
Crystal: Sapphire, flat, no anti-reflective coating.
Movement: SEIKO 7S36B, 23 jewel automatic, no hand wind or hacking.
Complications: Day and Date
Other:  On calfskin strap, crock pattern.

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Watch Review, Swatch YGS4000 PROMENADE

Watch Review, Swatch YGS4000 PROMENADE

Look at what I picked up at my favorite antique store.  I usually don’t go for quartz watches, but this one just spoke to me.  It is a Swatch YGS4000 PROMENADE, originally released for the Fall/Winter collection in 1995.

As you can see, it is a very unique looking watch.  The hour markers are all different fonts, colors, and randomly alternate between Arabic and Roman numerals.  The dial is a brushed silver motif, and I am sucker for silver dialed watches.  The hour and and minute hands are simple, black, sticks.  The second hand is a bold red. The bezel is a polished with Swatch repeating 4 times, with dots at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.  The crown is tipped with a red, plastic cap, which matches the second hand and markers on the dial. The only complication is the date function.  I like the humorous day of the week indicator, Today.

The case is aluminum and very light weight.  I really like how easy it is to change the battery.  All you need is a coin to pop open the battery hatch.  The case is also a single piece construction, with the movement loading from the front of the dial.  A lot less leak paths and gaskets.  I believe all Swatch watches are 50m or better water resistance.  The case is bead blasted, except for the bezel, which is polished.

The band is a genuine Swatch leather, original, with lizard grain.  The buckle is also aluminum and signed with Swatch.  It is very pliable and comfortable to wear.

Overall, it is a very practical, stylish, and comfortable watch.  You barely notice it on your wrist, especially after some of the heavy automatics that I usually wear.  It is my first and only Swatch, but now I understand why they were and still are fairly popular.  The design is very unique and the build quality is very good, with an ETA quartz movement inside.  My only complaint is that the second hand is pretty far off the second markers.  It is a minor quibble, but I would of expected better.  My Seiko from 1990 hits the marks every time, but not this Swiss made quartz from 1995.  I am very happy with my purchase, and I am sure it will be worn just about every time I exercise, due to the super light weight.

Case: 36mm diameter, 10mm thick(with crystal), aluminum, 50m water resistance.
Back: monocoque case, solid, with quick battery change.
Crystal: Acrylic, lightly domed.
Movement: Quartz, ETA
Complications: Date
Other:  None.


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Since I’ve been gone…

In case you have been wondering why posts have been scarce, here is a repost from my main blog:

Three weeks ago, Tuesday, June 28, I collapsed on the way back from lunch at work.  I had just walked up an inclined ramp when my heart started pounding and I just could not catch my breath.  I clutched onto a parts cart, then I passed out.  According to my co-workers, I went to my knees, then just laid down on the ground.  I was out for about a minute.  The next thing I remember is I was looking up at my boss, Gene, and he was telling me I just collapsed.  Then another co-worker said they called 911 already, and I could already hear the sirens, since they are located across the train tracks from where I work.

I had Gene call my wife, then I was loaded onto a gurney.  Within moments they had an EKG hooked up…not a heart attack, but my pulse was about 150 to 160.  They also put an IV in.  If you have never had an IV, they do hurt a bit going in.  In about 4 minutes, I was at LaGrange Memorial hospital.  Once at the hospital, I was asked if I had been sitting a long time, on a long plane ride, etc.  No, nothing like that.  I had been feeling odd for about a week before then, loosing my breath going up stairs.  After a while, I remember my older brother was diagnosed with Factor V Leiden.  This is a genetic issue with involves how blood clots and un-clots. I had a pulmonary embolism, but they did not know how bad it was yet.

First test up was an echo-cardiogram.   This one is like a fancy ultrasound, but it was very hard to hold my breath.  Next up was a chest x-ray.  After the ER doc consulted with a couple of specialists, I was off to a CT scan of my lungs.  This, again, required holding my breath and pumping me up with some dye.  The results were back in about 20 minutes.  Pulmonary Embolism in both lungs, big ones, old ones.  They stopped counting when they reached 20.  I had been living with this for a while.  Most Pulmonary Embolisms are acute, mine is chronic.  They gave me two options, pump with clot breakers, which has a 3% mortality rate, or perform an angioplasty on my lungs and install ‘drip lines’ of low dose clot breakers, along with a filter for my vena cava.  The risk was much lower and had a better chance to work.

So, about 2 1/2 hours after I collapsed, I was wheeled into the Interventional Radiology room.  I was mostly awake and they inserted 2 catheters into my jugular vein.  First they checked the pressure in my heart, right side.  Very high.  The right side of your heart usually has very low pressure, since it only has to pump through your lungs.  In my case, my poor heart had been working against so long, the right side was very strong.   Pumping with about 4 times the normal pressure.  For those of you who have never had the joy of an angioplasty, here is what happens.  They move you onto a narrow table and kind of block you in.  Next, they cover your neck with this padded sticker and cover your whole head with a tent like arrangement.  Next up is a lidocane like shot for the skin on your neck.  This numbs it up and then they go in.  You can feel them moving stuff around your chest, it is very creepy.  No pain, since there are no pain receptors in there, but you defiantly feel it and remember it.   The whole procedure took about an hour and a half.  They did give me some Valium to take the edge off, but other than loosing track of time, I pretty much remember everything.   They also shaved part of my chest and put a holding block on there for the 4 tubes coming out of my neck.  Lots of tape, more on that later.

Next up was the Intensive Care Unit.  The drip lines in my lungs were getting a constant source of clot breaker.  They asked me the standard set of questions;  Where do am I?  LaGrange Memorial.  What time is it?  5:27 P.M.  The seconds hand of your clock is broken, so I can’t be more accurate than that.  The elicited a laugh from the nurse.  What is my birthday?  Etc.  I spent the night in the ICU.  During the night it got easier to breath.  Over every house I saw my pulse going down, my oxygen going up, and just plain feeling better.

At 8:00 A.M. The next day, they sent me back down to the CT scanner for another look at my lungs.  The results were back in about 20 minutes, all of the major clots were broken up, some minor ones remained, but those would break up over time.  Off to Interventional Radiology again.  This time, they rechecked the blood pressure on the right side of my heart, looked at the clots, and then got the okay to pull all the tubes from my neck.  That part was pretty painless.  What hurt (and the most painful part of the whole ordeal) was taking the tape off the right side of my check.  They had placed a block to hold down the six tubes from my neck overnight.  I’ll tell you one thing, removing tape from a nipple really, really hurts.  They tore a little skin as well, but it was out and I was back up to my room in the ICU.

Wednesday was a day of recovery after all the tubes were out.  I was feeling better already, but still not quite myself.  Very tired since I only got about 2 hours of bad sleep the night before.  Some visitors, but mostly rest.  Sleeping on the second night was much easier than the first.  They turned off some of the beeping monitors so I could sleep better.  I was only woken up by the blood pressure cuff and a really bad blood draw in the early hours of Thursday.  If you ever get a blood draw, never, ever, let them try to get it from your hand.  It hurts like someone is digging in your hand with a knife.  The next morning I learned I would be going to regular room later in the day.

On Thursday morning, before anything else, they had two “Code Blues” which are when a patient’s heart stops.  So the ICU nurses were pretty busy for the morning.  Talked to the doctor again, everything was looking pretty good.  I did have one really good accomplishment, my first bowel movement in the hospital.  You take for granted the simple things.  I also had my first solid food in 2 days, and they let me walk a little bit.  When I first stood up, I was really shocked how much better I felt.  Even though I had not stood in two days, it was so much better than it was in the weeks leading up to my collapse.  Around lunch time, Gene, my manager and the first person I saw when I woke up visited along with Diane, another person I went out to lunch with on the fateful day.  The remarked how much better I looked and sounded.  I really did feel better as well.  Later in the afternoon, I was off to my regular room on the fourth floor.

My regular room was very nice, with a couch, view of the heliport, a few chairs and even a built in desk.  It looked like a really plain hotel room.  It even had a real bathroom, not a curtain affair like my ICU room.  No more connected monitor, just a wireless telemeter for my vitals.  My only battle was to get off my ‘mechanical/soft’ diet.  I really don’t know how I got on there.  No one went down my throat, and all the food looked like cat food.  My little netbook really helped pass the time, since I am not a real TV watcher.  That night I slept pretty darn well, since I didn’t have a blood pressure cuff waking me up every hour, on the hour.  My parents, wife Tiffany, and son Glenn were all able to visit, since it was a normal room.

Friday was a pretty uneventful day.  I was able to wander the halls, as long as I didn’t try to leave the floor.  Finally got my diet changed to a normal one, and I really enjoyed non chopped up food for the first time in days.  At noon time, three more friends from work, including Dave and Jeremy visited.  It was nice to see that a lot of people cared about what happened to me.  Walking again really helped my spirits as well.  Saw the doctors again, they were all happy with my condition.  I was also cheered up by being able to wash up better.  After 3 days of no shower, you get really funky.

Just waiting for my INR levels to get higher.  It was creeping up slowly, so until it gets over 2.0, I have to be on Heparin.  Later in the day, when Tiffany was visiting, the primary care doctor  asked if I wanted to go home the next day, if I was willing to get Lovenox shots.  It was that, or stay in the hospital a week or more longer.  I decided I really wanted to go home and started on the shots that night.

On Saturday, Glenn’s birthday, Tiffany came in the morning to learn how to administer the shots.  They would be twice a day, until my INR was high enough.  The needle did not hurt, but the chemical burned for about 10 minutes afterwards, but it was worth it.  A little later, a social worker talked to us about the Lovenox shots, she thought I had no insurance, but that is not the case.  With her new-found information in hand, everything we set up for picking up my prescriptions.  About 11:00 or so I was released and picked up our other car at work.  I felt really good.  So much more aware than I have been in a long time.  I never knew how much I was suffering until I had a frame of reference.

I visited the parents’ after getting out and celebrated Glenn’s real birthday with a cake and a candle.  It was great to be out on his birthday and back in the real world.  The next day we celebrated with a full cookout with the whole family and friends in the backyard.  I was able to enjoy most of my vacation that week.  We were able to go to the beach, have a picnic, and appreciate life.

After everything that happened, I do feel like a new man.  I feel better now than I have in years.  I don’t loose my breath going upstairs.  I am not tired at 10:30 in the morning.  Now, all I have to do is take a pill, get weekly blood draws until they get me level, and stay away from knife fights.  You never think of pulmonary embolisms, but they are the second leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest.  I hope to enjoy life more.  My hands are steadier, my mind is sharper, and I can smell again.  I wish I didn’t scare my family so much, but at least I came back to tell this tale.  I still remember what one of the EMT guys said.  Passing out is like nature’s reset button.  When your body can’t deal with it anymore, it just stops everything for a minute, resets everything, and lets you know something went very wrong and you should see a doctor.

As a word of advice to anyone who has a family member with Factor V Leiden.  Please see your doctor about getting tested for it and what what can you do to prevent blood clots if you are positive for it.  You don’t want to end up on the ground, wondering what happened to you, like me.

Now, back to watches.  I received a beautiful Seiko a few months ago, and due to my fatigue/medical issues, I haven’t had the chance to review it.  I will rectify that shortly and get back into the groove of things.  Also on a watch related note, my hands are much steadier now, making watch repairs much easier now.

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Watch Review, Valgine Pocket Watch

Valgine Pocket Watch


I am not usually tempted by pocket watches, but recently I picked up a modern watch for my younger brother, so my interest was piqued.  So, on my last visit to my local antique store, I looked through the vintage bin.  When I opened up this little beauty of a watch, I was amazed at the condition.  I am not sure of the exact age, but, it is Swiss Made, Valgine, 17 jewels, Incabloc, and the dial is just flawless.

The front of the watch has a charming fisherman engraving  and is in very good condition.  The is no wear through visible on the plating and the embossing is deep and high quality.  The front cover pops open perfectly when the pendant is pressed.  If this watch was used, I don’t think was a daily wear watch. The inside of the front dial cover has a well executed tool pattern, a real one, not the stamped versions seen in modern, cheap pocket watches.  The dial is pure white with black roman numeral markers for 1 through 12 and small, red, Arabic markers for 13 through 24 hours.  The hands are very elegant and expertly cut.  The seconds hand is at the 6 o’clock position.  The crystal appears to be acrylic and has no scratches at all.

The rear of the watch has a floral pattern, and is expertly engraved as well.  Again, there is no wear through on the plating that is visible without a jeweler’s loupe.

The watch also came on a nice quality chain and traditional fob, not a belt clip.  A little dandy, but I am sure in a suit, you can pull it off.  The watch is about 44mm in diameter, so not too large, and smaller than what a lot of people wear on their wrists now!

The movement is a 17 jewel, Swiss made movement, shock protected, 18,000 bph,  and keeps excellent time.  The power reserve seems good as well, well over 32 hours.  I would guess that the watch was made in the 60, by how little wear there is.  I don’t think I will wear it much, but I am still glad I acquired this watch.  I have not been able to find out much about this brand, I assume they were one of the thousands of companies wiped out in the quartz revolution.


Case: 44mm diameter, gold plated.
Back: gold plated, snap back style.
Crystal: Acrylic, domed.
Movement: 17 jewel Swiss, Incabloc shock protection, 18,000 BPH.
Complications: Small seconds.
Other:   On 12″ watch chain, with fob.



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Watch Review, Seiko Bell-Matic, 1970.

Seiko 4006-6010T Bell-Matic.

Overview:  While looking through a coffee can full of watches at a local antique store, I pulled out this little gem.   First I saw the back, so I knew it was a Seiko, then I flipped it over and saw some magic words, Bell-Matic.  What is a Bell-Matic?  In the late sixties to mid seventies, Seiko created the first automatic alarm watch.  It was in really rough shape.  The crystal was badly scratched, and even worse, th dial was no longer attached to the main plate!  However, with a few gentle shakes, the second hand started instantly, so the movement itself was just fine.  I asked, he said $5.  I knew it was worth more than that, so I was sold.

Case: 37mm diameter, stainless steel, ‘waterproof’, 19mm lugs.
Back: Stainless, screw down, marked SEIKO Stainless Steel 4006 – 6010 Waterproof, Japan.
Crystal: Acrylic, lightly domed.
Movement: Automatic, 4006A, Seiko in-house design, 17 Jewels. Base movement is automatic only, alarm is hand wound.
Complications: Day of week, Date, mechanical alarm.
Other: Luminous hands and markers, Lumibrite, rotating chapter ring.

The watch is a fairly modern sized watch 37mm, and fairly thick at 13mm.  The case has a slight cushion effect, making it look larger than it is.  The hands are sword style, and very handsome, and a first for my collection.  The dial is a silver cloth weave pattern.  The markers are applied bright silver with luminous material, possibly rhodium plated.  The crown is unsigned, but over-sized and easy to use.   The reason behind this is obvious, it is how you adjust the alarm.  How you set the alarm is simple.  Pull the crown out to the first position and rotate counter clockwise until the red marker is pointing towards the time you want it to go off.  Press the crown in, wind, then pull the button at 2 O’clock.  When the hour hand points to the time, a little bell rings, much like an old fashioned alarm clock.

To repair this watch, I had to go much beyond just polishing the crystal and removing the DNA of ages.  I had to completely remove the movement, remove the hands, reattach the dial, and put everything back in place.  On top of that, I had to use the big guns and use a polishing wheel to fix the crystal as well.  Hand polishing just didn’t cut it.  In doing all this work, I am really impressed with the quality of Seiko movements of the early 70’s.  Everything was very well put together (other than the dial feet) and had the feel of a fine timepiece.  I did a little research, and this watch retailed for $105 in 1970!  Not a cheap watch in any way.

Overall, I am very happy with this watch.  It has a few small issues, like a worn chapter ring and ding in the edge of the crystal, but the wear gives it some character.  I know if I wanted to flip it, I would make my money back 10 to 20 fold.  The alarm works very well, and I find I am using this watch more than my Omega Speedmaster.  An alarm is handier than a chronograph.

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