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
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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
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.
As one would imagine, that information is
top secret and SEIKO would simply refuse to comment on individual
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
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
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.
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.
"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.
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.
Solar powered movement - calibre V192.
Water resistance 200M.