Arlan Panlican

Arlan Panlican

First Published: June 29, 2021
  1. Articles by Arlan Panlican
  2. Marathon GSAR: A Comprehensive Review

    Marathon GSAR: A Comprehensive Review

    Military watches are crafted to be as durable as possible, ensuring maximal longevity. Since military personnel prefers utility over design—which is perfectly reasonable given their line of work—aesthetics tend to be less of a priority for military watches. Marathon is a great example of a watch brand that champions functionality and durability. By focusing on substance over style, Marathon has firmly cemented its place as one of the best military watch manufacturers in the market. The Marathon GSAR, otherwise known as the Marathon Government-Issued Search and Rescue, is a collection of high-utility watches meant for critical military missions. This Canadian-made watch ensures optimal comfort and mobility, improving the success rate of the wearers’ missions—especially since time is very crucial in dire situations. In addition, these watches are tried and tested by both the Canadian and US military forces, which serves as a testament to their quality. Today, we will be taking an in-depth look at the Marathon GSAR to just see what makes it so special as a search and rescue watch. Plus, we have also included 5 impressive alternatives for the Marathon GSAR watch if you are looking for something similar. Read on to find out more! First Impressions Image courtesy of Marathon Official The Marathon GSAR collection is an ambitious innovation meant to help military personnel fulfil their duties. It comes highly approved by the Canadian and US governments and has been endorsed by many high-ranking officers as well, so you can be sure of its reliability. That being said, the Marathon GSAR might not be of much interest to the average watch enthusiast or casual wearer. Indeed, its plethora of features tend to be useful primarily for military individuals or explorers and is not a great fit for the dance floor or as part of your everyday routines. If, however, you are looking for a companion on your next outdoor adventure, then the Marathon GSAR is a great choice. Without further ado, let us go over the specifications of the Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101. Specifications Case The Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101 is also commonly known as the Large Diver’s Automatic, due to its sizeable case. It employs the use of 361L stainless steel to craft its case, which measures 41mm in diameter. In addition, this is quite a robust watch, with its 14mm thickness. It also has a secure screw-in crown which keeps any moisture or dust from getting into the watch and causing damage to its inside. The water resistance rating on the Marathon GSAR is a whopping 30 ATM or 300 meters. This allows it to withstand great water pressures, which makes it a massive help during underwater search and rescue missions—the very purpose it was meant to fulfil. It is equipped with a 2.8mm thick sturdy sapphire crystal, which protects the dial from all sorts of external elements and damage. Dial The Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101 has a jet black dial with white numeral hour markers and a 24-hour layout commonly found in military watches. There is also a small date aperture between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers, too. The monochrome design allows time to be easily read even with all the details on the dial. Image courtesy of Marathon Official Its visibility is also further boosted when used in the dark. Equipped with tritium gas tubes with glow that can last up to 25 years, divers can easily tell the time even when deep down underwater. The Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101 uses their very own luminescent technology, the MaraGlo. Notably, the MaraGlo is proven to be non-radioactive, so you do not have to worry about any hazards when it comes to using tritium gas tubes.” Movement Image courtesy of Marathon Official The Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101 is equipped with the ETA 2824-A2 caliber. This is an automatic movement that is popularly used in the market. With over 32 hours of power reserve, you can achieve a lot of things while wearing this watch—especially during search and rescue missions. Furthermore, since this is an automatic caliber, you do not have to worry about having to manually wind the watch during your missions. All you have to do is wear it and go about your business, and as long as it is on your wrist, it will never stop ticking. That said, if you do take the watch off for several days, simply turn the grooved crown to manually wind the watch again. Strap The strap used on the Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101 is a 20mm black rubber strap. It adds comfort and maintains the balance of the watch’s design, enhancing its sporty look. Price This high-functioning, government-issued search and rescue watch does not come cheaply. However, this is to be expected of a military-grade watch like this, which delivers impressive precision and durability. You can purchase this watch for around $1,300 USD. 5 Marathon GSAR Alternatives 1. Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary Magma Ocean Ref. GWF-1035F-1JR Since the Marathon GSAR is technically a diver’s watch, you can find several dive watches that are just as robust as the Marathon GSAR. The only difference is that these watches are not government-issued, let alone made for the sole purpose of search and rescue missions. That said, the Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary Magma Ocean Ref. GWF-1035F-1JR is an exceptional Casio’s diver’s watch that would surely be of use to you during your underwater expeditions. The Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary Magma Ocean Ref. GWF-1035F-1JR has a large 52.8mm case made of hard-coated stainless steel and polymer. This might sound like an unusual combination, but this case is reinforced for maximum protection against water pressures and shocks. The dial, on the other hand, is mainly digital. It also has a backlight function to provide a light source in the dark and underwater, giving this G-Shock watch greater legibility. This Frogman piece is also equipped with Casio’s very own Tough Solar and Multi-Band 6 features, making it eco-friendly and highly functional. This watch retails at $749 USD. It is a great alternative to the Marathon GSAR since it is fitted with incredibly useful features for both diving and other outdoor activities. 2. Longines HydroConquest Ref. L37813587 Longines also have an impressive dive watch up their sleeves. The Longines HydroConquest Ref. L37813587 is a perfect example of a stylish diver’s watch that is comparable to the Rolex Submariner but is much more affordable. The Longines HydroConquest Ref. L37813587 uses a 41mm stainless steel case with a bidirectional rose gold bezel. The bezel also has a black ceramic insert, painted with a tachymeter scale for improved utility. This is paired with a two-toned stainless steel bracelet with exquisite rose gold central links. The dial of this HydroConquest watch looks a lot like the Submariner, as it features bold circular hour indices and a date window at 3 o’clock. Its black backdrop blends perfectly with the rose gold accents all over the watch’s exterior. This watch is also equipped with a water resistance rating of 300 meters, so it is more than capable of competing against the Marathon GSAR. In addition, it makes use of the Longines Caliber L888 automatic movement to ensure excellent precision and a 62-hour power reserve. As a stylish luxury diver, this watch is a bit more expensive than the Marathon GSAR. It retails at a price of $1,699 USD. 3. Tudor Black Bay Ref. 79230B-0007 Tudor is another luxury watch brand that does not fall short when it comes to exceptional dive watches. If you are in the market for a luxury diver that offers a sleek style while also providing durability and functionality useful during outdoor activities, give the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 79230B-0007 a shot. The Tudor Black Bay Ref. 79230B-0007 makes use of a 41mm stainless steel case with a sporty dark blue leather strap. That said, for those who prefer a more professional look, you can opt to swap the leather strap for a stainless steel bracelet too. The dial is protected by a high-quality, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It does not have a date aperture, but it features large hands and oversized geometric hour markers which are very easy to read. The water resistance capacity of this watch is slightly less impressive than the Marathon GSAR, at 200 meters. It might not be as powerful as the Marathon GSAR, but if you are looking for a pseudo dress piece that boasts durability and versatility, then this Tudor Black Bay model might be the one for you. You can purchase the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 79230B-0007 for $3,475 USD. 4. Seiko Prospex Divers Ref. SBDC101 If you are looking for an affordable alternative to the Marathon GSAR, the Seiko Prospex Divers Ref. SBDC101 is a great choice. Priced at around $1,449 USD, this Seiko piece offers a straightforward, minimalist design that promotes comfort and class. The Seiko Prospex Divers Ref. SBDC101 utilizes a quintessential build, with a 40mm stainless steel case and matching three-link bracelet. The black dial contrasts nicely with its silver-tone hands and thick hour indices, allowing for improved legibility. A date aperture can also be found replacing the 3 o’clock marker. As a dive watch, this model also comes with a black bezel, marked with a tachymetric scale in white paint. With its substantial 200-meter water resistance capacity, this is an excellent option for those seeking a partner during underwater dives. 5. SINN Diving U212 Ref. 212.040-Solid-2LSS In terms of utility, the SINN Diving U212 Ref. 212.040-Solid-2LSS is possibly the best alternative to the Marathon GSAR. Although it does come at a more expensive price of $3,049 USD, this watch offers a delightfully versatile aesthetic and features even better than that of the Marathon GSAR. The case of the SINN Diving U212 Ref. 212.040-Solid-2LSS is quite large, weighing in at a diameter of 47mm. It is best suited for average-to-large-sized wrists. This case, and its matching bracelet, are both made from bead-blasted German submarine steel, a military-grade material that maximizes the watch’s durability both underwater and in extreme weather conditions. The submarine steel bezel is marked with playful red and black accents and comes with a tachymetric scale for optimal utility. The dial of this Sinn timepiece also comes in black, with contrasting white indices and hour and minute hands. The seconds hand comes in bright red, adding a hint of sportiness to this piece. One downside to this watch is that the date aperture is much smaller than in the previously mentioned watches. That said, given the large size of the dial, the date display is still quite readable. Equipped with an incredible water resistance capacity of 1,000 meters, you can easily bring this watch on deep dives without ever having to worry about water damage. Indeed, this Sinn Diving piece is quite pricey, but the value you get from it is far more than what you pay for. Final Thoughts The Marathon GSAR is an exceptional watch that showcases the potential of military and dive watches, and how innovation and passion can take things further. This tool watch might not be for everyone, especially since it is geared more towards military use and extreme adventures. Nevertheless, if you are intrigued by the functionality of the Marathon GSAR, you are still welcome to give it a go and see if it fits your lifestyle. And if you think that a rugged government-issued watch is too much for your tastes, we have also presented five great alternatives. These alternatives have the same utility as the Marathon GSAR, but they possess different styles that just might fit your tastes more. Images courtesy of WatchShopping, unless stated otherwise. Featured image courtesy of Marathon Official If you consider yourself an adventurer and are looking for a durable companion, have a look at our 20 Best Hiking Watches in 2021!

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  3. Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar: A Complete Guide on Tissot’s Solar-Powered Tactile Watch

    Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar: A Complete Guide on Tissot’s Solar-Powered Tactile Watch

    Tissot has a long rich history in the world of horology. Throughout the years, Tissot has always made sure to get with the times and adjust whenever possible. One of the many achievements the brand has accomplished is the introduction of the T-Touch to the world. This was the world’s first tactile watch to come into existence. It is a high-utility watch that establishes a connection between usefulness and style. The T-Touch has since evolved over the years with newer, more up-to-date functions and designs. One particular standout model is the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar.  The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 is a solar-powered tactile watch that was the product of Tissot’s watchmaking expertise over the years. Not only were they the first brand to successfully create a tactile watch, but they were also one of the main proponents who jumpstarted the successful shift from traditional watchmaking to the modern era. That being said, what makes the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar such a prime choice for the average tech-savvy watch wearer? Is it a good choice for going on adventures? Or are its advanced features purely for cosmetics? Let us find out through a detailed walkthrough of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar below. First Impressions Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.46.051.01Image courtesy of Watch Shopping At first glance, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.46.051.01 might seem like a regular wristwatch that provides the most basic timekeeping features. Indeed, as mentioned before, it does share quite a few similarities with the Casio Pro-Trek, including having a digital-analog dial, and the fact that both watches are solar-powered and are intended for outdoor activities. In that respect, you might be put off by this design, since it might initially strike you as being a bit of a copy. A closer look, however, reveals some major differences between these two watches. One significant difference is that the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar comes with tactile functionality. Touchscreens are all the rage nowadays and are unlikely to go away anytime soon. That is why Tissot’s move of including tactile functionality in the T-Touch Expert Solar to get with the times was a very smart one. Having a head start in applying touchscreen technology to watchmaking was a massive advantage for Tissot. This caused an instant surge of popularity which led to this watch practically flying off the shelves. Indeed, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar has proved to be extremely helpful and convenient in everyday life. With just a simple touch, you can do whatever you please with the T-Touch Expert Solar. The non-complicated mechanics made this watch very accessible. You will not have any problem recharging it or scrounging for batteries every once in a while. The major downside of this watch is its screen’s durability. Manufacturers have to make sure that the screen registers each touch successfully and accurately, or else the touchscreen will not function properly. As such, tactile glass screens are known to be quite fragile, and you have to be careful not to bang this watch around willy-nilly. Specifications The inner workings of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar are not that difficult to understand. The smartwatch mechanisms and complications are easy to navigate due to their straightforward nature. Furthermore, the design of this watch has a distinct style that strengthens its purpose as an adventurer’s watch. Much like Casio Pro-Trek, the T-Touch Expert Solar boasts a minimalistic and uncluttered dial that shows only what is necessary to the wearer. The buttons on the left side of the watch help keep the touchscreen secure, to avoid accidental touches activating certain functions. Without further ado, let us get down to the specifics of this timepiece. Case The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 has a 45mm titanium case with a black PVD coating. This case might be too big for some people, especially those with more petite wrists, but the size was strategically built to accommodate the tactile glass screen. A smaller case would mean a smaller screen. And if the screen is smaller, the tactile functions of the T-Touch Expert Solar would become limited. Despite being a smartwatch, the durability of the case is impressive. It has a scratch-proof crystal, a water resistance rating of at least 100 meters, and has antimagnetic properties. The 13mm thickness of this watch adds more to its weight and structure. Despite that, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 is still a fairly comfortable watch to wear, especially with its 22mm lugs curved at an angle to fit around the wrist smoothly. The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 does not have any existing crowns. The same can be said for all the other T-Touch watches, both the older and newer versions. Instead, it has three distinct buttons that are used to adjust the time or to activate the tactile function. These three buttons can be easily distinguished with their corresponding logos. From top to bottom, the first button has a plus sign, the middle one has a letter T, for Tissot, and the third button showcases a minus sign. Both the first and third buttons are used to adjust the time on the digital dial, while the middle button is used to activate the tactile function. These buttons are extremely easy to understand and use, and their functions are very straightforward—making the watch easy to get used to, even for first-timers. Dial The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 uses a black checkered dial. The digital dial can be found at the bottom half of the main dial and works hand-in-hand with the analog dial on the upper half. The hours and minutes hands are quite short and tipped with white. That said, though the stocky hands of this watch are charmingly designed, their shorter-than-average lengths may not be to everyone’s taste. The hour and minute markers are presented in a straightforward manner, with numerals 3, 6, 9, and 12 placed on the bezel. There are also specific functions that can be found across the dial. These functions, which can be activated by tapping on their corresponding markers, include the Meteo mode, altimeter, chronograph, compass, timer, and alarm. The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 may be jam-packed with a lot of features, but the minimalistic design of the dial design ensures that it is still clean, uncluttered, and easy to read without getting confused. Movement Since the launch of the T-Touch collection, all the models in this range have used quartz movements. However, since the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 uses solar energy as its main source of power, some changes had to be made to its movement. The ETA E84.301 Swiss solar tactile quartz movement was used to accommodate its solar capabilities along with the other amazing features this watch has. One handy feature this watch has is that, if you are unsure whether the battery has any power left, you can easily check the power indicator with just a single touch. The same can be said of the watch’s other functions. The ETA E84.301 caliber is an innovative, state-of-the-art solar quartz movement that puts Tissot one step ahead of its competition.  Strap The straps and bracelets for the T-Touch Expert Solar come in a variety of choices. Depending on the specific model, you can have either a synthetic rubber strap, an embossed cow leather band, or a titanium bracelet. In this case, the T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 is equipped with a titanium bracelet that has a folding clasp with a secure push-button lock. It also goes without saying that the titanium bracelet adds to the heft of the watch—giving it an overall weight of 123 grams. This is still quite manageable and comfortable on the wrist, due to the lightweight nature of titanium. The professional titanium strap effectively adds to the classy design of the T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00. Some might not be fans of a metallic bracelet paired with a tactile watch, but this sleek and elegant exterior creates a unique identity that sets this timepiece apart from the other versions of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar. It is a solid timepiece that is perfect for those who prefer a sturdy all-in-one watch fit for both everyday wear and dressy occasions. Price Now that we know all the features and functions of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00, as you might expect, the price for this watch is quite expensive. Compared to Casio Pro-Trek, the T-Touch Expert Solar comes at a higher price that is quite reasonable for such a high-utility wristwatch. Indeed, it is also safe to say that in terms of utility, the T-Touch Expert Solar comes first when pitted against the Casio Pro-Trek. The T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 comes at a price of $1,150 USD. It may not be the best price for beginners, or for those working with a budget, but it certainly befits a watch of this caliber. Alternatively, you could always opt for trusted and respected second-hand markets for more affordable pieces of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar. Just be sure to check the legitimacy of your chosen seller. Newer Versions of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Image courtesy of Watch Shopping At Baselworld 2017, an updated version of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar was introduced, the T-Touch Expert Solar II. It is a new and improved variant of the T-Touch Expert Solar, with a much more defined and detailed dial compared to the first version. Instead of going for the minimalistic route again, Tissot decided to fill in the empty spaces to create a busier dial with additional features and functions. The hours and minutes hands of this timepiece are shaped like compass arrows, and the dial pattern is changed from checkered to a more sophisticated pattern. The size and dimensions remain the same and lightweight titanium is still used to make the case of the T-Touch Expert Solar II. The only difference is the bezel is now made from scratch-proof ceramic instead. The retail price for this watch starts at $1,150 USD. It has the same price as its predecessor, and it is commendable of Tissot to not have given this watch a higher price tag despite its improved functionalities. History of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Once upon a time, Tissot was a brand known for exporting watches to the USA and the Russian Empire in the 19th century. As a result, when the Russian revolution occurred, it was a huge challenge for Tissot and its fellow watchmakers. While many other watchmaking brands were forced to close their workshops due to the revolution, Tissot, however, stood strong and used its expertise and resources to keep going, eventually creating a powerful factory. In 1999, Tissot released the first-ever tactile watch which they dubbed the T-Touch. This watch allowed the wearer to perform certain actions with just a single tap on the screen. It was such a groundbreaking invention that it placed Tissot at the top of the market during that time. Compared to other traditional watches, the T-Touch was an unconventional timepiece that took the world by storm. It was equipped with a quartz movement that ran on batteries since an automatic movement would not be sufficient for this energy-consuming watch. Touchscreen technology was not as prominent back then as it is today. The first touchscreen phone was invented in 1992, seven years before the T-Touch. It is unknown if Tissot drew inspiration from that feat, but it cannot be denied that the invention of the touchscreen phone opened a few doors regarding this technology, allowing it to be applied to the art of horology. As technology develops, the use of solar power as an alternative source of energy has become increasingly prevalent in the modern age. It is accessible, cost-effective, and gives wearers much less hassle. That is why Tissot chose to incorporate this solar technology into the T-Touch series, which eventually resulted in the creation of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, which was released in 2014. This timepiece became a massive success, particularly because of its solar capability. Outdoor enthusiasts found this watch to be useful due to its utility and accessibility. It does not have any overly complex features and there are no worries of accidentally tapping the screen and unintentionally activating some function. You need to push a certain button before being able to use its touchscreen features—making the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar a very secure timepiece in terms of accidental watch adjustments and the like.  Final Thoughts Going on an adventure surely takes a toll on every adventurer. Having the need to constantly prepare, be aware of both nightfall and dawn, and the worry of getting lost makes it a complex and arduous activity that not everyone can partake in. But with the emergence and assistance of adventurer utility watches like the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster, Garmin Fenix 6X Pro, the Rolex Explorer II, and of course, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, it has become possible for even beginners to enjoy nature and its beauty. The T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 does exactly what Tissot intended it to do. Its tactile functionality provides more insight into the technological advancements Tissot has engaged in order to dominate the watch market once more. Of course, today, there have been other touchscreen timepieces by different brands, but one can never truly forget the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, which stands out as the pioneer of multi-functional tactile watches in the history of horology. If you are the outgoing type, you’ll love our 10 Best Cycling Watches! Be sure to check it out! All images courtesy of Tissot, unless stated otherwise.Featured image courtesy of Tissot.

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  4. Seagull 1963: An In-Depth Guide on the Historical Chinese Chronograph

    Seagull 1963: An In-Depth Guide on the Historical Chinese Chronograph

    The world of horology holds a diverse cast of luxury watchmaking brands that champion accuracy and timeless designs over anything else. These companies mostly hail from Switzerland, Germany, the United States of America, and Japan. That said, there are quite a few watch companies, not from the aforementioned countries, that is criminally underrated by the general public. For instance, the Seagull 1963 chronograph easily comes to mind. This is a classic Chinese watch that holds significant value in terms of its history and intended usage. Indeed, if you are an avid watch collector, you may already be aware of the Seagull 1963. The horology industry and the military have often affiliated themselves with each other throughout the years. The same can be said with Rolex, Alpina, Casio, and many more renowned watchmaking brands. In many ways, being affiliated with the military boosts a watch’s historical significance, making it a more valuable investment. Others argue that being trusted by the military is a testament to the reliability and quality of a watch and its maker. This is why the Seagull 1963 deserves recognition from more than just long-time watch connoisseurs.  The general design of the Seagull 1963 watches follows one specific blueprint. The sizes may vary, the color scheme may have certain twists and there may be several options available for straps and bracelets, but the main structure of the Seagull 1963 remains the same. This allows the Seagull 1963 to preserve its value throughout the years, showing the world just what made it popular back during its initial release. First Impressions The Seagull 1963 has a very simplistic and minimalist design that gives us a retrospective look into a fraction of Chinese History. Some who are unaware of its origins may shrug it off and deem it a cheap mechanical watch. In reality, however, the Seagull 1963 is far from being a mediocre watch, despite its affordable price point. Furthermore, a large number of collectors and watch connoisseurs have an undeniable soft spot for vintage watches. Even if a watch has a very low price point, all that matters is its heritage and historical significance. With that in mind, the Seagull 1963 is a definitive vintage watch that has slowly but surely evolved over the years. Not much has changed in terms of its style, but there were several reissues of this watch as the years went by. These reissues provide more modern takes on the Seagull 1963 without taking away most of its original charm. One of the Seagull 1963’s most notable designs is its off-white dial. It adds more to the Seagull 1963’s vintage aspect, as it still maintains the classic 1960s demeanour.  All in all, the Seagull 1963 is a great watch that caters to both beginners and experienced enthusiasts alike. The affordability of this watch makes it accessible to those who are on a tight budget. Plus, the Seagull 1963 is a breath of fresh air since Chinese watches are quite rare in the watchmaking industry. Sampling a variety of watchmakers from across the globe gives us a chance to indulge in their cultures for a little bit—adding to the appeal of the Seagull 1963. Specifications Looking at the Seagull 1963, you may be led to believe that it is a simple quartz watch with limited features. In reality, it is actually an incredible tool watch with robust functionalities. This should be expected since the Seagull 1963 is trusted by the Chinese airforce to the point where extreme confidentiality was enacted during its production. Let us take a closer look at the detailed specifications of the Seagull 1963. Case, Crown, and Case Back The original Seagull 1963 (Prototype 304) has a 38mm stainless steel case with an 11mm or 14mm thickness, depending on the crystal used. The case was made smaller and lighter to provide more comfort to the pilots. It may be a little too thin for some, but the NATO or leather straps that come with the Seagull 1963 adds to its comfort. The 38mm diameter and 11mm thickness provide a proportionate design scheme that allows for god compatibility on any wrist size. The caseback is screwed down to protect the inner mechanisms of the watch from the water. On the newer variations, the caseback now has a see-through crystal, allowing wearers to look inside into and see how the watch’s movement operates. This is a now-common design found in a number of modern luxury watches. The Seagull 1963 also has a 30m water resistance. Keep in mind that this watch has a very thin case, so having 30m of water resistance is already an incredible feat. The scratch-resistant crystal also adds to the protection of the watch. There are many variations of the crystal throughout the production of the Seagull 1963. These crystals can alter the dimensions of the watch since some models come with a domed crystal and others with a flat one. The domed crystal adds 3mm of thickness to the watch, granting a total of 14mm in thickness. This variation is actually the original crystal that was used during the Seagull 1963’s initial production. The flat crystal, which maintains a more standard surface compared to the domed crystal, is only 1mm thick. The crown of the Seagull 1963 is also screwed down to prevent water from going in, although it is unusually placed on the left side of the watch. As usual, the hands can be adjusted with the un-screwed crown. The same procedure is used to wind the Seagull 1963 since it is a hand-wound mechanical watch. The two buttons beside the crown are used to control the chronograph sub-dials. These buttons are used to start and stop the timer as the wearer pleases.  Dial The dial of the Seagull 1963 is probably its most defining feature. The slim profile of the stainless steel case perfectly complements the clean off-white color of the dial, without any unnecessary styles or embellishments that encumber the legibility of the watch. The off-white dial itself provides a clear view of each numeric character on the dial. The Seagull 1963 has gold-plated applied indices. It has numeral markers for all of its even numerals, but its odd numerals take the shape of triangle markers. The gold-toned hour markers blend well with the off-white dial and are a very popular color combination in the watch industry. The minute and seconds markers can be found on the outer rim of the dial. These markers may be small, but they are still visible and easy to read.  The two chronograph sub-dials are positioned at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. The size of these sub-dials is just right, not too small as to be unreadable and not too big, so the dial doesn’t look cluttered. As for the designs of the dial, there is a red star with a gold outline below the 12th-hour marker along with the words “21 Zuan”, which translates to “21 Jewels.” This pertains to the embedded jewels found on the calibre movement used in the watch. Chinese writing can also be found on the bottom part of the dial, which is only natural considering its country of origin. These characters spell out “China”, and under it reads “Tianjin Watch Factory.” Calibre Movement The calibre movement used in the original Seagull 1963 that was released in 1961 was the Venus 175 caliber. This movement was commonly found in watches that were manufactured during the 40s up to the 50s. Given that the Venus 175 caliber is quite outdated in the modern age, the Tianjin Watch Factory has changed the caliber movement used to the new ST19. The Seagull ST19 caliber is a hand-wound mechanical movement that is used in the reissued versions of the Seagull 1963 watch. Not much has changed in regards to the functions and features offered, but the reliability and accuracy of the ST19 caliber movement allow the Seagull 1963 to keep up with its modern contemporaries.  Oddly enough, the Seagull 1963 chooses to highlight the number of jewels used on the dial instead of the caliber movement used. The reason behind this design is still a mystery. On top of that, the Seagull 1963 can last up to an impressive 45 hours when wound to its maximum capability. Winding a watch may not be a significantly time-consuming activity, but it can prove to be a hassle if you forget about it, so the relatively long 45-hour power reserve is very handy. Indeed, the ST19 calibre movement is definitely a huge improvement on the Venus 175 caliber in terms of reliability and utility. Notable Variations Did you know that there are several variations of the original Seagull 1963 watch model? Most of them vary in size, color scheme, and even manufacturer. The Tianjin Watch Factory may be the main manufacturer of the Seagull 1963, but they are more lenient than they seem when it comes to their products. They have allowed the distribution of the Seagull 1963 from several vendors. Aside from that, the Tianjin Watch Factory has even allowed third-party companies and watchmakers to create new Seagull 1963 watches, with the same name and design. This is an almost unheard-of move, especially for a watchmaking company. With that in mind, here are a few notable variations of the Seagull 1963. The Seagull 1963 38mm (Original) When it comes to reissues or tribute watches, most watchmakers would strictly follow the original blueprint of the watch being reintroduced. That way, the heritage of the reissued watch is clear, even through its design. Of course, some watchmakers love to add their own modern twists when creating a tribute watch. This practice can sometimes leave fans divided. Some may want a part-by-part remake of the original watch, while others welcome the idea of change. It is a tricky situation that can happen in any industry. That is why the Seagull 1963 38mm reissue is a great example of a remake done right. This reissue stayed true to the original that was released for the Chinese Airforce. It retained the 38mm stainless steel case along with the domed crystal that contributed to its 14mm thickness. The weight of the Seagull 1963 38mm reissue is not a concern either, as it remains the same as that of an 11mm Seagull 1963 watch. The reissued Seagull 1963 also maintained the same off-white dial with gold-toned applied indices, and black minutes and seconds markings. The chronograph sub-dials can also be found at the same 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions, with both chronographs being operated through the two buttons located beside the screw-down crown. Despite being manufactured by different vendors in China, the Seagull 1963 remake did not undergo any change whatsoever across vendors. The ST19 calibre movement is found inside every piece of the Seagull 1963 remake, the same 30m water resistance is also present. The Seagull 1963 38mm reissue is an excellent utility watch, and the only real challenge is finding a reliable vendor that manufactures it. The Seagull 1963 Panda As the name suggests, the Seagull 1963 Panda is reminiscent of the famous Chinese national symbol, the grand panda. In this reissue, a number of features were changed while keeping the base design intact. Instead of going for the original 38mm case, a larger 42mm polished stainless steel case was used for this version. The polished stainless steel blends well in the modern era of horology, where polished stainless steel tends to be more popular than just stainless steel alone. The Seagull 1963 Panda also uses a black and red NATO-style strap to provide a more unique design that sets it apart from the original.  The dial of the Seagull 1963 is a pearlescent white, a sharp and glossy color that matches the silver-toned appliques and hands. The minute markings are still in contrasting black, located at the outer rim of the dial, which makes them easier to read. The chronograph sub-dials, on the other hand, are colored black to complete the panda motif of the watch, as it resembles the endearing black eyes of a giant panda. The Seagull 1963 Price Range As mentioned before, the production of the Seagull 1963 branched out to several third-party vendors across China. This made it difficult to acquire an authentic Seagull 1963 model due to the inevitable rise of counterfeits and cheap knockoffs. Such instances also led to negative reviews from patrons who received fake Seagull 1963 pieces of cheap quality. Some of these reviews have reported that the crystal falls off easily after a single impact, while others received an unsecured caseback. These problems are all the result of fake sellers hawking counterfeit Seagull 1963 models. That said, there are still reliable sources of an authentic Seagull 1963 watch to be found online. Renowned online stores should definitely be your top choice when looking for this sought-after watch. Lucky for you, the price range for the authentic Seagull 1963 is really still quite affordable. In fact, the highest price for this watch is $560 USD, which is manufactured by a certain watchmaker called “Sea-Gull.” The prices for these watches may vary, but as long as you can get your hands on a genuine model, the quality remains consistent. Some buyers have reported getting authentic Seagull 1963 models for as low as $334 USD. As for the Seagull 1963 Panda version, its retail price is $339 USD, which is quite budget-friendly for such a well-designed watch. History Prior to becoming the Seagull 1963, this watch went through several name changes. The Tianjin Watch Factory was founded in 1955 with a fairly limited budget and manpower. This factory would soon expand and attempt to create the first Chinese watch available for export. This company was initially named “WuXing”, which translates to “Five Stars.” This name, however, was short-lived and was ultimately changed to “Dong Feng” during Mao Zedong’s rise to power. The word “Dong Feng” means “East Wind”, signifying the headstrong principles and lofty goals of this watch factory. In 1961, the Tianjin Watch Factory was given a mission that would change the course of its production. With official permission to develop a watch for the Chinese Airforce, the Tianjin Watch Factory started manufacturing numerous prototypes with corresponding serial numbers for each pilot. This was done to ensure a structured system and promote confidentiality throughout the military. This development was called “Project 304.” This codename was used as part of the confidentiality agreement between the company and the military. From its launch to the completion of the project in 1963, over 30 prototypes were issued by the company. This prompted the coining of the name “The 1963” as the official name of the watch. Over the years, the Tianjin Watch Factory continued its horological innovation and proceeded to garner attention from all over China. In 1974, the company started exporting its watches, which led to another name change for the sake of appealing to other nations. The Seagull 1963 was selected as its official English name. It is rare for a watch company to produce just one watch with a single design that still manages to hold such historical significance. Considering the high regard the Seagull 1963 continues to be held in, it is truly a classic timepiece that is both affordable and a great addition to collections. Final Thoughts The Seagull 1963 is definitely a classic watch that definitely deserves greater recognition and respect. There are two main reasons why a lot of people might be conflicted about getting this watch. The first one is the presence of an overwhelming number of counterfeits and knockoffs that managed to infiltrate the market, largely due to the fact that there is no single manufacturer for the Seagull 1963. Second is the lack of official information on the Internet that highlights more of the Seagull 1963’s history.  That said, there is no doubt that the Seagull 1963 is a great watch with a very interesting heritage. From its honourable purpose as an official aviation watch intended for the Chinese military, the Seagull 1963 definitely soared the skies with glory. It is true that the original Seagull 1963, made by the Tianjin Watch Factory, is no longer available or is extremely rare to find. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a great watch to add to your collection, the Seagull 1963 remake might be an excellent one. It is affordable and has a particular nostalgic charm—the perfect vintage utility watch for the modern connoisseur. If you are looking for more classic watch designs, check out our Top 5 Japanese Dress Watches to find the best dress watch for you. All images courtesy of Seagull 1963

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  5. Rolex Kermit: A Complete Guide on Rolex’ 50th Anniversary Watch

    Rolex Kermit: A Complete Guide on Rolex’ 50th Anniversary Watch

    Out of all the watches Rolex has released, most would agree that the Rolex Submariner is at the top of the list in terms of popularity. It could even be considered Rolex’s best watch, beating GMT-Master by a thin margin. But then again, Rolex is known for manufacturing great timepieces that are loved worldwide. Throughout all the years that Rolex has been in operation, the consistently high quality of its watches is solid proof of Rolex’s passion and its long-running vision. To mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Rolex Submariner, Rolex launched the Rolex “Kermit” Submariner. The name might sound a little odd at first, but there have been a stranger and more abstract watch names, with Seiko watches being a prominent example. In Rolex’s case, the “Kermit” name isn’t just a gimmick to catch attention—a quick look at the watch itself quickly reveals to us that it’s also a reference to the watch’s stunning green color scheme. Photo courtesy of Rolex This review will shed light on Rolex’s commemorative traditions as well as how the Rolex Kermit watch came to be. What makes the Rolex Kermit special? Why is it named as such? Is it worth it to own a Rolex Kermit? Let’s find out. Impressions At first glance, the green bezel of the Rolex Kermit might look a little odd to watch connoisseurs. Most would agree that it is an unusual color, especially for a Rolex Submariner model. A closer look, however, reveals that Rolex did a great job of picking out a unique color to fit the legendary Submariner line. Although people were initially a little skeptical about this watch, the eventual popularity of the Rolex Kermit is not to be taken lightly. It is no surprise that many Rolex enthusiasts and watch connoisseurs want to get their hands on this watch. This is not just because it is a commemorative watch, but also because of its comfortable profile and luxurious design. The visual similarities between the Rolex Kermit 16610LV and the Rolex Kermit 122610LV might make it hard for you to decide which one of the two to choose. But keep in mind that the 16610LV was discontinued almost two decades ago and has since been replaced by the newer 122610LV version—making the older one somewhat obsolete in terms of features and functions. Nevertheless, both Rolex Kermit watches are still highly-regarded members of the Submariner collection. Do not be deceived into thinking that the green bezel is the only thing that makes the Rolex Kermit a great watch. While it is an outstanding design, the Kermit still manages to create its own identity in other ways, truly setting itself apart from other Submariner watches and solidifying its purpose as a 50th-anniversary watch. Specifications The features and functions of the Rolex Kermit do not go astray from the usual Submariner blueprint. This means that the Kermit possesses all the functions that you would expect a luxury dive watch to have. The 1953 Turn-O-Graph’s primary functions were limited to a unidirectional rotating bezel and a straightforward dial that consisted mainly of time indicators. These features were later inherited by the Rolex Submariner and can be found in the Rolex Kermit as well. With that in mind, here are the specifications of the Rolex Kermit watch. Case, Crown, and Bezel Photo courtesy of Rolex Since Rolex Submariner watches feature a 41mm case, both the Rolex Kermit 122610LV and the 16610LV also follow suit with the same case size. The case of the Rolex Kermit is made from a 904L corrosion-resistant stainless steel case, so it can withstand most impacts and scratches. The bracelet is made from the same material and makes use of the Oysterlock technology, which keeps it secure on your wrist and minimizes any risk of it coming loose. The Rolex Kermit has a thin profile with very little heft, making for a very comfortable fit on the wearer’s wrist. The green bezel, which is the highlight of the watch, rotates unidirectionally, something that is true of the bezels of all Submariner watches. The green bezel also has 60-minute markings to provide a more accurate and clear reading of the time. The bezel also comes with silver gear-like edges, which provides wearers with a better grip even if they are wearing gloves or in a wetsuit, which is especially useful for a dive watch. One difference that the new 122610LV has from the original Rolex Kermit is that it uses a darker shade of green on the bezel. Not only does it look different from the first Rolex Kermit watch, but it also creates a more solid and tasteful design that surpasses the bright green hue of the 16610LV.  The case of the Rolex Kermit is both scratch-resistant and shock-resistant. In addition, the Rolex Kermit possesses 300m of water resistance, well above the ISO rating for standard diver’s watches. The solid, screwed-down caseback of the Rolex Kermit is also effective at keeping moisture from leaking into the watch, thus protecting the inner mechanisms safe from foreign elements. It cannot be denied that the Rolex Submariner collection is well-known for its durability, and this is true of the Rolex Kermit as well. The Rolex Kermit also features a screwed-down crown that is similar to those of other Submariner watches. The Rolex logo is etched on the surface of the crown, and its teeth edges make it easy to use when configuring the time or when hand-winding. In addition, many Rolex watches offer a particularly easy way of winding. All a wearer has to do is unscrew the crown counterclockwise and switch to clockwise to initiate the winding process. The watch will not indicate that it is fully winded. Instead, it allows you to keep rotating the crown while keeping the watch fully winded. This may be a little confusing at first, especially for beginners, but it is a fool-proof design that many Rolex watches adopt, including the Rolex Kermit. Dial Photo courtesy of Rolex Much like the first Rolex Kermit model, the new 122610LV stayed true to the stark black dial tone. Not only does it provide consistency to the design, but it also goes to show how well-loved the black dial and green bezel combination of the Kermit is. It is a minimalistic, professional design that still manages to stand out in a crowd. The Rolex Kermit is an analog watch that uses silver-toned hands and applied indices. White minute markers can be found on the outer rim of the dial. The date aperture is found at the 3 o’clock position and has a date magnifier fitted over it as part of the sapphire crystal. The combination of the black dial and the white markers is a specially popular combination found on many Rolex dive watches. It serves to provide better visibility in the dark, especially underwater. This is further emphasized on the luminous material applied to the hands and indices of the watch. It is also worth noting that the Chromalight display technology is used on the dial. This means that, apart from the Super-Luminova coating on the hands and indices, the Rolex Kermit also emits a different form of light to ensure maximum legibility at all times. The sapphire crystal offers a scratch-resistant surface for greater protection both underwater and on land. Caliber Movement Initially fitted with the 3135 automatic caliber movement, the Rolex Kermit 16610LV provides the same accuracy and reliability that older Rolex Submariner watches are accustomed to. The 3135 caliber was the main movement used in older Submariner watches before Rolex decided to change it into the 3235 caliber movement. The 3135 caliber has 31 jewels to prevent excess wear and tear and has a consistent rate of 28,800 VpH. It also provides a 50-hour power reserve. Now, the new Rolex Kermit 122610LV uses a more updated version of the 3135, which is the 3235 automatic caliber movement. Not only does it have the same solid 28,800VpH, but it also provides a 70-hour power reserve that is significantly longer than the previous movement. This self-winding movement was introduced in 2017, with the intent of creating a more powerful caliber movement that is still reminiscent of the features found on the 3135 caliber movement. The 3235 automatic caliber movement uses a paramagnetic oscillator as its balance mechanism, which gives the caliber more reliability in terms of synchronization and the winding factor. The 3235 is a massive improvement on the 3135 in many ways, which allows for maximum utility for its wearers—particularly professionals. Comparison Rolex Kermit vs Rolex Hulk As mentioned before, the Rolex Kermit 16610LV was discontinued and was partially replaced by the Rolex Hulk in 2010. A comparison of these two popular watches is more than justified considering their similar designs and their places in the Submariner collection. The Rolex Hulk provides a chunkier profile that distinguishes itself from the Rolex Kermit. It has a much thicker, bulky profile that is the opposite of Rolex Kermit’s thin case design. The lugs are also thick, which adds to the hefty weight of the watch. That being said, the Rolex Hulk has a 40mm stainless steel case, which is actually a millimeter smaller in diameter than the Rolex Kermit. The green dial and the green bezel of the Rolex Hulk also deviate slightly from the shade of the Rolex Kermit’s green bezel. While the 16610LV uses a bright shade of green, the Rolex Hulk uses a darker shade to match the green dial. This gives it a subtle and refreshing color that does not stand out too exaggeratedly. Following the introduction of the 3235 caliber movement in 2020 as the new main movement of the Submariner line, Rolex decided to discontinue the Rolex Hulk watch. As a result of this, the newer version of the Rolex Kermit was launched and came equipped with improved features, including the new 3235 caliber movement. The choice of a Rolex Hulk as opposed to a Rolex Kermit really is an issue of preference. Both models have a lot in common, but the size and stature of the cases greatly affect the way these watches are worn. If you have a larger wrist, or if you just prefer a heftier watch that you can really feel around your wrist, then the Rolex Hulk is the right watch for you. But if you prefer a slimmer, more lightweight watch, then the Rolex Kermit 16610LV 122610 LV will surely provide you with the comfort you desire. The retail price for the Rolex Hulk 116610LV is currently $9,050. It is cheaper than both the old and new Rolex Kermit watches. However, since Rolex announced the Hulk’s discontinuation, the market for pre-owned Rolex Hulk watches has risen significantly. Currently, the average price for a pre-owned Rolex Hulk 116610LV is at a whopping $24,000, almost the same price as the Rolex Kermit 16610LV. Pre-owned Rolex Hulks are certainly worth a pretty penny at the moment, so you should be vigilant when shopping for a pre-owned watch and check to ensure that the piece you are getting is authentic so as to avoid losing an unnecessary amount of money online. Rolex Kermit Price Range It is a well-known fact that Rolex watches fall on the expensive side of the spectrum when it comes to watch prices. The approximate price for a Rolex Submariner can reach up to $20,000 above, depending on the model. Some Rolex Submariners can be found at $8,000, but this is most likely the lowest price you could get for a Rolex luxury watch. The price for the new Rolex Kermit 122610LV is approximately $10,000 in retail. Take note that the prices for these watches may change over time, depending on the demand. For those who prefer the original version of the Rolex Kermit, keep in mind that it has long been discontinued by Rolex and is no longer available in official stores. As such, the Rolex Kermit 16610LV can only be found on the second-hand market. These prices tend to be more expensive due to their commemorative status as well as their rarity in the market. The prices for pre-owned Rolex Kermits usually cost $23,670, although the price can vary greatly depending on the condition of the watch and the seller. Compared to the average prices of the Rolex Submariner collection, the retail price of the Rolex Kermit is not as bad as it seems. In fact, it is far more affordable than its fellow Submariner watches, making it a great choice for people who are working with a strict budget. History of the Rolex Kermit The Rolex Submariner was first introduced in 1954. Since its release, it has easily ranked among the best diver’s watches on the planet. You might be a little confused as to why the Rolex Kermit was introduced in 2003, since strictly speaking, the Rolex Submariner would’ve been in its 49th year in 2003. The real reason for this is because Rolex had already been working on the Submariner since 1953, with the Rolex Turn-O-Graph. The Turn-O-Graph was the prototype for the Submariner, which explains the similarities in their designs. The Turn-O-Graph may not be an official Submariner predecessor on paper, but it cannot be denied that Rolex used it as the main blueprint for both the Submariner and the GMT-Master. As such, 1953 is considered the official birth of the Submariner, and so the 50th anniversary of the watch being in 2003 actually checks out.  You might also have noticed that the color green is an extremely prevalent one on most of Rolex’s special watches. Prime examples of this include the Rolex Hulk, Rolex GMT-Master Yellow Gold Green Dial, and, of course, the Rolex Kermit itself—both old and new versions. Based on Rolex’s philosophy, the color green is often associated with luxury and riches. With this belief, it is only appropriate for Rolex to use this particular color on their special watches. With the color green evoking lavishness, wealth, and luck, Rolex using this color perfectly captures and represents these aspects of their commemorative watches. Some might think that the color green is a little out of place on a professional, sportier dive watch, but Rolex has managed to complement it well with both gold and stainless steel cases. This is a big reason why many celebrities and watch enthusiasts simply adore the way Rolex utilizes this specific color. In 2010, the Rolex Kermit 16610LV was unfortunately discontinued to make way for the release of the Rolex Hulk. The Hulk is an improved version of the Rolex Kermit, with a green dial and bezel. This is unlike the Rolex Kermit which has a black dial and a green bezel. The Rolex Hulk proceeded to become a mainstay in the Rolex Submarine line due to its popularity. It should be noted that although the Rolex Hulk is based on the Rolex Kermit, it is not actually considered a commemorative watch by Rolex. A few years later, the Rolex Kermit made a triumphant return due to massive demand from fans all over the world. There is no doubt that the first Rolex Kermit was already a popular model during its release, but the Rolex Hulk was arguably even more popular, with several official Rolex stores having a shortage of said watch. The new Rolex Kermit 122610LV was introduced to satisfy the wants of the majority of their patrons. At a glance, there seem to be few obvious visible changes. Rest assured, however, that Rolex has added quite a few notable upgrades to the new Rolex Kermit, and we will be discussing each one below. Why You Should Buy This Watch There are a few reasons why buying the Rolex Kermit watch is a great decision. First and foremost, the Rolex Kermit holds a special status in the world of Rolex. Not only does it have a different design that stands out from the whole Submariner collection, but it also symbolizes just how far the legendary Rolex Submariner has come. Consistently maintaining overwhelming popularity from all over the world for 50 solid years is not an easy feat. In fact, luxury watch companies are only capable of that by constantly introducing innovative watch designs and high-functioning caliber movements, which speaks to the quality the Rolex Submariner has consistently put out over the years. The Rolex Kermit represents the rich heritage and passion that Rolex poured into each of their watches. If you are a watch enthusiast, a collector, or someone who just wants a taste of the luxurious world of horology, the Rolex Kermit is definitely a great watch to go with.  Final Thoughts At first, there were several people who are a bit sceptical about the design choice of Rolex when introducing the Rolex Kermit. Can we really blame them? The green color is very unusual, especially when found on a Rolex Submariner. But then again, Rolex blew everyone’s minds when they made it work. With a tastefully dark shade of green plus a sleek black dial, the Rolex Kermit offers a smoother design scheme that masterfully synchronizes with its intended purpose as a dive watch.  The Rolex Kermit is definitely an amazing watch to commemorate the Submariner’s 50-year journey. In particular, the Rolex Kermit’s comeback in 2020 has defied all odds, and once again relived the top-notch watchmaking quality of Rolex. Still looking for the right dive watch for you? Check out our Rolex dive watch collection—you might find the perfect piece to accompany you on your next underwater adventure. Featured image courtesy of Rolex

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  6. Seiko Samurai: A Review on One of Seiko’s Best Diver’s Watches

    Seiko Samurai: A Review on One of Seiko’s Best Diver’s Watches

    Seiko has been in the watchmaking market for several decades now. Even though their timeless expertise paved the way for creating high-quality watches, Seiko, in general, has yet to be considered as a luxury watch brand—with Grand Seiko being an exception. This, in turn, puts Seiko on par with Casio in terms of mass-producing several iconic and affordable wristwatches. But that does not necessarily mean that Seiko does not have a few gems hidden in its sleeves. There is no doubt that Seiko has created a global following due to the reliability and iconic designs of their watches. This popularity has led to several pocket watches and wristwatches that have taken the modern era by storm. One of the many innovative watches that Seiko has produced is the Seiko Prospex Samurai. In this review, we will be discussing what makes the Seiko Prospex Samurai watch one of Seiko’s best diver’s watches in the 21st century.  History of Seiko Prospex Samurai Seiko started as a small watch repair shop in Central Tokyo back in 1881. In 1892, Seiko founder Kintaro Hattori expanded by buying a factory in Tokyo which he named Seikosha. The massive success of the Seikosha, which roughly translates to “exquisite house” or “success house”, marked the start of Seiko becoming a substantial figure in the watchmaking industry. Competing with the prominent Swiss watchmakers, the Japanese watch brand captivated the world with its top-notch watchmaking expertise. This success was further amplified when Kintaro Hattori created the “The Laurel”, Japan’s first-ever wristwatch in 1913. With Seiko’s headstart in cutting-edge horological technology, Kintaro Hattori then went on to produce several more wristwatches under the Seiko brand name. Photo Courtesy of Seiko In 2004, Seiko introduced a promising watch model that embodies all the watchmaking principles of Kintaro Hattori, as well as the accumulated experiences of the brand. The model in question? The Seiko Prospex Samurai. This watch is widely regarded as one of the best diver’s watches Seiko has ever released. Not only does it have the classic bulky size of a regular diver’s watch, but it also has a reliable automatic calibre movement and a 200m water resistance. The first generation of the Seiko Samurai watch was made with both titanium and stainless steel, with later generations being made only in stainless steel. You may be wondering why this particular watch is named “Samurai” of all things. Seiko, like many other watch brands, has been known to name its products in the most abstract way possible. A few examples are the Seiko Monster and the Seiko Turtle. The Seiko Monster got its name due to its size, while the Seiko Turtle has a shape reminiscent of a turtle’s shell. The Seiko Samurai, on the other hand, derives its name from the minute hands of the watch, which are shaped like a sword. This might be confusing to some since a samurai katana is a curved long sword, rather than a regular straight-edged sword. Regardless, it holds up, especially since Seiko has always been rather unpredictable in terms of naming their watches. Impressions At a glance, the Seiko Prospex Samurai may seem like an ordinary diver’s watch. Without knowing the specifics of its name, you might be wondering: what makes this particular watch so special? There are several features that set the Seiko Samurai apart from other Seiko diver’s watches. One of them is the Seiko Samurai’s waffle-textured dial and the sleek stainless steel case. The watch’s sleek sword-shaped minute hand, as well as the unusually-shaped arrowhead hour hand, also serve to distinguish it from other watches. These unique design schemes are what make the Seiko Samurai an ideal diving companion that can also be used outside of the said activity.  Since the Seiko Prospex Samurai was initially a Japan-exclusive watch, not much was known regarding the specifics of the watch other than the name itself and the fact that it is a diver’s watch. However, over the years, it slowly gained the right kind of attention from watch enthusiasts, making this seemingly rare timepiece highly sought-after. The black dial variant is the most common option available in the market. Furthermore, since this was a highly exclusive watch, variations of the Seiko Samurai can be relatively hard to find. Seiko took advantage of the high demand for the Seiko Samurai and released a few limited edition colour variants—one of which is the rare Seiko Samurai Orange Dial SRPC07.  The indications and the AR35 calibre movement might make it seem like the Seiko Samurai series is just like any other dive watch in the market. With the hours, minutes, and seconds hands, as well as the date aperture, anyone would assume that it is just an ordinary watch. But a closer look reveals that the Seiko Samurai actually offers more than it initially seems. Let’s take a look at the specifications of the Seiko Prospex Samurai and how they set it apart from other diver’s watches. Specifications Looking at a Seiko watch for the first time may leave you thinking that there are only minor changes with each watch line. That is perfectly understandable since Seiko has been sporting similar design schemes to stay true to their established identity. A closer look, however, shows us how Seiko manages to create subtle, if not major, changes with each of their staple watches, giving a distinct look to each watch while still emphasizing consistency within the Seiko brand. If you prefer a larger case size, the Seiko Monster will surely meet your needs. If you are looking for a watch with a perfectly round shape and has a sizeable thickness, the Seiko Tuna is a perfect choice. The point is, Seiko watches stay true to their brand, while also making sure that each watch is uniquely suited to meet the user’s needs. Case and Bracelet Initially, the Seiko Prospex Samurai was introduced mostly in titanium, with stainless steel as a secondary option. The titanium versions, however, were later discontinued in 2008. That is why stainless steel variants are the ones that are more easily available in the market. Rest assured, however, that the stainless steel cases and bracelets are easily comparable with titanium materials in terms of durability and shine. The lugs were made smaller to balance out the proportions of the watch and provide maximum comfort on the wrist. On the other hand, the bezel adds more to the design of the whole watch with its engraved diamond shape patterns on the sides. If you look closely, this pattern also resembles the diamond pattern found on the hilt of a katana—a nice detail that stays true to the watch’s namesake. The overall size of the Seiko Samurai is not as bulky as it seems. At 43.8mm in diameter and 13.4mm in thickness, this watch is slightly smaller than your average diver’s watch. Nevertheless, the stainless steel case still provides excellent durability, no matter the size.  Dial The original Seiko Samurai was released with only a black dial with a waffle-like textured pattern. Following that, Seiko released several more variations that include a gradient ocean blue dial that goes from indigo-blue at the top to black at the bottom, and the seemingly rare orange dial. There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to the colour of the dial alone, but since the discontinuation of the Seiko Samurai series, finding your preferred Seiko Samurai watch may prove to be harder than it seems. Most people resort to buying pre-owned units, while others are still scouring official stores to find the one they are looking for. These dials exude a variety of styles such as sporty, chic, classy, and casual. Nonetheless, the original waffle-pattern textured dial still best represents the simplicity of the Seiko Samurai line. Indications The indications of the Seiko Samurai are minimalistic and focus more on reliability rather than style. A diver’s watch should always be clear and accurate when it comes to timekeeping. Otherwise, it could potentially lead to certain accidents, such as miscalculated decompression stops or running out of oxygen due to the inaccuracy of a watch. That said, the Seiko Samurai provides fairly simple watch functions that allow the user to tell the time as accurately as possible, without the risk of miscalculation. The watch also sports white hour markers and hands, providing maximum legibility even in the dark ocean depths, so telling the time will not pose much of a problem. Furthermore, with the help of the LumiBrite technology, you can easily read the time both in the dark and underwater.  As mentioned before, the minute hands of the watch are shaped like swords. While they do not resemble katanas, when these hands meet each other at a certain time, they do look more reminiscent of a sword when combined. This is a cool detail to take note of. The date aperture is found at the 3 o’clock position. Since it is a diver’s watch, the bezel of the Seiko Samurai can only be rotated counterclockwise. The markers on the bezel are also white, maintaining a consistent design scheme while also allowing for greater legibility. Rather than adding a more few bells and whistles, the straightforward nature of the Seiko Samurai prioritizes function, making it an extremely reliable dive watch that deserves the praise it’s getting. Calibre Movement There are a lot of people who frequently associate Seiko with Casio, mainly because both are Japanese companies. One difference to keep in mind is that Casio very rarely makes automatic watches, and instead produces quartz movement watches. In comparison, Seiko has many automatic movement watches to choose from. The calibre used in the Seiko Samurai is the AR35. This is an automatic calibre movement that allows hand-winding and provides many of the useful functions necessary for a dive watch.  One of the best functions the AR35 offers is the stop-seconds function. This allows the user to adjust the time without having to worry about the seconds hand, ensuring accurate synchronization, right down to the second. This function has existed in the industry for several years now but is still widely used in the horological craft. Another notable feature is the power reserve of the Seiko Samurai. This movement allows the watch to last for approximately 41 hours when not in use. Since it is both a self-winding and manual-winding watch movement, running out of power will not be a problem for the wearer.  A Few Notable Seiko Prospex Samurai Models Seiko Prospex Samurai Automatic Black Dial – SRPB51K1 Starting with the original model, the Seiko Prospex Samurai SRPB51K1 retains the simplicity of the Samurai watches that came before it. With the black waffle-textured dial and minimalistic indications, it is impossible to mistake the watch’s classic design. The watch also sports a 43.8mm stainless steel case and a stainless steel bracelet, ensuring that the durability of the watch remains the same. The bezel has a black and grey colour with a unidirectional movement. The hands and indexes are all coated in LumiBrite, which allows visibility even in the dark or underwater.  Speaking of underwater, all of the Seiko Samurai watches can go up to 200 meters underwater, and the Prospex Samurai SRPB51K1 is no different. This is to be expected, since it is a diver’s watch, and this is indicated on the dial itself. The watch is further equipped with the AR35 calibre movement, which gives it a 41-hour power reserve as well as the stop-seconds function. Overall, nothing can beat the original when it comes to subtlety and simplicity. Seiko Prospex Samurai Automatic Black Dial (Hard Coating) – SRPB55K1 The Seiko Samurai SRPB55K1 offers a similar design as the Samurai SRPB51K1, with a few notable differences. This model is reminiscent of the titanium variant due to the black coating of the case. Rest assured, though, that this watch uses stainless steel for its case, and thus maintains the same durability as other Samurai watches. The bracelet used for the Seiko Samurai SRPB55K1 is silicone instead of stainless steel. Not only does this add more comfort, but the soft exterior also adds more to the style of the watch. The Seiko Samurai SRPB55K1 also retains the familiar black waffle pattern on its dial. However, it offers a different look on both the hands and the indexes. By using a gold-tone lining, the indicators are highlighted without any worry of legibility issues. The markings on the bezel also adopt a gold colour scheme to stay true to the overall design and provide a refined feel to the totality of the watch. Seiko Prospex Samurai Automatic “Save The Ocean” – SRPC93K1 Last on the list is the Seiko Samurai “Save The Ocean” SRPC93K1, a special edition timepiece introduced in 2018. Versions of this edition can be found in both the Seiko Turtle and Seiko Samurai lines as well. This model does not only look good, but it also provides a specific message for everyone in terms of marine conservation.  Much like the rest of the Seiko Samurai models, the Seiko Samurai SRPC93K1 holds the same design, size, and functionalities. The highlight of this watch is its beautiful gradient dial which perfectly captures the ocean depths. The engraved horizontal lines add a texture to the dial that resembles the unending waves of the sea. The black section at the bottom of the dial embodies the unknown depths of the ocean that are yet to be explored. The Seiko Samurai “Save The Ocean” SRPC93K1 is a watch that symbolizes the importance of marine life as well as the beauty of the vast ocean. Seiko Samurai Price Range The best thing about Seiko’s watches is that they are at a very affordable price range. Although Seiko is not considered a luxury brand, the watches are of amazing quality and should be considered for your collection. Seiko Samurai watches do not cost more than a thousand dollars apiece. Indeed, the functionalities and the classic designs of the Seiko Samurai ensure that this is the timepiece that will give you the most bang for your buck. The Seiko Prospex Samurai SRPB51K1 currently costs $469 in the market. Since it features the common design of the Seiko Samurai collection, the price tag for it seems fairly reasonable compared to its fellow watches in the collection. Each model may differ in price, but the usual price range starts from $450 up to $600. Compared to the usual price of Casio watches, the Samurai is undoubtedly more expensive—but for good reason. For only a few hundred dollars more, you can own a dive watch that is equipped with an automatic movement, which is the best choice compared to a quartz watch. It may not be on par with the Rolex Submariner, but it is a great timepiece for those who plan on starting a watch collection. Either way, do not be discouraged about its price being below $1000; the Seiko Samurai is a solid automatic dive watch that offers more than what it is worth. If it is still above your desired budget, you can always rely on pre-owned watches. Depending on the condition, it can be bought for as low as $300—or even lower. Just be sure to find a reliable seller and avoid shady deals online. Final Thoughts The Seiko Prospex Samurai is truly one of Seiko’s most popular dive watches today. Not only does it provide the necessary tools for diving, but it also boasts impressive accuracy and reliability. The AR35 calibre movement exceeds all expectations when it comes to sustaining a diver’s watch while also prioritizing precision.  In addition to that, the Seiko Samurai is also flexible in terms of usage. The bezel can be used when timing recreational activities other than diving. Furthermore, the compact size of this watch makes for a great everyday watch. The various dial colours available are yet another reason for the Seiko Samurai’s popularity. With so many colors to choose from, you can mix them up with any event or activity as you see fit. Whether it’s professional or casual, the Seiko Samurai manages to be the perfect watch for any occasion. Overall, the Seiko Prospex Samurai is a great diver’s watch that is easily on par with most of the top dive watches in the industry. For a very affordable watch, the Seiko Samurai is more than what it is worth—making it the perfect underwater companion for everyone. Looking for the best Seiko timepiece to give to your girlfriend or mother? Take a look at our list of Best Seiko Women’s Watches for some great options. Featured image courtesy of George Thomas from Flickr

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