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Watches

More Scurfa awesomeness

My most-read post on the site is the well-named “You should buy a Scurfa dive watch.” Today, they released the long-anticipated ‘Treasure Seeker’ line for sale, and at 368UKP (~510USD) it’s one hell of a deal!

It’s more upscale than my DI-500, with mechanical 9015 movement, included bracelet & strap, ceramic bezel and much fancier dial. For all of that, the price is incredible.

They have black, dark blue, bright blue, orange, yellow and white dial versions, all with attention to contrast and legibility. For example, the white dial version has black-edged hands and markers – nice!

The bright blue is called ‘Hydra Hat’ after a piece of dive equipment, and it’s lovely. And tempting. The black dial is the only one sporting a few color highlights, which is the only complaint I can muster.

I think the other colors would also have benefited from a bit of color pop here and there. Ahh well.

Nice saturated orange.

Me? I just ordered the white dial. I think it’ll be versatile, legible and a delight to own, and Scurfa seem to hold value very well in case the 41mm / 165g is too large or heavy for me.

By way of comparison, I’ve been debating the new Seiko SNE569:

38mm, sapphire, solar quartz movement, unknown bezel (aluminum or possibly plastic, definitely not ceramic.) MSRP is around 550USD, with eBay price of $450. The bracelet has folded end links, and that plus the cheaper bezel are my main annoyances. Great watch, so-so value.

Scurfa – the watches and the values both continue to impress me. Can’t wait for mine to get here!

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Watches

Cool and quirky quartz Seiko

Image credit: Seiko, via plus9time

This is a watch that probably has a small audience – it’s quartz, with asymmetric day/date, which most WIS find less appealing. It’s got a bit of the high-legibility look of the ‘old man retirement watch’ e.g. Timex Easy Reader:

Image credit: Timex

In this case, it’s interesting to me in a couple of ways – it’s a tribute by Seiko of their 1929 railroad pocket watch:

Image credit: Seiko

Secondly, I actually like day/date and like how this looks on the dial. Seiko managed to just not clip the ornate ‘3’. Lovely!

Also, I like solar powered quartz. Accurate, eco friendly, it’ll have the correct time if left idle for a week or a month. Lastly, I love 38 by 9.5mm size. Super wearable.

This is arguable, but I think it’s also a Seiko version on the Tank Must SolarBeat, where Cartier carefully hid the photovoltaics inside the Roman numerals:

Image credit: Hodinkee

The bad news – as plus9time explains, this watch bears no Seiko reference number and isn’t shown on their site:

These models are produced for customers directly and are not for sale via the Seiko websites. The models have Seiko branding on the dial and case back and sometimes have Seiko style model numbers, but some models may not publicise the model number or provide the company’s own model number. Often these models are produced as a limited edition with a set number of units and other times retailers may offer the unit for presale and then once a number of orders have been received the model will then be ordered from Seiko and produced to match the demand.

https://www.plus9time.com/blog/2021/7/4/2021-first-half-seiko-releases

In this case, the vendor is ‘Japanese shopping club LightUp.’ The collaboration is to celebrate their 50th anniversary, the product page is here. (In Japanese, though Chrome does OK translating it.)

You can only get this watch in Japan. LightUp only delivers to Japan. What’s more, since Seiko won’t sell it to you, I don’t know if stalwarts like Seiya or Higuchi can get it for you either.

I begged a favor from family and they came through – the person living there will order and cross-ship it to me here. I hope it’ll be worth the expense (~$480) and hassle. Something about that dial and font, man, I couldn’t resist. Leave a comment if you order one and let people know how you did it!

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recommendations Watches

GPS or radio?

I like restraint in watch design – clarity, legibility, smaller cases that wear more comfortably. I also value accurate timekeeping. There have been some recent releases that hit that intersection nicely, so why not share in case others are interested?

Via Plus9Time, the Seiko Astron SSJ003J1:

Photo credit: Seiko

Seems to be selling for about $1800 with availability in September 2021. At nearly 2k, that’s edging into Grand Seiko quartz prices; quite a big step up from the more mature models with radio control. For example, the Seiko SBTM313:

Photo credit: Seiko

or the SBTM305, with a dial closer to that of the Astron:

Photo credit: Seiko

Solar powered, similar in size and style, but radio set (5 band) versus GPS. Sakura has them for just under $450. 1/4th the price!

From the competition, Citizen has multiple offerings. I like the Attesa line, in particular the CB1120s:

Photo credit: Citizen

That’s the reference CB1120-50F, a 37mm titanium beauty, also available with baton markers and/or white dial for about $450.

Photo credit: Citizen

That’s the AT6070-57L. Nice, and I like the day-date for everyday. Maybe 600$.

I bought the CB1120-50F above and have had it about six months; it’s stellar. Best radio reception I’ve ever seen, beautifully made and just a wonderful, zero-attention watch. It’s easy to recommend. The SBTM series is a pretty direct competitor and I find the green-dial 313 rather attractive.

At 500 bucks, you’re talking expensive quartz, with competition rampant including the Apple Watch. The 2k for the Astron is mighty hard to swallow, given the super niche differences in usefulness – the difference is being able to get time sync in places without radio reception. Australia/NZ, polar areas, South America. If you live there, probably worth it. If you live in Europe, North America, UK or Japan, why bother? Radio sync, in my experience with maybe 15 watches, gets you within 0.5 seconds and sometimes closer – as mentioned the Attesa is best-ever and dead synced to NTP, radio and GPS references.

I should also note that the CB1120s have non-standard lugs, meaning you’re basically stuck with the bracelet, which is usually a thing I consider a deal breaker; in this case I loved the watch so much I bought one anyway.

On an unrelated note, I wrote this post on my iPad, not too bad as an authoring experience so I should be able to post more often.

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Watches

Yay weekends

That is all.

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Random Watches

Truth, beauty and quartz

A recent podcast (Scottish Watches, with Adam Craniotes) there was a nice side discussion of the nature of men’s watches. “Metal Barbie dolls,” to paraphrase, and it did inspire a thought or two.

This is the watch on my wrist now – Seiko SBGX117, a Grand Seiko quartz diver made between 2014 and 2017. 42mm, steel, titanium hands, thermocompensated quartz movement accurate to ten seconds per year. List price was about 4k USD new, I got it used in a trade for about about 2500.

Seiko SBGX117
Seiko SBGX117

If you’re curious, Ariel wrote a nice review here on ABtW.

I’ve also been enjoying this Scurfa recently too:

Scurfa Diver One DI-500

And of course my even-more-accurate 9F GMT:

Seiko SBGN001

For men in the western culture milieu, the only socially acceptable forms of jewelry are the watch and wedding band. There are few exceptions, of course; I’m speaking in generalities here for cishet.

And we’re not allowed to ever, ever call them ‘pretty.’ It has to be masculine, engineering-focused, etc. All gendered language. Yet all the while, we’re always looking for beauty, even if we call it proportion, ratio, finishing and craftwork.

We are, however, allowed to Seek Truth, and for that quartz is king. There’s a wonderful well of difficult problems, interesting physics and obsessive engineering required to make a really accurate timekeeper, and these Seiko 9F movements are among the finest ever made. For that matter, I have a lot of meetings these days, often over video with remote participants, so it is super useful to know the precise time.

9F movement, picture Seiko

So watches are how we thread the needle of societal expectations. We can enjoy manly bonding over our shiny jewelry while still performing masculinity. And hey, it really does come in handy to know what time it is with a watch that can get wet, handle rough treatment, lasts a decade or more and doesn’t require charging every day or two and setting every week.

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Watches

What I like

I’ve come full circle on quartz as I transition from watch geek/writer into ‘person who needs a good watch’.

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recommendations Watches

An unusual strap

Bought this ages ago but finally tried it. The stiffness works well with the large Seiko and it’s quite comfortable, which was a nice surprise. Find it on Amazon. 13 bucks.

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Watches Wrist shots

Graduation watch

I chose this at Costco, and my then-girlfriend and mother both contributed to it.

Basic Seiko, 7T32 quartz with chronograph, alarm and lume dial. Served me all through grad school and Fermilab, only to be replaced by a Blue Angels Citizen when I started flying. I recently sent it to Seiko in NJ for a battery, gaskets and crystal and am rediscovering why I loved it. It’s just a wonderful, versatile, easy to wear thing that disappears on the wrist.

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Watches Wrist shots

Basic Seiko

A seiko quartz isn’t going to impress anyone; it’s not a luxury item. More a superb functional with a design that takes time to appreciate.

SNE498. Good indeed.

And I can’t wait for my OWC to get back.

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Wrist shots

Next level color coordination

Spiffy, isn’t it? BluShark “AlphaShark Slim” 22mm camel NATO with PVD black hardware. As usual, I trimmed off the extra layer and shortened it to declutter.

I like it. Black on gold paired with the converse is pretty darn spiffy.