The other day I wore the Seiko SCED017 “Bishop” Reissue for “Watch A Day“, so today I am turning to the SCED035 “Ripley” reissue. I like this one better than the Bishop in many ways, though the boxy styling is definitely polarizing.
When Seiko reissued the classic “Aliens” Giugiaro watches a few years back, they focused on the offset round “Bishop” version, creating no less than 11 different colorways and 14,900 watches over two years of limited editions. They weren’t nearly so generous to the odd, boxy “Ripley” reissue. It came last, and only two models and 6,000 watches were produced. It’s a shame, really, because the SCED035 and SCED037 accomplish so much more than those other 11 SCED models.
Let’s start with the most distinctive feature, the big squared-off pusher box. Giugiaro wanted the original 7A28-6000 and 7A28-7000 to be asymmetric, peeking out of the cuff when worn on the left wrist. So he mounted the former off-center on the bracelet, almost flush on the left side. And the latter? The dial is centered on the bracelet but a huge box is bolted to the side, allowing the pushers to be activated vertically. Quite novel but also a bit troublesome mechanically.
James Cameron’s Aliens featured futuristic space marines and androids, along with one scared little girl. The hero, Ellen Ripley, wore the boxy 7A28-7000 while the duplicitous android, Bishop, wore the off-center 7A28-6000. That’s where these models got their nicknames.
So while the “Bishop” accomplishes the useful task of “peeking out” of the cuff, it also overlaps the wrist in a manner that might be a little uncomfortable to some. The Ripley is less intrusive on the wrist but really grabs attention even when hiding mostly under a cuff. That big square thing gets more comments than my Reverso Duo or giant Homage to Rieussec. If getting noticed is what you’re going for, this is a great start.
Unfortunately, those vertically-opposed pushers aren’t all that friendly to actually operate. The natural thing is to brace your thumb on the bottom while pressing the top. But this leads to inconsistent operation since the top is start/stop and bottom is reset/split. Push both at once and you’ll get a random function, probably whatever was pressed first. The pushers are smooth enough that you don’t actually have to brace your fingers at all, but that’s easy to forget unless you wear this watch frequently.
Functionally, the 7T12 movement in the SCED035 is quite useful indeed. The battery lasts a long time (did I mention that it’s a quartz?), up to 5 years according to Seiko. It keeps good time, and the chronograph can show split/lap time, pausing to be read then racing ahead. It has a subtly tachymeter scale and is accurate to 1/5 second too. Sure it’s not as cool as the “Mechanical/Quartz” 7A28, but it’s useful and friendly.
The subdials aren’t quite what you’d find on a mechanical watch, though. “Small seconds” are at 9:00 and the dial at 3:00 is 24 hour time. Only the 6:00 dial (60 minute counter) is used for the chronograph. This contrasts with the cool 7A28, too, which had a 30 minute counter and awesome 1/20 second counter at 9 and 3 and put small seconds at 6.
One more big difference between my SCED035 and SCED017 is the case and bracelet material. My “Bishop” has Seiko’s black hard-coated steel, while my “Ripley” has a lighter coated steel. In the hand, the light color is definitely preferable. It has a matte texture much like titanium. It feels much nicer than the black coating, which feels almost slick and looks a bit cheesy. The “Ripley” also lacks the (cheap-looking) plastic rotating bezel.
One thing problematic on the “Ripley” models is the crown. It’s hard to pull (there’s an indent so you can reach it from the bottom) and even when it’s pulled it’s hard to use with that big box in the way. I always like to “balance” when turning the crown, squeezing it between fingers on each side. But this is impossible with the Ripley. I worry about putting pressure on the winding stem, which is quite long as it is. So I am really gentle when setting the time or date. Luckily, being an accurate quartz watch, this isn’t something you need to do very often.
If you love the 80s like I do, these are must-have watches. If you can only get one, go for the “Ripley” SCED035. It has serious oddball styling and looks and feels way better.