As promised guys here is my review of the Ananta Automatic chrono after having the beauty for slightly more than a week. As this watch is not that common in the 'wild' at the moment, i will try to give a more detailed review and feedback about it.
Note: I may be biased in my review as I won the SRQ005 in a Seiko contest.
Here is the beauty in question - the Ananta Automatic chronograph, SRQ003J1
(pic from Seiko's flickr page - more of my own pics later)
As you all know the watch is one of the offerings in Seiko high end Ananta series. Here are a couple of links to Seiko's official websites on the series.
The series has 2 auto chrono models the SRQ005 in question and its bracelet version SRQ003J1
As you can see from the pics, the differences between the 2 SRQ models are
in the tachymetre bezel (black bezel for the 005), bracelet(003) vs strap(005), minute chrono subdial (metallic border for 003). The rest of the case and dimensions are the same.
Interestingly, a quick online search of official Seiko and authorized dealers websites all cited the same price for both the SRQ 003 and 005. This is quite surprising as traditionally most bracelet versions are priced higher than the strap versions of the same model. I can only surmise that the price of the crocodile strap is on par as that of the bracelet.
The watch came in a dark brown box. As usual there is an outer dark brown cardboard box.
Inside it is the actual wooden watch box. The papers are conveniently placed in slots next to the watch box.
The papers with an unsigned gurantee as this watch was not sold to me by an Authorized dealer but is direct from Seiko Japan.
A handy watch pouch/polishing cloth was in the box as well.
The box itself has a beautiful polished lacquer finish to it.
The SRQ005 and 003 comes with Seiko's latest auto chrono movt - the 8R28.
As far as i can tell the movt was first used in the Limited Edition (of 2000 pieces) Velatura auto chrono, the SRQ001.
As you can see, this Velatura is designed like a divers watch with unidirectional bezel and screw down crown and pushers. However its water resistance is only up to 100m.
I have seen the watch in person
To be honest i was not very impressed with the watch due to the messy overall design. I like the heft and feel of it but there are just too many nuts and bolts IMO.
The 8R28 was also used in the current Seiko Brightz Phoenix models.
(pics taken from Chino watch website)
You can see more pics of this beautiful watch at Molle's website.
Whether this latest movt is considered a replacement for the 6S37 (used in the well-known FlightMaster amongst others) or just another calibre in Seiko's impressive repertoire remains to be seen.
Here are some pics of the movt that i found on the web..
The movt from the SRQ003 and 005.
Note the decorated rotor. The rotor design (according to Seiko) pays homage to the Katana design, combining power, lightness and beauty.
The official specs for the 8R28 are as follows: (from the PDF manual)
" 1 Display system
Time/Calendar..........................Hour, minute and small second hands
Date is displayed in numerals
Stopwatch......................Measures up to 12 hours
Stopwatch hour, Stopwatch minute and Stopwatch
2 Vibrations per hour..........28,800
3 Loss/gain (daily rate).......Between +25 and -15 seconds at normal
temperature range (between 5 °C and 35 °C or
between 41 °F and 95 °F)
4 Continuous operating time ...More than approx. 45 hours
5 Driving system...............Automatic winding type with manual winding
6 Number of jewels.............34 jewels
The accuracy above is factory adjusted.
Due to the characteristics of mechanical watches, any actual daily rate may not fall within the range of time accuracy specified above dependent on the conditions of use, such as the length of time during which the watch is worn on the wrist, temperature, arm movement, and whether the mainspring is wound up fully or not, etc. "
As you can see, the movt is supposed to have been factory adjusted. From my experience over the past 9 days, the watch has gained 60 seconds. So the daily gain is about 6-7 seconds. During this period i was not wearing the watch regularly nor did i keep track of the resting position. But i made sure that the watch was kept wound up. I also used the chrono operation occasionally.
I am quite happy with this rate but i will continue to monitor and see if the movt settles down over time.
The movt hacks as it should and the winding mechanism is really smooth. I can feel some pressure when i wind it but its not too tight nor too loose. The non-screwdown crown feels solid as i wind it. First click for date adjustment and second click for time adjustment.
The chrono pushers presses down with solid 'thuds' and the feel is very distinctive with no hints of mushiness.
Here are some real life pics of the movt seen via the display caseback
Being a 'case-centric' kind of WIS, here is where the Ananta really makes me smile.
The Ananta has a very distinctive profile especially viewed from the side. The katana inspired design of the case sides is really unique and works very well with the cylindrical inner case.
The watch is actually made up of 2 parts. The inner case holds the movt and dial while the outer case is made up of the lugs and distinctive sides of the watch.
The case sides has 3 distinct surfaces. From the xtal to caseback - A large polished, outward bevelled surface followed by a smaller vertical brushed area and finally another inward bevelled polished surface.
The polished surfaces are specially polished by the "Blade polishing ' technique. It is polished by hand by only 5 of Seiko's skilled craftsmen.
I can safely say that the quality of the polished surface is higher than that found on the MM. The polished surface of the MM even though of high quality, has more distortion than the 'blade' polished surface of the Ananta.
It is natural to expect the highly polished large surfaces to be a scuff or scratch magnet. Hopefully the brushed vertical surface which is the outer most part of the case will take the brunt of the daily wear. Only time and regular wear will show whether my assumption is correct.
On the pusher side, the outer case acts as crown guards for the pushers and crown.
The crown itself is very easy to grip between thumb and forefinger and feels very solid. It is finished with both brushed and polished surfaces. The large pushers are finished withe an outer border of polished surface and an inner circle of brushed finish.
Looking directly at the face of the watch, the case actually reminds me of the sloped sides of a German WW2 Panther tank
The official measurements for the SRQ003/005 are :
Case: 46mm wide x 51mm length x 15mm thick
lug width: 24mm
Even though on paper the watch appears to be a big watch, it actually wears very comfortably. I think this is due to the inwards bevel of the case.
So even with the large pushers, the watch wears comfortably and the pushers never bothered me at all or even incidentally pressed.
Even with my hand flexed upwards the pushers are only gently digging in into my skin.
As you can see the watch wears very well on my wrist
The dislay caseback has a brushed finish and 6 screws holding the inner and outer cases together.
DIAL and CRYSTAL
The flat crystal is sapphire with AR coating and actually sits slightly higher than the bezel.
The crystal is very clear and i have no issues with reading the dial and hands.
The dial itself is black with a very slight sheen to it. The katana inspired hour markers have sharp edges and have 3 polished distinct surfaces each.
The markers catches and reflects light very well making them very legible and easy to read.
(please ignore the photo aberrations in the subdial - there are no concentric circles in the subdials)
The beautifully bevelled,sharp, polished hands also helps in the legibility of the watch.
Surprisingly there is lume on the hands and chapter ring (small dots of lume at the hour markers.
You can just about see the lume here. (no lume pics yet)
There are 3 subdials on the dial.
At 3, is the sweep hand dial. The small second hand sweeps around very smoothly - almost like a SD movt.This subdial continuous with the surface of the dial.
At 6, is the hour chrono subdial. The outer border of this subdial is of a different finish to the rest of the dial face.
At 9, is the minutes chrono subdial. Here the outer border is slightly raised and has 6 silver dots embedded in the border.
All the chrono hands are red in colour.
I believe Seiko has done well in making the lug width of this watch 24mm. Any smaller the case would appear top heavy. Here the wide strap balances the tall watch case aesthetically and physically.
The fitted end-links of the strap hug the case closely and flows in with the lugs.
I am not sure whether it is a true crocodile strap or just calf leather with embossed croc pattern. But i can definitely feel the high quality of the strap. I am not surprised if its really a croc strap.
The strap tapers from 24mm at the lugs to about 20mm at the deployant clasp.
The clasp itself has brushed central surfaces and polished sides. Seiko is engraved on one of the central surface.
Here are some comparison pics with some more well known and iconic Seikos and the only other automatic chrono that i have. Hopefully these comparison shots will give a better appreciation of the size of the Ananta.
Chrono vs Chrono (Ananta vs Omega Moonwatch)
Ananta, Moonwatch and MM
Ananta and 6309
Ananta and Blue Monster
Ananta and SBBN007 tuna
Ananta , MM, 6309
Side profile shots to compare thickness
6309, Monster, MM, Ananta
Moonwatch, Monster, MM, Ananta
Caseback of Ananta and MM
Ananta, MM, Moonwatch
In my opinion, Seiko has designed and put together a really amazing watch. The case design and finish is of really high quality. On the other hand the highly polished surfaces might be regarded as a negative feature as the only way to restore the finish is to send the watch back to Japan.
The size and thickness might be a tad big for some, but for me it fits me very well. The large size and thickness might actually turn off some people from acquiring the Ananta but i guess Seiko is just following the trend of making bigger watches.
Seiko has obviously designed this watch to be a high end Seiko which is being marketed internationally to increase the profile of Seikos. The price of the Ananta series reflects this as well. The Anantas are suppose to be just one level below the GS series. IMO the price of the Ananta is justifiable in the quality of the design and finish. However it remains to be seen how popular are such high end (and pricey) Seikos with the general public internationally.
Thanks for reading guys. If you have any further queries just post them and i will try to reply as best as i can.
I will leave you with one of my favourite wrist shot
22nd Dec 2009