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.
I’m on a Seiko kick this week for my “Watch A Day” series but this is a bit of an oddball. This Lord Matic is a mainstream automatic with dated 1970s styling and a decent but not awesome automatic movement. It’s the kind of watch many of us have in the box, getting occasional glances but infrequent wear.
Today’s “Watch A Day” is a Seiko Premier SSA027, the dressy brother of yesterday’s SSA005 tool watch. Part of the Seiko Premier automatic line, it features the updated 4R39A movement and an “open heart” design. It’s a decent if clunky dress watch, better made than most Seiko models and a bargain compared to Swiss offerings.
Today I’m wearing a more recent watch for “Watch A Day”. This Seiko SSA005 has a great “tool watch” look with a Navitimer-esque slide rule bezel and funky 24-hour subdial at 12:00. It’s extremely well-built and was pretty affordable too!
When traveling to new cities, I often stop by a local watchmaker and dealer for conversation and to see what they kept to sell. I ran into this model Seiko Lord Matic at just such a shop in San Francisco, falling for the faceted crystal, green dial, and arrowhead markers, but felt that his price was delusional. This set off a 6-month quest to find a better example at an affordable price.
Today’s “Watch A Day” is a “Hi-Beat” Seiko Lord Marvel, with a 10 Hz escapement, wonderful textured dial, and retro domed crystal. It’s an occasional wearer for mine, but I love that fast ticking sound.
The classic King Seiko 56KS, with its Cal. 562x movement, is a lovely daily-wear watch and a highlight of my own collection. What stands out about the King Seiko is its elegant and timeless design and the excellent performance of the 5626 movement. It is reminiscent of the legendary 1967 Grand Seiko “44GS” but perhaps even more attractively rendered with long, elegant lugs that draw attention to the dial rather than the case.
This Seiko 6810-8000 (SCVL001) is as fine a timepiece as anything from a major Swiss maker, and this example is the one to buy!