Automatic watches were hot in the 1950s, and chronographs were cool in the 1960s. But bringing these technologies together was not at all straightforward! Three different automatic chronograph movements were launched in 1969, and the story of their creation reflects the state of the industry at that time as well as the inevitability of technological progress.
Hajime Asaoka’s more-affordable watches define the current trend of “must-have” limited-edition watches. Launched in 2018 for the domestic market as Chrono Tokyo and 2019 as Kurono Tokyo, these watches are an international sensation. In this article, I walk through every Chrono and Kurono watch through 2021.
Seiko launched a mechanical Galante line in 2010 as a cheaper alternative to the Spring Drive watches the brand was known for. This SBLL line featured an “open heart” highlighting the ticking balance and the design focused on the city of Tokyo.
Among Japanese watchmaking giant Seiko Group’s vast array of watch lines, perhaps none is as odd as Galante. A high-end brand with a modern, avant garde look that expresses a different face of Japan, Galante features novel construction and high-end finishing. The initial Galante models, from 2005 through 2009, all used Seiko’s Spring Drive movement and were sold with a combination of sex and celebrity.
Seiko has been collaborating with Giugiaro Design since the 1980s. The most famous fruit of this collaboration was the “Aliens” watch line, which have been reissued in recent years. In late 2018, Seiko introduced another reissue: The SBJG multi-function digital models we will discuss today.
When Seiko reissued the 1980s-style “Aliens” Giugiaro watches between 2013 and 2015, collectors were thrilled. But after thoroughly exhausting color combinations on the “Ripley” and “Bishop” watches, where would Seiko go next? They turned to the less well-known 7A28-7A00 SBBJ “Speed Master” series, with angled faces inside a round case.
Despite an amazing history of producing excellent watches and watch movements, Seiko never seems to get the respect it deserves. But perhaps the most curious attempt by Seiko to challenge the Swiss came in the form of the SARA watch and the 4L25 movement inside.
The Xeric Xeriscope is not an enjoyable watch. Mine was $349 on Kickstarter, and I feel it’s not worth even that. The finishing and usability is so bad I can’t even enjoy the novelty of the open heart carousel movement. I thought I knew what I was getting, but I didn’t know it would be this bad.
I wore this watch for a few years before getting more into watches and investing in a more serious Swiss daily-wear watch. Although it’s really nothing special, this Seiko 5 was an important door into the world of watches, and I strongly recommend models like this to friends. They’re durable, interesting, and well-made. Even watch snobs love a good Seiko!
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.