Azimuth Event with Singapore Watch Appreciation Group (SWAG) on 22 April 2017

Azimuth Watch Company is a Singaporean watch brand founded by Christopher Long and Alvin Lye in 2003. They have production facilities in Neuchatel, Switzerland. However, their watches are all designed in Singapore and is made from the ground-up. Their goal is to make avant-garde, innovative and statement watches which allows one to stand-out from the crowd. Although it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I find their watches unique in the watch industry and the brand exudes the independent watch vibe. Their pricing ranges are reasonable and it allows one to enter the realm of Independence watches without breaking the bank.

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I joined the SWAG (Singapore Watch Appreciation Group) Facebook group in middle of 2016 and have been posting my fair share of wrist-shots of the day for others to enjoy. Joining such an interest group certainly helped to enhance my knowledge of watches and appreciate the fine wrist-shots of fellow members. I chanced upon a post on SWAG when their administrators was organizing a gathering with Azimuth/ Red Army watches to showcase Azimuth’s private collection. Being an Azimuth fan and also having owned an Azimuth watch myself (The SG46 NDP version), signing up was a no-brainer.

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The event was held at Azimuth’s office at 38 Jalan Pemimpin. It was a cozy space that contains their service centre, watchmaking classes and office. Upon entering, I was greeted by an array of Azimuth watches, like the Bombardier series, Roboto series, Roulette series, Back-in-time series, dive watches etc. The Azimuth and Red Army staff were very hospitable and were patient in explaining the time pieces. As a bonus, Azimuth offered good discounts for their timepieces during this private event.

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About 30 minutes in, Azimuth’s founder Christopher Long, explained his motivation for creating Azimuth and some of the struggles he faced as a business owner even today. Christopher has an engineering background and has always been a watch collector since young. He started off his career in Sincere watches as a brand ambassador. However, he realized that instead of promoting Swiss high-end brands, perhaps he could start his own watch business with the drawings and design cues which he possessed. The rest was history. I found Azimuth’s drive to keep innovating and produce interesting complications like the back-in-time series (anti-clockwise way of telling time), roulette series (able to randomly land on a number on the roulette wheel by pushing the crown) very inspiring.

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After this segment, each SWAG member had to introduce themselves and their favorite brand of watches. It was heartening to know that others also had the love for Azimuth watches and were passionate to support a Singapore brand and the whole eco-system.

Next, Christopher gave us a tour of his office and we also witnessed the watch-making benches and tools upstairs. Azimuth is launching a workshop for customers who want to learn how to perform some hands-on operations on watches. Customers will learn to assemble a watch from scratch and they will also get to bring the watch back. I have attended a watchmaking class previously and it has certainly gave me a better appreciation of how the intricate parts of a mechanical watch interact to record time.

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I was very grateful for the chance to have a short chat with Red Army Watches founder, Suji. Red Army Watches carries non-mainstream watch brands and has stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some of the brands they carry include Alexander Shorohkoff, Laco, Itay Noy, Seven Friday, Zeppelin, Junkers, Laco and of course, Azimuth. Like Azimuth, Red Army Watches appeals to the crowd who wants a statement piece that allows the wearer’s personality to shine through. From our brief conversation, I understood some of the difficulties of running retail stores and learnt more about the watch retail business. I wish Azimuth and Red Army watches all the best in their future business pursuits.

At around 7pm, we adjourned to the rooftop of the building for a sumptuous BBQ dinner, with free booze provided. The brilliant evening sky and the private pool provided an excellent backdrop for networking. During my numerous chats with fellow SWAG members, we all shared about our watch collections and I impressed them with my UV flashlight when it came to charging the luminescence of their timepieces.

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Overall, it was an event that was executed well and which gave SWAG members a chance to know about Azimuth. Azimuth, in turn, also gained some important publicity via the SWAG Facebook page. It was a win-win for all.

*Kudos to the SWAG administrators for organizing this event and Azimuth/Red Army for hosting*

Review of the ATOP World Time Singapore SG50 Edition

I purchased this watch in July 2015. This was the first quartz watch which I purchased on my own. I was really thrilled with the idea of owning another SG50 watch after owning the Ball SG50 nighttrain piece. In addition, the ATOP World Timer was only produced in 100 pieces and seemed really exclusive. This was the third watch I purchased since pursuing the watch hobby in April 2015. I first learnt about this watch from SJX’s website: http://watchesbysjx.com/2015/08/five-special-edition-watches-for-sg50-singapores-50th-anniversary.html. The watch has an interesting feature of switching to different time zones. This feature has won the brand some accolades as well.

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ATOP also produces world timers in other colours and designs. You may check out the other designs here: http://redarmywatches.com/brands/atop.html.

The ATOP World Time Singapore SG50 Limited Edition watch (44.5mm case and is 12mm thick) has a day night indicator and a unique feature of switching to different time zones. It runs on a quartz movement. One could switch to a different time zone via rotation of the bezel. On the top of the watch, there is an engraving of the number of the watch. For mine, it is number 2 out of 100. For me, this limited edition is of significance as it marks Singapore’s 50 years of independence and is certainly a moment worthy of celebration.

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ATOP is a Taiwanese brand that was established in 1984. It was founded by engineer Mark Lin and his wife. Their precision movement is also patented and their brand is known for the automatic setting of world time as the watch contains 24 pre-set destination times. ATOP watches usually come in playful colours and tend to attract a younger crowd.

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The ATOP World Time Singapore SG50 Limited Edition is a fairly new model, and follows on from other world time models. It is heartening to see unique technology employed in a quartz watch. In the brief period that I used it, the watch keeps time well and is very light and enjoyable to wear on the wrist. This is certainly a watch that stands out from other brands that carry many quartz watches, like DW, Swatch, Fossil etc. In addition, this watch will suit frequent travellers as switching time zones is such a breeze. ATOP watches are made in China, however, this is no way compromises the quality aspect of their timepieces.

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The main reason why I found it so attractive was the technical features and also the playful feel that came with the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The ATOP World Timer comes in a high grade polycarbonate case and a durable rubber strap. The watch is relatively lightweight due to the use of a rubber strap and the use of polycarbonate. The polycarbonate feels harder and superior to normal plastic watches. The strap is comfortable and still in great condition. The case is all black and the red accents on the dial provide excellent contrast to the overall appearance of the watch. This contrast gives the watch a youthful and playful feel. The bezel is also made from polycarbonate and is relatively easy to turn.

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The watch screams playfulness, which I like. This is certainly one piece which you will not see on the wrist of others. It has a hardened mineral crystal which is fairly scratch resistant. Although not as hard as sapphire crystal, it is still acceptable due to the price positioning of this watch. Due to the materials used, the watch will not develop patina over time. There is a sub-seconds dial at 6 o’clock of the watch.

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The ATOP World Timer is a weekend watch with 30 meters water resistance. This is a watch where you can wear daily without having to worry about it. As the watch is donned with a rubber strap, one can certainly use it for sporting activities. After nearly 2 years of use, my watch is almost scratch-free and still in mint condition. I have also wore my more expensive watches more frequently.

The ATOP World Timer uses an in-house quartz movement. This a certainly a workhorse movement with a long battery life. The battery can be easily replaced via unscrewing the caseback via the tool provided. This type of CR battery will likely cost less than $10, if brought to a watch shop for replacement.

The black dial on the watch has different textures under sunlight/artificial lighting. This is certainly very attractive to look at. At the 12 o’clock position, the country stated would indicate that the current time zone the watch is in. For instance, from the pictures, Singapore is by default positioned at the 12 o’clock position and is in red font. The bezel can only be rotated in an anti-clockwise manner. There is a day-night indicator at 3 o’clock and it will slowly rotate as time passes.  There are tinges of white and red on the dial and this gives the watch a playful feel at times. Overall, there is minimal text on the dial, apart from the ATOP logo at the 9 o’clock position. The bezel is of the right size and does not overwhelm the dial. The hour and minute hands are filled with luminous materials and can glow at night. However, the lume is weak and practically non-existent.

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The ATOP World Timer has a closed caseback. As mentioned earlier, it can be opened up via the tool provided. Once the caseback is opened, one can replace the battery and also change the time. Therefore, there is no crown on the watch. This actually gives the watch a symmetrical feel.

Overall, I am still impressed by how the watch has not ‘aged’ and still looks in like-new condition. I have worn this watch on a rotational basis among my other watches. The ATOP SG50 watch is a weekend watch which will pair well with casual clothing. The two most outstanding features are its (1) World time feature and (2) Day night indicator. I purchased this watch for SGD 193 from Red Army Watches and by now, all 100 pieces would have been snapped up by now. If you want to lay your hands on one now, you will have to get a pre-owned one.

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Review of the Ball Engineer II Genesis

I pre-ordered this watch from the Ball Website in Dec 2015. However, the shipment only arrived in May 2016. This would be the 9th mechanical watch that I owned, after the Tudor Pelagos 25600TB. I first saw this piece on the Ball Watch Facebook page as a sponsored post and was intrigued by the technologies like the anti-magnetic shielding properties (up to 4800A/m) and the new 1mm thick tritium tubes that the Engineer II Genesis uses. These are technologies that are not contained in most of Ball’s other watches. This watch was unique as it was first released for online sales via the Ball Website, before being subsequently released to the public at a much higher price. At that time, I was not aware that Ball would subsequently release many limited editions via online sales. Anyway, the Ball Engineer II Genesis was released to commemorate Ball’s 125th year anniversary and was a limited production model.

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The Engineer II Genesis watch (43mm case and is 13+mm thick) has a day-date feature and a brilliant blue sun-burst dial. The sun-burst dial was something that I found very attractive as it gives the watch a dressy look. The day-date feature was also useful and my Ball SG50 nighttrain and Ball Magneto S did not contain them. This watch uses Ball RR1102 movement, which is an ETA 2836. This limited production model was released to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Ball Watch Company, which was founded by Webb C. Ball in 1891. However, this is not particularly significant to me. Something to note: Ball Watch Company has been releasing quite a number of LEs in recent times.

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Ball Watch Company was founded by an American, Webb C. Ball, in 1891. An accident in 1891 prompted him to act. Refer to link for a brief history of the brand and the founder. Basically, he established stringent watch standards for train operators and inspectors in order to keep good time and prevent railroad accidents from occurring. He was instrumental in the development of chronometry and improving of watch accuracy. He emphasized on keeping precise time and created railroad grade timepieces. This was how the term ‘Official Standard’ came about. Ball watches are known for their visual simplicity, elegance and precision.

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The Ball Engineer II Genesis is of a unique design, although I must say it resembles the Engineer II Pioneer and Engineer II Arabic. The Engineer II range is known for their classic designs and natural elegance. I simply love the sword-like hands and the RR (RailRoad) design on the second hand. In addition, the hour, minute and second hands are lumed for great night visibility. Ball is celebrating their 125th anniversary in 2015, and this is testament to the longevity and heritage of the brand. Ball is known for producing reliable watches with good quality. Ball can certainly hold its own against Tag Heuer/Oris in terms of quality and finish. In terms of price point, Ball watches are generally in the affordable range of SGD1.5k to 6k. Ball is also renowned for their use of tritium T25 tubes which can glow up to 25 years and requires no charging. This sets the brand apart from many other luxury brands which use Superluminova. Ball watches are Swiss made, value-for-money and are extremely durable.

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The main reason why I found it so attractive was the technical features and also the dressy feel that came with the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The Ball Engineer II Genesis comes in a stainless steel case and a metal bracelet. The watch is relatively heavy due to the 43mm size and the thick bracelet. The bracelet is well built and has polished centre-links, similar to the Rolex GMT Master II. It also reminds me of the Patek Phillippe Nautilus bracelet. The case is highly polished at the sides and at the bezel area. This watch really plays with the light due to the numerous polished surfaces. This contrast gives the watch a dressy and elegant feel.

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The watch draws attraction from others, which I like. It has a flat sapphire crystal which is AR coated. Due to the materials used, the watch will not develop patina over time. There are the words ‘AUTOMATIC’ and 100m/ 300ft printed on the bottom half of the dial. This watch is not chronometer certified.

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The Ball Magneto S is an everyday dressy watch with 100 meters water resistance and shock resistance to 5000g. This is a watch where you can wear daily without having to worry about it. However, one should be careful not to overly bang the watch around as polished centre-links are scratch magnets. The watch also pairs well with casual clothing on weekends.  After nearly 1 year of use, my watch is almost scratch-free and still in mint condition.

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Ball Magneto S uses the Ball automatic calibre RR1102, which is essentially a clone of the ETA -2836. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used with many other watch brands whom they get ETA as their supplier. Of course, Ball modifies the movement via adding decorations and also to make it more shock resistant. The movement comes with a 38 to 42 hour power reserve and I have no qualms about the movement at this price point. For an in-house movement, one can be expected to pay at least double. Some of the more expensive Ball models are COSC chronometer certified (-4 to +6 seconds/day). I have tested my watch on a Timegrapher and it currently runs at a decent -7 seconds/day, which is well within my expectations.

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The sun-burst blue dial on the watch has different textures under sunlight/artificial lighting. This is certainly very attractive to look at. There are tinges of blue, white and green on the dial and this gives the watch a playful feel at times. Overall, there are only 2 lines of text on the dial and it does not appear cluttered. The issue I have with this watch is the large case and that the 3-6-9 hour markers are too large, giving the dial an unbalanced feel. My other qualm is that the date window is white and does not blend well with the blue dial.

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The Ball Engineer II Genesis has a closed caseback. There is an engraving of a railroad train from the 1800s and also the engraving ‘125th anniversary’. The watch is shock-resistant to 5000g and anti-magnetic to 4800A/m. These are some of the features that allows Ball to stand out from the other brands.

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I have saved the best for last, just like hitting the ‘climax’ of a movie. The Ball Engineer II has incredible lume due to 28 1mm thick micro-sized tritium tubes. Although you cannot charge the lume, tritium tubes can glow up for to 25 years. I have compared the lume to my other 2 Ball Watches and this is by far the most impressive. At times, it even appears as bright as charged Super-luminova. Tritium emits electrons through beta decay, and, when they interact with a phosphor material, fluorescent light is created, a process called radio-luminescence. The radiation exposure is so weak that it doesn’t affect human health.

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To be honest, I have not worn this watch as frequently as I have liked as I am not used to the weight of the watch and the 3-6-9 markers are too large. With slightly smaller markers, this watch would have been a keeper. The problem with purchasing online is that it is not possible to tell how heavy the watch is and how exactly it will sit on your wrist. In March 2017, I traded this piece for the Ball Trainmaster 60 seconds, which I will be reviewing shortly. The Ball Engineer II Genesis is a dressy watch which will also pair well with casual clothing. The three most outstanding features are its (1) Ball Bracelet; (2) 1mm thick tritium tubes and (3) sun-burst dial. The watch was purchased online for SGD 1,310. If purchased from retail stores, the RRP would be SGD 2,200. If you want a dressy quality Swiss made piece, this might be the watch you want.

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Review of the Seiko Turtle SRP777K1

I purchased this watch in Feb 2017 from a seller on Carousell after the purchase of my Seiko Sarb033 dress watch. Although I now own the Seiko Padi SRPA21K1, I feel that this all-black Turtle is unique enough to hold a place in my collection.

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The Seiko Turtle SRP777K1 which I purchased was a non-Japanese model and is part of the Seiko Prospex line of divers and has the ‘X’ on the dial. I was always looking forward to purchase a cheap Seiko which was reliable. The black bezel really makes the watch look muted, just like the Rolex Submariners and gives it a tool-like feel. The SRP777K1 (44.3mm case and is 14mm thick) uses the upgraded Seiko 4R36 movement, unlike some of the other lower-end Seiko 5s. It has the iconic cushion-style case which is reminiscent of the Seiko 6309s in the past. The watch is a simple time only watch with a second hand and a rotating bezel. Seiko is a renowned brand which needs no introduction whatsoever. There are other models of this modern Turtle re-make. These include the SRP773, SRP775, SRP779 and also the Seiko Padi Turtles, Green Turtles, Zimbe Turtles, Blue Lagoon Turtles etc. Seiko has also released a Seiko Samurai Turtle in early 2017. The K series of the same watches are slightly cheaper but the one I own is of great quality, similar to the J models.

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Seiko movements are reliable and are made in-house. The Seiko 4R36 mechanical movements (42 hour power reserve) has been around for ages and keep good time and chronometry. In addition, because they are Japanese movements, they are a lot more affordable. In fact, the 4R36s, 6R15s are comparable to Miyota movements or even Swiss ETAs. There is extensive lume on the SRP777K1, comparable to some of Seiko’s other divers. The watch simply glows like a torch at night! This watch is certainly an upgrade from the SKX range, which uses the 7s movement. Seiko watches are good value-for-money and aesthetically pleasing and for good reason.

The main reason why I found it so attractive was the tool-like nature of the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The SRP777K1 comes in a stainless steel case in a cushion style shape. (about 48mm lug-to-lug) and a silicon Z-22 rubber strap (22mm). The rubber strap is extremely durable and supple and is extremely comfortable to wear. The metal keepers on the strap are also brushed and polished, creating a splendid visual effect. I prefer wearing the watch on the rubber strap as compared to the standard Seiko metal bracelet. The cushion shaped case sits nicely on the wrist and is well-built. I have worn the Turtle for extended periods of time and have not felt any wrist fatigue.

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The Seiko Turtle re-issue has been a great success as it closely inspired by the original Seiko 6309s. It is simply a tool watch which can be abused without the user worrying about it. The dial is largely symmetrical, other than the day-date indication at 3 o’clock. The hour markers and minute markers are shaped like broad arrows. The dial is pure black, with white fonts and markers. The all0black bezel is fully marked from 0 to 60. The black bezel is certainly popularized by the vintage Rolex dive watches.

The SRP777K1 is a dive watch with 200 meters water resistance and is secured by the screw-down crown. This watch can certainly be used for sports and for daily use. It will pair well with formal attire, like a suit/blazer or even t-shirts and jeans. I have worn this piece numerous times to work and I have had no trouble with it. Being 14mm tall, it might not slide under most shirt-cuffs. I would say that the watch is quite stealthy in nature due to the dull black colour on the dial and strap. The watch does not get as much wrist time as my Ball or Tudor watches as it also costs much less. The uni-directional bezel is easy to turn and there is little play in it. The bezel also aligns perfectly to the 12 o’clock mark. However, I have read reviews that some bezels might be stiff to turn and might not align perfectly too.

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The watch uses the Seiko 4R36 automatic movement, which is hand winding and has hacking capabilities. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used in other Seikos like the famous Prospex range. The movement comes with a 42 hour power reserve when fully wound. However, I am not used to watches which can’t wind and have to be powered via wrist movements. Hence, this watch suits me more than the SKX range. The automatic movement cannot be seen as there is a closed caseback. The rotor is also very quiet and barely audible. The watch seems to be fairly accurate based on the brief period which I had it with me. Before this piece, I purchased the Seiko Turtle PADI, which is a special edition.

SRP777K1 has Seiko’s renowned proprietary Hardlex crystal. It gives the watch greater presence and texture, evoking a vintage feel while claiming to be harder than hesalite crystal. Although not as superior to sapphire crystal in terms of scratch resistance properties, it is durable and decent enough. The stainless steel caseback is engraved with the Air Diver logo and has a brushed finish.

Overall, I am impressed by how the watch looks. I have no issues with the weight of the watch. The Seiko SRP777K1 is a unique entry level dive watch which is durable and can last for ages. It is something that is highly recommended and is much more affordable than Swiss watches. The watch is available in Singapore and retails for SGD 550. You may consider purchasing it online via eBay or Amazon. If you are considering an entry level dive watch, this watch might just be the one for you.

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Review of the Seiko Sumo SBDC001

I purchased this used timepiece in Feb 2016 from a friend after the purchase of my Jean Richard Aeroscope Arsenal F.C. limited edition.

The Seiko Sumo SBDC001 which I purchased was a used Japanese domestic model piece and is part of the Seiko Prospex line of divers. The one I owned did not have the ‘X’ on the dial. The latest model SBDC031 has the ‘X’ on the dial. I was always looking forward to purchase a cheap Seiko which was reliable. The watch is stealthy and comes with an all-black dial and black aluminium bezel. The SBDC001 (45mm case and is 13.5mm thick) uses the workhorse Seiko 6R15 movement, unlike some of the other lower-end Seiko 5s or Turtles. The case shape and finishing is second to none and there are different layers of polish and brushed surfaces on the side of the case. The watch is a simple time only watch with a second hand and a rotating bezel. Seiko is a renowned brand which needs no introduction whatsoever. There is also the blue Sumo nicknamed the ‘Blumo’ (SBDC003). The SBDC005 comes with an orange dial and a rubber strap. There are also various limited edition or special edition Sumos like the one for the 50th anniversary etc. Seiko is also releasing a Seiko Sumo Padi in early 2017. The K series of the same watches are slightly cheaper but are supposedly of poorer built quality.

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Seiko movements are reliable and are made in-house. The Seiko 6R15 mechanical movements (50 hour power reserve) runs at 3Hz has been around for ages and keep good time and chronometry. In addition, because they are Japanese movements, they are a lot more affordable. In fact, the 4R36s, 6R15s are comparable to Miyota movements or even Swiss ETAs. There is extensive lume on the SBDC001, comparable to some of Seiko’s other divers. The watch simply glows like a torch at night! This watch is certainly an upgrade from the SKX or even the Tuna/Turtle range, which uses the 7s movement. Seiko watches are good value-for-money and aesthetically pleasing and for good reason.

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The main reason why I found it so attractive was the tool-like nature of the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The SBDC001 comes in a stainless steel case. (about 51mm lug-to-lug) and a standard Sumo bracelet (20mm). The lug width on the bracelet seems a little small as the case is indeed very heavy. I would have preferred 22mm lugs. The lug holes makes changing straps a breeze. The case sits nicely on the wrist and is well-built. I have worn the Sumo for extended periods of time and have not felt any wrist fatigue. However, the heavy case and bracelet is something to get used to. However, one could always wear the Sumo with a thick Nato band.

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The Seiko Sumo has been a great success and it has a cult following as the case finishing is simply top notch for this price point. It is simply a tool watch which can be abused without the user worrying about it. The dial is largely symmetrical, other than the white date wheel indication at 3 o’clock. The hour markers and minute markers are shaped like broad swords. The dial is pure black, with white fonts and markers. The black bezel is fully marked from 0 to 60 minutes. The all-black look gives the watch a nice tool-like feel, just like Rolex Submariners.

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The SBDC001 is a dive watch with 200 meters water resistance and is secured by the screw-down crown at the 4 o’clock position. This watch can certainly be used for sports and for daily use. It will pair well with formal attire, like a suit/blazer or even t-shirts and jeans. I have worn this piece numerous times to work and I have had no trouble with it. Being 13.5mm tall, it might not slide under most shirt-cuffs. I would say that the watch is quite stealthy in nature due to the dull black colour on the dial. The watch does not get as much wrist time as my Ball or Tudor watches as it also costs much less. The 120-click uni-directional bezel is easy to turn and there is little play in it. The bezel also aligns perfectly to the 12 o’clock mark. However, I have read reviews that some bezels might be stiff to turn and might not align perfectly too.

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The watch uses the Seiko 6R15 automatic movement, which is hand winding and has hacking capabilities. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used in other Seikos like the famous dress watch Presage range. The movement comes with a 50 hour power reserve when fully wound. I am not used to watches which can’t wind and have to be powered via wrist movements. Hence, this watch suits me more than the SKX range. The automatic movement cannot be seen as there is a closed caseback. The rotor is also very quiet and barely audible. The watch seems to be fairly accurate based on the brief period which I had it with me. Subsequently, I sold this watch and purchased the Seiko Turtle SRP779, which had a Pepsi bezel.

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The Sumo SBDC001 has Seiko’s renowned proprietary Hardlex crystal. It gives the watch greater presence and texture, evoking a vintage feel while claiming to be harder than hesalite crystal. Although not as superior to sapphire crystal in terms of scratch resistance properties, it is durable and decent enough. The stainless steel caseback is engraved with the Air Diver logo and has a brushed finish.

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Overall, I am impressed by how the watch looks. However, I have issues with the weight of the watch with the standard-fare Seiko bracelet. The Seiko Sumo SBDC001 is a unique entry level dive watch which is durable and can last for ages. It is something that is highly recommended and is much more affordable than Swiss watches. The watch is available in Singapore and retails for SGD 750. You may consider purchasing it online via eBay or Amazon. If you are considering an entry level dive watch, this watch might just be the one for you.

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Review of the Seiko Padi Turtle SRPA21K1

I purchased this watch in Dec 2016 from Skywatches after the purchase of my Hamilton Pan Europ Automatic H35405741. To be honest, I always wanted this after selling my SRP779 (click here for the review), the Seiko Turtle with the red and blue bezel. This watch has a sunburst blue dial, red markings at the hours track and at the minute hand and is an upgrade over the SRP779. In addition, this is a Special Edition and is a collaboration with the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI).

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The Seiko Turtle SRPA21K1 which I purchased was a non-Japanese model and is part of the Seiko Prospex line of divers and has the ‘X’ on the dial. I was always looking forward to purchase a cheap Seiko which was reliable. The blue and red bezel really makes the watch pop and give it a striking appearance. The SRPA21K1 (44.3mm case and is 14mm thick) uses the upgraded Seiko 4R36 movement, unlike some of the other lower-end Seiko 5s. It has the iconic cushion-style case which is reminiscent of the Seiko 6309s in the past. The watch is a simple time only watch with a second hand and a rotating bezel. Seiko is a renowned brand which needs no introduction whatsoever. There are other models of this modern Turtle re-make. These include the SRP773, SRP775, SRP777, SRP779 and also the Seiko Padi Turtles, Green Turtles, Zimbe Turtles etc. Seiko is also releasing a Seiko Samurai Turtle in early 2017. The K series of the same watches are slightly cheaper but are supposedly of poorer built quality.

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Seiko movements are reliable and are made in-house. The Seiko 4R36 mechanical movements (42 hour power reserve) has been around for ages and keep good time and chronometry. In addition, because they are Japanese movements, they are a lot more affordable. In fact, the 4R36s, 6R15s are comparable to Miyota movements or even Swiss ETAs. There is extensive lume on the SRPPA21K1, comparable to some of Seiko’s other divers. The watch simply glows like a torch at night! This watch is certainly an upgrade from the SKX range, which uses the 7s movement. Seiko watches are good value-for-money and aesthetically pleasing and for good reason.

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The main reason why I found it so attractive was the tool-like nature of the watch and also because of the strong blue sunburst effect on the dial. My reasons are listed below:

The SRPA21K1 comes in a stainless steel case in a cushion style shape (about 48mm lug-to-lug) and a standard Seiko metal bracelet. I purchased the silicon Z-22 rubber strap (22mm) as it makes the watch feel lighter on the wrist. The rubber strap is extremely durable and supple and is extremely comfortable to wear. The metal keepers on the strap are also brushed and polished, creating a splendid visual effect. I prefer wearing the watch on the rubber strap as compared to the standard Seiko metal bracelet. This watch will also look good on Nato straps etc. The cushion shaped case sits nicely on the wrist and is well-built. I have worn the Turtle for extended periods of time and have not felt any wrist fatigue.

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The Seiko Turtle re-issue has been a great success as it closely inspired by the original Seiko 6309s. It is simply a tool watch which can be abused without the user worrying about it. The dial is largely symmetrical, other than the day-date indication at 3 o’clock. The hour markers and minute markers are shaped like broad arrows. The dial is pure black, with white fonts and markers. The Pepsi bezel is fully marked from 0 to 60. The Pepsi bezel is certainly popularized by the vintage Rolex GMT watches. For this version, there are also red accents on the hour markers and on the minute hand, giving it a playful look which the SRP779 did not have. The main draw is the blue sunburst dial and the way the dial catches the light is simply mesmerizing.

The SRPA21K1 is a dive watch with 200 meters water resistance and is secured by the screw-down crown. This watch can certainly be used for sports and for daily use. It will pair well with formal attire, like a suit/blazer or even t-shirts and jeans. I have worn this piece numerous times to work and I have had no trouble with it. Being 14mm tall, it might not slide under most shirt-cuffs. I would say that the watch is quite stealthy in nature due to the dull black colour on the dial and strap. The watch does not get as much wrist time as my Ball or Tudor watches as it also costs much less. The uni-directional bezel is easy to turn and there is little play in it. The bezel also aligns perfectly to the 12 o’clock mark. However, I have read reviews that some bezels might be stiff to turn and might not align perfectly too.

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The watch uses the Seiko 4R36 automatic movement, which is hand winding and has hacking capabilities. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used in other Seikos like the famous Prospex range. The movement comes with a 42 hour power reserve when fully wound. However, I am not used to watches which can’t wind and have to be powered via wrist movements. Hence, this watch suits me more than the SKX range. The automatic movement cannot be seen as there is a closed caseback. The rotor is also very quiet and barely audible. The watch seems to be fairly accurate based on the brief period which I had it with me.

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SRPA21K1 has Seiko’s renowned proprietary Hardlex crystal. It gives the watch greater presence and texture, evoking a vintage feel while claiming to be harder than hesalite crystal. Although not as superior to sapphire crystal in terms of scratch resistance properties, it is durable and decent enough. The stainless steel caseback is engraved with the Air Diver logo and has a brushed finish.

Overall, I am impressed by how the watch looks. I have no issues with the weight of the watch. The Seiko Padi Turtle SRPA21K1 is a Special Edition entry level dive watch which is durable and can last for ages. It is something that is highly recommended and is much more affordable than Swiss watches. The watch is available in Singapore and retails for SGD 700+. You may consider purchasing it online via eBay or Amazon. If you are considering an entry level dive watch, this watch might just be the one for you.

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Review of the Seiko Turtle SRP779

I purchased this watch in Sep 2016 from a seller on Carousell after the purchase of my G-shock GW9400 Rangeman.

The Seiko Turtle SRP779 which I purchased was a Japanese model and is part of the Seiko Prospex line of divers and has the ‘X’ on the dial. I was always looking forward to purchase a cheap Seiko which was reliable. The blue and red bezel really makes the watch pop and give it a striking appearance. The SRP779 (44.3mm case and is 14mm thick) uses the upgraded Seiko 4R36 movement, unlike some of the other lower-end Seiko 5s. It has the iconic cushion-style case which is reminiscent of the Seiko 6309s in the past. The watch is a simple time only watch with a second hand and a rotating bezel. Seiko is a renowned brand which needs no introduction whatsoever. There are other models of this modern Turtle re-make. These include the SRP773, SRP775, SRP779 and also the Seiko Padi Turtles, Green Turtles, Zimbe Turtles etc. Seiko is also releasing a Seiko Samurai Turtle in early 2017. The K series of the same watches are slightly cheaper but are supposedly of poorer built quality.

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Seiko movements are reliable and are made in-house. The Seiko 4R36 mechanical movements (42 hour power reserve) has been around for ages and keep good time and chronometry. In addition, because they are Japanese movements, they are a lot more affordable. In fact, the 4R36s, 6R15s are comparable to Miyota movements or even Swiss ETAs. There is extensive lume on the SRP779, comparable to some of Seiko’s other divers. The watch simply glows like a torch at night! This watch is certainly an upgrade from the SKX range, which uses the 7s movement. Seiko watches are good value-for-money and aesthetically pleasing and for good reason.

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The main reason why I found it so attractive was the tool-like nature of the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The SRP779 comes in a stainless steel case in a cushion style shape. (about 48mm lug-to-lug) and a silicon Z-22 rubber strap (22mm). The rubber strap is extremely durable and supple and is extremely comfortable to wear. The metal keepers on the strap are also brushed and polished, creating a splendid visual effect. I prefer wearing the watch on the rubber strap as compared to the standard Seiko metal bracelet. The cushion shaped case sits nicely on the wrist and is well-built. I have worn the Turtle for extended periods of time and have not felt any wrist fatigue.

srp779v3

The Seiko Turtle re-issue has been a great success as it closely inspired by the original Seiko 6309s. It is simply a tool watch which can be abused without the user worrying about it. The dial is largely symmetrical, other than the day-date indication at 3 o’clock. The hour markers and minute markers are shaped like broad arrows. The dial is pure black, with white fonts and markers. The Pepsi bezel is fully marked from 0 to 60. The Pepsi bezel is certainly popularized by the vintage Rolex GMT watches.

srp779v4

The SRP779 is a dive watch with 200 meters water resistance and is secured by the screw-down crown. This watch can certainly be used for sports and for daily use. It will pair well with formal attire, like a suit/blazer or even t-shirts and jeans. I have worn this piece numerous times to work and I have had no trouble with it. Being 14mm tall, it might not slide under most shirt-cuffs. I would say that the watch is quite stealthy in nature due to the dull black colour on the dial and strap. The watch does not get as much wrist time as my Ball or Tudor watches as it also costs much less. The uni-directional bezel is easy to turn and there is little play in it. The bezel also aligns perfectly to the 12 o’clock mark. However, I have read reviews that some bezels might be stiff to turn and might not align perfectly too.

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The watch uses the Seiko 4R36 automatic movement, which is hand winding and has hacking capabilities. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used in other Seikos like the famous Prospex range. The movement comes with a 42 hour power reserve when fully wound. However, I am not used to watches which can’t wind and have to be powered via wrist movements. Hence, this watch suits me more than the SKX range. The automatic movement cannot be seen as there is a closed caseback. The rotor is also very quiet and barely audible. The watch seems to be fairly accurate based on the brief period which I had it with me. Subsequently, I sold this watch and purchased the Seiko Turtle PADI (click here for the review), which is a special edition.

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SRP779 has Seiko’s renowned proprietary Hardlex crystal. It gives the watch greater presence and texture, evoking a vintage feel while claiming to be harder than hesalite crystal. Although not as superior to sapphire crystal in terms of scratch resistance properties, it is durable and decent enough. The stainless steel caseback is engraved with the Air Diver logo and has a brushed finish.

Overall, I am impressed by how the watch looks. I have no issues with the weight of the watch. The Seiko SRP779 is a unique entry level dive watch which is durable and can last for ages. It is something that is highly recommended and is much more affordable than Swiss watches. The watch is available in Singapore and retails for SGD 603. You may consider purchasing it online via eBay or Amazon. If you are considering an entry level dive watch, this watch might just be the one for you.

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