Saturday, 19 April 2014

Seiko Superior Limited Edition Dive Watch SRP453 Baby Tuna Review

Nicknamed Baby Tuna coz it looks like a tuna can? well coz of the shrouded case design... i think it looks better than a tuna can but it ain't no slice of tuna either :) 
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Pricing & Limited Edition-ness: Singapore retail for this watch was S$555.40 for the SRP453K (Not made in Japan version sold to rest of the world but no significant difference in terms of quality but without the added 'Japan' text on dial and case back found in the J version) but i managed to snag a SRP453J (assembled and cased in Japan version) for around S$450. when it first launched I think folks got it for even less but i was hunting for it when it was a bit 'hot' already so was happy with the price. 

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i've read in places that this is limited to 1000 pieces but i believe there isn't an official word on the number it is limited to. eg it may have been limited to a certain number for one market and another number for another market. no definite view on numbers out there. Seiko also came out with 3 other models including a monster SRP455(bottom left in the pic below) but i prefer the baby tuna to it. checking amazon.com, they are selling k version for US$399. SRP455 is selling for US$443.90. i never really took to the look of the old monsters and the new style is an improvement but there are other watches ahead of it for me.

Seiko lower end so called limited edition watch prices can be a bit rocky as they aren't numbered and you don't really know how much are out there so they don't really appreciate much and may dip when retailers want to move stock(i saw some online etailers moving it at ~US$250 range) so don't go into these watches with any investment potential in mind. My advice is don't go into most watches with that mindset and just enjoy your timepieces but i digress.

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Face: Lovely sunburst blue dial which catches the light really well with faux yellow gold hands and accents on the dial with lumibrite hands and markers. day date display at 3 o'clock... date wheel is black arabics on white but on saturday the 'SAT' is in blue and on sunday the 'SUN' is in red.
Nice metallic blue bezel and chunky arabic numerals which i didn't like too much initially but the whole comes together well. 
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i love the blue 'SAT'... maybe its the reason why i keep on wearing it on the weekend :) and uhm it won't wear too well with office attire. 
it's more a weekend beater watch for me
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Lume: IT GLOWS BABY! this reminds me i haven't taken a lume shot in ages... 

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Case: generous size of 47mm(excluding crown) stainless steel with a composite blue shroud. the shroud case design style is a first for me and gives the case added protection. ~14mm thick. faux gold crown at 3.50 position. 55mm lug to lug but it sounds bigger than it looks and wears, as the lugs curve downward
Lug width: 22mm for those who want to switch out the strap it comes on.
Strap: originally comes with a blue polyurethane resin trap that i'm not crazy about so swapped it out to this nato which suits it better impo [note the NATO strap is purchased after market]

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Movement: In-house 4R36 24 jewels with 21,600 bph and 41hr Power Reserve... automatic, manual wind, with hacking seconds, meaning the seconds will stop when you pull out the crown to the end for time setting. and u can't see the movement coz when you flip it on it's back all u see is the solid caseback(pic below)... seiko logo of tsunami representing a 200m dive watch and words... time keeping is fine, couple of seconds a day territory
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Other details: 
  • Water resistance as noted is 200m
  • hardlex crystal(which is stregthened mineral that is purportedly tougher than regular mineral glass but nowhere as tough as sapphire of course)
  • unidirectional rotating bezel that clicks as you turn it, the dot can turn to align at 12 just fine
  • Good heft to it(~120gms) and the head has a durable, rugged feel about it. 
  • Comes with 1 year international warranty
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A wristshot s'il vous plait... on my ~7" wrist
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and a comparo size wise with ol' faithful 
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Verdict: it's another great sporty watch from Seiko and a wonderful beater. Seikos make many some of the best mechanical bang for buck watches below S$500 and there's a wide range to choose from below S$200 as well in the seiko 5 range. for this piece, the style of it may take some growing to but after seeing/handling the watch in the metal, it's a winner in my books. go out and get some seikos if you haven't any, they're fun and cool watches.

my only other seiko review can be found here LINK but that is about to change soon i think as there a lot great lookin, value for money seikos out there. hope u enjoyed the post and have a great Good Friday, Easter Sunday holiday weekend! cheers, raph

Friday, 28 March 2014

Baselworld 2014 Pt.II: Some watches that made me do a double take & some pricing info on Omega

you won't see a ton of watches being shown because i'm not interested in many of what i've seen but some watches i do like of course and some make me do a double take... 

first up the Kari Voutilainen 28 Oukamon 


One of the greatest lacquer studios of Japan, Unryuan, under the guidance of Mr. T. Kitamura, create works of lacquer art that stand at the pinnacle of Japanese tradition, bringing a craft that has existed for hundreds of years into the present, exemplifying the passion to preserve the soul, spirit and identity of traditional Japanese culture as expressed in the Edo period. This superlative work engages us immediately on a physical level and one can only stand in awe at the commitment, patience and dedication required to create these works of art. The dial shown here, using the techniques of lacquering with Saiei Makie and Somata zaiku takes several months of work to complete. The raw materials for its creation are: Kinpun (gold dust), Jyunkin-itakane (gold leaf), Yakou-gai (shell of great green turban) and Awabi-gai (abalone shell from New Zealand).

This symbiosis of Japanese tradition with the Swiss haute horlogerie creations of Kari Voutilainen represents an all-embracing mechanical and visual work of art that unites the East and West in perfect harmony.


a very pretty Japanese lacquer work... & it's a piece unique... just one piece made
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Movement Mechanical hand-wound Voutilainen Vingt-8 calibre, direct-impulse escapement with two escape wheels, main plate and bridges in German silver, gear-train wheels in pink gold, 21 jewels, free sprung balance wheel with timing weights, 18,000 vib/h. 37mm white gold 


next is a reissue... the double take was because i like it's vintage looks but not sure if there is any reason to buy this over the actual vintage which was 39mm and well has it's rustic charm :) this be in 42mm
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Press text: In 1960, Eberhard & Co. presented an automatic chronograph that would become an emblem of its era thanks to its innovative attributes combined with remarkable precision: the Contograf. Over the years, its twin counters, its broad instant-jump date window, as well as its water-resistant pushers have established the watch as an indispensable daily companion. Eberhard & Co. now celebrates this legendary chronograph through a new Contograf. While most of the original identity codes have been preserved, such as the minutes counter also measuring the phone clicks that used to occur every three minutes in the 1960s, vintage details rub shoulders with some interesting novelties. The Contograf 2014 is thus equipped with an elegant ceramic rotating bezel as well as the Chassis® metal bracelet completed with its patented D├ęclic folding clasp.


& some omega pricing... 


SEAMASTER 300 MAKES A COMEBACK
ranges from S$8,550 for steel on steel black dial, ti on ti S$11,650, Steel with Sedna gold S$16,300, Ti with Sedna gold S$19,400

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SPEEDMASTER PROFESSIONAL APOLLO 11 45TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION S$9,950

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Finally! Rolex Pepsi GMT Ceramic... in White Gold :( A quick and dirty take on some watches at Baselworld 2014... Steel Patek anyone?

i've been waiting for this for awhile now... the pic below was posted on my blog in Jul 2008 LINK and then the wait began... wait wait wait... 
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and 5+ years later, Baselworld 2014 swings around and there it is! Rejoice! and it's in white gold... elation to deflation. in steel it would have been in the low teens(for SGD) perhaps retail, in white gold you're looking at probably 40s retail(USD 30s)... sigh. but what a looker it is :) 


why white gold... why... 
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wwwwwwhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy... also for folks thinking they will release this bezel in steel in future, it's doubtful. eg other sports gold models don't get issued in steel because the owner of gold piece would be pissed. eg. blue white gold sub, white gold daytona dials are not reused in steel brethren etc
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Rolex patented the 2 color ceramic bezel making process... 
why white gold why... 
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what else we got... let's see. a proper proportioned sea dweller upgrade... 
very nice! (so said borat)
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and tudor came out with a nice update to the black bay... the blue steel look (a la derek zoolander ;) [theres a tudor ranger out there too you can google pics for if u want to check it out]
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 EDIT 27Mar14: me likes this more and more...  
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glow baby glow
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tudor has done really well in these last couple of years
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some quick mentions... patek steel bracelet 5960 is a pass for me... i never took to the fonts on this updated dial. but die hard patek collectors will own it for sure 
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omega seamaster 300 updated... nice lookin piece and it sports the anti-magnetic movement! the full watch can be seen on their site... seen some grumblings around the net on faux-tina... more choices the better i say :)
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and there's a blue version too! in platinum. limited to 357 pieces with a blue enamel dial

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new longines heritage piece... i have a feeling one of their heritage pieces be making its way to my watch box in the future... smart vintage looking dress watch here and in some of their past releases
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but the one i want to buy right now just based on press pics? 'it's a Rolex' to quote Ellis :) the new milgauss has got my attention. hope that it rocks in the green sapphire! so blue so nice... just don't pay a premium ;) haha.. may have to wait awhile then... it's not a definite buy of course. have to see it in the metal and check if there's enough coins saved up in the piggy bank...
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come to papa
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nice and colorful piece...
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wif their usual tough as nails movement you won't see much off :)
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that's it for now... looking forward to more reveals at basel. some sites out there are quick to the draw and have live pics so google and enjoy as we see more new interesting offerings.

cheers

Sunday, 2 March 2014

a very busy time... and not having sevenfridays week on week

been ultra busy of late... to say i've been busy is like saying thor needs a haircut... work work and more work. ok enough of my woes. let's do a quick take on what's happened in watch-dom...

SIHH 2014 - too many big and pricey watches touting to be the next big thing. for me a number of the offerings looked very similar as well which is not good. i think easily the best of the lot and unaffordable to the masses were the Greubel Forseys, Lange(Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna) and the JLC(Duometre Unique Travel Time) pieces. kudos on the standouts. not many watches in the <$10k range though

and i happened to be too busy to pop down to the sevenfriday singapore carnivale they had recently.  red army watches sent over a wooden box though... is it a message? naw, it contained some cool swag :) much thanks to the fine folks at red army watches and sevenfriday for it!


"All SevenFriday Singapore Carnivale guests also took home with them a pack of Wrist Essentials, containing a SevenFriday World Tour – Singapore edition wrist band, a Zulu watch strap and a Muse bracelet to complement...

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  the SevenFriday they own." great pic of the one i own from sevenfriday
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Press Release: SevenFriday Singapore Carnivale 2014

19 February 2014, Singapore – The much-awaited SevenFriday World Tour arrived in Singapore on 18 February 2014. Singapore was the fourth stop of the Asia leg of the tour which started in the Philippines and ended in Malaysia. The local event was held at the Barber Shop by Timbre, located in the historic building of the Old Parliament House. Local SevenFriday fans gathered at the intimate and cosy setting to meet Daniel Niederer, the man behind the brand which has created a stir in the social media community.


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Leveraging on the pivotal role that social media has played in SevenFriday’s success, the Singapore event was kickstarted with a contest, where followers of SevenFriday Singapore on Instagram were encouraged to post creative and stylish shots of their SevenFriday watches to win attractive prizes. On the day itself, SevenFriday Singapore Carnivale saw guests mingling and chatting freely with Niederer and each other. To add to the carnival atmosphere, the popcorn and kacang putih (traditional nuts seller) men also made an appearance, dishing out packets of nibbles to go with the drinks that were flowing freely.

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Guests were shown a short clip showcasing the background and milestones of the SevenFriday brand before Niederer took centrestage where he shared his experiences to date and took questions from the floor. Fans were eager to know when to expect the next SevenFriday release. Niederer gamely treated those who were present at the Barber Shop with a preview of the new SevenFriday model, the M series. Further information on the M series will be embargoed until BaselWorld 2014.

Apart from getting to chat with and hear from Niederer, guests had the opportunity to check out the works of local urban artist, ClogTwo, who created a 70-piece limited edition printworks for the Singapore event. Leather straps from J.Myers & Co and unisex beaded bracelets from Muse, all local artisans, were also available on display and for event-goers to try out. The casual and fun ambience was further ramped up with music from local band, The Common People. To top off the evening, prizes were awarded to the three most stylish guests and winners of the Instagram contest. Eight out of the 70-piece limited edition artworks, incorporating SevenFriday elements, by ClogTwo were given out as prizes. All SevenFriday Singapore Carnivale guests also took home with them a pack of Wrist Essentials, containing a SevenFriday World Tour – Singapore edition wrist band, a Zulu watch strap and a Muse bracelet to complement the SevenFriday they own.

For one evening, 100 over likeminded SevenFriday enthusiasts in the Merlion city were brought together to share their passion and to have an up-close-and-personal encounter with SevenFriday founder, Daniel Niederer. Keep an eye out for the launch of the M series later this year at all authorised dealers of SevenFriday Singapore.

the current range on display at the event
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Sunday, 19 January 2014

How To Change A Watch Bracelet to Strap on Rolex Tudor Omega etc & Another Way to Change Up Your Timepiece

Wanted to share on 2 things in this post. One was on changing up the look of your watch through strap changes and the next... will come after that ;)  [Note for all the sites i point folks to to get stuff i gain absolutely nothing from it and it's just an option and you can choose whatever seller works for u]


thinking of what i needed for this shoot... originally had wanted to do videos with my lx7 but they turned out pretty dark... and had a couple of watches to play with for this post
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Now if you are antsy about taking sharp hard metal objects to your precious 1+k, 10+k, 100+k watches then don't do this at home. bring it to a watch servicer/repairer and pay them to bring a sharp hard metal object to your precious :) i don't recommend getting your retailers to do it as they may not take too much care or be very proficient at it, depending from person to person.

one way is to get a bit proficient at it yourself and to try and remove springbars and put them back in yourself with A LOT OF care and attention. u could practice on cheaper watches too. At any point if you think you might scratch something or spoil something, i suggest u don't push your luck and head over to a watch repairer to save the day. only do what u're comfortable with. folks who want to do this themselves will need to have uhm cojones as there is a need to use some force and instruments that can damage your watch case. 

1. get the right instruments - eg. bergeon tools to deal with all kinds of springbars. you can check out tools here LINK or ebay. note there are cheaper versions out there but bergeons tend to be a reliable standard and is used by watch servicers too. [eg bergeon 6285 is a good tool if u are changing a lot of bracelets where the holes don't pierce through the case] u can use tape as well around the springbar areas to to prevent scratches if u wish to take more care.

the claw and the pointy end... note these are unofficial terms :) 
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fork tips
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2. next remove the bracelet or strap

a. accessible springbars [6111] - yank the strap down to expose some of the springbar grooves and use the claw to pull it down so it pops out of the hole.

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b. old rolex with the springbars viewable on the outside of the case [pointy tip] use pointy tip to press the springbar down and voila

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c. springbars that are harder to reach coz they've got stuff round it [
fine fork tips on 6111 or 6285] - these are tougher  to remove as you have to make an effort to ensure one end doesn't pop back in when you are taking out the other. finer fork tips needed to get into tight spaces

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3. change it to the strap that you liketh or have buyeth and put it back in - i didn't take pics of this as i just use my thumb and whatever nail is on it to push the springbar down and shove it between the lugs and get the springbar into the hole (all sexual connotations are not intentional... or r they? hmm) 


anyways this is how i see most folks do it too but if u have the 6285 it could help as you could hold in both springbars as you place the bracelet or strap end back into place


on nato and tudor on a leather bund strap
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  • for nato straps i have gotten it through a mate who is just starting out on selling em. his site is still under construction but u can drop him a line there and check with him what he has in stock LINK
  • for low end leather straps i typically go through ebay. these will cost less than US$40 normally. 
  • for better quality bespoke straps that folks wish to charge a lot of $$$ for, you will have to do your homework for who makes decent straps in your city/area
  • get official straps sold by the brand - this may be pricey but u can trust that they will rely on decent strap makers(for most brands) 
next on changing up the look of your timepiece ~ switching from a solid caseback to a see through sapphire case back

there are watches out there of course that have movements that shouldn't be seen but there are many that have decent enough movements and finishing for a see through case back. a steel caseback is about as exciting as staring at... well a blank boring steel caseback. the movement in some of these watches may have functional to minimal finishing but it's definitely more fun to flip a watch over and have something worth looking at more than blank steel... 

the first watch i swapped out to a sapphire caseback was my Omega Speedy... LINK
and i don't ever want to change it back to the solid back... and this past week i just got round to doing these... 

say hello to a fine tuned zenith el primero, Rolex style! :) the 4030 found in the 16500 series Daytonas... 
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column wheel auto chrono
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zoom in on the rotor
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and a final shot
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next up my trusty submariner with it's bulletproof 3130 movement
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solid casebacks chilling... 
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i won these 2 sapphire casebacks through ebay auctions, bidding on auction listings of this chap, Thomas Preik LINK  who also has a website selling em LINK  ebay auction listings are a better way to go for this as you may be able to win this at a lower price at auction than the price offered at his official site or at 'buy it now' on ebay.

for these casebacks, just bring them to a watch servicer(preferably with experience with the brands u r changing the backs for) and they can swap it out for u for a small fee. hope this post gives u ideas on how to change up the look of your watch to keep things interesting, refresh it a little or give em a different dimension.  

cheers, raph

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