Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Seiko Marine Master Professional 1000m Automatic Diver SBDX011 - The Best Of Japan, A Review

Seiko has a number of notable offerings, Their professional watch series is one of the, if not the best, in the world. Under the Prospex sub-brand, these are purpose built tool watches.

In the last few days of 2013, I finally achieved one of my grails, the Seiko Marine Master Professional 1000m Automatic Diver SBDX011. Commonly known as the Tuna or Emperor Tuna or Darth Tuna or Hockey Puck, this is the flagship of the entire Seiko automatic divers' line.

Unfortunately, this watch is only available in Japan. But not to worry, my good supplier, Mr Katsu-san of www.higuchi-inc.com is ever ready to deliver. After just a few days, the familiar looking EMS box from Japan Post was on my desk.

Not a lot has been written about the SBDX011 even though it was released way back in April 2009. The reason is that it was destined only for the Japanese domestic market. Although Japanese horologists would provide the necessary write-up on this model, language barrier as well as the unavailability of the watch to be reviewed in depth outside Japan exacerbates the poor coverage on this model.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Casio G-Shock G5600-1DR - A Day-To-Day Soldier, A Review

I recently bought for my son a Casio G-Shock G5600-1DR for his day-to-day use. This is the 4th generation basic G-Shock, produced 30 years after the first G-Shock came out of the production line back in 1983.

This model has, like all newer Tough Solar models, has a Power Save function. This function goes to sleep mode when the watch isn't used for some time during daytime. In Power Save mode, the watch can work in the background for about 11 to 12 months.

Like all G-Shock, the watch has the following functions:
  • Shock resistant
  • Solar powered
  • Water resistant 20 ATM
  • Dual time
  • 1/100-second stopwatch
  • Countdown timer (Countdown range: 100 Hour)
  • Daily alarms 5 independent daily alarms
  • Hourly time signal
  • Battery power indicator
  • Power Saving
  • Auto-calendar
  • 12/24-hour format
  • Electro-luminescent backlight
  • Module: 2597
  • 48.9 X 43.0 X 13.7 mm
  • Weight: 52.0 g
I tried it and I actually quite like it. It has a nice size that is universal. Not too big and not too small. As I am getting a bit old and starting to have problems focusing on small stuff (need bifocals!), the large digits on the LCD is large enough to not give me problems.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Seiko Prospex SBDC003 Scuba 200m Blue Sumo - Although The Watch Is Not Perfect, It Can Stand On Its Own, A Review

This model was first launched in 2007. Back then, the design philosophy was very tool-like. This new design is a new development of the Seiko diving watch line where styling also becomes a design criteria. A new caliber has also been earmarked for use with this new model.

Codename "Sumo", it is one of the desirable watches that came out of the Seiko stable. When I got the opportunity to get it via my trusted Japanese supplier Katsu-san, I immediately ordered one and it promptly landed on my table.

The blue dial is what attracts me. Its ocean blue color is very consistent with the purpose of the watch and offers great readability. I loved the classic simplicity of the dial design. The markers are slightly raised with gives a 3 dimensional feel to it.

One of the striking visual cues on the watch is the relatively large width of the bezel. The additional space available on the bezel allows larger than normal Arabic numerals to be etched on it. The bezel is uni-directional with a lumed pip at the 0/60 minute position. It has a 120-click movement to complete one rotation.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Citizen Promaster Autozilla 1000m Titanium Divers Watch NH6930-09F (NH6931-06E) - Pure, Unadulterated Dive Watch, A Review

A grail watch in my view, the Citizen Promaster Autozilla 1000m Titanium Divers Watch NH6930-09F (NH6931-06E) is the epitome of design and manufacturing prowess of Citizen. The ability to design a watch that can take on an extreme environment, in this case, water pressure of 1,000 meters using titanium should be acknowledge. In this case, Citizen uses a proprietary alloy of titanium that has gone through a process called "Duratec".

There are two reference for this watch. One for Asia and the other is for North America and Europe. The NH6930 is an Asian market designation and the model with this designation has English and Japanese for the day wheel. Meanwhile, the NH6931 designation has English and Spanish for the day wheel.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Citizen NY0040 200m Promaster Diver - The Perfect Diving Tool For The Scuba Hobbyist, A Review

It is very seldom that you get to come across a dive watch from Citizen that is pure mechanical. The Citizen auto scuba diver watch with yellow luminous dial NY0040-09WB Promaster is just one such rare gem. The suggested retail price was RM1,260 but I was able to get it via the internet for just RM499.

It has a dive rating of 200m and comes with a rubber strap.

Interestingly, the screw down crown is set on the left at the 8 o'clock position of the stainless steel case. Does this imply that this watch should only be worn on the right hand? Actually no. In this position, the crown is not only protected against hits and smashes, it also does not poke into the back of the hand. This is very important since the crown is a huge one.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Seiko 5 Sports SKZ211J1 Atlas/Landshark - A Good Tool Watch, A Review

Nicknamed “Atlas” by a majority of watch enthusiasts, the black SKZ211K with yellow hands is another watch that calls to me. Also known as “Landshark”, this model is under the Seiko 5 brand. The Atlas is built tough. The polished case is die cast from a solid piece of stainless steel.

I was made to understand that this is Seiko's first 200 meter water resistant Seiko 5 Sports watch when it was launched back in 2005. Its dimensions are impressive. The diameter of the watch case is 42 mm without crown (46.5 mm with compass crown) with a lug-to-lug length of 48.5 mm and a thickness of 14 mm. Lug width is 22 mm and uses a bracelet with a width of 20 mm, tapering to 18mm at the clasp. The Oyster inspired bracelet links are solid with highly polished sides and matte brushed links with a dab of polished center link strips.

Like all Seiko 5s, the watch comes with a day and date window set at the 3 o'clock position. The model that I have is a JDM version (Japanese Domestic Model). The "Made In Japan" is prominently printed at the bottom of the dial.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Citizen NY2300-09G 200m Diver - Good Value-for-money wristwatch That Should Give Years Of Trouble Free Service, A Review

Citizen is one of the biggest watch manufacturers in the world. The brand has been associated much with solar technology and there is seldom any mentioned about their mechanical engined watches. One model under their army of watches in their portfolio is this small and humble NY2300-09G 200m Diver. I got this watch a number of years ago.

The NY2300 is a classic looking diver whose bezel is along the lines of a “Pepsi” type. Not a true sense of the word "Pepsi" as the red color is only along one third of the bezel while the rest is blue.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Orient MForce Diver WV0091E - A Refresh On The M-Force Series, A Review

My second M-Force after my M-Force Diving Sports WV0021 (Click here to see the review on that watch) is the WV0091E. This new M-Force has a very different design philosophy from the predecessor. Nevertheless, this rendition continues the tradition of an authentic diver’s watch that features a smart and rugged design, water resistance to 200 meters for use in scuba diving, shock absorption enabled by a special structure, and ISO compliance.

An obvious design change is the relocation of the crown from 4 o'clock in the previous M-Force to the 9 o'clock position. The date window has also been moved to the 3 o'clock position from the 9 o'clock position. Power reserve indicator is now at the 6 o'clock position from the previous one o'clock position.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Citizen Automatic NY602151E Divers' Watch - A Homage To The Submariner, A Review

The Citizen Automatic NY602151E watch was first introduced into the market in mid-2011. A Japanese Domestic Model (JDM), this watch is a homage to the venerable Rolex Submariner. It has a water resistant of 20 ATM or 200 meters. Despite it being promoted as a "diver" watch, it should only be used for water sports activities not for serious diving.

The construction is stainless steel. Case diameter is 43.5 mm (without the crown) with a thickness of 13.4 mm. Luminous paint is available and the glass is sapphire crystal. The bezel has a 120 click bezel with a luminous pip at the zero/60 minute mark. A 15 minute countdown marker is provided.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Seiko 5 Sports SRP145K1 Military Watch - New Engine And A Handy Complication Thrown In, A Review

A few years after I got my first Seiko 5 military watch with the 7S36B engine (click on this link to see that review), Seiko came out with a new Seiko 5 military watch with the latest 4R36A engine. The Seiko 5 SRP145K1 has a similar concept with the same coloured dial and canvas strap. However, there are fundamental differences.

The Seiko 5 SRP145K1 is made out of stainless steel. With a watch case diameter of 41 mm (45 mm with crown), it has a thickness of 13 mm and the lug width is approximately 20 mm. Predominantly in green, this watch, apart from the day and date functions, also has a bi-directional bezel with a compass function. More about this later.

Similar to the older military watch, the glass is Hardlex, an artificial crystal made in-house by Seiko. The tip of the seconds hand is painted red for ease of reference. From this point onwards, this watch has its own design philosophy.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Seiko 5 Sport 100M SNZG09K1 Military Watch - A Value For Money Piece Of Machinery That Can Handle Any Situation, A Review & Videos

Back in July 2011, I purchased the Seiko 5 Sport 100M SNZG09K1 from a local internet vendor. This particular model is a military style automatic by Seiko with green nylon strap. It uses the 23 jewel self-winding mechanical caliber 7S36B movement.

The case is 41 mm without the crown. Like all Seiko 5s, it has a day and date function. The case is stainless steel.

The dial is green with Arabic numbering and indexes. There are three references available on the dial. The outside is an index reference for every minute. Every 5th minute is a major index while the rest is minor. The middle reference is Arabic while the inner reference is also Arabic but starts from 13 to 24.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Seiko Ananta Double Retrograde Automatic SPB013J1 - Fabulous Masterpiece From Seiko's Craftmen

Ananta is Seiko's first line of high-end watches. The watches totally changed my perception of the brand, and I think if you check them out they will change the way you look at Seiko as well. They aren't cheap. These watches help propel Seiko as a luxury brand with models that are a more natural step up for most Seiko watch owners. Unless you really understand the significant appeal of the Ananta, moving from the prices you are used to with Seiko watches to the Spring Drive Ananta pieces is hard to do. Seiko realised this and to make the transition financially less stressful, the Ananta series have a number of models that can breach the gap.

What I got is the Ananta Double Retrograde Automatic SPB013J1. This watch has a more conservative and mainstream look than the very sporty Automatic Chronograph model. The bezel is polished and brushed steel. Dial is black with a steel bracelet. There is a black crocodile straps option available.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Casio EF331SB1AV Edifice Solar - Classic Yet Robust, But More Importantly, Cheap - A Review

This is a watch of many firsts; my first Casio; my first solar powered watch; and, my first square shaped watch. I bought it out of impulse when I walked passed a watch shop having a special sale.

Under the Edifice line, this watch is very basic and does not have the complications that are commonly associated with that line. Instead, it has a day and date function set in two sub-dials at 12 o'clock (date) and at 9 o'clock (day). Another sub-dial at 6 o'clock has a 24 hour indicator.

The dial is clean and indexed. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Seiko 5 SNKL07K1 - It Is A Hardy Design And The Accuracy Is Surprisingly Good; A Review

Having going deep into the watch collection hobby, I realised that I don't have in my collection a model using the classic Seiko workhorse movement the 7S26 caliber. As I am only interested to have in my collection the caliber itself, I decided to search for a simple watch. I found it in the form of the Seiko 5 SNKL07K1.

The standard watch came with a stamped  steel bracelet. If you have been used to solid bracelets, the one that came with this watch was atrociously yukky. I quickly replayed it with a black Nato strap. More about this later. 

This is how the watch looks like straight from the box.
The watch is 38 mm wide with an 20 mm wide lug in an all stainless steel construction. The crown is a simple push-in located at the 3 o'clock position and like all Seiko 5, it comes with day and date functions. The hands are luminous silver tone and the marker are luminous as well. The dial is dark blue in colour.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Orient M-Force Diving Sports Automatic WV0021 - A Hardy, Value-For-Money Watch With Multiple Credentials; A Review

As a brand, Orient is not that well known outside the Western world. Unknown to a lot of people, this is one of the few brands in the world that has been making their own in-house movements for many years. Previously independent, the Orient Watch Company Ltd of Japan was established on 13 July 1950 and is now part of the Seiko Group. Nevertheless, Orient remains independent when it comes to design of their watches as well as their in-house movements.

The Orient M-Force Diving Sports Automatic watch that I got from Japan came with the reference number WV0021. It is also goes with a few other references such as SEL03001D or EL03001D, depending where in the world you source it from.  It has the following characteristics.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Seiko 5 Sports Automatic SNZJ09K1 - A Very Capable Daily Use Watch

This Seiko is the piece that started my journey into the world of horology. I got it in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. The suggested retail price was USD450. When I got it on 23 November 2010, I got it for SAR1,000 or MYR838.

This model is part of the Seiko 5 Sports series.

The dial is brown and the 3 hands plus the indexes are covered with Lumbrite, Seiko's proprietary luminous paint. It comes with a Day Date Display complication with with Arabic and English Options. The case size is about 42 mm wide.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Orient Mako XL CEM75001M - A Diving Watch Wannabe But Better Suited As A Workmen's Piece (Updated)

Way back in August 2011, I got myself an Orient Mako XL reference number CEM75001M. This is a Rolex Submariner homage but with more lively colour scheme. This watch was launched quite a number of years ago as a bigger brother to the very popular Mako dive watch.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Seiko Prospex SBDY001 Field Watch – A Unique But Overpriced Tool Watch, A Review

The Seiko SBDY001 Field Watch was launched by Seiko back in 2010. This is the first watch using the 4R35 movement that has hand winding and second hand stopping capabilities. The design Seiko decided on this Prospex model is that of a “field watch”. It was envisage that explorer scientists would be the primary users of this watch and it comes equipped with a magnifying glass that can be flipped open.

This watch is a JDM (Japan Domestic Model) unit but interestingly, I found it in Phuket, Thailand. It is very seldom you find Seiko Prospex models being sold outside Japan.

Protected by the black/yellow box synonymous with the Prospex series, the watch looks majestic in it. The plain dial and the black bezel in contrast to the stainless steel casing and bracelet give an aerodynamic feel to it. The red tipped second hand is a nice touch as it provides a point of focus on the watch.

This is a fair sized “field” watch in my view. With a diameter of 43 mm, almost everyone should be able to wear this watch. It was good that designers in Seiko decided against producing a watch larger than 43 mm which is the norm nowadays. Nevertheless, it is thick at 15 mm and the “fatness” does show.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Orient 300M Pro Saturation Diver SEL0200 - A Value For Money Diver With Excellent Build Quality

The Orient 300M Pro Saturation Diver SEL0200 is another professional diving watch that I own. Upfront I have to admit it that this watch is by far, the best professional diving watch currently available on the market in terms of capability and value-for-money.

The Pro Saturation Diver comes in a stainless steel case with beautifully polished sides and brushed lug tops. The case is large, measuring 45.4mm without the large signed screw down crown. With the crown, the case diameter is 50.4mm. Case thickness is hefty, at 16.9mm. Lug width is 22mm.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Seiko Prospex Landmaster Spring Drive SBDB005 – Shiny, Bright and Light as Snow

I have always coveted the Seiko Spring Drive technology. This technology uses a tri-synchro regulator to control and release the mechanical, electrical and electro-magnetic energy generated by the mainspring. It replaces the escapement and, with its one-way motion, it is inherently more stable, durable and precise. Spring Drive is accurate to 1 second per day. As the movement has no escapement, all the motion within it is circular, in a single direction, allowing the hands to move constantly with a unique glide-motion. The new generation mainspring delivers more power, more smoothly and for longer. A special alloy, developed in-house by Seiko, generates increased power in addition to being durable and highly resistant to heat or corrosion. Spring Drive has a power reserve of 72 hours.

After a long wait and decision making, I decided to “spring” (no pun intended!) for a Seiko Landmaster Spring Drive SBDB005 under Seiko’s Prospex class of activity watches. Unfortunately, Prospex and Spring Drive watches are not part of the repertoire of the Malaysian Seiko authorised distributor. I have to source it elsewhere.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Orient Star GMT Watch Reference DJ00001B – Understated Classic

This is the flagship model from Orient Star which is equipped with the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) movement. For globetrotting executives the GMT function on this watch not only allows you to note two time zones but actually recognizes official times at up to three locations. When it was launched in 2012, I quickly acquired one.

The Orient Watch Company created the Orient Star sub-brand in 1951 for high-end watches the company will create. The mechanical watches under this sub-brand are features exquisite style and complications that sets it apart from the generic Orient Watch offerings.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Seiko SARB017 Alpinist – A Very Refined Gentleman’s Sports Watch Classic (Updated with more photos)

Had the opportunity to visit Tokyo Japan for the first time earlier this year. Before making the trip, I was already planning to get at least one Japanese watch, a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) model, to commemorate my first trip to the “Land of the Rising Sun”.

I originally targeted a Grand Seiko but my eyes kept wondering towards the Alpinist. The green dial was too mesmerizing. Truth be told, this watch has always been in my radar screen for a long time. Fate would have it; I was able to get a very good discount, a 35% off the standard retail price from an Authorised Dealer in downtown Tokyo.

But before I start describing about the watch, a short history about this design is in order.

Seiko Japan released the first of five generations of Alpinist in 1961. The hand-winding Laurel Alpinist came on a leather strap, and was followed in 1963 by the Dauphine-hand Champion 850 Alpinist. Seiko then retired the model for 30 years, but it was revived in 1995 with the popular automatic/hand-winding 4S15 caliber version.

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