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 Post subject: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:37 am 
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This post is more about Seiko in general, I am in London for a very quick business trip, a few meetings and heading back home. I did have time for some shopping ( it is London after all!) and did the rounds on all the watch and gentleman’s goods shops. There really is no better place for a man to shop than London, weather it’s cigars, textiles, wristwatches, or anything else a man could need or want, it seems it really is a mans world in London!

I walked by the Seiko boutique by chance, and remembered I was looking for a proper gym watch. I hate the “plastic fantastic” G shock I bought for that purpose, and have been enjoying the JLC Extreme Lab whole on the treadmill, but since my New Years resolution includes dropping the last 20% of excess weight I really did need to get something to knock around, so in I went.

The London Seiko boutique was actually quite impressive! Very well designed and extremely high end finishing. The staff where very well trained, courteous without being pushy, informative without boring you with too much information.

I have always highely regraded Seiko as a company. They very well may be the greatest watch company in the world. Established in 1881, having contributed many indications, and being the only company that has mastered every form of watchmaking from humble quartz to haute horology and inventing a few along the way ( spring drive, kinetic, etc). They can also be credited with actually being used, for practical reasons, by billions of professionals as well as hobbyists. The list goes on and on.

I went in looking for a cheapie, but figured I might as well check out their higher end range. The Spring Drive truly is astonishing, and an exceptional evolution of mechanical watchmaking. I seriously considered the Snowflake, Grand Seikos best selling model, but just could not get used to the dull bracelet finishing or the really light weight. To each their own.

I was very impressed by another model aesthetically though, unfortunately not a Spring Drive, the new GMT with mosaic dial. So much so I couldn’t help but to pick it up.


Attachment:
IMG_1372.jpg


In case anyone is considering the watch, here is a brief review.

The packaging of the Gran Seiko watches is what I would consider average. They can, and should, do better. I expect they will upgrade the packaging as they seem to be focusing on the high end market, this is evident by their shift to GS as their flagship brand in the US, replacing Seiko.

Attachment:
IMG_1371.jpg


It’s not bad by market averages mind you, I would say it is better than what Rolex are currently offering overall. And the certificate of guarantee certifying the movement shows great pride in the watch, a sentiment that is well received and appreciated.

The material though can use some serious work, the insignia on the fake leather was already peeling:

Image



Attachment:
IMG_1373.jpg


As this was a limited edition, Ali, the store manager, was kind enough to allow me to choose which number I would get. Splendid service yet again!

Down to the watch itself, the dial is the main attraction here. The mosaic motif ( which is actually GS and 9S in sequence) is of course stamped, as individual turning can’t be expected at anything close to this price point, is nonetheless wonderfully done. The dial is extremely attractive yet understated, and changes appearance from a subtly textured white dial to a what looks like mosaic art. The blue accent spear and disappear based on lighting conditions. Seiko in general does very well with their dials at every price point I must say.

Here are a few pictures under different lighting conditions:


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Image

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Another strong point of the watch was the case shape, unique and very attractive. The knurled ring on the bottom highlighting the movement. Another nod to how Seiko is proud of their work.

Attachment:
IMG_1378.jpg




I couldn’t help but compare the watch to the Patek World Chrono. Although not a fair comparison, I do think the GS was inspired by the Patek, both are traveler and watches with mosaic designs, and seem to be aimed at smart casual settings. The below picture shows the unique and attractive GS case design and highlights another Seiko strong point; fine case polishing. The GS holds its own next to the Patek.

Attachment:
IMG_1395.jpg


Image

One aspect that was particularly nice was the deployant buckle. Seiko did a very good job making the simple system comfortable yet secure, with the flexible clasp serving both to secure the band in place as well as being brushed and elevated as to protect the polished portion. I do like it when a brand puts some thought into the minor details. The polished Patek or Breguet deployants, while beautiful, are a magnet for scratches and broken hearts.

Image

Image


The combination of the well designed deployant, case design, supple leather, and size make for a supremely comfortable watch to wear. Ideal for extended use in the office or travel. The design also lends itself to both dress and casual situations. I will also say, that the dial and terrific polishing make it very attractive over all, and when you consider that it houses a formidable mechanical movement for under 5K, this watch warrants serious consideration, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it.

I am also looking at their divers, I had picked up one of the cheaper models, at under 400 pounds, as my gym watch. but just can’t stomach the cheap finishing, i sweat I have seen better polishing on tuna cans. The overall package is a bargain though. Luckily the store manager agreed to a return and exchange for something a bit more desirable. I saw the new limited green Marinemaster. Pictures here:

https://www.fratellowatches.com/seiko-s ... inemaster/


It’s actually a fantastic looking piece, and can serve as all around higher end beater.

While at the store I also saw the Credor, and seriously considered it. I was really taken back by how attractive it is :

Image

The porcelain dial is truly breathtaking, and the painted blue indices are very, very beautiful! But what stole the show was the breathtaking movement, a manual wind version of Spring Drive finished to within an inch of its life. The watch not only represented the pinnacle of Japanese watchmaking, but represented many of Japan’s cultural aspects, zen like simplicity taking center stage. A piece of art in many ways, I considered it for a day, but decided it was too early in my stage of collecting to warrant 50k on a Credor, there are many aspects of fine watchmaking that should be covered before approaching anything so exotic, especially considering the watch’s Achilles heel; the dial is not in house!

One of Seiko’s great accomplishments is that they typically produce everything in house, I do mean everything! From the most difficult to produce component to the their own luminiferous paint. Outsourcing the dial to a contractor, even though that contractor might well be the worlds finest chinaware producer, takes the watch down a bit in my eye. So I am picking this up instead:

Image

I will still keep a keen eye on Credor, I hope they expand the range and produce more approachable watches, and can bring the dial making in house or reduce the pricing accordingly.

As a final note, do check out GS, and particularly the London boutique if your in town. Happy collecting!


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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:56 pm 
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Excellent review, thank you for the time and effort that went into it. It is a shame that some watch collectors will not look outside the offerings of their favorite brand. Rolex enthusiasts in particular are known to look no further than the nearest Rolex AD. Since I started collecting, Breitling has been very dear to my heart, but I also enjoy watches from JLC, Glashutte Original, Bremont, and of course, a couple from Rolex!


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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:18 pm 
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The peacock dials are amazing. I had never really given Seiko much of a look until Govberg became an AD.

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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:37 pm 
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GS has been on my radar for a while. Once you can get over the fact that GS is a huge step up from Seiko, one can really dive into their pieces.

For the kind of watch you’re getting and the level of finishing they provide the price is more than fair. I don’t know if I would add one any time soon as there are a few other pieces I’d rather put the money towards but they are a definite contender for a possibility.

Thanks again for the review and the pics. I truly do enjoy reading your posts






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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:12 am 
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Glad you enjoyed the review, and considering GS. They warrant an open mind, and can provide allot of bang for your buck.

I am considering picking up the green hulk Seiko LE today, and while doing a bit of reading came across this:

Image

I don’t think I need to comment here

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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:55 am 
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Thank you for such a great post, Altair. Sounds like you had a great trip to London -- well done! And, congrats on your new GS!

I have been a fan of Grand Seiko for many years now. I find their watches to be truly impressive, from both an aesthetic and technical standpoint. I think that Spring Drive, in particular, represents a truly significant and ingenious horological achievement. The accuracy of Spring Drive movements is amazing -- and the smooth sweep of the second hand is truly mesmerizing.

Hope you don’t mind if I go ahead and share a couple more Grand Seikos as part of this thread...

First up, the SBGE021, which was issued in a limited edition of 150 a few years back. This is a variation of the SBGE001 -- which, to my mind, is one of the most underrated GMTs on the market. The sapphire bezel is beautiful, and allows the GMT function to be read in darkness. With a WR of 200m, it really is tremendously versatile.

Image

Image


And, of course, there's the Snowflake. Despite its "wintry" name, I find the Snowflake to be an ideal companion on travels to hot, humid environments, where the lightness of the titanium is truly welcome. It is such an "under the radar" watch -- nothing that attracts attention, yet so subtly beautiful. It is just such a wonderful expression of the overall GS aesthetic.

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:39 pm 
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The shots of the dials look amazing. Very detailed dials they make. I’m more and more impressed the more I look at them.


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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:52 pm 
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Moana43 wrote:
Thank you for such a great post, Altair. Sounds like you had a great trip to London -- well done! And, congrats on your new GS!

I have been a fan of Grand Seiko for many years now. I find their watches to be truly impressive, from both an aesthetic and technical standpoint. I think that Spring Drive, in particular, represents a truly significant and ingenious horological achievement. The accuracy of Spring Drive movements is amazing -- and the smooth sweep of the second hand is truly mesmerizing.

Hope you don’t mind if I go ahead and share a couple more Grand Seikos as part of this thread...

First up, the SBGE021, which was issued in a limited edition of 150 a few years back. This is a variation of the SBGE001 -- which, to my mind, is one of the most underrated GMTs on the market. The sapphire bezel is beautiful, and allows the GMT function to be read in darkness. With a WR of 200m, it really is tremendously versatile.

Image

Image


And, of course, there's the Snowflake. Despite its "wintry" name, I find the Snowflake to be an ideal companion on travels to hot, humid environments, where the lightness of the titanium is truly welcome. It is such an "under the radar" watch -- nothing that attracts attention, yet so subtly beautiful. It is just such a wonderful expression of the overall GS aesthetic.

Image

Image



Great Grand Seikos Moana! Thank you for the wonderful contribution! Seems like we have a resident GS expert!

I agree with you on the lightness of the titanium, the Snowflake wasn’t for me but I was actually very impressed with their top of the range diver. That thing is amazing, and took some self control not to get it. I am waiting for the next SIHH, I hear it’s their next big anniversary so they are probably going to do some interesting stuff! I absolutely must add a Spring Driver diving watch from GS at some point, just waiting for the right one. Safely, the blue ceramic LE is an acquired taste I think.


In the mean time I decided on upgrading the cheapo model I got to the green LE Marinemaster, the addition of a sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel insert, and upgraded GS movement make this a formidable sport watch. Those additions are reflected in the price unfortunately at 2990 GBP, but I do think the watch is worth it. Pics to follow

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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:01 am 
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I decided to get this as my new gym watch, as you can see I am already putting it through its paces! :lol:

Image

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Attachment:
IMG_1664.jpg


The finishing on the case is exceptional for this price point, and the overall package is very well put together, feels like it can take a beating and a half. The only complaint that I have is with the somewhat flimsy clasp. Seiko could have done better there.


The famed Seiko LumiBrite is unbelievable in person, I turned off the lights yesterday night and it took me by surprise! I have say Panerai have nothing on Seiko in this department.

Attachment:
IMG_1657.jpg




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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:16 pm 
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Congrats on the MM300 (well, MM300 in all but name).

I have to say, this watch has always been a difficult one for me. I owned one for a short while myself (the older model), and while it’s a great watch in so many ways, I just couldn't personally gel with it. It's a real enigma of a watch to me somehow....

That said, two of the things I disliked about the one I had, have been resolved on yours, which is great news. The original enamel bezel and the Scratchlex, sorry I mean "Hardlex" :wink: crystal, have finally joined the 21st century and been replaced with ceramic and sapphire respectively. :thumbsup:

It's a great looking watch, and it fits your wrist very nicely indeed, Altair! Very nice pick-up.

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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:36 am 
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Nice pick ups Altair and thanks for another comprehensive review. Very nice too Moana.

I've always appreciated Seiko as a Company and GS in particular but the watches always seemed a little boring for me albeit very well priced...and there always seemed to be other options that were ahead of GS. I'll have to take another look though as the attention to detail and design appear to be very well thought out.

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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:32 am 
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I received the bracelet for the Seiko GMT today, kudos to Seiko London for their excellent service and follow up! Top notch!

I have spent some time with this GS, and I really am quite impressed. I especially am amazed by the polished finish on these watches, GS has managed to provide a true mirror like finish, something that was exclusive to such hollowed names as Patek and Vacheron, in a sub 5k watch!

The brushed portions of the case are very good, Seiko has gone for what I call a tool watch finish, ie a case finishing that is designed to withstand the tests of time, micro grain almost rubbed texture rather than the larger more attractive finish on an AP. Rolex does the same and they do this better.

I have taken some pictures to try and demonstrate this, you will notice how the GS has a very clear image of my hand and phone, while the Rolex polish distorts the reflection:




Overall I recommend getting the brushed bracelet if you have a GS of this type. It beefed up the overall package, making the watch substantial yet still unobstructive. The overall feel of the watch is very luxurious. This particular model does not come with a bracelet option but you can order one as a replacement for their other watches with the same case for a mere 200 usd. Absolute bargain considering the engineering!

My only issue with this watch is its water resistance is what Grand Seiko are calling “splash resistant”. As it only comes on a strap I get this is supposed to be a dress watch, but these days having 3 bars and doing at least swimming is common, that would make this a far more practical travel watch. A real notch against an otherwise exceptional overall offering.

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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:20 pm 
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I owned 4 Grand Seikos back in the day (3 Spring drives and 1 quartz) so know quite a bit about them. I had the Snowflake, GMT Spring Drive and GMT Spring Drive Chronograph. The quartz was a JDM day/date 9F83 model.

Great watches but the bracelets did not match the quality of the case, movement and dial.

I will get another one in the future as I miss the truly amazing Spring Drive movement.


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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:30 pm 
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This dials are quite top notch..Thanks for sharing!!


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 Post subject: Re: Seiko considerations
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:12 am 
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This is a wonderful review. I have always admired the GS, although not my favorite of them all but I have always wanted one added to my collection. Sometime last year I was stuck between getting a sinn and a GS and finally opted for the sinn. If I had seen this review before then I would have dived in for the seiko. However, i’m putting a WTB out there for it. Thanks for this


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