Thursday, May 31, 2012

Choosing the best watch for you - Part 2 : Watch Materials

What is you watch made of? Stainless steel? Plastic? Resin? Here I will share the pros and cons of all watch materials and which ones wil suit you best.

Stainless Steel - I think this is the most common type of material used on watches nowadays for its durability and ease of production and costs. Steel watches can come in two types of finish which is either polished chrome like finish for those who like the shiny "bling" and a brushed or matte finish for those who like the more suttle industrial "tough" look. Steel watches are usually heavy so the nigger the watch, the heavier the heft on your wrists. On a plus side, polished finish steel watches can be re-polished if some scratches appear after a long period of use.

A polished finish(see how shiny it is) and a brushed finish

PVD Coated Stainless Steel - This type of watches are one that give the "Gun Metal" look. These watches look very nice and rugged and usually in dark colours like black, dark gery, or dark brown. Its basically a stainless steel watch which is coated with the coloured material. Although they might look good eventually the coating will give way and if you scratch your PVD watch... there is no way of polishing it up again.

A brand new PVD watch and a used PVD watch

Gold - Oooooh the expensive gold. At one point of time gold watches were all the rage but not anymore as gold watches now just seem to look cheesey (but thats my personal opinion). Expensive to make, high cost and difficulty in maintanence probrably brought its downfall. Anyways any gold watch user would never have peace of mind wearing it as it attracts many would be robbers. Just as in jewelry it cannot be made of 100% gold anyways because if it did it would be easily dented.

A famous gold watch brand back in the 80's

Resin - Usually in black, Casio watches have a lot of models that use resin's for their watch cases. Tough and less prone to scratches it has proven to be a popular choice for sport watches. The toughest resin made watches are of course the Casio G-shocks. Resin watches are tough but it also depens on the humidity of the country that you live in. Where I come from (Malaysia) the humidity is high so resin and rubber watches do not last as long. (althouth its still quite long). Resin watches usually have a stainless steel caseback.

A mud resistant resin watch

Plastic - Plastic cased watches were made popular by Swatch watches and was usually design in frech funky designs and one ca also see the watch mechnism. The advantage is of course the watches were relatively in-expensive. Plactics watches are also really light weight, suitable for those who need to tell time but dont like the feeling of anything heavy around their wrists. Swatch watches also use plexi-glass on the dial making it easy to polish off any scratches on the face.

Plastic cased watch

Titanium - Ahhh the metal used on spacecraft and highspeed aeroplanes. This space age material has the durability of steel without the weight. Get this type of watch material if you like steel watches but do not like the heft of heavy watches. The lightweight often makes users forget that they are wearing a watch. One downside to titanium is that it scratches mush easier than stainless steel and only comes in matte finish. Best to use a nato or rubber strap with titanium watches if you have a rugged lifestyle.

Titanium. Although it looks big..its light!!

And there you have it, the many types of watch materials to help you choose the best watch for you. Anything I missed? Lets not mention exotic materials like white gold and platinum as its quite rare on a watch.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Seiko SKX033 Submariner Pepsi -mini review

As I have said before, I was rather late in jumping on the Seio bandwagon so I am sure that there are more than enough reviews of this iconic homage to a classic watch....The Seiko "Submariner". In this short review I would just wish to share my personal experience in finally obtaining this gem and let the pictures do the rest.

I accuired this watch after selling off another SKX031 of an acquaintance of mine. Why didn't I get that watch for myself you may ask? perhaps because it was already modded with an orange dial and a faded bezel which I did not fancy plus did not have the time to do a fixer upper.

The modded SKX031

But apparently the guy had another SKX033 but this time the dial was stock, the pepsi bezel ok but came with a Seiko Z22 rubber strap. I thought to myself, "perfect!" since I have heard that many didn't like the stock Osyter bracelet with folded links anyways. I wasted no time quickly grabbed it.

First impressions...

For a dress watch the size is perfect, not too small and not too big. The dial is apparently very very dark blue, almost black to me (perhaps I was too used to the bright blue face of my Orient Mako). Lug size is 22mm so it will take a majority of Nato and Zulu straps(I have yet to get one). I tested the power reserve and the watch kept running for 42 hours based on the time I left it in my cupboard and the time the watch stopped.

Bracelet hunt...

Searching for a stainless steel bracelet was no easy task ( I felt that the classic sub look was taken away with rubber straps) I finally found an aftermarket ala Presidential bracelet while searching at Campbell and Pertama complex. I didn't mind that it was aftermarket because unlike the stock bracelet this one had solid links :)

Presidential Bracelet with Solid Links


The SKX033 may look small but I was surprise to find out that its the same size as an Orient Mako. The SKX might "look" smaller because it has a thicker bezel. Compared to the Seiko Spork the Sub is dwarfed. Lume on the SKX033 is also quite good. A bit brighter than the Mako and lasts long enough for me to see the time at around 6:30 a.m.

So here is the finished Seiko SKX033 Pepsi Submariner...

Tribute to my favourite Seiko Thread

Size Comparison with Orient Mako and Spork

Lume Comparison (no lume on bezel)

On the wrist


After reading many reviews and wanting this one for so long, I am not dissapointed when I finally got my hands on one. Worth every freaking penny and a definite keeper. This one is going to follow me to the office, formal occasions and other functions...for casual outings...I have the Spork :)

Hoped you liked the mini review as much as I liked making it :)

* Apologies for the "Un-rotated" pictures. I rotated them before uploading to blogger but blogger kept on rotating it back :(

My "Seiko"tic watch addiction...

Seiko's are well known for making relatively affordable and quality time pieces, somehow I have missed the Seiko watch craze when I was growing up and only picked up my very first seiko after a few years of working life. My school teenage days were mostly spent with either a Casio or a Swatch on my wrist. Ever since I got my first seiko I was hooked on horology and learnt a lot about watches via a few purchasing and selling of many watches. This entry is about the few Seiko's that has come and gone until I finally settled on the "One" Seiko. I find my Seiko watches usually at second hand stores, flea markets, and other online sites anf forums. The adrenalin rush comes from snagging a great bargain or from buying something unique and discontinued. Ocassionally I do buy some brand new and the only place I would recommend for Seiko's in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia is at Pertama Complex or Sungai Wang Plaza. So here goes, my Seiko watch collection in chronological order. I'll present the watches interms the good, the bad, and why I decided to let it go.

1. A common Seiko Stainless Steel Quartz Choronograph. 7T62 100m

The good - Chronograph with split time function, Alarm and dual time feature.
The bad - non really, a good beater
Why I bought it - Got a great deal for it 2nd hand
Why I sold it - I found the next Seiko

 2. Seiko Military Titanium Quartz Chronograph 7T62 200m

The good - Light as hell and barely felt wearing it! Unique factor. the only 7T62 that was rated to 200m WR
The bad  - Titanium scratches easier than stainless steel
Why I bought it - Amazed at the lightness of titanium
Why I sold it - Did not want to open the case back to change the battery. Moving to automatics

3. Seiko SKX781 "Orange Monster" 7S26 Automatic 200m Divers

The good - Solid tool watch, Amazing Lume!!!
The bad - Everybody wants one, everybody has one thus no unique factor
Why I bought it - Wanted to experience what the hype is all about. did not dissapoint
Why I sold it - Its still in production, not suitable for dress outings

4. Seiko SKZ285 "Black Starfish" 7S36 Automatic 200m Divers

The good - Solid tool watch, Amazing Lume, Radical Design, Patterned dial
The bad - Black PVD coating expensive and unrepairable if scratched deep.
Why I bought it - Wanted something different than the orange monster
Why I sold it - Impulse buy, hassle to take care of PVD coating

5. Seiko SKXA47 "White Knight" 7S26 Automatic 200m Divers

The good - Dressy divers watch.
The bad - No option for bracelet change
Why I bought it - RARE!!! One of the very few White Knight Automatics in Malaysia
Why I sold it - Offered a good price, found another rare Seiko

6. Seiko SKX007 7S26 Automatic 200m Divers

The good - No nonsense great divers watch
The bad - non really, not that great a lume
Why I bought it - Planning to "play" and do modifications on it
Why I sold it - A marine diver offered a good price for it

7. Seiko "5" SNZD25J Sports Automatic 200m watch

The good - Made in Japan Seiko 5
The bad - None really, not mine to keep
Why I bought it - Bought it as a gift for a buddy of mine, Tested the power reserve for a few days

 8. Seiko SRP043 "Spork" 4R15 Automatic Divers 200m

The good - Aviator style with Divers toughness!!!, Discontinued, going to be rare, great Lume, solid
The bad - None really
Why I chose it - Unique Aviator dial, hard to find. Dont think I'll ever let this one go.

9. Seiko SKX033 "Submariner" 7S26 Automatic 10 bar

The good - The watch every seiko collector wants!!!, Long discontinued, and very rare.
The bad - Original osyter braclet has folded links - Modified mine with solid link Presidential Bracelet :)
Why I bought it - Why Should'nt I? its the Seiko Submariner heheh.
Not gonna sell unless the price is right :P

So there you have it my Seiko watch affair. Only the last two are still with me and probrably my last Seiko for quite some time.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Choosing the best watch for you...part 1 - The Engine

Before this I was one of those guys who just look at watches for telling time, never did I care about things like "who made it?", "what type of movement or calibre it was", was it made from a "watch maker" etc etc. I wished I cared about these things when I was choosing my wedding watch coz I ended up choosing a Quartz Japan Movement Guess Steel Watch. Not that its a bad watch mid you, back then I chose it for the Retrograde looks. Now that I have learnt a few things about watches let me share with you among some of the nitty gritty aspects of choosing the best watch for you.

This is the 'heart' of the watch and it all depends on what and where would you wear the watch and what are your habits. A good watch is a running watch, just like a car and motorcycle.

Mechanical watches - These are the traditional watch mechanisms that require you to manually wind up the watch everytime you wish to wear it. Once wounded up it would typically last about more than a day. Choosing this type of engine would mean that you would have to wind it a few turns everyday before you wear it. No batteries required for these watches but diligence and discipline is a must.

Mechnical watch IWC

Automatic - These watches are the same as mechanical but a semi circular weight or rotor disc to wind the watch as you change the orientation of the watch (wrist movements, walking, driving etc). Thus the name 'Automatic' as you would automatically wind the watch while you are wearing it. The power reserve for most automatics are usually about 40 hours (Some seiko's can last for 50 hours). Choose this watch if you would wear it daily. Automatics have an advantage of never having to replace any batteries and thus never having to open up the watch making the Water Resist seals intact and making these watches last a lifetime. I personally have worn a vintage seiko that was made in the 1980's and its still ticking and keeping time :)

Automatic with Manual wind and Hack - Same as the above but the crown can also be used to manually wind the watch. This is best for those wish to collect automatics as they can manually keep their watches running wihtout having to wear it. Hack here means that the the second hand can be stopped while adjusting the time. Most automatics do not have a hack feature. Useful for those who have OCD and must have their watches synced and accurate to very second. Automatics and mechnical watches have sweeping second hand motion which adds to their appeal.

Seiko's proven 7S26 movement. Reliable and tested.

Quartz Analogue/Digital - Quartz was the modern technology of watches, and uses a quartz crystal and piezo-electric to regulate time. One of the strong points of a quartz watch is its accuracy, with +-15 seconds. You can usually tell that a watch is using quartz movement by looking at the second hand as it will move in segments or "tick-tick" motion. Quartz watches are also usually "loud" so its not a good option for those who sleep with their watches. (quartz digital is quite though). Battery life for quartz watches go from 1 to 3 years. Some Casio digital watches boast a whopping 10 year battery life.

Quartz Battery Powered. Accurate!!

Kinetics - Kinetic watches was an atempt to combine the best of both worlds of automatics and the accuracy of quartz. Basically its a quartz watch that is powered by a dynamo which is turned by the rotor disc. Power generated by the rotor was stored using a capacitor and then later rechargable batteries. The early capacitors were a bit of a failure being unable to store charge after a while. Kinetic watches will eventually have to replace the batteries and replacement batteries are not as cheap and easy to obtain compared to standard watch batteries.

Breakdown of a kinetic movement

Solar - Solar technology is one of the newer tech and  powers the watch by converting light energy into electirical charge. With this you get the accuracy of a quartz watch and you can keep your watch running without having to wear it. Just keep them under some light. The life of these watches vary from 6 months to a year (without light mind you). Solar powered watches are available from Casio, Seiko and Citizen but among the three, its Citizen that is pushing this technology with their "Eco-Drive" watches. Casio calls it "Tough Solar" and Seiko simply calls it "Seiko Solar". Choose for the environmentalist in you :)

 How an Eco-Drive works

Chronograph movements - Many often confuse between a chronometer and a chronograph. A chronometer is basically a device tells time (clock, watch) a chronograph is a device that can measure time (stopwatches). I will explain about various chronograph movements at a later time. Although most find that they rarely use the stopwatch feature. its useful for those who time their runs, or do simple calculations, or even for examinations.

Special Movements - Some watches have other special movements like a an alarm function, world time, compass, thermometer, perpetual calender (automatic monthly date change 30th to 1st) moonphase etc etc. The more features means the more power required to power the feature so usually these special movements uses quartz and are battery powered. Timex has a watch that has a compass, thermometer and tide graph all built into and analog display. These are the swiss army knives of watches and would appeal to the gadget lover and outdoors man. You pay a premium for each feature you get.
Timex Expedition. Full of gadgetry.