Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: The perfect everyday watch. The Rolex Datejust.

I've always wanted a Rolex. It wasn't the Submariner or Explorer that pulled me to Rolex. It is the datejust. For many people, Rolex is synonymous with Submariner or Explorer or even the Daytona but for me I was always pulled to the Datejust. Not the recent DJ41 but the old school American Psycho Datejust Two Tone. The ones worn by Tony Soprano or Fidel Castro.

So this year, I finally decided that I was going to pull the plug and get a DJ. I was looking either at a birthyear Datejust or 1601 for the value and piepan dial. I know they'll be easier to find and cheaper than getting one new. The large stick markers on the current DJs are also putting me off. I went into the AD once and put on the DJ and truthfully, I couldn't love it. I was mesmerized by the Explorer and Presidential DD 40 though... but that's another story for another day.
 Anyway, it was hard to find a birthyear watch in good condition so when a Linen Dial 1601 popped up at a great price, I was smitten and decided to pull the trigger. The watch is beaten up and the owner was selling it as it is. As soon I got it, I knew it needed some work. Thankfully, everything is just superficial, a light wipe on the bezel rubbed off the discoloration and some crystal polishing made the glass look new again. The bracelet was a replacement bracelet so I might need to source a new one.

The watch is now on custom endlinks and a leather cordovan strap. I think this look is my favourite bar the bracelet. Without endlinks, I feel that something is missing.

Anyway, the watch although 36mm wears nicely and feels beefier due to the larger lug to lug / oyster case. My example has the hacking feature but no quickset date thus changing dates will be a hassle. I don't mind it as much though.

The watch is a vintage means more care is needed. I can't really test the full capability of the 100m water resistance without further bar and pressure testing but as a dress watch I'm not bothered much by it. Truthfully, this is more of a dress piece than an all rounder for me as I have other watches in rotation for sportier events.

The Sigma Linen Tritium Dial makes this example harder to find and more special. I am enamored with the datejust and it makes me appreciate Rolex more every time I look at it. Now I understand why WIS still think Rolex is King even with all the negative stigma attached to it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Review: Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Yamaotoko.

First of all, let me start by saying that I'm new to watches and watch collecting. I googled so many different watches in the affordable range before deciding on this one. It was more of an impulsive decision but one that I have not regretted since.

I was looking at the SARB range and reading/watching youtube reviews. At the end of the day, I was undecided between the SARB033, SARB065 and SARB017. However, something about the sunburst dial green and many instagram pictures that capture the beauty of this watch made me take the jump.

I have had this watch for almost half a year and it started as a surprise to now, something that I cannot imagine being without. I have other watches in rotation but so far, this one gets the most time.

The Seiko Alpinist line was introduced in 1961 for mountain climbers. I think it is similar in concept to the Rolex Explorer in this case and in many other cases I will explain later especially this latest version. Dubbed the Yamaotoko or simply mountain men, it has a mountain engraving on the caseback of all Alpinist watches. I am also in love with the SARB015, black dial triangular indices alpinist. However, after being discontinued it's price has skyrocketed to something I'm not willing to pay for.

The SARB017 is stated as 38mm but realistically is closer to 39. However, it wears smaller due to the rotating inner bezel. It runs on a 6R15 movement that is rated at +-12-25s if I'm not mistaken but can be regulated to perform better. Out of the box, it is really dependent on luck how accurate it performs. Mine is well within +-10s. With a power reserve of 50 hours, I am able to rotate my watches easily without leaving this on a winder.

Truthfully, the watch doesn't work with a plethora of straps. I find the colors that are good on it is usually, black, brown and green. But on a bracelet, it takes a whole different beauty of its own.

Unfortunately the stock bracelet for the SARB017 costs around RM450-RM500 and I am very unwilling to pay 1/3 of the price of the watch for a bracelet. Luckily, I managed to find a watchmaker near my area who is able to custom make the bracelet out of an omega speedmaster lookalike bracelet. As soon as it is on a bracelet, it rarely leaves my hand. I no longer have to worry about moisture or sweat and treat it like a real TOOL watch.

Overall, this is definitely a piece I would not leave or sell. In fact, if Seiko announces that they will discontinue this model, I would most probably buy another one just as a backup.

Aesthetically, except for the black dial and inner rotating bezel which shows the North (there are tips online on how to use this function but please be careful as the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere has different methods of calculation), the watch is quite similar to the explorer.

I wouldn't use an Explorer as a toolwatch because I'm not THAT rich yet. But the SARB with it's sunburst green dial is very distinctly Seiko and truthfully, I much prefer the design of the Seiko. Obviously it lacks the ability to dress up due to the green dial unlike the Explorer but one can't hope for perfection in this range.

Oh, and if anyone sees a SSAF limited edition QUARTZ Alpinist at a good price, do tell me. :)