2 Tool Watches: Worlds Apart (Seiko Landmaster & Damasko)

Tool watches. Not pretty watches but serves a purpose. Should not be overly priced, but easily replaceable without creating a permanent deficit in one’s bank account. Below USD 2K is more than generous IMHO. Ranges from the cheap Casio watches … Continue reading

Everyone needs a kinetic landmaster

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Seiko Kinetic Landmaster (SBDW005) from the Prospex lineup.

40mm
Full one piece titanium case, with titanium bracelet and ratcheting clasp
Blood red carbon fibre dial
5m65 movement with true GMT function
6 month power reserve with low power indicator
Smooth, bidirectional compass bezel
Simply awesome and indestructible

Bought this recently as I believe every true hard core Seiko fan should own a watch that encompass each Seiko technology (spring drive, kinetic, mechanical and quartz).

The printing on the dial is simply outstanding. The power indicators are also printed on the carbon fibre dial which itself is not black, but a seductive blood red tint.  Probably only my SAGN brightz dial is of equal quality.

The Seiko name and hour markers are all applied which adds a touch of class.

The hour markers and all hands (except the GMT hand) are lumed. Can’t beat a monster but will shine throughout the night. The hands are also purposely painted white in order to minimize reflection. Very suitable for a tool watch.

Satin finished and resists scratches very well (wonder if this is a non brighten version of the Brightz titanium). My only other watch which resists scratches as well is my Damasko. Even my Shogun (with the rare brightz titanium with diashield combination) is not up to par.

The caseback logo is consistent for all generations of landmaster, and it is pretty nice in my humble opinion.

As this is a one piece case (also proudly proclaimed on the dial) the movement must be loaded from the front. Given that this is a kinetic movement, I do not expect this to happen very often.

Flat sapphire glass, with an outstanding level of work done on the bezel. If all bezels are as finely detailed as the landmaster’s, I’ll gladly go for watches with compass bezel over timing/24hr bezels any day. There has to be at least 2 levels of finishing on the bezel alone. Also take note that the compass points are not engraved but etched out, which I believe is a more difficult and expensive process.

Overall, I am very pleased with my first ever kinetic watch. Probably the only other high end/prospex kinetic watch is the Seiko diver (SBDD001) which comes with direct drive technology (a further refinement of kinetic technology) , where the battery can be charged via handwinding as well. Another rare watch though.

Visit here for more history and information on the landmaster and the fieldmaster.

Seiko news in the last week

Seiko.

Frequently known for their quartz watches that caused an upheaval in the watch industry, sparking a revolutionary move for a preference from mechanical watches to quartz watches.

Quartz technology also allowed the masses to cheaply own a watch that is accurate to a few seconds a month (versus to a few seconds a day for mechanical watches) and easily replaceable, albeit somewhat delegating watches to being another item off a production line, lacking soul and love.

Nevertheless Seiko has a hidden side, a side where mechanical watches of the highest calibre are assembled by hand in Japan (think Grand Seiko, Credor). Mid priced watches that are only available in Japan (popularly known as Japan Domestic Models or JDM) are now also highly sought after by watch enthusiasts, such as myself, from all over the world.

Online dealers such as Higuchi, SeiyaJapan and Chino Watches are household names to all Seiko watch lovers, by providing unrivaled services in delivering JDM watches to the hands of collectors not living in Japan.

The past week has been a fruitful week for myself as I caught no less than 3 Seiko-related articles.

1) Comparison of the old and new Seiko Monsters by SJX.

Following up from my previous post on the Seiko Orange Monster where I mentioned about the introduction of the new monsters, SJX has posted a good pictorial comparison between the two. The price of the monster might have increased by close to 50%, but SJX is of the opinion that it is justified due to the better finishing, movement, dial, crown, etc. Perhaps this is a sign that Seiko is gradually moving their entry level divers into a higher price bracket via the use of better movement (4RXX) which allows hacking and hand winding. Time will tell if this is true.

2) Seiko PROSPEX by Monochrome.nl

Seiko is also known for making a range of great tool watches under the PROSPEX line. No watches are actually labelled PROSPEX, but Seiko watches that meet certain criteria will have hangtags designating them as being from the PROSPEX line. The PROSPEX lineup are divided into Sea, Air and Land. Some famous examples are the Tuna and LandMaster watches. Monochrome has a great post last week with regards to the PROSPEX line including some history of Seiko which led to the development of this line.

3) New SEIKO PROSPEX watches in collaboration with “Golgo 13”

ImageModel SBBN023 “sea”

On August 8, 2012, Seiko announced 3 new models that were launched as a tie up with the manga “Golgo 13”. Now I am not a manga fan myself, but it appears that the main character in the manga is an assassin and each of the 3 watches are representative of what the manga character will wear when he is operating in the field (either land, air or sea). All the 3 models are encased in a Tuna-like shroud, which is itself coated in black. Please note that unlike the actual Tunas, this material is made of stainless steel (with PVD coating) and not ceramic. Hence I would expect that scratches will indeed collect, and if deep enough, will result in the underlying grey of the steel showing through. However, I do own a PVD coated Seiko 5 watch, which has held up fairly well thus far.

In addition, a common color scheme running across all three models, is the stark black and white with red accents on the watches. For the Sea and Land models, the red accent is supposed to form a cross hair, drawing resemblance to a sniper rifle scope. This brings to mind, another brand that uses the cross hair motif (in white, not red) in most of their models, Damasko.

ImageSBDC021 “land’ImageSBDL011 “air”

In my personal opinion, these models appear to be nothing more than cosmetic changes to their existing models in the PROSPEX lines, but I guess the fact that they are released in limited editions will ensure its rapid sale in Japan and beyond.

From the specifications given in the table below, I would expect the Landmaster model to be the best selling of the three, given the preference for collectors for mechanical movements over quartz and solar.  However a turnoff for me is that the movement is the 6R15 movement, and not the higher end 8L35 movement. Hence I wonder if the price (USD 1500 retail price) is indeed justified, as the normal LandMaster (SBDC011) can be had for USD 1000 or so, with the exact same specifications, save for the PVD coating and red accents.

Nevertheless I eagerly await for pictoral reviews from the lucky owners of these watches, come the official launch on 8 September 2012. (And I am sure the online dealers mentioned above will have these models in stock as well!)