Category Archives: Japanese Watches

Cheers! The Citizen Root Beer Perpetual Chrono is The Boss

Citizen are always good value. No matter how much you love Swiss watches, and we do here at NWC mag, you have to admire Casio, Seiko and Citizen for constantly creating great looking watches with fab features, at Tissot Powermatic prices.

Take this new for 2021 `Root Beer’ flavour Perpetual AT model You get that rich brown n red colour combo that watch modders know and love. Plus atomic clock level timekeeping. Add on dual time, alarm function, power reserve indicator and a chunky 43mm case size and you have a tool watch, that kinda looks like a dress watch with its leather deployment clasp type strap.

Yep, that elegant Rotary steel/leather deployment touch adds a bit of everyday style to this number. But best of all, it costs just £429 and when you look at stuff like Hugo Boss, Armani or other fashion watchesn at this price point all you get is quartz battery stuff. PVD black cases and all that jazz.

Even the Swiss rivals aren’t offering solar cell power and perpetual calendar complications at around 400 notes. There’s a green dial variant at £499 too by the way.

More info here.

Anime: Maybe It’s Just a Japanese Thing

Maybe it’s just me, but the whole Japanese Anime thing passes me by, in fact it’s a bit Jeffrey Epstein in many ways.

Anyhoo, Seiko has a new Presage watch out now, which celebrates a famous 1980s Anime movie. Here’s the press info;

Today, Seiko introduces into the Presage collection a creation inspired by the now-classic fantasy-adventure Japanese animation film “Castle In The Sky.” This is the first animation feature from the world-renowned Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli, whose works have won the favour of animation fans worldwide for their imaginative, other-worldly settings, distinctive visuals and masterful storytelling.

The watch is powered by a new version of Seiko’s high-performance 6R35 movement, Caliber 6R31. Like Caliber 6R35, the movement delivers a power reserve of 70 hours and shares the same performance attributes, but without a date window.

Every aspect of the watch reflects the care and craftsmanship for which Presage is renowned. The crystal glass is a dual-curved sapphire and is treated with anti-reflective coating on the inner surface that delivers high legibility from any angle. The exhibition case back reveals the fine finishing of the movement, and the watch is 10 bar water resistant.

The watch will be available as a limited edition of 1,200 at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide in July 2021.

Orient Star 70th Anniversary Edition

Orient is a sub-brand of mighty Seiko and sadly, they don’t seem to get the investment that the brand deserves, given its heritage. The latest Skeleton Star model, a tribute to the Star from 70s years ago is a case in point.

It actually looks like a Chinese clone, nothing like the original Star. Here’s the press info from Orient;

The new Skelton ( yep, they couldn’t even spell check skeleton) is featuring a new hand-wound movement with 70 hours of power reserve. The latest in-house 46-F8 series movements, feature longer power reserves of 70 hours, making them more practical than ever before.

The longer running time is achieved thanks to the new silicon escape wheel which is lighter and processed with higher accuracy. Beside, it has longer running time as well as a high accuracy of +15 to –5 seconds per day even with the ultimate skeletonisation.

The escape wheel visible through the watch’s skeleton structure uses Epson’s MEMS technology to control the film thickness at the nanometer level to adjust its light reflection, resulting in an eye-catching blue.

DUDE, DID YOU JUST SAY CROC LEATHER?

The vivid blue and a unique spiral shape evokes the Milky Way Galaxy, and the movement part at the nine o’clock position in the shape of a comet with two tails, symbolising the universe-inspired design theme. The model uses high-quality SUS316L stainless steel for the case, and comes with a hand-stitched, genuine crocodile leather strap.

Yes, they did say crocodile. In a woke era it is astonishing that Seiko-Orient think this won’t attract activists on social media keen to cancel their brand.

Classic Orient Star, with dial that changes from black to deep blue.

MISH MASH APPROACH

On the upside this 38mm watch has a sapphire crystal, front and back, but bafflingly it’s only got 50 metres of water resistance. So why not fit a Hardlex then?

70 hours of power is great but it’s hand-wound, mechanical, not auto. Again pointless. This mix of prestige features with some really dull aspects of the Star means it’s unlikely to attract many buyers. To be fair there are some better looking Star models in the range, including some with sub-sec dials that capture the early 50s spirit of the original. But this thing looks like a Thomas Earnshaw.

Sad times.

 

Go Deep Or Go Home, Says Seiko

How deep? Well, 1000m to be exact which is venturing into `Let’s raise a shipwreck this weekend’ territory but this is still a technical tour de force worth showing off in your Seiko collection.

What do you mean, you only collect Swiss watches? Come on, Seiko are true watchmakers, and clockmakers too. It’s all they do and they do it with typical Japanese shokunin elan, always aiming for perfection in terms of craft and excellence.

That’s especially true of the Prospex line we think, so here’s the word from Seiko;

In 1986, Seiko launched a diver’s watch that set a new standard. It combined Seiko’s legendary 1975 design with the 1,000 meter water resistance required for saturation diving with a quartz movement that delivered an accuracy that no mechanical diver’s watch could match. At the time, and still today, it was recognized as one of Seiko’s most important diver’s watches. Today, 35 years on, this classic Seiko Diver’s watch is re-born with new design features and upgraded professional diver’s watch specifications. This is a watch that truly lives up to the promise of the Prospex name. It will be available in July 2021 as a limited edition of 1,200 at selected Seiko Boutiques and retail partners worldwide.

This new watch inherits all the important design features and innovations which made both the 1975 mechanical and the 1986 quartz original so greatly trusted by the professional diving community. It has the 1,000m water resistance and helium resistance that saturation diving requires and incorporates the unique one-piece titanium case with its outer protector structure that makes its shock resistance so exceptional. It also has the accordion-style strap that ensures that the watch remains tight on the wrist at every depth. The outer protector is made of zirconia ceramic, which is seven times harder than steel, further enhancing its resistance to shock. The strap is now of high grade, strong yet flexible silicone.

As a new safety and design feature, the crown is marked with a vivid yellow “Lock” sign and an arrow to indicate the rotating direction. The winding stem is also in yellow so that the wearer can immediately notice if the crown is unlocked. The white hour markers stand out against the dark dial so that they are easy to read at depth.

The watch is equipped with Seiko’s tried and trusted quartz Caliber 7C46 which delivers a high level of torque so that it can move the powerful hands that are wide, robust and Lumibrite-coated for maximum legibility. It also delivers a reassuringly long battery life of 5 years.

The watch is a limited edition of 1200 pieces and it retails for around 2700 euros, or £2400.

Verdict: Invest in a used Grand Seiko instead, better chance of making money in the long run and arguably a more wearable watch.

Super Tough Casio G-Shock Frogman Ltd Edition

Casio has released two limited edition variants of its Frogman 200m dive watches. Here’s some details from Casio;

A first for the FROGMAN: an analog display. The over-sized dimensional index and hour and minute hands offer improved readability. Three dual-coil motors enable the hour, minute and world time hands to move rapidly so the wearer can switch modes with no delay.

YEAH, IT’S WATER RESISTANT

Carbon fiber reinforced resin is used for the case material, offering high strength and low absorbency. In addition, six screws securely fasten the metal ring that is press-fit to the glass. Enhanced water resistance is facilitated by the button shafts’ triple-gasket fittings.

You can time yourself underwater too; The hour and minute hands can be brought together as one at the start of a dive to indicate the diving time. The second hand moves forward or in reverse to indicate the status of dive time and surface interval measurements.

Sapphire crystal with a non-reflective coating offers high visibility and scratch-resistance. The Super Illuminator function lights up the watch face with high-intensity light, to ensure readability in the dark.

RADIO CONTROLLED TIMEKEEPING

Time correction is conducted by either Bluetooth® communications or standard time radio wave (Multi Band 6), depending on the circumstances. Reception of the most recent time zone and Daylight Saving Time information assures that the correct time is displayed at all times.

VERDICT

The two models start at £899, which is on par with many Indie brand 300m dive watches, featuring Sellita/Miyota movements, usually with steel bracelets, resin options. It isn’t as expensive as Swiss dive models and arguably offers more accurate timekeeping, plus bluetooth features. Add on a solar power cell, so no batteries to change for a decade or so, depending on use. Yes, the solar cell loses its ability to turn light into power over time, so you will need to replace the cell eventually – no energy is free.

More details on the Casio site here.

We don’t dive, and you probably don’t either. But this is a go-anywhere watch that looks classless, cool and does its job in one lightweight chassis. You have to admire that striving for perfection, it’s a Japan thing.

New Citizen Star Wars Watches Released

Citizen has launched  Star Wars merch range and some of them are kinda cool. OK, the  existing Han Solo chronograph is our fave, but it is 43mm across which is quite wide for some wrists.

Here’s the spec from Citizen;

Featuring a stainless steel case, rich brown and navy blue Two Tone leather strap and matching navy blue dial with bright red stripe; the caseback features an illustration of the Millennium Falcon. Limited edition; only 1,977 pieces available globally (the year of release of the first Star Wars film). Featuring Eco-Drive technology – powered by light, any light.

Price is £329 on that one.

Meanwhile we have a new pair of retro models;

These feature dual time and subdials with both the Rebel Alliance logo and the X-Wing with Rebel inspired colours. The watch also includes an alarm, the digital time, and the temperature, making it a unique and stand-out timepiece. Price is £269.

Casio Add New Colours to G-Steel Range

Casio has added red and blue dial options to its G-Steel range. The watches, which feature a steel case, mineral glass crystal and resin straps have a wide variety of dial colours.

The red dial model is priced at £399 and the blue dial costs £479. Not really sure why, as it appears to have the same spec on the Casio website. 

The G-Steel watches are powered via solar cell, so you should get about ten years or so before a new cell needs to be fitted. That saves you the costs of about 3/4 battery swaps.

A Grand For a Casio G-Shock Rainbow? Come On, Really?

Casio have released a jazzy Phoenix Rainbox G-Shock model which costs a cool grand. But is it cool?

This shimmering delight is based on the carbon MTG-B2000, with a Blue Phoenix-themed design. The Blue Phoenix is a legendary bird whose appearance is said to be a harbinger of good things to come, says Casio. Like the end of lockdowns and masks? Hmmm maybe.

Back to the Casio; The bezel and the case have separate structures. The double rainbow IP finish of the bezel gives it a two-tone pattern with horizontal gradation, while the metal frame of the case has vertical gradation, which creates the image of a crossed line.

The rainbow IP of this model creates distinctively unique colour patterns for each watch. The multi-colouring of the face matches the the bezel and case, while the navy blue semi-transparent band creates a further touch of elegance. That’s Casio talking by the way, this watch is no elegant rival to a Longines Heritage, let’s be honest.

A Bluetooth® communication function automatically connects with the G-SHOCK Connected app whenever the watch is in the vicinity of your phone, eliminating the need for button operations. The watch obtains accurate time information from an Internet-based time server for automatic time adjustment as you move between time zones. That’s great, so long as the Colonial Pipeline hackers don’t freeze the server of course.

MULTIBAND 6 automatically adjusts time settings based on reception of one of six calibration signals around the globe when you are within the range of a signal, even if connection with a phone is not possible, for accurate timekeeping no matter where your travels take you.

Basic features include high-brightness LED illumination, Dual Time, stopwatch, and more. Stable operation is ensured by a CASIO original Tough Solar charging system.

Ther eis a 24 hour stopwatch, plus this model has a sapphire crystal for extra scratch resistance. There’s a daily alarm function and a phone finder button too.

It is something you will love for its sheer blingy Prince-1999 album cover purpleness, or perhaps think it looks like a 1992 Custom Car magazine makeover on a MkII Capri. Our verdict? Invest £1000 in a decent Seiko dive, pre-owned TAG Carrera or maybe a Tissot 1973 if you really like something big case n quirky.

Nothing wrong with a G-Shock, but you really are paying top dollar for

60s Style Seiko Presage Models Are Retro Heaven

There are retro/recreation style watches all over the internet right now, from brands like Timex, Zenith, Casio, Tissot, Longines and many more. You can’t blame watch brands for making the most of their heritage and remixing it DJ style for the 21st century.

So as a fan of the Seiko Presage models, I approve of everything to do with the Style 60’s range – except the incorrect use of the apostrophe. Nothing belongs to the number 60. It should be 60s plural, denoting the decade of style, OK?

Moving on, let’s look at these models which are arriving in June at Seiko dealers. The SRPGO models have blue, black, champagne or green dials and a 41mm case, featuring the 4R35 movement. Yep, you can wind it – no shaking required.

It has a more sporty feel than some existing Presage models, mainly due to the dive style bezel and more utilitarian crown. The cocktail time watches have the onion shaped crown. It looks like a scuba ready watch, but it really isn’t a dive piece though at 5atm rated.

Got some nice lume on there, plus a retro hardlex box crystal for that 60s vibe. Nice touch, but many buyers will still be slightly miffed that they are paying decent money for an acrylic crystal watch. That’s Seiko for you – they don’t have to change their philosophy for you, me or anyone else.

Some variants have a vintage, faded type lume on the indices for that extra retro flavour.

Prices start at £440 for the black model with a NATO strap and rise to £530 for the open heart dial option. Seiko are deifinitely `price-walking’ their fanbase up to entry level Swiss stuff, but then you could argue that a Seiko Presage is on par with a basic Hamilton, Tissot or Longines.

Except for the plastic crystal. Oh and the poor packaging with that kinda cheap ol’ 90s white box. OK yeah, they are getting cheeky on prices.

The range is inspired by the Crown Chrono model from 1964, but the modern days Style 60’s models lack the stopwatch button at the 2pm position.  Maybe that tribute watch is in the pipeline for the Christmas selling season?

More info here at Seiko’s site.

New Quartz GS GMT Is a Bridge Too Far – See What We Did There?

Grand Seiko has a new 9F86 quartz GMT creation that adds a new dimension, so the Japanese watchmaker says, with three variants available in June. Prices start at 4450 euros – ouch.

Maybe invest in a pre-owned Grand Seiko automatic instead? Prices are rising rapidly on the pre-owned market and we think they will go higher as more collectors fall out of love with Rolex waiting lists.

Anyway, here is the word from GS on their new model;

The case is simple in design but, with its muscular shape and sharp, Zaratsu polished surfaces, it presents a powerful sports aspect. The dial has gold color details and it is offered as a limited edition of 2,021 to mark the 140th anniversary of Seiko’s foundation. Two other versions with red and blue accents join the main Grand Seiko collection.

A design perfect for both sport and daily use.

All three new creations are all quintessentially Grand Seiko in every way, combining the highest level of precision and durability with supreme legibility and the quiet yet instantly recognizable brilliance that is the Grand Seiko hallmark.

The case ridges are sharp and crisp. The bezels are ceramic and so are almost impervious to scratches. Every detail is fashioned to enhance the legibility of the time and the precision that Caliber 9F86 delivers.

The two-tone dial ring allows the night and day hours indicated by the GMT hand of matching color to be read instantly. Legibility at night is ensured by the use of two colors of LumiBrite: green for the hour hand, minute hand and indexes, and blue for the GMT hand. The ceramic bezel allows the time to be read instantly and accurately in the GMT 24 hour format.

The hour hand is independently adjustable so that the precision is maintained even when adjusting the time to a second time zone. A date with an instant change mechanism, a sapphire crystal, 20 bar water resistance and magnetic resistance of 16,000 A/m complete the specifications. Even with this high functionality, the case diameter is a modest 40mm, making the watch perfect for sport and daily use.

The blue creation features a deep blue dial and bezel to match the bright blue color accents of the dial. All three watches will be available in June 2021 at the Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected Grand Seiko retail stores worldwide.