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.
Most watch enthusiasts have a grail, a watch just out of reach whether through rarity or price. But once they attain their grail, they often turn to restoring missing accessories like the proper box, papers, buckle, and strap. Who wouldn’t want to put their “James Bond” Submariner on the proper “Goldfinger” strap?
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.
Russian “MIG” cockpit clocks are widely available online and make a great desk clock. I recently received one for my birthday and designed this 3D printed stand for it (available free on Thingiverse). For reference, here’s a bit more about these clocks.
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!
If you’ve read this blog for long, you know that I love to scour auction listings for under-described watches that are way more special than they appear. But folks like me also often note pieces that are incorrectly described, and one great example just caught my eye: The Omega Seamaster 176.005 Chronograph is often described as the “Jedi”, an incorrect name for this model and an unofficial one regardless. Let’s take a look.
At this risk of this becoming “Grail Seiko” rather than “Grail Watch”, please allow me to present two wonderful and very rare watches for your consideration. Both are gaudy gold watches, both are relatively modern, and both are probably overpriced except in the eyes of a true Seiko fanatic. But one is an homage to Seiko tradition while the other was the first attempt by the company to take on the Swiss!
It is difficult for a watch enthusiast on a budget to enter the world of complicated watches. Adding anything more than time and date quickly ratchets up the price beyond what most people can afford. This is especially true of chiming watches – good luck finding a mechanical Repeater or Sonnerie priced less than a car! But Reveil (or alarm) watches are the exception: These can often be found on a budget. Today we will look at a few that are up for auction and decide which (if any) is a buy.
What makes a watch into a grail? It’s all about the quest! And what triggers that quest? Sometimes, it’s nostalgia! A “holy grail” is defined more by the quest to find it than the object itself. If you could run down to Macy’s and buy the watch you have been seeking, would you love it? Maybe, but would you rhapsodize about it? Probably not.