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The Japanese brand Seiko has been around for more than a century and is one of the most influential watch manufacturers in the world. One remarkable aspect of Seiko is that they develop everything ...
The Omega Speedmaster is a legendary watch. It's a masterpiece that all watch enthusiasts want to have in their collection. The Speedmaster Professional was created in 1957 and its iconic design ...
During the cold war, the USSR and USA competed fiercely in the Space Race to get to the Moon. This competition resulted in historic events achieved on both sides. On the Russian side, Yuri Gagarin ...
The Seiko SNZF17 - part of the Seiko 5 Sports watches family and also called the “Sea Urchin” - can be seen as a very afforable diving watch with a similar style to the Rolex Submariner. The reference SNZF17 has a black bezel insert and a black dial, whereas the SNZF15 has a “Pepsi” (blue and red) bezel and dark blue dial.
This watch can be for many an ideal balance between price and style: the diameter of the SNZF model is 41mm and it is 13.2mm thick, making it a great fit for most wrists. It is powered by the reliable 7S26 automatic (self-winding) mechanical movement, offering a day-date complication. The water resistance of the Seiko “Sea Urchin” is 100m, making it suitable for surface swimming.
Despite its similar case style with the Rolex Submariner, the SNZF models have their own identity: the lumed hands and dial have a totally different design. They are protected by a hardlex mineral crystal, and will glow in the dark for hours. This is what we all love about Seiko watches : they have their own story and will never be blatant copies of other brands/models.
Once again Seiko offers a great and affordable alternative to more luxurious models such as the Rolex Submariner. If you do not like the Oyster-style stainless steel bracelet, the standard 22mm lug width will allow you to easily find alternative straps. The Seiko SNZF17 and SNZF15 can be found on the used market for less than $200.
TThe Omega Seamaster 300 GMT 253X.XX series were made from 1998 to late 2000s for the 50th anniversary of the Omega Seamaster collection.
Although it is the first GMT watch made by Omega this model has been forgotten and seems pretty underrated.
Let's have a look at this 20+ year old Omega model that could be considered as a great Rolex GMT-Master alternative.
The bezel of the 2534.50 is black and white and seems to have a marmite effect in the watch community: some people would have preferred an entirely black one.
The crown also received some criticism: it is considered too small.
However, the Omega 1128 is a true GMT movement that is very accurate and COSC certified. It is a true traveler's GMT with a quick set hour hand. It’s a great looking watch overshadowed by the Rolex GMTs!
This Seamaster GMT has a 41.5mm diameter with a thickness of 13.6mm. The lug to lug distance is 51mm so this watch has a generous wrist presence. If you compare the case with the classic Omega Seamaster of that era: the GMT complication adds about 2mm to the case depth which means it is more different from the 2531/2254 than you would think, the crown is more shrouded and the bezel is deeper. However, the Seamaster GMT also provides you with a reliable 300m water resistance rating!
The numbers on the bezel are bold, maybe too bold for some, but it still works well with the black dial. We feel, however, that the bold numbers of the bezel take away some of the refined aspects of the white dial version (the great white).
We love the butterfly clasp on the Bond-style bracelet that originally came with this watch. We also love the black date wheel and the fact that Omega deleted the helium escape valve. It's touches like this that make this watch such a winner.
The pop of red on the GMT hand and the red lettered GMT text of the dial is a thing of beauty. It's worth knowing that the dial is not interchangeable between the black and white dial GMTs as the white dial takes more space in the case.
In our opinion, the Seamaster 300 GMT 50th anniversary is one of Omega's finest GMTs. It is surprising how undervalued and unloved they seem to be. It’s a fine watch which stacks up well vs the similar Rolex Explorer II or even the Rolex GMT Master II, at a much affordable price range.
If you want something different from the crowd that is a true travelers' GMT, then the distinctive Omega Seamaster GMT 253X.XX is certainly worth a look. You can find some below the $2000 mark.
The Stowa brand has been a game changer since 1927 by producing watches with a timeless design. The Bauhaus design of its Antea collection has inspired many other watch brands ever since STOWA introduced it in 1937. At the time, not many companies realized the dramatic impact and success the Bauhaus design would have later on. Today, the Bauhaus design that Walter Gropius introduced in 1917 has become iconic and well established.
The current Antea design is based on the first Stowa 1937 model, reissued in 2004 by Jörg Schauer. The Antea Classic is produced unchanged and in different watch case sizes since then (36.5mm or 39mm) and with manual wind or automatic movement.
The watch has a polished stainless steel watch case. The silver-plated dial version has gorgeous blued steel-watch-hands, whereas a black dial version is available with silver hands.
The Stowa Antea is very elegant and captivatingly beautiful. The Antea 390 offers reasonable dimensions with a diameter of 39mm and convenient a lug width on 20mm. The thickness of this Bauhaus timepiece is 9.20mm and it provides a 50m water resistance.
It wears quite big though, with a lug to lug distance of 47.80mm. If you have small wrists the Antea 365 is worth looking at.
The transaperent case back lets you admire the top version ETA 2824-2 movement equipped with magnificent looking blued screws. The rotor is handmade produly bearing the Stowa logo. The strap has a deployment buckle.
Steinhart is quite famous for its homage models of the modern Rolex Submariner, but it also issued some watches inspired by some vintage Rolex Submariner watches, that have their own identity:
The OCEAN One VINTAGE Red (ref 103-0657)
The dimensions of these vintage-looking models are: 42mm diameter, 13mm thick, 22mm lug width.
It is also worth noting that a limited edition with a 39mm of the OVM was launched by Gnomon watches, limited to 500 pieces. They are sold out but you can find some on the used market, with a little bit of patience and research.
The lume on the dial and hands of those models is Super Luminova “Old Radium”, giving those new watches a vintage look.
The watch sports a classic yet reliable Swiss ETA 2824-2 (or Selita SW 200) élaboré ( +/- 7sec/day max +/-20sec/day).
Each of those models can be seen as a great alternative to the vintage Rolex models like the Rolex Milsub, or the Rolex Submariner 1680 (famous for its red text) - which are now prohibitively expensive. Despite their vintage look, those Steinhart models have a 300m water resistance!
The Seiko 6138 series are automatic chronographs produced in the early 1970s. In the 1970s, a lot of the chronographs produced were around the theme of motorsports and featured very colorful dials as well as very audacious case designs. Those very funky designs are very much sought after by collectors, and Seiko's vintage chronographs are no exception.
In that era, Seiko released the 6138 and 6139 series, as a set of very cool looking automatic chronographs, including the legendary models “Pogue”, “Bullhead”, “Panda“ and “Kakume”.
The vintage Seiko chronographs offer amazing value and are amazing vintage collection starters. A lot of them can be acquired under $500 on eBay, however, prices have been rising over the last few years, as more people are getting aware of them.
The Seiko 6138 movement equips those chronographs, it is available in versions A and B. It is the first automatic chronograph that provides 2 registers with a column wheel and a vertical clutch. The 6138A/B have automatic and hand-winding capabilities, as well as a quickset day/date function. At the time of its development, this was pretty amazing: it provided more functionality than its Swiss competitors: Breitling, Heuer, and Zenith! Moreover, as you would expect from Seiko, every component of the 6138 was manufactured in-house.
On those chronographs the subdials are aligned vertically, and a day-date complication is located at 3 o'clock. The diameter of those chronographs varies from 40mm 44mm and they can be up to 16mm thick. The chronographs have a flyback capability, allowing you to reset the chronograph while it still runs. They have supposedly a water resistance of 70m, but we would not advise you to put any vintage timepiece in water.
Seiko 6138-80XX Panda chronographs
Our favourite vintage-looking pieces of the 6138 series are the Seiko 6138-8020 “Panda” and 6138-8000 “Baby Panda”. They can be found with black subregisters contrasting elegantly with the silver/white color of the dial which is framed by a tachymeter ring. This Seiko chronograph has a day/date complication visible at 3 o'clock.
Those watches tick a lot of boxes for vintage collectors and are the most desired. However, their price reflects their beauty, it ranges between $1000 and $2000 depending on condition. Their diameter of 40mm and their thickness of 13mm along with their black/white color scheme makes them more wearable than other 6138 references. An iconic vintage Panda chronograph for sure!
Seiko 6138-003X Kakume
“Kakume” in Japanese means “Square Eyes”: as its nickname suggests, this highly collectable model in the 6138 has two square subdials. It has orange hands and is available in two colors: blue and champagne.
The champagne dial is surrounded by an orange chapter ring and is completed with black subregisters and day/date frame.
The JDM version of those models has the “Chronograph Automatic” text at 9 o'clock replaced by “5 Sports Speed-Timer”. A tachymeter ring is present on the bezel of those watches which wear bigger than the pandas: 43mm diameter and 14mm thick, with a rather modest lug width of 18mm.
Seiko 6138-300X “Jumbo”
The reason why this watch is called “Jumbo” is that the dial spreads all the way to the extremity of the case, with a black inner chapter ring that accentuates the size of the watch face. Although it has yellow hands, this model is the least colorful of the 6138 range, and its style might remind you of some Porsche Design chronograph.
With its black dial, stepped inner chapter ring and large subregisters, this watch offers a classic yet sporty look. It has a similar design to some watches you see today. Surprisingly, the diameter of the “Jumbo” is 42mm, which is less than the following models and makes it quite wearable.
Seiko 6138-004X “Bullhead”
The term “Bullhead” is a popular nickname referring to the pushers being positioned at the top of the watch case and making them look like bull horns. This gives this model a very distinct look, which makes it highly sought after by collectors. This design trait was also present on the Citizen “Bullhead” automatic chronograph produced in 1971. The Seiko 6138 “Bullhead” can be found it two colors: in brown and in black.
The diameter of this model is 44mm and it is 16mm so it is bulky and won't easily slide under a sleeve. The “Sports-timer” version of this watch released on the JDM has a lumed dial and a different bracelet.
Seiko 6138-001X “UFO”
This watch has been called the “UFO” by vintage Seiko collectors because its rather alien-looking case seems to be levitating on your wrist due to the lack of protruding lugs. Seiko refers to this model as the “Yachtsman”. The top subdial is smaller than the bottom one. The model you see pictured is the 6138-0011 which has a red sweep hand and lighter orange checkerboarding on the subdial. This particular model does not state its 70m water resistance. This vintage chronograph also wears big, with its 44mm diameter and 15.5mm thickness.
Seiko 6138-7000 “Calculator”
The 6138-7000 “Calculator” features a double external bezel, one rotating and one fixed, that can be used to perform a set of mathematical calculations. For those who were familiar with using a slide rule instead of a digital calculator, you will probably have some fun doing your calculations mechanically using the 6138-7000's bezel! Unlike the rest of the 6138 range which uses Hardlex crystal, Seiko's mechanical calculator has an acrylic glass.
We can see that in the 1970s Seiko was very innovative once again, this was at the dawn of the quartz crisis, and those chronographs are part of the last mechanical chronographs that were produced at such scale by the Japanese brand. If you want an affordable automatic chronograph from a reputable brand, a Seiko 6138 is certainly worth considering!
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