Yes, it's been around for a while, but I get the feeling there's still love for the mighty BFK out there, otherwise known as the 'Big Friendly Kinetic' (or whichever F-word you prefer). Seiko, in their boring way, call it the SKA371.
Like most of us, I can't pass a mall jewellery store without casting a quick eye over the watches, though there's rarely anything of interest there (A whole wall of Michael Kors? Really?). Even in the Seiko section, it's rare to see a non-quartz watch, and, well, quartz watches, ho-hum.
However, over a few weeks, I noticed that one watch stood out for me, and every store I went past, it was in the window, and every store I stopped and pressed my nose against the glass like a schoolboy to look at it. It's a striking watch, partly because it's just bigger than anything else in the window.
Well, I like big watches, and I cannot lie. Eventually I popped in to try one on, just for the fun of it. The weight of the thing is palpable. It's like strapping a polished steel brick to your wrist, and the hefty rotor spins loudly like a roulette ball ("No more bets!").
The bezel action is extremely smooth and positive, with a discreet but efficient click like an expensive socket set. The tank-like case with its gently curved lugs and alternating brushed and polished surfaces recalls the Sumo, while the aggressively cut bezel edge and 3 o'clock crown have a little of the Shogun about them.
Wrist test completed, I handed it back to the majestically uninterested assistant and left the store. But if you've ever had a watch sneak up on you, you'll know what happened next. First you look around at a few new prices on the web, then you start browsing eBay ads for used models. "I'll just put this on my watch list so I can see what it sells for," you tell yourself. "I'm just keeping an eye on the market."
Before you know it, the watch is turning up at your door, and you're giving your wife a pleading look as if to say, "It followed me home, can I keep it?"
The lume is excellent, as you'd expect from a Seiko diver, though the skeleton hands are hard to read at night. I find the best thing is just to look at the big blob of the hour hand and see where it is; the minute hand gets mixed up with the hour indices. I'm not surprised that a popular mod for this watch is to either change the hands, or fill them with lume. However, it does have a certain unique, quirky charm, and that's why I love Seikos.
Overall, it's a solid and high-quality watch, which of course keeps impeccable time thanks to the little flake of silicon inside. It's an attractive, if slightly brutal diver, with plenty of character. Not just a pretty face, either, as forum torturers will attest. They sell in the UK for about two hundred pounds, and with the possible exception of the new Monsters I don't know many better watches for the price.
I've shown you mine, now show me yours! Bonus points for lived-in BFKs, especially if it looks like you use it to hit rocks on a regular basis.