Friday, August 4, 2017

Evant Tropic Diver Fume Blue Limited Edition 300 – A Handsome Watch, A Review (plus Video)


For the last couple of years, I have been exploring new independent boutique brands that offer designs that are refreshing with a fairer price point. Generally, watch prices are getting ridiculously high. Some of my favorite brands have been getting expensive. Unfortunately, the increase in price is not a reflection of new designs or materials but due simply to supply and demand.

One boutique brand that I have my eyes on is Evant. This is an extremely young watch brand. It was created in December 2015 by a group of watch enthusiasts as highlighted on the website: https://www.evantwatches.com/. Apart from this tidbit, nothing about their country of origin or the people behind the brand was mentioned. More about this later.

The Evant Tropic Diver Fume Blue Limited Edition 300 is the third offering by this Company. The first two, Tropic Diver 300 Limited Edition 150 and Tropic Diver 300 Vintage Limited Edition 150, were well received by the market and was quickly sold out. It turns out that the Tropic Diver series closely resembles a dive watch from Breguet that was produced in limited numbers on 1965 called the No. 1646. Although I should have just said that it is homage to the Breguet No. 1646, this linkage was in fact made by watch bloggers and not officially from Evant itself.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Seiko Prospex Diver SLA017J1 or SBDX019 (homage to the 1965 Seiko 62MAS Ref. 6217-8000/1 Diver) – A Legend and an Excellent Get-And-Go Watch for any Occasions, A Review (plus Video)

I must say the Seiko Prospex Diver SLA017J1 has been one of the most, if not the most exciting release from Seiko in my opinion. As an ardent Seiko fan, the 1965 Seiko 62MAS (autoMAtic Selfdater) Ref. 6217-8000/1 Diver was the definitive Japanese dive watch to which all dive watches from Seiko (or even from other brands) owes their genesis to. To date, the Seiko 62MAS is a collector’s timepiece that has the least likelihood of being traded away once it is in a collection. As such, this vintage is very rare in the wild for collectors to hunt down. Those available are generally not in mint condition and have a lifetime of abuse heaped on them. Despite needing a lot of restoration work (a major headache not many collectors are willing to stomach), the prices of the ‘relics’ are still pretty high.

Do note that quite a number of “Seiko 62MAS” out on sale with ‘reasonable’ prices are not originals but Frankenstein models with newer movements, dials, bezels, crystals, hands, and even crowns.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Putting on the Replacement Strap for my Seiko Prospex Emperor Tuna SBDX011


Since my unfortunate rubber strap malfunction on my Seiko Prospex Emperor Tuna SBDX011 last year (see: http://easternwatch.blogspot.my/2016/09/omg-moment-seiko-prospex-emperor-tuna.html), I finally got the opportunity to put on the replacement strap that I ordered from Seiko. This particular strap (Reference R01X011M9) is usually paired with the latest iteration of the Emperor Tuna, the SBDX013. Instead of rubber, it is made out of silicone. Read my previous posting on this strap: http://easternwatch.blogspot.my/2017/04/replacement-strap-for-my-seiko-prospex.html.




Replacing the strap to the watch was easy due to the pass-through lug holes.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Orient Manual Winding 21 Jewel Power Reserve Pocket Watch CDD00001W/DD00001W “Epoch” (similar to CDD00002W/DD00002W) – Traditional, A Review

I used to have a pocket watch a very long-time ago. I guess, I was just a pre-teen when I got it from a holiday trip in Europe. The thing I remembered about it was that it was gold plated and it had a cover for the dial. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember what happened to it. After more then 30 years has lapsed and I was in a position to rekindle the love affair I had with a pocket watch.



Nevertheless, I realized my taste in the style of pocket watches has changed. Instead of the garish gold-plated variety with ornate embossed images on the metal surfaces, I am now more into clean lines and plainness. I am also into quality and pedigree which is hard to come by when it comes to pocket watches.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CITIZEN INDEPENDENT Mechanical Watch INNOVATIVE 20th Anniversary Model Reference BJ3-411-91 – Just A Fashion Watch, A Review (plus Video)

Of the three mainstream Japanese watch brands, Citizen’s mechanical line is not as extensive as Seiko’s or Orient’s. They are also not as readily available outside Japan as compared to the other two brands. The sub- brands of Citizen are even rarer compared to the sub-brands of Seiko and Orient such as the Seiko 5 or Orient M-Force. One that is seldom seen is the Citizen INDEPENDENT sub-brand.

The INDEPENDENT celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2016. This sub-brand in known to adopt lifestyle or fashion watch designs in its offerings. Collaborations with famous artists in practically all branches of the art world from music to fashion, animation and games has created a brand collection that is eclectic to say the least. Unfortunately, the INDEPENDENT is a JDM line and any literature found on this line is limited and mostly in Japanese. Even in Wikipedia, the only sentence worth mentioning is; “Watches produced through the Independent label are generally released through seasonal collections.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Seiko Presage SRPB41J1 (or SARY073) ‘Cocktail Time’ Dark Blue (Similar to SRPB43J1/SARY075, SRPB44J1/SARY076 and SRPB46J1/SARY078) – A Classy Dress Watch, A Review (plus Video)

One of the many famous designs by Seiko is the “Cocktail Time” watch series. It was launched a few years ago based in conjunction with the renowned Japanese bartender, Ishigaki Shinobu. Sold only in Japan, it is a series of dress watch with a deeply sunburst-textured dial and box crystal. Seiko fan went wild over this series as it exudes style and sophistication at an unbelievable low price. In 2017, Seiko has decided to reintroduce this series to the global market with the launch of the latest “Cocktail Time” under the Presage banner.

Strictly speaking there are two subsets of the new Presage Cocktail Time, each with 4 different options. The first subset has just a date aperture while the second subset has a sub-dial for the date and a power reserve indicator. The first subset goes under the “SRPB” coding while the second subset goes under the “SSA” coding.

My interest is the simpler SRPB models and what caught my eyes is the SRPB41J1 with a dark blue sunburst-textured dial and bracelet.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Seiko 5 Sports "Fifty Five Fathoms" SNZH53J1 - The Perfect Beater Watch, A Review (plus Video)

My hunt for iconic watches continues.

People used to say, “Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery”. However, in the business world, it is shunned as it carries some negative implication to branding. The SNZH53J1 is one such product from Seiko that could fall into this trap but did not. This is its story….

Arguably, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms is the first dedicated diving watch. It was designed to cater for the needs of the French military. First released in 1953, it preceded the famed Rolex Submariner by a few months. The various specifications were not unique on their own but collectively, have never been aggregated into one package. The requirements such as unidirectional rotating bezel to calculate diving time, bold large markers for easy of reading, illumination on the markers for underwater and low light condition usage, water resistant up to fifty fathoms (or 91 meters/100 yards), automatic movement and anti-magnetic frame to protect watch from disturbance with military equipment makes the Fifty Fathoms the first progeny of a new watch genre.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Casio G-Shock Black Out Basic Series GX-56BB-1DR – A Brute with Limited Flexibility, A Review (plus Video)

The Casio G-Shock series have been around since 1983 and have a very strong cult following due to its ability to withstand battering. Despite being a watch collector that tends to collect watches with significant contribution to the world of horology, I have yet gotten a G-Shock in collection thus far. However, today a new chapter has dawned and the collection has a new member in the form of the Casio G-Shock Black Out Basic Series GX-56BB-1DR.

The GX series are typically called the “King of G-Shock" models. These are the biggest G-Shocks ever produced by Casio. The company launched the first back in 2010. It has the classic 5600 G-Shock design but in a size that is close to twice the size. The over-sized design is its call to fame. Unfortunately, for some people, the size could be a bit overwhelming.

I got the watch from the Watch Style of Mid Valley Megamall. The MSRP was RM809 (with GST). I was able to get it for RM680. Although I believe I could get it cheaper elsewhere, I still decided to get it from this brick and mortar shop due to the personal service rendered.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Life Hack: Making a Solar Cabinet Drawer – Safe, Secure & Neat, A Review


Once you start to collect solar powered watches, a problem of maintaining sufficient amount of charge in the batteries becomes apparent. If can wear them all often, this may not be a problem but if this is not possible, is there a solution? Yes, you can leave it out on the dressing table to absorb any kinds of light, natural or artificial but this opens up another problem: security of the watches when you are away from home.

You can put it under the sun but the effects of UV rays on dials, non-metallic materials and painted surfaces would be damaging in the long run.

A rather simple solution is to create a watch cabinet with artificial light. Although there are countless ways of making a really proper “solar cabinet”, I’ve decided to re-purpose an existing drawer with a light bulb.


Friday, May 5, 2017

SeiyaJapan Original Watch Automatic A167-A (Dial Type A) – Simple Yet Complete, A Review (plus Video)

When Seiya-san of SeiyaJapan started the project of creating his own version of a military watch back in early 2016, I followed with interest the development via his Instagram account. With the design specification finalized in the first half of 2016, production commenced and the first complete examples were ready for sale by the end of the year.

I took my time and finally I made the decision to get one. There are two models to choose from. The Type A and the Type B. The former is more traditional in the hands and dial design while the latter has a contemporary design. I chose the Type A or officially known as the SeiyaJapan Original Watch Automatic A167-A.


The reason I chose the Type A is because I believe this is Seiya-san’s favorite design. Based on his blog postings, he often brought up the subject of vintage military watches from bygone eras. He spends a lot of time researching and writing about these watches which has a similar design to the Type A. Although I am just making an assumption, all indications seem to point to that fact. If Seiya-san is reading this blog, do drop a comment on this at the end of the posting.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Replacement Strap for my Seiko Prospex Emperor Tuna SBDX011 direct from Japan: Reference R01X011M9 - So Expensive

I got my replacement strap for my Seiko Prospex Emperor Tuna SBDX011 direct from Japan. This particular strap is usually paired with the latest iteration of the Emperor Tuna SBDX013. Instead of rubber, it is made out of silicone which should give it more durability. Read my previous posting on the event that forced me to get this item: http://easternwatch.blogspot.my/2016/09/omg-moment-seiko-prospex-emperor-tuna.html

The metal parts are all made out of titanium.
 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual Time White Dial SBXB047 (SSE047) Titanium with Ceramic Bezel Watch – Excellent timepiece with real world applications, A Review (plus Video)


After the Astron was re-launched back in 2012, I finally got myself an Astron for the collection. The delay in getting one was due to the fear factor I get with new technologies – will they actually work? Moreover, when the first batches of Astrons with the 7X Series Calibers installed were on sale, there were a number of issues highlighted by owners. Predominantly, problems surrounding the power usage and the lack of battery capacity were reported. These feedbacks from consumers prompted Seiko to redesigned the GPS module and come out with the latest 8X Series Calibers which eliminated issues that were brought out.

Before we go straight into the review, it would be good to clear up the reference codes used for this series. The Astron is a Made-In-Japan watch line. However, it is not strictly defined as a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) as it is sold globally. Nevertheless, in true Japanese manufacturing quirkiness, this series has been earmarked with the “SBXB” code when in Japan while the rest of the World has been allotted the “SSE” code. The numerical part of the overall reference code remains the same. Therefore SBXB047 is in fact the SSE047.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Seiko Prospex Blue Lagoon Samurai SRPB09K1 Limited Edition – Its simplicity is its strength, A Review (plus Video)

Seiko has re-crafted another of its iconic designs of yesteryear – the Samurai.

The original Samurai was launched back in March 2004. However, the production run was only a few years. Within those few years, only a few dial colours either in stainless steel or titanium were offered. For reasons that still remain murky to this day, the Samurai suddenly reached cult status which caused prices at the pre-owned market to sky-rocket.

My interest in this particular model is just to complete my collection of iconic models under Seiko. When it was announced in late 2016 of a limited run of just 6,000 units will be made available to the public, I had my doubts whether I could get my hands on one. Considering the extensive fan base for Seiko watches in Asia as well as the rest of the world, plus the fact that the watch will be at a price point that is very affordable to the vast majority (MSRP is USD550 in the US or RM2,427.40 in Malaysia), it would fly out of stores as quickly as lightning.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bonia Silver Tourbillon Cuff Links Ref: PBNG0015 - Utulising a mechanical watch movement balance wheel module to celebrate the beauty of horology, A Review (plus Video)

Back in June 2016, I acquired this set of cuff links from a shop in Mid Valley. What caught my eyes was the horological theme designed directly into the fashion accessory. Made by Bonia, a fashion house from Malaysia, it utulises a mechanical watch movement balance wheel module to celebrate the beauty of horology.



Monday, February 20, 2017

ORIENT Automatic MAKO II (or 2) Diver FAA02002D9 (similar to FAA02001B9) – The watch wears well, the size is just nice as to not overwhelm any wrists, A Review (plus Video)


Finally, an Orient MAKO 2 in the bag. I have been searching this model for some time and finally I got it. It will make a fine edition to my earlier MAKO 1 and MAKO XL.

I got this watch at Solar Time in Mid Valley. The MSRP is RM1,100 but I was able to get it for RM770. Quite pleased with the acquisition at it means my MAKO collection is currently up-to-date.

The specific model that I got is the FAA02002D9, the blue dial and bezel version (the other option available is the FAA02001B9 with the dial and bezel in black). This is the latest iteration of the MAKO 2 launched in mid 2016. This latest version comes with a new Cal. F6922 in-house movement with winding and hacking capabilities (more about this later).

Friday, February 10, 2017

Face to Face Comparison: The Citizen NY0040 200m Promaster Diver versus Citizen NY2300-09G 200m Diver - The flashy versus the Sedated

The Citizen NY0040 200m Promaster Diver and the Citizen NY2300-09G 200m Diver are two iconic dive watch designs by the Citizen Watch Company. Both were designed as professional dive watches catering to scuba divers within a 200 meter diving limit. However, there are some peculiarities in the watches that gives an advantage (or disadvantage) to one watch over the other. I will attempt to summarise the differences so that you, the readers, can be better informed to make the right choice based on your own specific requirements.



Monday, January 23, 2017

SEIKO 5 Sports 100M Retro Automatic Open Heart SSA327K1 (similar to SSA329K1, SSA331K1, SSA333K1 & SSA335K1) – A Flexible Watch, A Review (plus Video)

This Seiko 5 Sports 100M Retro Automatic Open Heart SSA327K1 is the latest model in a new series just recently launched by the Seiko Watch Company. It has the similar shape to the famous Seiko Pogue with the thick turtle case with a concave lug well and the tachymeter style bezel markings. Apart from these similarities, the watch is so much different from the icon. Seiko’s designers heard the fans asking for a reissue of the Pogue and has somewhat come halfway to meet the appeal.

This model is a simple three handed watch without any other complications. The unique design incorporated into this model is the open-heart cut through the dial that allows a direct view of the spinning balance wheel and hairspring. Apart from this, the watch also incorporated some bold paint design on the dial.

This watch is made out of stainless steel including the bracelet. It measures 44.5 mm across with a height of 13 mm. Lug width is 22 mm and the lug-to-lug length is 50 mm. The watch has a combination of brushed as well as polished surfaces. The dial is covered by Hardlex crystal and so is the display case-back. The fixed bezel is thin and is marked with minute markers. There are also Arabic numbers for the first 15 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter. The bezel is painted in two tones, the first for the first 15 minutes and the second for the rest of the bezel.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Seiko 5 Sports Men Automatic Watch SRPA89K1 Green Carbon Dial Limited Edition (Similar to SRPA87K1, SRPA91K1 & SRPA93K1) – An outdoors timepiece. The use of carbon fibre is refreshing but Seiko must look into the pricing issue as it starts to sit uncomfortably with consumers, A Review (plus Video)

I love watches with green in them. I was drawn to that colour as far as I can remember. Without fail, I will always used green in all my art projects when I was in school. Up to this point, I have collected 10 watches in green. This Seiko 5 Sports SRPA89K1 will be 11th green watch.

This watch is the latest in a series of limited edition Seiko 5 Sports watches issued by Seiko. It is important to note that “limited edition” in this context is more like a limited production run. Seiko does not set a limit in the number of production but instead limit the production window in its factories. Since no official word from the brand about this particular series, it is extremely difficult to gauge how many examples will be out there. Hence, the best advice for budding collectors is not to buy it due to the ‘limited edition’ classification but purely on whether it appeals to you.

This watch appeals to me because of a few factors. The first is the turtle shaped casing. Compared to the traditional round casing, a turtle shaped casing sits better on a wrist. The angle of the casing to the wrist has a natural incline that facilitate it from snagging into shirt cuffs. It also effortlessly reduce the size effect as our eyes automatically focuses on the smaller dial compared to the bigger floor plate of the casing itself. The second is the symmetrical dial design. The watch has a date complication. Instead of putting anywhere else, the Seiko designers placed the date aperture at the 6 o’clock position. This makes the displays on the dial symmetrical and pleasing to the eye. The third is the carbon fibre weave pattern on the dial. Made from carbon fibre, the pattern on the dial has a 3D look with a sense of depth and glossiness. The fourth is the short downward curving lugs. It has the tendency to make the large watch sits better on the wrist when compared to standard straight lugs. If you have a wrist circumference of 6.5 inches, a typical watch of this size with standard lugs will have an overhang over your wrist. However, the overhang is minimised by the shorter and curved lugs. Combined with the two-toned Nato strap, the watch looks visually refreshing.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Seiko Presage SARW025 (or SPB041J1) – A great design, with reliable and efficient movement and nice finishing, this watch has the recipe of success written all over it, A Review (Plus Video)

The Seiko Presage SARW025 was launched in time for the 60th anniversary of Seiko’s first ever automatic mechanical movement. This dress watch is a JDM model with the reference SARW025 (Japan market reference) or SPB041J1 (international market reference).

I am fortunate that I was able to source the watch here in Malaysia. The MSRP here is RM4,144.60 (inclusive of GST). However, I was able to get it for RM2,950. After comparing with internet merchants and taking into consideration the current volatility in foreign exchange rates, it was actually a good deal (MSRP in Japan YEN97,200 (with tax) or RM3,700; MSRP in Europe EUR900 (without tax) or RM4,208 @22 December 2016).

If anyone is wondering why I am getting this watch, it is because of it formal nature, the dial colour as well as the movement. As highlighted in my earlier postings, I am drawn to formal or dress watches after years of coveting dive and sport watches. I am also into white dial watches. Also, I don’t have in my collection a watch with the 6R27 movement.

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