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  • Advice for first Seiko

    Hi all, I'm looking for a bit of advice on my first watch.

    I'm new to this watch gane but want to get get into it and start build a small collection. I figured a good first watch would be one I will get plenty of use from, kind of a a daily driver so to speak.
    The second hand market kinda scares me at the moment,as I really don't know enough to be confindent I'm not getting ripped off. (although there is an IWC at about time I like the look of but I'm not comfortable with having 5k sat on my wrist all day every day at the moment)

    So what do I want?
    I've got s couple of gps wrist gadgets I use for sailing, so I want to go the other way and get someing fully mechanical
    The office I work in is a semi relaxed, shirt and trousers place, not suit formal, but not jeans and teeshirt either.
    With the amount of use I'm thinking sapphire rather than hardex crystal
    My eyes aren't what they used to be to so want a high contrast, easy to read face
    Similary complications beyond date and maybe day really don't do anything for me
    My wirst is about 7 3/4" so I think I can cope with larger dials
    Budget is 1-2K

    I narrowed down to seiko pretty early as I lke the idea that they are a full inhoue manufacturer resonates with the first principles engineering I do as a profession.
    Stainless steel body and strap I think is my preference, probablly with a dark dial and high contrast hands

    The short list I've got so far is:-

    SPRE35K1 - Samurai
    SPB101JI - Sumo
    SPB167J1 - a presage, don't think it has a nickname?

    Any thoughts, opinions or suggestions greatly appreciated. Probably heading the the shops this week to see if I can find them in the flesh.

    Cheers

  • #2
    If you’re after a diver the Sumo is lovely - with some quirks - for me the bezel font, others prefer the old dial. Expand your budget and consider a MM300? Or within that budget the Orient OS300 ticks a lot of boxes.

    I’ve got a barely touched Blue Lagoon Samurai, for some reason doesn’t gel with me... (soft sales pitch, lol)

    Some people here will have great suggestions I’m sure.

    Comment


    • #3
      All nice watches, your looking at Ghen,
      Of those 3 you shortlisted I'd follow psyched and go Sumo as it doubles as a dress and a casual.
      One you might want to consider if you want dressy is the Seiko Presage "Cocktail time" SRPB41J1
      The other you may like is a SARB017 although it will be harder to find
      Just my 2 cents
      Rest easy Matty , My best Mate and Son

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the comments, much appreciated

        Next trick is to actually find any of these in a shop,,, Do the regular AD's like David Keefe usually carry plenty of stock in most stores or am I going to be doing a lot of running around?

        On another note, can anyone explain the Seiko reference numbering convention, it defies any logic I can see?? Oh and why do hey have to have one reference in NZ and another in the rest of the world

        Comment


        • #5
          Welcome to Timekeeper, Ghen Great first post for exploring watches, and fellow members have already shared valuable thoughts on potential purchases. I thought I’d hop on the opinion train so that you have a few more things to think about, and in particular, I want to try and see things from how they may look to you—someone starting out on the path of serious watches.

          When I started out in watches, I had very limited means, as most teenagers would have been, plus it was the pre-Internet era. So, finding and purchasing watches could be compared to pre-historic game hunting with spears. My wooden spear was of limited reach, short on effective range, and extreme caution was necessary, as was good visibility. I needed to clearly see where I was throwing to ensure I was aiming at something that I could kill, without it killing me, and there was little risk in losing the spear into a ravine, river, etc.

          Most men today, however, are not like this, and only started out later in life, when they have disposable income, or enough to set aside for a good watch. You too seem to be of the latter, and despite never been hunting, have suddenly found yourself equipped with a high-powered rifle. Many may argue that this enables you to be less cautious, because you can maybe take down most things and probably won’t lose your weapon in the process. However, I personally think that you should still wait until you have good visibility, i.e. know more about what you want. Since I’m using game hunting analogy, allow me to quote a common hunting safety rule:

          Before you pull the trigger, you must properly identify game animals. Until your target is fully visible and in good light, do not even raise your scope to see it.

          Likewise, spend some more time to identify your “game”. You can do this right here on our forum—we have tons of quality information—browse eBay or TradeMe for ideas, and even binge-watch YouTube videos every now and then. If you do that everyday for two weeks, I can almost guarantee that your “short list” will change ...Not because those three are not good watches (I have owned a couple of Sumo long-term over a number of years), but more likely than not, you’ll discover more about what you like.

          Continue doing so for another month, and that second improved shortlist will also change. It’s just the nature of things.


          [/QUOTE]
          Originally posted by Ghen View Post
          The second hand market kinda scares me at the moment,as I really don't know enough to be confindent I'm not getting ripped off. (although there is an IWC at about time I like the look of...
          It’s also natural for us to be scared of things we don’t know well. This is a good indication that, if you are to build a collection over time, it is also a good idea to delay the start until you are more confident. We at TKNZ can definitely help here, and there are many here who will generously offer their advice, or 2 cent (50 of which will make a dollar ).

          Regarding About Time Ltd, my personal advice is to stay away from them for now—at least until you know what you’re doing. Imagine buying a used car. There are two ways to get “ripped off”, 1) paying, not receiving a car, going to the police, and 2) being misled, paying, not receiving what you thought you bought, but discovering that “this is legal”. The second has no legal recourse, you’re just stuck with a lemon. Don’t be like the second—stay away from brick&mortar registered businesses selling used watches.


          Originally posted by Ghen View Post
          I've got s couple of gps wrist gadgets I use for sailing, so I want to go the other way and get someing fully mechanical...
          Awesome ...Please also be aware, though, that you need not go full mechanical to be a watch enthusiast or collector. Mechanical watches are like classic cars or fountain pens in that they are cool, but not for everyone. These things require effort to use, and despite what you may hear from watch addicts, there is always a degree of compromise compared to newer movement technologies. Mechanical watches are, in many ways, a form of voluntary suffering. ...we've even formed a forum here to share said suffering.

          You may be interested to know that everyone on this forum owns at least one serious non-mechanical watch, even the gentleman who owns Timekeeper rocks a quartz watch most of the time, I think. So, if you have not owned a mechanical watch, or it has been decades since you’ve used one, you may like to consider trying out mechanical first. That is, choosing to spend less than your planned budget on this watch, then if you find you prefer mechanical, you can always upgrade to a more expensive mechanical option. If I were in your shoes, I’d spend under $500 for this first mechanical.

          Buy new, instead of second-hand, to ensure that you’re getting a reliable trouble-free specimen, a good first impression. Later on, you can buy used, when you become more confident and wish to do so.


          Originally posted by Ghen View Post
          I narrowed down to seiko pretty early as I lke the idea that they are a full inhoue manufacturer resonates with the first principles engineering I do as a profession.
          Definitely a good reason to choose Seiko. However, if you are interested in Manufactures, i.e. produce their watches fully in-house, in the non-luxury segment, offerings from these Manufactures, grouped by their countries, should also be familiar to you.

          Japan
          Citizen (mechanical and Eco-Drive), Orient (mechanical), and Casio (quartz)

          China
          Sea-gull, Shanghai, and Beijing Watch Factory (BWAF)—all mechanical.

          Russia
          Vostok (mechanical), and others

          Among the Japanese, I would say that Seiko and Orient are more artisan technologists. Their current products heavily lean on tradition, and Seiko today mostly makes watches that will sell, period. Despite being a lover of Seiko watches, I will be among the first to admit that, nowadays, everything created by their engineers and designers requires the okay from marketing before being given the go-ahead. In the last two decades, Seiko has made little to no horological nor chronometric advance, and Seiko today just makes watches that people want to buy—that’s why they are so popular, and why we like them.

          The real Engineer among Japanese is Citizen. Most of their watches are so functionally, efficiently, and reliably boring that they could only have come from engineers. Take a look, for instance, at the current Promaster 1000m Professional Diver Eco-Drive ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcgN...annel=olfertco ), which was obviously sneaked into production when their accountant was away on leave


          Originally posted by Ghen View Post
          The short list I've got so far is:-

          SPRE35K1 - Samurai
          SPB101JI - Sumo
          SPB167J1 - a presage, don't think it has a nickname?
          I think I’ll leave others to further comment on these, but one thought that you may have already considered—if not, then a good one to think about. It is about weight and comfort. Mechanical watches are generally heavier than quartz-based ones, and modern day mechanical divers can be quite heavy for those who are not used to them. We on this forum are used to their weight, but we do sometimes forget that not everyone would be.

          You mentioned that you have “a couple of GPS wrist gadgets” for sailing. Not sure which ones you have, but let’s say a typical Suunto Core, which weighs around 60 g. A SPB101 Sumo weighs over 180 g, or three times the weight of a Suunto. If you are getting any of these watches, then do make sure to try it out first in person. If you can’t find the exact model to try out, then a watch of a similar size and weight will do just as well.


          Originally posted by Ghen View Post
          ...can anyone explain the Seiko reference numbering convention, it defies any logic I can see?? Oh and why do hey have to have one reference in NZ and another in the rest of the world
          I think what you’re referring to is the Model Reference Number. For Seiko, there is also a Case Reference Number, which do have a convention, but modern Seiko watches are not generally referred to by this Case Reference. For Model Reference, there is no logical convention to the alphanumeric “SPRE35”, but that last one/two alphanumeric (J, J1, J2, K, K1, K2, or “nothing”) denote the official declared origin from the reference point of the intended market, for importation purposes. The latter, just to be clear, is not the same as where a watch is actually made.

          I won’t go deeper into this, as it might just confuse you further. Just know that Seiko established the J/K notation during the mid-1990s, prior to internet commerce taking off. There was never suppose to be confusions, but because we consumers are now able to import watches as individuals, outside of the official distribution chain, thus we see the confusing and conflicting Model References. For now, when you see two identical watches being sold under different Model Reference#, first check that they are actually "identical", i.e. including all dial and case back markings. After that, just treat them as being the same watch, having the same quality level.

          One very last thing is to be aware that there are replica (counterfeit) Seiko Prospex Automatic, some of which are very difficult to differentiate from the genuine. As far as I'm aware, no Prospex Quartz or Prospex Solar copies exist. Be cautious in making your purchase.
          Last edited by Don; 07-01-21, 13:59.
          On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

          Comment


          • Artemis12
            Artemis12 commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank-you for your time Don its a fantastic post as usual with a tone of information

          • harlansmart
            harlansmart commented
            Editing a comment
            wow - this is a new type of post, don't think I've ever read one quite like this, full on info, spear hunting, range, ravines

            I can't read it easily now on my limited device - but will appreciate it properly later

            if ghen doesn't have all and more than is required by now i'll be impressed

            mega info + 2 offers !

            wow

        • #6
          (I wrote this yesterday... can only send it now)

          Awesome advice, above, both SAMURAI and SUMO are wicked, like psyched touched on there are a few different lineages of both models, different colours whatnot...

          Sapphire is an easy cheap addition to a Seiko Hardlex equipped watch... it's only very slightly 'clearer' and more impact resistant.. not much difference

          (Half the time I only swap in sapphire so I can have a bit of color (AR).

          Black SUMO = 'do it all' (might know where one is)
          Harlan
          Timekeeper Watch Club
          New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, Earth

          Comment


          • #7
            Hi and Welcome

            Please bear in mind that I am pretty new to mechanical watches as well and I am basing this on personal preferences

            That said, If I were to choose a modern Seiko diver on a bracelet, that could be worn both in the office and in the water, I would try the SPB185 or the SPB187
            The size and look is what I find appealing, and the power reserve of 70 hours will be very helpful if you don't wear it every day
            Spec wise, looks fine to me but as I said I am not the best person to comment on it



            Comment


            • #8
              Don wow - Thankyou for your time and consideration to write that, I really appreciate the information, comment and additional perspective, plus your turn of phrase is superb.

              I'll take a closer look at the Citizen, plus investigate the Chinese and Russian offerings. The weight comment had crossed my mind, I defiantly will go into a store and try on a few styles to get a feel for them.

              It is the model reference numbers I find a pain, that's for confirming there is little rhyme or reason to them, its was really starting to aggravate my OCD. As for differing JDM as ROW numbers I came across a watch referenced on a NZ auction site as SBDY035, without any reference to its NZ counterpart, SRPD27K1. A bit of google and the caliber and case number as you mentioned got me there in the end. Helpfully you can search by caliber on the Seiko website, very helpful for seeing the parallels across the ranges and understanding the differences (provided its current models)
              Does anyone have a link to a translation list between JDM and rest of world model references?

              My glib reference to GPS gizmos....see below, Garmin Foretrex 301, I guess technically there is a quartz crystal in there somewhere that is then disciplined by the GPS signal, but its not exactly a "watch", more a fully fledged GPS that I use for timing and as a navigational aid while boat racing that happens to be strapped to my wrist.

              Thanks for all the info and suggestions, I'll keep you updated when my, ahem, "target is fully visible"

              Comment


              • #9
                Lots of great advice already been offered. I'd just echo one of Don's points - try not to spend much more than $500 for your first mechanical watch. What you may find is that once you start going down the rabbit hole of watch enthusiasm that your tastes evolve and what you buy today may not reflect your tastes in a few years time.

                May I suggest that you add the Seiko SKX007 to your list of watches to investigate if you have your heart set on Seiko. These have recently been discontinued but can still be picked up new for around $500. Disclosure: it's one of my favorite watches so I can't be said to be impartial

                I'd also recommend Vostok for the variety of choice; quirkiness and value for money ($150 can get you something really decent). You could get something sporty and something dressy!! But be careful, it can get addictive!

                You've stumbled into a pretty cool community here - so feel free to ask away and I'll see you on the board forums.

                Guzz

                Comment


                • #10
                  Should be able to get a second hand Sumo for not far north of $500. A matter of looking around and being patient. Have a look through the sales board here, interesting to see what’s been offered at what prices

                  but yeah, as above it’s addictive...

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Ghen View Post
                    Don wow - Thankyou for your time and consideration to write that, I really appreciate the information, comment and additional perspective, plus your turn of phrase is superb....
                    Glad to be of some help, Ghen


                    Originally posted by Ghen View Post
                    ... ...I came across a watch referenced on a NZ auction site as SBDY035, without any reference to its NZ counterpart, SRPD27K1.
                    Without seeing that auction listing, it can be due to a number of reasons. It could really actually be an SBDY035, perhaps purchased from Japan, or result of the seller simply looking up the model reference online then assuming the watch they have in possession is an SBDY035. Else, a more nefarious reason could be that, on the global market, the SBDY035 and SRPD27K1 are similarly priced, but the latter can be found in certain markets for a lower price. Since they are identical watches—at least for SBDY035 not marked “Made in Japan”—some sellers may obtain SRPD27K1 to sell as the SBDY035.


                    Originally posted by Ghen View Post
                    Does anyone have a link to a translation list between JDM and rest of world model references?
                    Not that I know of, Ghen. Back in the days of the Seiko Cal. 7S26 Diver’s 200m SKX range, there have been efforts to tabulate them all, with some success. Then came the Cal. 7S36 range of ISO divers, and things started to get messy. By the time the current Prospex 4R36 divers arrived, expanded, evolved, diversified, and effectively staged a cross-breeding block party, it’s probably easier now to keep track of variations of puppies and kittens born within an entire country

                    Even just looking at this SBDY035 Monster alone, there are both SBDY035 with “Made in Japan” and SBDY035 without “Made in Japan”, both of which are sold in Japan. There are SRPD27J1 and SRPD27K1, sold in various markets, and an SRPD27 for the North American market, which carries markings in compliance with US country of origin regulation. The latter is, again, different to where a watch is actually made. These variables is the first reason why attempting to translate equivalent models is difficult.

                    The second reason is the abbreviation “JDM” is now a rather loose term. It had a stronger significance among the Seiko collecting community 15-20 years ago, back when Seiko only sold entry-level mechanical watches, and at best mid-range quartz watches to the rest of the world. The higher-grade watches were only available to the Japanese Domestic Market, thus the desirability back then of JDM. Today, this is no longer the case, and mid-range mechanical and even high-grade mechanical are sold in major markets outside of Japan. You’re guaranteed to find higher quality Seiko, just like those sold in Japan, in any country where there are, say, five or more Grand Seiko Boutiques.

                    This term, JDM, is now most often seen used by online watch vendors, grey market in particular, and sellers on auction sites. It is also heavily used by online watch publications, YouTube reviewers/influencers, and those who have just started following Seiko.

                    The final reason is that there is generally a misunderstanding among Seiko enthusiast about what is and is not “JDM”. Many think the Made in Japan designation means JDM—they are different things. Some confuse the “J” suffix on the Model Reference (e.g. SRPD27J) with being JDM—again, different things. On that note, if anyone is interested in learning more about this, I can do a separate post explaining J / K / Made in Japan. So, comment below this post if anyone is interested, and if there’s sufficient number, I’ll do a post over a weekend.

                    If you would like to see the full family that the SBDY035/SRPD27, one way is to go the Google Images, then search (without quotes) "Monster 200m 4R36". Look through the result to see something that interests you, and look into that model further.
                    Last edited by Don; 08-01-21, 01:05.
                    On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

                    Comment


                    • #12


                      Before you pull the trigger, you must properly identify game animals. Until your target is fully visible and in good light, do not even raise your scope to see it.

                      Likewise, spend some more time to identify your “game”. You can do this right here on our forum—we have tons of quality information—browse eBay or TradeMe for ideas, and even binge-watch YouTube videos every now and then. If you do that everyday for two weeks, I can almost guarantee that your “short list” will change ...Not because those three are not good watches (I have owned a couple of Sumo long-term over a number of years), but more likely than not, you’ll discover more about what you like.

                      Continue doing so for another month, and that second improved shortlist will also change. It’s just the nature of things.

                      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      I completely agree with Don on this,
                      We all do this
                      Build yourself a watch list on trademe an ebay of all the watches you like , then revisit that list on a daily or weekly basis ,
                      What looks good today my not look so good later or something better may pop up that you didn't think of.
                      Its a fun and can be a somewhat frustrating part of your search as they list will never end .
                      In the meantime go window shopping and try on as many as you can to work out sizes and styles you like.
                      Happy hunting in the wonderful world of horology


                      Rest easy Matty , My best Mate and Son

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by pedro44 View Post

                        Before you pull the trigger, you must properly identify game animals. Until your target is fully visible and in good light, do not even raise your scope to see it.

                        Likewise, spend some more time to identify your “game”. You can do this right here on our forum—we have tons of quality information—browse eBay or TradeMe for ideas, and even binge-watch YouTube videos every now and then. If you do that everyday for two weeks, I can almost guarantee that your “short list” will change ...Not because those three are not good watches (I have owned a couple of Sumo long-term over a number of years), but more likely than not, you’ll discover more about what you like.

                        Continue doing so for another month, and that second improved shortlist will also change. It’s just the nature of things.

                        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        I completely agree with Don on this,
                        We all do this
                        Build yourself a watch list on trademe an ebay of all the watches you like , then revisit that list on a daily or weekly basis ,
                        What looks good today my not look so good later or something better may pop up that you didn't think of.
                        Its a fun and can be a somewhat frustrating part of your search as they list will never end .
                        In the meantime go window shopping and try on as many as you can to work out sizes and styles you like.
                        Happy hunting in the wonderful world of horology

                        Great advice from two very sage members...

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Have you looked at a Seiko Shogun? One of my all time favourites from Seiko and not a big as the Sumo, which while does wear smaller than its dimensions suggest is still a big chunk of steel, vs a more svelte chunk of Ti.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Sooo, I kinda followed some bits of advice, but not others, I guess that's my prerogative. tl:dr - I went to a shop a bought a watch

                            First of all, David Keefe in New Lynn were very accommodating in indulging me trying on A LOT of different watches over the 3 times I went into the shop on friday while trying to make a decision, worked through the Sumo, Turtle, Samurai, I think a Shogun variant, the green Alpineist, a couple of cocktail times plus some other presages and sports models. Also gotta say pretty much all of the comments above were bang on the money, scarily so!

                            So what did I learn (in no particular order):-

                            It's all to easy to get caught up in the miniature of the differences between a Samurai/Shogun/Sumo, when really the question when getting a first watch should have been just looking at divers vs dress vs casual sports to get a feel for what you really want
                            Steel divers watches really are remarkably heavy for someone who hasn't regularly worn a watch for a while
                            Watches on the computer screen may/will not seem the same size in real life, especially once on the wrist

                            In the end I went for a skydiver blue cocktail time presage SSA343J1. Not exactly what I set out for, if fact going by my initial post its almost the polar opposite, so what happened?
                            Well as mentioned above the divers did feel very heavy initially, I ended up with something half the weight that's more of a gateway back into regular watch wearing
                            The presage I looked at initially had a case dia of 39.3mm. I don't know if it was because I was looking at it side by side with some divers, but it felt and wore very small. For comparison the 343 is 42mm and doesn't look as lost on my wrist
                            Sapphire vs Hardex, I was to focused on the paper specs rather than the watches themselves
                            Is it easy to read? time wise yes, the date hand complication is virtually useless, but the power meter is a nice to have, and its subtle enough in the light of day to not be distracting

                            The two big things though, firstly it fitted what I wanted from a watch and the main use cases I had
                            Secondly was price. Maybe not quite under 500, but the price did start with a 5. it was heavily discounted but still sold new from an NZ bricks and mortar AD. I doubt I would have gone for this at full retail, but for the money I could make a couple of compromises, and use it to make sure that I do want to live the mechanical watch life. If I decide I don't like it, well I'm not going to be significantly upside down on it
                            Oh and waiting? Eh it was too good a deal to pass on... I hope!
                            .
                            Being able to work though a brands range hands on gave me a good appreciation of what I think I want at the moment, it will undoubtedly change, but isn't that part of the fun of having a living collection?



                            PS. I feel like I explaining to most people in here how to suck eggs but if one person comes across this and finds it useful, then its worth it in my view
                            Last edited by Ghen; 09-01-21, 22:39.

                            Comment


                            • psyched
                              psyched commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Great stuff, keen to see some pics

                            • Artemis12
                              Artemis12 commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Sounds like a fantastic outcome Ghen. Definitely looking forward to seeing a few wrist shots. A living collection is so very true
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