Almost all clocks turn “clockwise”, with the hands moving from the top of the dial to the right. But for the last few decades a few oddball watches have used hands moving in the other direction! This corner of horology is not well understood, so I decided to take a stab at documenting this revolution. It begins conceptually with the digital mechanical watches of the 1970s. Then Beuchat, a fashionable French brand of the 1980s, produces the first such watch. Swiss quartz behemoth Ronda pitches in, bringing forth an odd watch from the venerable house of Juvenia before today’s Klokers gets it right.
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.
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.
The last few “Watch A Day” choices were quite inexpensive, but today’s watch is affordable only compared to other options in its class. The Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec combines unique complications, a special manufacture movement, and an eye-catching look at an attainable if not exactly affordable price. It’s also a comfortable, useful watch for traveling.
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!
One of the most famous Seiko watch lines is the 7A28 chronograph series used in the movie, Aliens. These watches feature off-axis bracelet alignment and big boxy pushers that even regular people notice. In 2013, Seiko reissued these watches in their Spirit line, and today I’m wearing the 2014 SCED017 “Bishop” model.
GMT or multi-timezone watches are one of my favorite complications, but many are so complex (with additional hands and dials) that they’re hard to use. Not so the Nomos Tangomat GMT with its integrated pushbutton time zone feature. In fact, you’d be forgiven for overlooking this handy and well-executed complication despite the clean Germanic look of the Nomos!
Today I’m wearing a watch that’s special only to me: Back in 2014 I traveled to the Swiss Jura, visiting La Chaux-de-Fonds, Le Locle, and the Vallée de Joux and assembling my own watch at Les Apprentis du Temps. In the style of “marriage” and the tradition of “etablissage”, my oversized watch uses a classic pocket watch movement and components from various Swiss suppliers.
I’m going to kick off my “watch a day” series with a most unlikely timepiece: Swatch’s 2014 Sistem51. Now that the newness has worn off, I see my little red plastic wonder for what it is: A traditional plastic Swatch with a nice little secret inside. It’s not a revolutionary timepiece or really all that special at all. But I enjoyed learning about it and hunting for one of the first in the USA. And, most importantly, I enjoy wearing it.