Saturday, August 27, 2016

Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT PADI Edition

Released together with the Pepsi Turtle, the Prospex Kinetic GMT is another PADI Edition released by Seiko.

The difference between the two is that the SRPA21 Pepsi Turtle is a mechanical automatic timepiece while this SUN065 is the Kinetic GMT Diver's in PADI's traditional blue and red livery.

So what is Kinetic? Seiko developed this analogue quartz technology that uses the body's motion to generate energy to power the timepiece. So like an automatic timepiece, the "automatic winding" winds the timepiece that powers the quartz movement. The winding helps store energy in the rechargeable battery for up to 6 months. 250 swings will reserve up to 1 day of power. When power reserve is down to about 24 hours, the seconds hand will increase in 2 seconds interval.

The Kinetic also comes with a rather cool power reserve feature. Located at 2 O'Clock is a button when depressed will use the seconds hand to display the power reserve. The instruction manual tells you that is is best to push the button when the seconds hand reaches 12. When the button is pushed, the seconds hand will advance forward - if it stops at the 5 minute marker, it has more than 1 day of power reserve. If it stops at the 10 minute marker, it has more than 7 days power reserve. And if the seconds hand stops at the 20 minute marker, the timepiece is suppose to have about 1 month of power reserve. And when the seconds hand stops at the 30 minute mark, the timepiece will have about 6 months of power reserve.

And the even cooler part is that the timepiece will continue ticking at the correct time after displaying the power reserve as the time catches up.

The case is rather interesting in that it features a two part construction first made in 1975. Nicknamed "Tuna", the derivative came about as the case resembles that of a tuna can. What is different for the PADI version is that the inner case is blue.

Sized at 47.5mm, the timepiece does not wear like one. The shorter lugs made this monster a wearable beast. Comfortable for my puny wrist. Well machines and finished in brushed steel. Top quality for a timepiece at this price point! The "outer" case is secured to the inner one with four screws - two on each side.

The rotating bezel is as smooth and exact as one would expect on a professional diver. Well done by Seiko! The bezel mechanism is a 120-click uni-directional type.

The timepiece also has a GMT feature. But what is exceptional is that as one advances or reverses the hour hand to adjust to local time, the date also advances forward and reverses backward.

The finishing on the GMT hand is also in the PADI red unlike the normal hands in white. The sword like hands is also coated with lume filling.

The minute and hour hand is steel and also filled with lume. But I cannot understand why there is the black line right in the middle of the hands.

Speaking of lume, the lume shot of the Kinetic GMT.

No doubt a Seiko...

The sunburst patterned dial is not as attractive as the Pepsi Turtle aka SRPA21. Despite its larger size, the dial of the Kinetic GMT looks smaller than the Pepsi Turtle.

The minute markers are angled inserts with lume filling. Lovely detail that adds a nice overall touch to the timepiece. The bezel is in matching blue with the dial colour.

The case back of the SUN065 features the usual tsunami logo and all the relevant information. Beating inside the Kinetic is the Caliber 5M85. As explained, this is a quartz movement but the winding is mechanical in nature. As one shakes the timepiece side to side to activate the winding mechanism, one can hear the whirring sound of the rotor unlike a traditional automatic timepiece which tends to be quiet. I guess it has got something to do with the Kinetic calibre.

The caliber number is clearly indicated on the dial side as with many (if not all) Seiko timepieces. Seiko says the accuracy of a Kinetic timepiece is to within 15 seconds deviation per month.

My only gripe is the rubber strap on this timepiece. Don't get me wrong, the strap is correct for its actual purpose but I am a land diver and no plans to go diving with my timepieces. And because the timepiece is made to be worn on the outside of a wet suit, the straps are extra long. So I have to swap this out for either a Nato or for a leather strap.

The timepiece retails at S$639.60 inclusive of GST and it is only slightly more expensive than the regular version of the Prospex Kinetic GMT. So between the Kinetic GMT and the Pepsi Turtle, which do you prefer?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Lange One - Blue Blue Baby

There is Lange 1 and then there is Lange 1 - the Blue Lange 1!

The timepiece needs no introduction - one of the icons of the brand that was released back in 1994 when the brand was resurrected. The most iconic off centre dial timepiece in the world, I believe the Lange 1 is instantaneously recognisable. And lusted after by many too...

My discerning friend who bought this Lange 1 chose the white gold blue dial version - an astute decision. Rather rare in the market, you don't find many owners wanting to sell their piece and I can clearly understand why.

The dial is special - at different lighting conditions, the dial shows two tones...

And different shades of blue too...

Not quite 50 shades, but it is close.

This is the off-centre dial so many find it alluring.

And the finishing on the timepiece is as one would expect from the Manufacture - great!

Take a look at the large date window. Well polished window.

And what is a Lange without a movement shot...

A well patina German silver three quarter plate on this example.

And the Glashutte ribbing on the main plate. Talk about character!

And then there is the hand engraved balance cock - it is said no two balance cocks are identical. I was told they blue all the screws at one go to ensure consistency. And it adds so much colour to the movement.

I am green with envy but blue because I don't own this version of the Lange 1.

To many, myself included, the Lange 1 represents the first big foray into the world of luxury timepiece ownership. And a nugget of information for those who may not know - Lange only makes timepieces in precious metal (gold and platinum). Steel Lange timepieces are extremely rare as they were once loaned to owners who brought their gold and platinum watches for service. And the irony of it all, steel Lange timepieces are fetching far higher prices than their gold counterparts in auctions because of their rarity.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Watchnuts Getting Together at Bistro 1855

It has been awhile since we all got together for our get together. For the first time in 2016, us watch nuts managed to find time to meet and share.

This time around, we chose Bistro 1855 which is conveniently located at Suntec City. Owner of Bistro 1855, Patrick Sng gave us a "special" - buffet spread with free flow of beverages. As usual, I arrived earlier on to ensure the arrangements are all in order... early birds coming to help me here.

This time around, the theme was around "New Purchases" and "Non Steel or Gold" timepieces. This means we all have to be double wristed. First highlight of the evening was a "mini" Speedy gathering - 5 Speedmaster Pro and only one "original". The Snoopy Silver Award Limited Edition, the "original" Snoopy Apollo 10, another Special Edition From The Moon To Mars and then there is the original Speedmaster Pro.

It is usual for us to start with the food.

And the beverage...

Lots of chatting and sharing over everything under the sun... New purchases, special pieces etc. Amongst the early birds were owners of two Lange timepieces - an earlier Saxonia in platinum and the 1815 Saxomat in plat too. What a beautiful pair!

And the case back of the 1815 Saxomat...

Another special piece is the Made In Japan Seiko Nano Universe which is only available in Japan. Minimalist in their design, this belongs to a friend who frequents Japan a lot. Seiko did this in collaboration with the fashion brand Nano Universe.

Then there is the Ronin watch - another simple Pilot inspired piece.

Then of course there was the newest timepiece of the evening - The Seiko Prospex SRPA21K1 Diver's timepiece. The Pepsi Turtle was literally "hours old". Fresh from the AD.

We have our dinner and drinks and soon enough, it was display time! Hermes, De Bethune, Movas, Jaeger LeCoultre, Ronin, Seiko... many brands and very different price points.

Centre table and it gets more crowded... what can you spot on the table? Two very interesting Chronographs on the table. Both very iconic for their respective brands.

And at the end of the table the Speedies gather...

The nice thing about such gatherings is that you get to see and feel pieces you did not previously know about and is totally off your own radar. Take for instance this Rado DiaMaster. I normally associate this owner with higher end pieces but what intrigued him was the Ultra-light high-tech ceramic case of this piece and the black finishing on the back which features a UNITAS handwound movement.

These days, Bronze is the new steel... Dietrich, Heroic18, Movas, Oris, REC and Tudor. One is so new that the plastic wrap is still on!

And a few interesting piece like the RAW 2 from local brand Movas.

And another bronze piece from Movas - the Bronze Officer.

A beautifully guilloche De Bethune DB5.

The Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition which features a multi-piece bronze case. Limited to 2,000 pieces worldwide, it has been sold out since its launch.

And the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity with their off-centre dial and visually arresting escapement on the front. Not only is it in front, the escapement is also made of silicon.

And you don't often see this combination in the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Rose gold and Tantalum and in 36mm size.

And all too soon it was 11pm! Too many timepieces and too little time to shoot them all. Many thanks to the staff of Bistro 1855 who were very accommodating and Patrick for making special arrangements for us. And thanks to all who showed up. Looking forward to having another GTG soon. Independent watchmakers perhaps?