Sunday, November 18, 2018

Hamilton Khaki Navy BeLOWZERO 1000m Automatic H78585333 - One of the Most Comfortable Deep Divers Around, A Review (plus Video)

In 2015, Hamilton launched the Khaki Navy BeLOWZERO 1000m Automatic H78585333 to be featured in the Hollywood blockbuster movie The Martian on the wrist of the hero, Mark Watney played by Matt Damon. The BeLOWZERO has a futuristic feel to the design which fits in nicely with the movie tie-in. It has the typical black-out military styling with the casing, dial, Arabic numerals, hands, bezel and everything else except the numerals on the date wheel either in black or in various shades of grey. Although paired with a rubber strap straight from the box, the watch does come with a stainless steel bracelet that you can replace by using a strap replacement tool provided as well.

Although I took note of its existence, I did not put in on my priority list then. However, much later I started to see that the specifications of the watch does not correspond to the price demanded. In fact, the watch was underpriced in my opinion. Think about it: dive watch with 1,000 meter water rating; automatic HEV system; sapphire crystal; PVD case surface; a strap and a bracelets as options; Swiss made; ETA 2826 Caliber; and a strap replacement tool - all for just RM6,080.00 MSRP in Malaysia.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT Reference AL-555LNS4H6 Sunset Blue - My Example has a Quality Issue, A Review (plus Video)

I saw Gnomon Watches of Singapore putting up for sale the Alpina Startimer Pilot Heritage GMT last month. I tried getting one but was unsuccessful. Recently, the merchant re-listed another one under the series, the reference AL-555LNS4H6 nicknamed Sunset Blue. I quickly made my order and within 24 hours it was on my desk.

On Gnomon Watches, the watch was listed at USD1,080.00. The MSRP is EUR1,295.00. I was able get it for RM4,674.11.

The watch is a tonneau shaped watch casing with hidden lugs, two crowns, boxed crystal, leather strap, three hands, GMT function and date wheel.

The watch has a vintage feel to it. For those of you that prefer the classic look, the Pilot Heritage GMT has all the trappings.

Alpina has a long history of watch making. It had its golden age and it also suffered under the Quartz Crisis in the 1970s and early 1980s. Close to collapsing, Alpina was able to weather the storm and today, the brand is revitalising its name with many interesting offerings. To read more about the brand, please refer to the book about Alpina at the end of this posting.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

CITIZEN Promaster TSUNO Chronograph Racer Eco-Drive Limited Edition 100th Anniversary Model AV0077-82E - Bullhead Fame, A Review (plus Video)

The year 2018 marks Citizen Watch Company's 100th year of operation. To commemorate this key milestone, the Company released a series of unique, vintage-inspired bullhead chronograph called the Tsuno Chronograph Racer, at Baselworld 2018 watch fair. The inspiration behind the series was the 1973 Challenge Timer Tsuno Chrono (or “horned chronograph” in Japanese). For more about the series, please refer to a special dedicated section at the end of this review.

What caught my attention was a special 100th Anniversary Model, the AV0077-82E which was not part of the original quartet launched during Baselworld 2018 back in March 2018. This special limited edition is an all black PVD version with matching bracelet. To be honest, I would have gone for the blue dial version but considering the significance of the milestone it honours, I decided on the AV0077-82E.

I found one on SeiyaJapan for USD748.00 or RM3,216.24 (at the time of purchase). Unfortunately, the package was subjected to local taxes which added another RM175.45 (inclusive of RM19.10 administrative fees) to the total.

Friday, October 19, 2018

SEIKO Automatic Presage SARY055 (JDM reference)/SRP527 (International reference) - Value For Money Dress Watch, A Review (plus Video)

In the last few watch acquisitions, I was focused on getting the various standards of "Snowflakes" available within the broad repertoire of Seiko's timepieces. Through the various series and sub-lines, Seiko was able to provide designs of similar concept at different price ranges so as to fit  customers' affordability. While researching for the information on my "Snowflakes" project, I happened to notice watches that can be classified as "Baby GS". Instead of being too specific, I am more keen to focus of "white dial bracelet watches" as a collection criteria.

After going through my collection I realised that I have 9 of Seiko timepieces with such criteria. Today I added another into the pile; the Presage SARY055.

The Merchant

I sourced this example from SeiyaJapan. The MSRP is YEN41,040 (including taxes) but SeiyaJapan priced at USD294.00 which is equivalent to RM1,261.64 at the point of purchase. Unfortunately, Malaysian Customs will add another 5% plus some administrative fee for watch imports which in this case amounted to RM80.15 (of which RM19.10 was for the paperwork).

Friday, October 12, 2018

Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Mechanical Blue Bracelet Reference 241835 - A Capable Refined Timepiece with Limitations, A Review (plus Video)

As you know, I originally separated my watch collection into two blogs, one for watches made in the West while the other for watches made in the East. Due to the inconsistency and unbalance nature  of acquiring watches for the collection, it would appear my blog is not getting similar traction as this particular blog. As such, I have decided to consolidate all my reviews, whether it is Eastern or Western made watches, into this blog instead from this point onward. The existing reviews on will remain for reference.

When the first INOX (it is actually spelt as I.N.O.X. but for the purpose of this review I will write it down without the periods) was launched in 2014, I willed myself to wait for a mechanical version to appear. As the years progress, I actually lost hope that Victorinox will ever come out with an automatic caliber timepiece. Many reviewers have the assumption that such possibility is remote if Victorinox wants to maintain the 'indestructibility' quality of the INOX. No mechanical movement is deemed able to withstand the myriad of tests that an INOX is expected to endure. Before anyone accuses me of being a quartz-phobic, I am not. I do collect quart watches (see the list of quartz watches in the collection here). My preference is solar or kinetic powered timepieces because only these kind of quartz watches do not need periodic battery replacement. For me, an INOX would be better suited as a solar powered timepiece instead of battery powered. The though of always opening the case-back after every two-year cycle is too intrusive in my view. The integrity of the INOX can be put into question after every cycle. Do note that in the instruction manual for the quartz INOX, it is recommended that a maintenance service should also be done during a battery change.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Seiko Coca-Cola Desk Clock QHL901R - A Cute Novelty Timepiece, A Review

While browsing in one of my favorite watch shop, I happened to stumble upon a desk clock from Seiko made in collaboration with Coca-Cola. On further investigation, I found that that Seiko and Coca-Cola teamed up together in 2017 to create a series of timepieces to celebrate to two great brands. It would seem that the two companies had a similar history. At exactly the same time as Kintaro Hattori was planning to open his Seikosha factory and to create his first ever wall clock, a pharmacist in Atlanta, Georgia created a drink that would soon sweep the world.

Celebrating the history of the two parties, the clock series comprised of wall and alarm clocks, which all display a distinct retro styling. Coke’s iconic glass bottle and classic red, white and black color scheme serve as the visual elements while Seiko’s precision timing module serve as the engine of the clocks.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Seiko Presage Automatic "Baby GS Snowflake 2" Limited Edition International Ref. SJE073 or JDM Ref. SARA015, The Best Reinterpretation of an Icon - A Review (plus Video)

When the Seiko Presage Automatic "Baby GS Snowflake 2" Limited Edition Ref. SJE073 (International reference)/SARA015 (JDM reference) was showcased at Baselworld 2018, I was hooked. It immediately became another 'grail' watch for me. Why a 'grail' watch you might ask? The likelihood of me snaring one of the only 1,881 examples made is slim considering how beautiful it is.

In many reviews, the SJE073/SARA015 has been given the nickname "Baby GS Snowflake". This nickname was already given to the SARX055 last year. It is not fair to strip it from the incumbent just because this looks closer to the GS Snowflake. I prefer to give the nickname "Baby GS Snowflake 2" to the SJE073/SARA015. I will provide a justification on this later.

This new Presage introduced an all new Seiko caliber, the 6L35. The new caliber is thinner and more accurate compared to the commonly used base caliber for Presage, the 6R15. The dimensions of the watch also took advantage of the thinner movement to make for a much thinner watch casing.

The photos of the watch taken at Baselworld 2018 and via the press kit provided by Seiko wetted my appetite even more. When Gnomon Watches sent me a product update newsletter with the SJE073/SARA015 available at the store, I jumped at the opportunity to get one.

The MSRP in Japan is listed at YEN240,000 (before taxes). Gnomon Watches listed it at USD2,100 which is equivalent to RM8,994.75 at the point of purchase. The purchasing experience is smooth as silk and the watch was on my desk in 48 hours.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Sodynee WBPU12-03 Watch Display Box Organizer, 12 Slots - Cheap Yet Elegant Way to Display Your Collection, A Review

I decided to get another watch-box so that I can keep some of my watches in a more systematic way. There are options in terms of the number of slots but for my requirement, I chose one with 12 slots. I found one on Amazon that came with artificial black leather and a glass top.

The price quoted was also quite reasonable. It was listed at USD16.99 (plus USD25.71 for shipping and import fees). This equates to RM206.69 (product: RM74.73; shipping: RM113.18; import fees: RM18.78).

Within five days the package was on my desk.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Seiko Sport Automatic Infantry SRPC85 (similar to SRPC87 & SRPC89) - More Fashion Than Action, A Review (plus Videos)

The Infantry Watch or military watch (also called a Field watch) is one of my favourite collection theme genre. Unlike dive watches, military watches, especially for the infantry corp is more versatile. With its much smaller dimensions, it can be used in many more instances such as formal or office wear.

My ideal infantry watch must have a symmetrical dial with minimal disruption to the various markers. One major gripe I have with a lot of infantry watch models available today is the location of the date and day aperture(s). Most often, it replaces a luminous hour marker which disrupt the visual presentation in daylight as well as nighttime. As such, a simple analogue 3-hand infantry without any other complications is sufficient for me.

However, when I saw the SRPC85, I got interested despite it having a date aperture. The placement of the date aperture at 6 o'clock gives it a different feeling while making the dial more symmetrical.

I got the watch from AWG in Midvalley Megamall for RM820. The MSRP in Kuala Lumpur is RM1,165.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Seiko 5 Sports "Bottlecap" SRPC61 (similar to SRPC63, SRPC65 & SRPC67) - A Refreshing Design, A Review (plus Videos)

I can't remember whether I have said this thing before but I am annoyed with Seiko's public relation strategy on the Seiko 5 range, specifically the lack of a define promotional plan for all the new offerings. Followers are forced to actively look at watch forums or third party blog postings to get a whiff of new stuff coming out of Seiko's factories.

This is one instance that I was caught off-guard. I caught a glimpse of the watch in a shop display stand and I was immediately smitten by it. I didn't even know Seiko has such a model ready for shipment and yet it is already delivered to its dealers (in Malaysia definitely, can't say for sure other parts of the world though).

Anyway, Seiko, if you are reading this, please come out with a formal process of announcing to your legion of fans new offerings with all the necessary information package like stock photos, specification sheets and product description at the very least. If you can do it for your Prospex and Presage, you can do it for your Seiko 5.

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