I got a holiday catalogue for Ben Bridge jewelers the other day; I'm still on their mailing list, I suppose, from the old, pre-Great Recession days when I used to get Mrs. Conjurer her Christmas and birthday jewelry there. Today, I get her baubles from my trustly local jeweler Aram, who is always there to fix my watchmaking screwups, which are legion. But I digress; the point here is that BB had some Rollies in the catalogue, including a Submariner in stainless--for over seven grand.
You gotta be $#%&* kidding me!
Back on planet Earth, I recently lucked into a BNIB Seiko 175 I got from a motivated seller; long story short, it got lost in the mail for four and a half months, I got a refund, then it showed up. I paid the seller again, and now it's all mine!
A few particulars; it's about 42mm, about 13 or so thick. Inside is the same movement Seiko uses for a lot of their lower-end divers, the 7S26, 21 jewels (I think) with a 6 beat-per-second pulse. Nobody, I think, makes better economical dive watches than Seiko. You see then everywhere, and the 175, which was made for the North American market, is pretty popular. If you think of it as a toned-down Monster, you'll have the idea:
Now, the 175's movement is non-handwindable and non-hackable, meaning to start it up--and I'll use my favorite Seiko automatic joke here--you have to shake it up like a meth-addict abusing his kid. Actually, a few shakes and the movement kicks in; wearing it all day, you'll have a full wind (shake?) on it, and the power reserve is said to be around 40 hours. I haven't measured it, since I've either been wearing it or keeping it on a winder. It's not a particularly accurate movement, either; I've owned three Monsters that have the same engine and none of them were better than +15 seconds a day, and this watch here isn't even that good; I haven't bothered to gauge it against my reference atomic clock, but from having to reset it after being in the winder for a couple of days, I'd guess it's about +30.
The case is well made, nicely polished and brushed, and much simpler than the Monster's highly machined case. It looks a little less like a tool watch and a little more dressy because of this. The water resistance is still 200M, though; however, while the Monster is the same WR, it looks like it could easily do double that, while the 175 doesn't.
The Pepsi-bezel is 120-click, lines up perfectly, and has a nice understated action to it--again, not quite as fluidly as the Monster, but better than, say, my Doxa 1000t, which sounds like the starter motor for a Trabant. There's a lume dot at the zero point of the bezel, per ISO standards. The dial, which doesn't show up well in these pictures, is actually a very dark blue in bright light, and looks black in everything else:
The lume is outstanding; although not quite as good as the Monster, it's plenty bright:
It lasts all night, and it easily passes the quick-look-inside-a-dark-car test (I've owned an astonishing number of divers that don't pass that test, BTW.) The hands are steel with the lume filling, and the seconds hand has the lume pip on the counterbalance, which at first looks strange but still works within the ISO standard for being able to tell if the watch is running.
And now, the bracelet. Ahh, the bracelet:
As you can see, there's a lot of play there. It's Jubilee style, with solid links on the outside rows and simple metal loops on the inside:
As a result, it rattles like, well, a Trabant. There are a lot of people out there who absolutely hate this bracelet; there're at least a couple of folks out there who make a living--I suppose--by offering aftermarket bracelets for this particular model Seiko. I, however, like it. There's really no reason on Earth that this bracelet should be comfortable. With the way it's made, it should be chainsawing the hair off the wrist like Jay Browning from Ax Men on crack. But it doesn't. It's very supple, and conforms to the wrist very well:
Now, in interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I wear my bracelets fairly snug; if you like a floppy watch, this bracelet could very well drive you totally nuts.
This watch is the reason I love Seiko; no, it's not a Rollie Sub, but then, it doesn't pretend to be. A watch-lover who sees this on your wrist from twenty feet away will know, instantly, that it's a Seiko. They continue to make outstanding products that look super, work well, and last forever. You won't do a spit take when you open the box and see this watch for the first time, but you will come to appreciate it.