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A closer look at a Seiko...

  1. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Jun 25, 2018

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    So a while back there was a thread in the "other brands" forum that was asking how Seiko was able to make such nice watches for such low costs. The ensuing discussion brought out many different points of view, and I added mine from a technical/watchmaker point of view, and it was a lively discussion at times. At one point in the thread, member @Laharrier showed a very nice Seiko and said the following:

    “If you really want to be shocked by Seiko value, get your hands on an SPB/SBDC053 or 051. My goodness does this watch kick ass. In house movement, regulated at the factory and keeping time within cosc spec. Finish equal to that on my Tudors and Omegas in every way, and a much more thoughtfully designed case both in form and function. Unbelievable watch for $600 shipped from japan.”

    This resulted in a little push back from various people, and in the end @Laharrier said that really we needed to have one in hand, and we would see how good they are. I asked if he was willing to send it to me to do an evaluation, and before that was ironed out member @Faz (who started the thread) had ordered one, and we made arrangements for it to be sent to me to have a closer look at it once it arrived.

    That watch is now in my shop and I thought I would post this in the open forum so we can get more input.

    So my first impression right out of the box is that this is a very good looking watch, and I wondered if Faz would let me keep it! :) I don’t have a blue dialed watch, and this one is a very nice blue – not too in your face but not too subtle either.

    So let’s look at the exterior first. I don’t know what grade of steel Seiko uses, but the finishing on the case is quite nice. The top surface of the case is a simple circular grain, with polished facets on the lugs, and a straight grain finish on the case sides. Looking at the polished areas with a loupe, I can see what in car terms would be called a bit of an “orange peel” effect, so it’s not as smooth and perfect as I’m used to seeing on higher cost watches. From the way I look at things all the finishes on this watch should be easy to reproduce, or in some cases even improve, by any watchmaker who is proficient at case refinishing.

    Some photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The crown is large and easy to grip, but has no logo on it, which I found odd. I did note that when screwing the crown back down, on a coupe of occasions it didn’t catch right and I had to back the crown up to get the threads started – something I don’t normally find I have to do actually.

    The bezel is easy to turn – maybe too easy, and despite the fact that the ratcheting of the bezel feels very imprecise and somewhat wobbly, when you back the bezel up to a hard stop the bezel lines up perfectly with the dial, so marks for that. But the feel of the ratcheting doesn’t inspire confidence. The bezel insert is very nicely done, and in that previous thread someone mentioned that it might be metal that has been lacquered over. I’m not sure of the exact process but in any case it’s very nice, but how durable it will be over time remains to be seen.
    The sapphire crystal is nice, has a slight dome, and appears to be AR coated.

    The dial and hands are well executed, however some small details are missing. The hands are simple and flat, with no angled surfaces on them as some other brands may have. The markers on the dial are well done, but again are rather flat and plain.

    [​IMG]

    So I don't have really any modern watches in the shop right now, other than a 25318000 SMP and a Speedy Pro, so those aren't really the same sort of dressy sport watch that this one is. I found it difficult to find an Omega analogue since this is a very dressy diver from Seiko, and has a rotating bezel. So I went back through photos of watches I've serviced, the closest blue dialed watch that sort of matches this Seiko that I have photos of is a blue dialed Aqua Terra - this one is a ref. 25028000, with the 2500 movement:

    [​IMG]

    The case is a rather standard Omega twisted lug design, and like the Seiko combines polished and brushed surfaces. Due to some of the curved surfaces this is a little less straightforward to finish/refinish than the Seiko is. And of course it doesn't have a rotating bezel, but I can say that Omegas that do have rotating bezels tend to have a more precise feeling bezel action that this Seiko does.

    The dial and hands on this one though show a marked difference in quality:

    [​IMG]

    Similar type of finish on the dial surface, but the polished markers are nicely chamfered, and the hands have that break down the middle, so unlike the Seiko this watch is not as "flat" in appearance. Not a direct comparison, but the closest I had photos of.

    So a few other things were looked at initially, and next I checked the accuracy of the date change. This watch uses a semi-instantaneous date change system similar to many Omegas, and Omega’s tolerance on this is a very generous +/- 10 minute of midnight. Personally I would not accept something that far off, since it’s so easy to get it much closer. But in any case this one clicked over a 8 minutes to, so it meets Omega’s specs:

    [​IMG]

    This watch is rated for 200m, so I popped it in the dry testing machine and used the dive watch program – this tests the watch with a vacuum first, and then a pressure, while measuring the deflection of the case. It measures the amount and pattern of the deflection to check water resistance:

    [​IMG]

    The watch failed the vacuum test, and passed the pressure test:

    [​IMG]

    So what does this mean? Well sometimes watches that are rated for very deep depths are so rigid that the machine thinks it’s not moving, and therefore leaking (air exchanging in and out of the case freely). This is more likely to happen when pulling the smaller vacuum, than when subjecting the watch to a much higher pressure. So this result is not terribly unusual, but just to confirm it’s okay I use the leak finder program:

    [​IMG]

    This test is essentially a very long version of the pressure test – if the watch is leaking, then the air pressure inside and outside the watch will equalize over time:

    [​IMG]

    The machine monitors the deflection very closely, and at the end it will tell you if the leak is too big to test the watch in water – in this case it says the leak is either not there or small enough that there is no risk in water testing:

    [​IMG]

    So if the watch is leaking, once it’s out of the test chamber, the pressure inside will be higher than outside. If I put it in a glass of water (standing by ready for this test) then there should be a stream of bubbles coming from the location of the leak as that air escapes to atmosphere:

    [​IMG]

    Seeing none, I’m going to say it’s sealed fine:

    [​IMG]

    Since this ended up being a very long series of tests, I'm going to stop here, and will post more in the coming days about the remainder of the testing and my observations.

    As always, questions are welcome.

    Cheers, Al
     
    Edited Jun 26, 2018
  2. airansun Seasons will pass you by Jun 25, 2018

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    Fascinating. I’d love your doing this with more watches!

    Maybe a weekly/monthly feature column?

    And you’ve got me on the edge of my seat: can’t wait for you to open the Seiko up and ‘tear it apart’ physically and verbally.
     
    Edited Jun 25, 2018
    noelekal likes this.
  3. Waltesefalcon Jun 25, 2018

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    Maybe an Archer YouTube channel in which we get a monthly comparison test based on watches techincal merits.
     
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  4. ulackfocus Jun 25, 2018

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    Guys, a watchmaker only makes money while he's at the bench working on customer's watches. ;) He doesn't get paid to goof off with us nutjob fanatics on the internet. :p
     
  5. SteveZ28 Jun 25, 2018

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    I think that the only way you could get Archer to donate his free time to this is let him keep the watches after.
     
  6. gdupree Jun 25, 2018

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    Some can make a lot of money on youtube these days... provided that lots of people watch your videos. Perhaps it's a bit of a niche topic to attract a lot of people to the video, but I regularly watch some weird shit on youtube. The topic is enough to get a channel like "Watch Repair Channel" about 60,000 subscribers and 7.6 million lifetime views. Some online calculators would project those views to bring in $10k per year... not sure how accurate those numbers are, but from what I hear it can be a viable endeavor if it's something that the person enjoys doing.
     
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  7. ulackfocus Jun 25, 2018

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    So what do those online calculators say about 25,000+ posts? How much "money" should I be getting "paid"?

    :rolleyes: ::facepalm2::

    Now, if you missed the sarcasm in my above sentence, let me clarify: those YouTube calculations are total bullshit. :cautious: Probably made up by someone who calls themselves a "social media influencer".
     
  8. Bill Sohne Bill @ ΩF Staff Member Jun 25, 2018

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    HI AL



    i have one i bought used on the sales forum !!! I wear this watch all the time...... except for yesterday i was wearing my Doxa....

    keep in mind the steel case has a "diashield" coating to help prevent desk diver type of scratches...
    its a homage to the 62mas with a modern twist...

    its a great watch.... the blue comes on a rubber strap.... i bought the bracelet that comes on the black dial model and put it on the blue.... its really killer...

    enjoy

    bill




     
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  9. Foo2rama Keeps his worms in a ball instead of a can. Jun 25, 2018

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    Send me your PayPal and I’ll pay you what your worth ;)

    As for YouTube... It’s not easy to figure out. Depends on the content creators deal with YouTube, the types of viewer, and category. 2 seemingly identical channels can be paid vastly different, a lot of the data out there became out dated over the past year when they redid rates and most creators took a large hit.
     
  10. gdupree Jun 25, 2018

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    Haha. I'm sure you're right on the numbers. But there would be some amount of money made by doing it.. But hey, I'm fine with him positing it here for free if he likes!

    You should start making people view ads before they can read your posts, then sit back and watch the fat coin roll in.
     
  11. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Jun 25, 2018

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    Please elaborate on this coating thanks...first I've heard of such a thing (other than Elmer's glue that is)...
     
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  12. Bill Sohne Bill @ ΩF Staff Member Jun 25, 2018

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    Hey Squirrel

    25k of your posts? not counting your watch 101 stuff.... then you owe everyone money [email protected]


    hahahahahah


    BIll
     
  13. Bill Sohne Bill @ ΩF Staff Member Jun 25, 2018

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    Edited Feb 12, 2021
  14. Bill Sohne Bill @ ΩF Staff Member Jun 25, 2018

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  15. Bill Sohne Bill @ ΩF Staff Member Jun 25, 2018

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    It does seems to work for me on my watch/./..

    been wearing my watch at job sites and i was wearing it when i fell face, left side of body first into concrete!)

    Broke my thumb and wrist.... but the watch was not scratched.

    Best

    bill
     
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  16. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Jun 25, 2018

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    Well, not much clarity there about what this is (coating, surface treatment, etc.)and the chart that person posted has a range of hardness of 350 on the Vickers scale, so is there really that much variability?

    In any case, this watch does have some scratches on it, so I can't say how well this works really.

    Cheers, Al
     
  17. Bill Sohne Bill @ ΩF Staff Member Jun 25, 2018

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    I saw that in the photos you posted and thought it was odd...

    this was a new watch or " preowned" ?

    I have banged mine up some and no scratches to speak of

    best
    bill
     
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  18. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Jun 25, 2018

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    To be clear this is a watch I have been leant for this testing as I noted in my first post. User @Faz bought it new not long ago, and he said he has worn it a "day or two per week" since he bought it. He ordered it back in March, so it's a few months old...
     
  19. Taddyangle Convicted Invicta Wearer Jun 25, 2018

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    Sieko seems to cover many price points.

    I bought a ~$135 Seiko Sport a couple years back. I have since given it to my oldest son. He wears it on occasions when he goes out. It is an automatic that resembled my previously owned blue dial Blancpain FF.
    upload_2018-6-25_12-42-32.png
    The watch posted by Al (owned by Faz) is quite attractive and looks quite nice. Did it come with a bracelet at that price point? Given how inflated Speedmaster prices are (as well as some other brands, both vintage and modern) I can see how Seiko is quite an attractive option.
     
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  20. Mouse_at_Large still immune to Speedmaster attraction Jun 25, 2018

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    Excellent analysis. The only thing that I'd suggest is that the flatness of the hands and the dial markers on the Seiko -v- the AT may be dictated by the desire to have large flat areas to apply lume to in what is notionally a "divers" watch. Not saying that cost isn't a factor as well ;)