Finding Time

As collectors, we find things at flea markets, from other enthusiasts, specialists, markets, antique and collectible shows, basements (and attics), auctions and retailers. 

I had always thought flea markets would be the venue I'd find a grail or expensive watch at a ridiculously low price. My friends luck at flea markets (he finds genuine Rolex, Omega and others consistently) has always inspired me to scour through flea markets; alas nothing yet. But then again, my friend lives in a city of 7.5 million people and the population around me is only 350,000.

For me, its been a couple of reputable online auction houses (not eBay and certainly not the auction house recently trying to pawn off some far from genuine Seiko watches) and a local auction house where I've had some luck over the years. 

The annual time pieces auction at my local auction house this summer featured a Jaeger LeCoultre chronograph but it was the multiple lots of Seiko (and others) that interested me. Truth be told, I wouldn't have come close to the $10,000 (Canadian) reserve on the LeCoultre so the estimates on the Seiko lots were more my speed.

 

A couple of "nuggets" in this mixed lot
 

Like most auctions with multiple pieces offered up as a single lot, they're often a mixed bag. Despite this, there were a few gems in several of the lots. And as you may have read from a previous post on my Seiko obsession, there were plenty to bid hard on and I felt great about the ones I came away with.

 

A mixed lot at Lunds

 

These came with their original boxes
 

The Seiko World Time watch in the middle was the "prize" in this lot
 

One of two Wittnauer perpetual calendar watches in one of the lots


Gold Longines from a mixed lot


While a number of the Seiko watch lots got away, there will always be another opportunity. After-all, part of the fun is the hunt.

BTW, the highest bid on the LeCoultre was $6,200;  it was a nice watch though.

Seikoholic - ramblings of an obsessed Seiko collector

Well this rabbit hole seems deep.

Recalling my first foray into watches I was excited about the unique shapes and styling from the Art Deco period; that solidly remains. I have however, as I have previously blogged, found myself obsessing over Seiko watches this past year. Perhaps similarly as I obsessed over Hamilton or Illinois deco wristwatches some years ago.

Just like when I started off on my deco obsession, I've been buying just about anything Seiko - divers, chronographs, casual, dress and things in between. Probably not the best approach to collecting as impulse can land some not so good results and I can see why the term Feiko is used a lot.


While, modern (and vintage) divers wristwatches seem to the sweet spot for me with Seiko, I seem to be inadvertently following a Fratello Magazine  story that was published a number of years ago on what was then (and is likely still) the top 10 Seiko watches to buy.

My last post on Seiko watches included pics of the 6138 "Panda" and 6105 "Willard" referred to by Fratello. Seems I have a few more that are on that list and perhaps over time I may acquire others.

1977 ref. 6309-7049
The 6309 above is one of a few now in my collection that Fratello talks about. I came across this beat up example in a lot with three other Seiko watches. It is nice size, the turtle shaped case is cool and the battered bezel shows that the watch likely accompanied someone on some epic ocean dives over its time. As a side note, the other three in the lot seem to also have been a good purchase and perhaps I can talk about them in a future blog post.  

1969 6106-8339
The 6106 "Rally" above, described as such because of the checkered bezel and blue checkered dial, appears on the to 10 and is actually one of two Rally's I've come across and acquired. This fills both an aesthetic and my interest in divers watches.

The Speedtimer chronograph below illustrates my very eclectic taste in Seiko at the moment.
 
1975 7015-8000 Seiko 5 Speedtimer

A couple of things about the Speedtimer above, it is has a single sweep second for timing without sub-dials found on other chronographs and the day wheel can be displayed in either English or Kanji (as shown). A day wheel with Kanji (the characters adopted in the Japanese writing system) is a first for me. I think this watch also exudes 70s retro with the green coloured dial.

I share finally with you my 6138 Yachtman aka UFO below. Surprised this didn't make Fratello's list, but then again there are so many other great iconic Seiko's not on his list. This model is large and certainly has quite the presence on the wrist. For you sailors, the sub-dial coloured markings and its rating for 229 feet, it's appropriately called the Yachtman.

1974 6138-0011 "Yachtman/UFO"

OK, maybe it is a bit extreme to refer to myself as a Seikoholic, but given the rabbit hole I seem to be down at the moment, I'm not sure how else to describe this collecting phase.

Seiko and the Intimate Accessory

Tastes evolve over time and so does a collection. While my first love includes Art Deco watches from the 1920s and 1930s, my collection is not exclusively those eras or that aesthetic.

My eclectic taste includes a growing interest in Seiko watches. I've featured a couple in previous blogs but thought I'd devote this post to just Seiko. Cool, iconic, inexpensive (many) and plenty in the marketplace to choose from; this is perhaps why Seiko has a place in my collection.

Seiko's founder Kintaro Hattori
 
"The wristwatch is an intimate accessory.
The best watches live in harmony and
interact with the wearer, and
their functions offer a reassuring and
emotional satisfying bond."

The above quote is attributed to Seiko's founder. Maybe a bit sappy and probably written for marketing purposes, it stuck with me none the less.

1975 Seiko 6138-2020 Panda
Yah, I added a couple of popular iconic Seiko's to my collection including the Panda above and the Captain Willard I featured in another post here and pictured below. But I've also added some modern, some humble vintage and some that fall somewhere in between.

1972 6105-8020 Captain Willard
I do have a growing selection of modern diver's too, including the SKX009 staple below despite the fact that I've never gone diving; does going swimming with some of them count? As Hodinkee wrote in "The (Almost) Inexplicable Popularity Of the Diver's Watch", I share some of the editorials irrational (and perhaps rational) reasoning for having diver watches in my collection.

2017 SKX009
Then there is the multitude of chronographs to choose from, both modern and vintage including the Panda above. I haven't really found the need to time anything; although I did time how long it took me to completely dissemble a chronograph once.

1975 7015-5029 Monaco
Part collecting is also having fun with accessories like sourcing a modern take of the original strap for the Monaco above (the original strap I still have safely tucked away). I found Reef at Wristwatchme (link is to Instagram, his website is under construction) to put his spin on the original; I think he did a great job.

A "modern" chronograph 1997 7T34-6A90 Flightmaster
And the last watch picked from my Seiko collection, a sports model from the mid 1960s below. Humble, simple, and inexpensive.

1966 6619-8190 "Sportsmatic 5"
Finally, I wish all of you well during these trying times. I recognize speaking about watches may not reflect the reality of many facing some extremely difficult circumstances, it does provide however, at least for me, an escape and distraction from these hard times.

Stay safe, #stayhome and #plankthecurve.

Dive Right In Part 2

A new year, a new decade. Happy New Year all.

With another year, for me, that means another watch (or two or three) and another segment to collect - dive watches.

So when was the first modern dive watch invented? Or better, when was the first commercially made dive watch produced? Rolex produced their Oyster case in the late 20s but many say that Omega produced the first commercial dive watches in the 30s. Whoever it was, diver watches have a long history and the list of producers is long. 

A segment within a segment, collectors might collect a specific maker and model or perhaps collect a specific era.  Me, well I just happen to stumble on some and be purposeful with others. Admittedly, I have an affinity for Seiko dive watches.

1972 Seiko ref. 6105-8119 aka Captain Willard
Some might say the Seiko 6105-8119/8110 dive watch is a bit of "grail". Perhaps the hype (and price) is the result of it being worn by Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. Regardless of its status with collectors, it's a cool watch. 

Martin Sheen wearing his Seiko
Collectors take note, when it comes to grail watches, there are a lot of imposters out there and a fair share of Feikos. But you don't have to break the bank for a great dive watch. In 2019 Seiko re-created the iconic dive watch produced in the 1970s and as immortalized by Martin Sheen with their limited edition SLA033.

Seiko's recreation of a classic

1969 Waltham diver
Variations galore, the common thread among dive watches generally includes an outer bezel that rotates so that you can time your dive. Ratings, or the depth to which watches were designed, varied greatly. Interestingly, the use of the term "waterproof" became illegal in the 1960s replaced with "water resistant".  Hmm... was there a run on law suits similar to the McDonald's hot coffee debacle that warranted this?

1971 Bulova Deep Sea Chronograph

Yet another variant above, a dive watch with a chronograph. Bulova did not want to be undersold so rated their dive watches at 666 feet versus say, 600 feet used by others at the time. The 666 foot rating is commonly referred to as the "devil diver".

Ollech & Wajs (O&W) dive watch

Many makers like Ollech & Wajs specialized in dive watches. While predominately producing their dive watches in the 1950s and 1960s, O&W have released their next generation of dive watches with a new modern take.

O&W next generation dive watch
Modern Seiko Prospex "Samurai" dive watch
May the new decade be filled with happiness and health and maybe a bit of excitement as you find your next watch. Here's to diving into watch collecting in 2020.