Came back to Singapore for a business trip and took the opportunity to do a mini GTG coupled with a visit to a flea market held at China Square.This is my first time visitng this flea market held in China Square and it opens weekly on Sundays from 11am – 6pm. The vendors are selling mainly toys, but there are 2-3 stores with vintage watches, although I believe that not all the watches are 100% original. I see brands ranging from the obscure Swiss brands to Seiko, including multiple vintage KS and GS.
We left the flea market with 1 watch extra, a rarely seen Ricoh Dynamic Wide, very similar to the one seen on Yeoman’s website. I am doing my utmost to convince the owner to contribute a review of his Ricoh.
Although it was a mini-GTG, I handed several vintage Seikos of which I would like to share photos of here.
All photos belong to me, but the watches are not mine. I am also no expert in determining the originality of the watches shown here.
I apologise upfront for the photos which are not up to my usual standards given that they were taken in a cafe setting.
Seiko 7S Samurai
This is a watch that was pretty hot about 1 to 2 years back, fetching almost USD 500-700 for a 7S powered watch. This Is the titanium version and came with the full set of bracelet, box and papers. The titanium used here was untreated and hence is neither Bright(z) nor scratch free. It is in fact a scratch magnet, but since titanium is self-healing, it looks pretty good when seasoned.
The crown feels very good to the touch due to the knurling and Seiko should do this with their crowns more often.
Too much text at the 6 o’clock position in my opinion. There was really no need to proclaim that it is a titanium cased watch, unlike the Shogun which declares it subtly on the case back.
The lugs are angled around 45 degrees which helps in the wearing comfort. This is very similar to the Shogun (which replaces the Samurai). This is in sharp contrast to the other Seiko divers (MM300 and Sumo) whose lugs curves downwards seductively to hug the wrist. The Samurai and Shogun are more business-like and serious in their case design.
This is a very interesting feature I noticed when handling the Samurai where there’s a lip between the end link and the watch head. It is not noticeable while on the wrist, but I spotted it while examining the watch.
When I first knew about the Samurai many years ago, I went nay at the prices for a 7S powered watch. After handling 1 in the flesh, I do admit that the case is very well put together and unique for Seiko watches, but I remain turned off by the 7S movement powering it. In my opinion, it is still too expensive for what it offers.
Seiko 6138 Chronograph Bullhead (Blue)
No introduction needed for this model and its brown twin. These are perhaps the MOST famous and collectible vintage Seiko watches around. This was powered by the second iteration of Seiko’s automatic chronograph movements, 6138. They do not have a constant seconds dial.
This watch is also a re-dial I believe.
Alongside being one of the most popular vintage Seikos, it is probably also one of the most faked or frankened model around. I highly suggest that potential buyers do their due diligence and buy the seller. Buying from established watch forums and well known forum members with good ratings are your best bet, but be prepared to pay good money for these.
Seiko 6138 Chronograph Panda
This watch is also powered by the 6138 automatic chronograph produced by Seiko. Having a panda design, black sub-dials on a white dial, bring this watch up to a whole new level of desirability.
My favourite watch of the batch after the bullhead. These models are slightly cheaper than the bullhead, but looks classier given the traditional pusher positions.
Seiko 6139 Chronograph
This is a pepsi (due to the color combination of the bezel) chronograph powered by the 6139 movement, the first automatic movement produced by Seiko, and possibly the first in the world. The difference between the 6139 and the 6138 is that the 6139 only comes with a 30 minute counter.
Seiko 6309 Diver 150m
Seiko divers have always been very popular with watch collectors and it is no difference with my group of friends. Here’s a 6309 diver.
We can see the aged lumed markers in this shot turning mouldy.
Lovely watch for the dive watch lovers.
I did not show photos of the watch that belongs to a newbie watch collector who joined us for the first time, but it is safe to say that he hit the road running with his first Seiko, a Brightz titanium encased 4S watch, SAGN007!
I personally do not have an interest in vintage watches given their less than stellar condition, spotty servicing history, incomplete box and papers and poor value proposition. Yet many collectors still go for them given that Seiko almost never re-release popular models from the past (unlike many Swiss brands).
Perhaps, someday my contemporary watches will be tomorrow’s collectible vintage watches.