I recently picked up a Seiko A914-5000 from the mid ‘80s as part of a lot of junk watches. Something about this era of LCD digital watches from Seiko (and the better ones from Casio) has always intrigued me. The style and function as well as the incredible longevity of these pieces are pretty incredible. I am grooving on this watch right now much more than I probably should. This is just a junk watch right? But I am just as tickled about this new to me vintage digital as getting a new Rolex that costs thousands. The depth of quality of this piece has really impressed me. It is interesting how I don't really seem to come to a full judgment on a watch until I integrate it into my normal, everyday life and spend a day or few with it on my wrist - In the office. Today I wore the watch all day and enjoyed the whole throwback tool watch experience.
This Seiko A914 is ultra-simple and modest. Basically, it is the same size and a similar form factor to a cheap, basic, black plastic Casio like the F-91W. Except without the plastic. Instead, the simple time, day, chrono,alarm module is housed in a higher quality stainless steel, screw back case with conventional 20mm lugs. So it has all the endearing qualities of a basic, unassuming digital watch with more versatility and long term durability. The stainless case gives it a slightly more dressy, office appropriate look. And not having any resin to degrade and break or crumble over time ensures that it will last. Certainly it already has. For decades. And the 20mm lugs mean you can wear it on resin, a bracelet, or as I prefer, on a wide selection of nylon. I even think you could get away with putting this watch on the right leather strap. Digital on leather? I think so.
The classic square shape of this piece and its subtle, retro graphics really endow this lovely piece with a jaunty verve. The red "SPORTS 100" text at the bottom of the grey/black display surround actually reminds me of the red text at the bottom of a Rolex Submariner 1680 dial. (Sacrilege!)
A perfect example of the wristwatch as a humble, capable and noble servant. This watch has proved its lasting value. It is imbued with a depth of quality evident in its decades of loyal service without the need for much other than new straps and batteries. And you can pick one up for only tens of dollars. Amazing.
My friend Dave summed it up succinctly: “In a WIS world that tells us we"need" a multi-thousand dollar watch, this is the ultimate piece of contrarian evidence. The fundamental goodness of an inherently righteous watch is not correlated to its price tag.” So true.