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These are mere random thoughts on watch brands which I am writing purely from my experience and perspective, which is no doubt different from yours. Feel free to add your thoughts if you think I am talking nonsense.
Seiko is ‘the’ gateway brand for people who are just starting to dabble in the watch world and who then decide to take a look at mechanical. With models starting from below £100 (Seiko 5) and a raft of alternatives still well within the budget range there is a lot to choose from and when viewed in a jewellers, they appear to be well designed and of high quality.
I get this and have been through the Seiko mill many times to the point that I have owned more Seikos than any other brand. The divers have presence and I particularly like some of the vintage pieces with the slightly higher-end models, Presage etc, offering a more grown up and subdued presence which likely suits many people perfectly.
However, there are problems and these can be hard to ignore. Chapter rings. What the hell is going on with Seiko’s inability to align the chapter rings in a variety of models? When you consider what a watch is to someone who is paying £300 or below, it is the dial, case and bracelet, and to not be able to align one of the three main parts beggars belief. It wouldn’t be so bad if this was a new thing, but it has been going on for years without any improvement.
Also, my son’s SRP died after a year and so did mine with date wheel problems on both. It may have been a bad batch, but the resultant battle to get things sorted did not increase my positivity towards the brand. It left me with a sense that these watches are very much factory made at the level in which Seiko does so well (sub-£1,000) and this doesn’t sit so well with me as someone who enjoys watches.
The hysteria around the SKX is another anomaly that I cannot come to terms with. It is a nice(ish) dive watch which is not very accurate and which comes with the worst bracelet in the world, and which is also looking more dated rather than vintage as time passes.
Despite the last few paragraphs of negativity, there is a lot to like about Seiko and for anyone entering the world of watches I can think of few better places to start. You will learn a lot about the sizing of watches and what fits you both physically and stylistically, you will start to understand where things can go wrong and yet you will still be left with fond memories of your first mechanical watch.