Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Manufactured in Australia update:


This week the "Manufactured in Australia" project made one of the most important decisions for its future. On Monday we have commissioned the delivery and installation of a KERN MicroHD – which is the latest generation of 5-axis milling machines by German manufacturer KERN, the world leader in micro machining.

For the last six months, our precision machines and fully equipped watchmaking workshop have been getting a lot of attention from the broader manufacturing sector. Australians do some amazing manufacturing work, and some of the companies and institutions that do this work have been searching for reliable and capable manufacturing partners. Medical devices, space-borne devices, tools for precision assembly, satellite parts and parts for other watchmakers have all recently passed through our workshop.

When we started the project of manufacturing watches in Australia from the ground up, we fully expected that our capabilities would get this attention, but the scale and growth of that interest surprised us. So much so, that we were actually very quickly swamped with work. This had some fairly large implications - Our own watchmaking production became stop-start, the momentum we would gain in making a few parts was lost when large customer projects came in, it also meant that our production schedule also filled up really quickly. Currently the next 8 weeks are completely booked out with work for our clients. What a nice problem to have! 

Our first mill, a Kern Pyramid Nano, which is capable of operating at sub-micron levels, is running to its maximum capacity leaving us no choice but to expand. The Kern MicroHD is Kern's newest machine, with their most advanced technology - it is more accurate, precise, stable, reliable, dynamic and productive than our current machine, possibly even by one order of magnitude. When we imported our previous machine, it was arguably the most accurate machine in Australia. The HD is not only the most accurate machine in Australia, but is also the first machine of its type in all of Asia.

This is absolutely massive news for Australia. Not once in the history of this country have we had the capability to manufacture parts with a machine of this precision. Machines like this are not sold to small businesses, only to large companies (Rolex, IWC etc.) that use them solely for internal use. However our plan is to make this machine available to parallel precision industries, which demand a high level of accuracy. For the first time, this capability has been made available to the Australian Engineering industry, on Australian soil.

Our MicroHD is now being built in Germany - the build process takes 7 months - and it is expected to be delivered by the end of this year. Final installation and calibration is scheduled for March 2022.

MicroHD brochure: shorturl.at/oIKX2

Josh Hacko,

Dear G, don't give up!

I am sorry to hear that our daily newsletter is failing to meet your expectations. You are right; recently, Seiko is getting plenty of attention. However, this is not our fault - it is the result of a number of factors. Allow me to explain.

1. There is a global shortage of high end Swiss watches. Three years ago, Rolex, Patek and even Omega have cut down production output. Last year Covid made that shortage significantly worse. The total Swiss watch production is 25% down since 2020 and total sales are half of what they were 6 years ago.

2. Consequently, there is an even greater shortage of fine pre-owned watches. Being unable to buy new stock while stranded at home, watch collectors are not in a hurry to sell. International travel is the single most important driving force in bringing quality watches to Australia.

3. Watch prices are on the rise! Money printing presses are in overrun, spitting out billions of dollars. With so much cash floating around, watches - as many other goods and commodities - are now seen as a real asset and a hedge against inflation. This is not the natural state of an economy but rather a sign of major disjointment.

4. When the Swiss abandoned the $500 - $2000 new watch market, Seiko successfully filled in the void. Seiko offers unpretentious and affordable watches which are amazing value for money. There is an enormous demand for watches in this price range.

5. For years, watch owners and collectors have been mistreated by Swiss brands. They had to put up with snobbery, restriction on supply, fake waiting lists and exuberant servicing costs. Yes, the finely crafted watches deserve our respect, but respect must be mutual. Customers are not fools and many of them have had enough of that monkey business.

6. We are in the watch business and we have a business to run: to pay wages, educate, invest and grow. We have no time to wait for Rolex to increase supply; for Omega to drop prices, or for international travel to resume. We have no time to wait. We see Seiko not just as a great growth opportunity, but as a brand that will greatly increase your appreciation of 'affordable and honest' horology.

I sincerely hope you that will not just reconsider your unsubscription but join the Seiko family as a proud owner of a new Seiko watch.

Feel free to call me and I will gladly assist in selecting the most suitable model to match your requirements and budget. And as a small token of appreciation for your curiosity, I am sending you a gift; a superb Seiko carbon fibre pen valued at $145.  

Happy collecting!

Manufactured in Australia - The Workshop Update


Yesterday I spent the day at my friend Tim's microscopy lab! What a fascinating facility! I brought along our timascus bridge for an in-depth composition analysis.

The photo above is an X-ray Fluorescence image stitched over a high resolution "normal" photo.

The XRF image is actually a plot of the different elements in the material, each colour representing a different element! The majority of the content is various titanium grades represented in red; green is vanadium and the blue is molybdenum!

Of course, there are also trace amounts of a number of other elements: aluminium, cobalt, zinc, copper and gold. 

Once again, timascus has proven itself as an amazing cocktail of elements. While almost every other watch brand sticks with brass, which is inexpensive, soft and easy to machine and gold plate; our timascus parts offer fireworks of colour. Thanks to timascus' unique DNA, it would be actually possible to offer our ambassadors a 'DNA footprint' of their NH2 watch. Truly an experience like no other.

The journey from micron level to particle level - and down to atomic structure - is a truly amazing one. Manufactured in Australia, and now thanks to Tim - measured in Australia!

Josh Hacko

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.


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:
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
Seiko Prospex SSC807J
44.5mm case size
Sapphire crystal
Solar movement - calibre V192
Water resistance 200M
Limited to 4,000 pieces. 

Price: $1,250

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: 



"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: