Thursday, March 4, 2021

Made in Australia?

 

Every now and then there is yet another 'news' article featuring yet another Australian watchmaker. It seems that there is no shortage of journalists keen to break exciting news and 'watchmakers' eager to claim the spot under the lime light. Which is fine with us; our goal is not to be at the centre of public attention. We are a young company, still in it's infancy and our time is yet to come.

However, for the sake of truth, and for the sake of straightening the record, we are the only Australian watchmaking business capable of designing and manufacturing watch components. Those who claim their watches are 'Made in Australia' are simply deceiving the public and deceiving themselves because they are unable to provide a single proof of any manufacturing capability of making a single component, let alone a complete watch.

Watch manufacturing does not happen overnight. Manufacturing is a complex 'product' in itself which combines a number of elements which like puzzle pieces, are perfectly aligned. Those magic ingredients are numerous: people with skill, experience, R&D, high precision machinery, time, vision and determination. 

I know that many of you who follow our journey already know what we stand for. You can not be fooled by cheap press and exaggerated claims. However, for those who are new here: I have asked Josh to upload a quick 2 minutes video of a very specific machining process. This video is recorded today, in Brookvale, as a proof of our machining capabilities and as a proof that watch parts we make are Made in Australia. We also hope that one day soon, there will be another true maker in Australia capable of making watch parts and we can't wait for that day to come - this will surely be an exciting newsworthy development. 

Two minutes, easy to watch, feel free to leave your feedback.

https://youtu.be/Onb-hGiIK4g

Who is the #1 Seiko dealer in Australia?

 

The “Iriomote Island” trilogy
As one would imagine, that information is top secret and SEIKO would simply refuse to comment on individual dealers.

Of course, no matter what the products are - from Porsches, Rolexes, Pateks, to Mizuno - every distributor has it's own pet dealer.

Getting the premium stock first or simply getting the special, favourable pricing deals is the result of a "magic"; trade relationship sealed over decades of mutually beneficial transactions. 

When the latest SLA047J 140th Anniversary SEIKO arrived yesterday, we were truly excited. This limited edition watch comes with strict 'one per dealer only' policy. And our example was number 0001. Actually, the full number is 0N0001 meaning this was the first watch to leave the Japanese assembly line in November 2020.

Is SEIKO testing our loyalty or are they simply teasing us? Was this intentional or simply a random 'act of kindness'? Or even a mistake? 

In any case, WE'VE GOT IT - the very special ichiban - the numero uno. And if you're quick, it could be yours.

SLA047J is the crown jewel of 140th “Iriomote Island” trilogy. All three watches feature the green dial inspired by the dense verdant forest on Japan’s Iriomote Island– one of the world’s best places for diving. Subtropical primeval forests cover most of the island, enriching the surrounding waters, nourishing the coral reefs, said to be among the world’s biggest and most diverse. 

SLA047J is a divers watch for saturation diving, featuring sapphire crystal glass and zirconia ceramic bezel. Price: $4,995 

You can find more about all three Iriomote Island pieces here:
https://www.seikowatches.com/au-en/products/prospex/special/140th_limited/
Seiko Prospex SLA047J
44.3mm case size
Sapphire crystal
ceramic bezel
Automatic movement - calibre 8L35
Water resistance 300M
Limited to 3,000 pieces. 

Price: $4,995
*** YES - we also have the other two models of SEIKO 140th "Iriomote Island" trilogy in stock:
The $2,100 automatic SPB207J and $1,250 SSC807J Solar Chronograph. We will talk more about them next time, but if you can't wait, we'll gladly take your order now.
Seiko Prospex SPB207J
42mm case size
Sapphire crystal
Automatic movement - calibre 6R35
Water resistance 200M
Limited to 6,000 pieces. 

Price: $2,100
https://seiko.clockmaker.com.au/product/seiko-prospex-spb207j/
Seiko Prospex SSC807J
44.5mm case size
Sapphire crystal
Solar movement - calibre V192
Water resistance 200M
Limited to 4,000 pieces. 

Price: $1,250
https://seiko.clockmaker.com.au/product/seiko-prospex-ssc807j/

Monday, March 1, 2021

The smallest automatic watch movement in the world: Omega Cal 661


In 1961 Omega released a new watch mechanism: Calibre 661. By the number of components per volume, it was the smallest ever industrial manufactured automatic movement in the world. To this day, this record is still unbeaten!

The watch arrived in rather poor condition suffering both water damage, broken escape wheel and worn out auto rotor post. Most annoyingly, it also suffered from a 'jellified' rubber casing gasket. While most vintage Omega watches manufactured in 60s and 70s do suffer from this issue, this DeVille was definitely the worst one I've worked on in years.

The restoration project commenced in December 2020 and was completed 3 months later, on February 26, 2021. Sourcing the original parts was a challenge. The main goal of this restoration was to preserve as many original parts as possible, especially the original dial and hands. The escape wheel was re-fitted (riveted) on new a pinion. The timekeeping result was rather pleasing with a healthy amplitude. The final touch: a new-old-stock leather strap by Hirsch found in the junk box.

To viewers interested in the total restoration cost: $460 was spent on replacement parts and the labour cost was $1,100 (Australian dollars). Was it worth it? This is always a question only the watch owner can answer for him/herself. Turning a broken and discarded watch into a family heirloom which once again keeps time is always money well spent.

My special thanks goes to Michael who spent countless hours recording and editing this video.

I suggest you watch it on your 'big screen TV' rather than on a small hand held device. In any case - and this is not a spoiler - the 'before' and 'after' shots will impress you.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emdXChe8fTI

The KING has returned!

 

In the early 1960s, SEIKO had already been in the clocks and watch business for more than 80 years: a house-hold name and a market leader in Japan, with ambition for global expansion. The secret of Seiko's growth, was in demand: the citizens of the modern, post War world were hungry for modern, accurate and fashionable wrist watches. A mechanical wrist watch was a necessity; a device that ruled the lives of a working man and women. Yet unlike Swiss brands, Seiko was not burdened by fancy horological tradition and an outdated and inefficient, cottage industry business model. Seiko was thinking "big and forward" heavily investing in R&D; perfecting mechanical watches, while embracing quartz technology and building manufacturing plants capable of outputting millions of units.

In Japan, Seiko had no real competition. In order to promote competition and product development within the company, in 1960 Seiko split up their Suwa subsidiary into two separate entities: Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha. Both factories operated separately, with the idea that they would not share knowledge and would therefore try to one-up each other and produce better products. This unorthodox business model worked surprisingly well, and this internal competition propelled Seiko to the cutting edge of design and technology. In 1960, Suwa Seikosha released the first Grand Seiko Chronometer, Seiko’s first high-end dress watch. In response, Daini Seikosha released the first King Seiko in 1963.

The original King Seiko case was designed in the 1960s by young designer Taro Tanaka. Tanaka wanted to outshine the Swiss, figuratively and literally: inspired in part by the art of gem cutting, Tanaka developed a series of rules known as the “Grammar of Design.” "The Grammar of Design boiled down to four basic tenets. First, all surfaces and angles from the case, dial, hands, and indices had to be flat and geometrically perfect to best reflect light. Second, bezels were to be simple two-dimensional faceted curves. Third, no visual distortion was to be tolerated from any angle, and all cases and dials should be mirror-finished. Finally, all cases must be unique, with no more generic round case designs."

A few weeks ago, Seiko released a new King Seiko: a tribute of the original KSK. The key feature: the sharp, bold faceted lugs, with large flat planes and razor sharp angles, Zaratsu polished to a distortion-free mirror finish. A true Taro Tanaka tribute to the “Grammar of Design”. 
SJE083J is 38.1mm in case size, powered by Seiko's 6L35 mechanism. Limited to 3,000 pieces worldwide, it is available through premium Seiko dealers only, each allocated just one watch. Price: $5,200.

Of course, I couldn’t resist but to inspect the watch internally. Immediately, that 6L35 movement looked familiar: it was almost identical to the Soprod M100 mechanism we use in our Mark 1 watch! After some research, it turned out that in 2007 Seiko and Soprod collaborated on the project with the goal to create a mechanism which would compete with the slim line ETA / Omega automatic movement used in Swiss watches.

Neither Seiko nor Soprod have since acknowledged who really designed the movement or who licensed it, but 6L35 is used exclusively in a selected few high end Seiko models since 2017. Small world! 
Final note: if you are interested in SJE083 then please be quick because we only have one watch to sell. The Zaratsu finish is simply stunning, and so is the form of the case making this 140th anniversary Seiko piece a truly special one. 
For more details on this watch, check out our Seiko website: 
https://seiko.clockmaker.com.au/product/king-seiko-sje083j/

Seiko PADI SSC795J1 "SPECIAL EDITION"

 

"Hey Nick - you've sold your soul to SEIKO!" said a subscriber the other day.

Should I be ashamed?

Check this out: SEIKO's simple and clever solution to improving under-water timing legibility by using two different luminescent paints. The hour markers are painted in blue, while the minute hand and bezel pearl are green making it super easy for the diver to read the lapsed minutes on the bezel. Green hand, green dot. And as an added bonus: the seconds hand tail is also pained in green!

How cool and simple is this. And why has no one else thought of this (in Switzerland?)

Still not impressed? How about 3 different in-built timers? Standard chrono, laps time and 'two runners' time?

A clever power reserve indicator? Yes, included.

And this will blow you away: just 2 minutes of sun exposure is enough to power the watch for 24 hours. Or, if you charge it for 5 hours, it would run for 6 months! 

Seiko PADI SSC795J1 "SPECIAL EDITION" is a TRUE tool watch for professional divers. Made in Japan. Solar powered, super accurate.

Only $1,050

Shouldn't you sell your soul to SEIKO too?

NOTE: the blue and green lume glows in the dark only. Under normal light, the dial and all the hands look neutral. Also, the pushers are proper screw-lock, for 200m rating.
Seiko Prospex PADI SSC795J
44.5mm case size.
Black dial. 
Sapphire crystal.
Solar powered movement - calibre V192.
Water resistance 200M.

Price: $1,050

For more details, check out our website:
https://seiko.clockmaker.com.au/product/seiko-prospex-padi-ssc795j/

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

FINALLY - It's here!

 

There are two SEIKO models which we simply can't get our hands on: The Novak Djokovic and the SPB147J: the chocolate dial gold hands Prospex. Late yesterday afternoon, after a 3 month wait, a small parcel containing only 6 watches arrived from Japan (via Seiko Australia).

All I can say is: be quick and snatch it. You won't regret the decision to invest in this superb SEIKO because there is nothing out there that will parallel the look, feel, comfort, popularity and quality of SPB147J. Priced at $1,595 only. 

When your new SEIKO arrives in the mail, and when you open that box, you will say 'wow this is WAY BETTER than I expected'.

It's time for change. It's SEIKO time!
Seiko Prospex SPB147J

40.5mm case size.
Brown dial.
Sapphire crystal.
Automatic movement - calibre 6R35
Water resistance 200M.
Free delivery & 5 years warranty. 

Price: $1,595

Here is the link to our Seiko shop: 
https://seiko.clockmaker.com.au/product/seiko-prospex-spb147j/

Genuine News Only

 

AuManufacturing is the news and analysis website of the Australian Manufacturing networking group. It features ''the views of real Australian manufacturers, thought leaders and commentary''. Editors Peter Roberts and Brent Balinski have more than 50 years shared experience in the industry reporting what is really happening in Australia's $100 billion per year manufacturing sector.

Unlike other media outlets, AuManufacturing contains no paid content masquerading as 'editorials' - only genuine news and views of those at the manufacturing coalface.

Last week, Brent Balinski had a chat with Josh about watchmaking and our own "Manufactured in Australia" project.

https://www.aumanufacturing.com.au/australias-only-watch-manufacturer-to-split-in-two-target-space-industry

BITCOIN? LOL

 

We are on the brink of a historical event. In a few days - or even a few hours - one bitcoin will be worth more than 1kg of gold. Ironically the rise won't stop there - the 'value' of worthless crypto currency with no store value will continue to go through the roof! Until, like all bubbles in the history of humankind, it bursts into nothingness. The same nothingness it is made from.
For those of you wondering ''Am I too late to the party?'' my answer is simple: no, you are not. For the same reason a decent an honest man is never too late to a drug party organised by a gang lord.

The fact that Bitcoin is fake gold is obvious to any reasonable person. It is not a currency, not an asset, not a unit of account and it doesn’t provide a scalable means of payment. No income, no use, no utility. At it's core, it is a self serving speculative system used by criminals, terrorists, human traffickers and tax evaders, sheltering their wealth and moving money across international borders.

As a system outside government control, sooner or later, bitcoin will be crushed by governments world-wide because no government is going to allow untraceable tax-free transactions for too long. When that happens the bubble will burst and in that moment there will be no winners. Bitcoin will revert its intrinsic value – which is zero. Or more precisely below zero because maintaining the chain ledger will cost billions of dollars in electricity consumption alone.

I am not a financial adviser of any kind, but when we have a spare dollar or two, we invest in education, workshop machinery and watches. Real assets that will take our earning capacity to next level.

The best investment for a carpenter is in timber, for shoemaker in leather and jeweller in gold. Planting a few native shrubs in your backyard and painting a house with a fresh coat of paint is simply a smart investment. Investing in a new pair of walking shoes and a dog is the ultimate investment.

Obviously, the future of money is in some form of digital exchange, and sooner or later we will go ‘crypto’. But that coin won’t be a Bitcoin. In 20 years from now you will remember this moment in time with chuckle, while checking the time on your NH Mark 1, Seiko or Omega thinking – well THAT watch was a great investment.                         

SEIKO Shop, up and running (we hope!)

 

SUPER EASY NAVIGATION

There are literally three ‘places’ to be: the home page, shop page, and cart.
The home page lists only a few watches, plus some other stuff, while the SHOP contains all the watches currently in stock. And this is really where you want to be.

The link is easy to remember:
seiko.clockmaker.com.au

OPENING SPECIAL: SPECIAL DEALS!

We have marked down a few watches – just for fun. Hope you’ll take advantage of those Opening Specials. 

WIN A SEIKO

Yes, the show goes on! Next draw: March 31. That Novak Djokovic SPB143J is a stunner.

WE ARE LOW ON STOCK!

This is almost hard to believe, but we are actually struggling to get more SEIKO watches from SEIKO Australia. Due to the COVID situation, Japanese production output is not keeping up with demand. We have a number of open orders for various models so if you see a SEIKO you like, jump on it. 

REMEMBER: 5 YEAR GUARANTEE 

…and FREE delivery on all SEIKO watches.

ORDERING AND PAYMENT 

As usual: just enter your details and place an order - you will promptly receive a confirmation email with our banking details.
We ship ‘next day’. Alternatively, for credit card purchases, please call us on 02 9232 0500.