They gave the Seamaster a sandwich dial. A what? you say, well it’s simply a two layer dial, with cut-outs for the numbers and superlume markers, so the black layer sit on top, like a wafer thin ham sandwich. That’s making us hungry, but let’s move on.
This latest iteration of the Seamaster 300 has a co-axial movement inside, here’s the word from Omega;
“OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912. The movement and full watch are certified as a Master Chronometer, approved by METAS, and resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss. The calibre features a free-sprung balance with silicon balance spring, two barrels mounted in series, and is automatic winding in both directions.”
What that means is superb timekeeping coupled with low maintenance durability. The 8912 runs at 25,200vph, which is quite a bit less than rivals like the Tudor Black Bay or Rolex Submariner.
The Seamaster 300 has a 41mm case, 300m of depth rating of course, plus comes in steel bracelet or leather strap options. There are blue or brown dial options. Prices start at £5280.
We are big fans of the Tissot Powermatic 80 range at NWC for one simple reason; This is a bargain priced Swiss watch. 80 hours of power reserve, sapphire crystal, beautiful blue dial and a steel case, all for around £550.
Or can you get it cheaper? Yes, we spotted this baby on sale at Fraser Hart’s wesbite at £450, with a Milanese mesh bracelet. There’s free delivery on that too.
Francis Gaye jewellers had the same model on offer at £459, while Owen and Robinson emerged the winner at just £448. OK it’s just two quid cheaper, but that buys a Bench watch from a car boot sale in St Helens…
For the class of 2021, the watchmaking company NOMOS Glashütte has created some graduation timepieces: The Club Campus series, now with new additions in two sizes and two colors called Absolute Gray and Future Orange.
These colors represent transition and new beginnings. And the watches do more than merely accompany the wearer through studies and a career, they are also reliable companions on the wrist through thick and thin, ready for whatever life brings. On the stainless steel back there is space for parents and grandparents to include a personalized engraving (provided free of charge by NOMOS).
Just like all NOMOS watches, Club, the base model for these timepieces, is powered by an in-house built caliber: All movements are produced on-site in Glashütte according to a 175-year-old tradition.
NWC mag has got into the Seiko MOD scene kinda late, we admit that. But this is set to grow and spread the MOD cult beyond Seiko to other brands, including vintage Swiss. We found Vinmov’s great value Omega, Breitling, Longines, Zenith etc models last week.
But let’s get back to Seiko and catch-up with Alex Robertson, the head honcho at Seikomods, who kindly took time to educate NWC about the Cult of MOD and where it’s going. This is a democracy of Indie watch building and there is something for everyone, even if you have a fairly basic watch-fettling ability.
NWC; How fast is this market growing?
AR; The U.K. market alone has grown in excess of 1000% in the last year.
To start understanding why, it is important to know what Seiko watch modding is, and the community behind it. Seiko watch modding is the act of taking a Seiko watch, and customizing it with parts to make it truly unique. The main components of a Seiko watch are the Case, Case Back, Case Back Gasket, Movement, Crown, Bezel, Bezel Insert, Bezel Click Spring, Dial, Hands, Chapter Ring, Strap, Springbars, Sapphire Crystal and Crystal Gasket.
This is the foundation of parts that are used on the main 3 moddable watches (SKX007, SKX013, and SRP Turtle). These three Seiko models are the basis of what Seiko Modding was built on.
NWC; How did you get into modded Seikos?
I created the first aftermarket screw down crown, and at that point didn’t realise that it would be the springboard for what was to come. At that time, Crystaltimes was focused on the design and manufacture of Sapphire Crystals. That first crown we produced led to making every other metal part, and really opened the market for watch modding.
This is where the Seiko Watch Modding community comes into play. Ever since that first crown was released, the idea of customizing your Seiko watch was born. This opened the idea both to us, and others, that there were more parts that could be produced so you could create a totally unique watch. We started producing metal parts one-by-one to cover all the main components needed to completely customize the main three Seiko models.
To date we have produced over 400 aftermarket parts. A HUGE turning point in the niche was when we came out with the first aftermarket case in 2018. Producing this case created the opportunity for community members to build an entire watch from scratch and we did not realise what a huge turning point this was.
Since that first case “CT700” we have designed and manufactured 15 unique case bodies to “Build Your DREAM MOD”. Over the span of 4 years since 2016, the Seiko Mod Community grew from just a few hundred, to tens of thousands of modders.
NWC: Why did “modding” take off as a trend?
AR: In the beginning, Seiko Modding was a tiny niche of enthusiasts that did the occasional crown swap, or crystal swap back in 2016. This tight knit group was primarily the older demographic, and at that time the reason for customizing the watch was to either increase the water resistance or upgrade the quality of part itself.
Furthermore, only stock watch models were being upgraded as there weren’t any aftermarket cases to base the build on. As suppliers of aftermarket parts like ourselves started to produce more components to customize the watch even further, we started seeing a wave of new watch modders enter the market in the younger demographic.
When we created the first ever aftermarket case in 2018, the CT700, this enabled modders to build an entire watch from scratch, and we feel this was the major turning point in the niche that put Seiko Modding on the map.
NWC: Why is it so popular, because many would say that a stock Seiko, new or vintage is a perfectly good watch?
AR: Over the past few years it has become more evident that people like to own something unique to themselves. We started seeing a boom of niche businesses come into the market as this need for customization became more apparent. This goes for many different sectors, not just watch modding.
The idea that you can build an entire watch from scratch with custom parts to make it truly unique to your liking is what makes Seiko Modding so popular.
Another aspect of it becoming more popular is the community itself. The Seiko Modding Community is one of the most passionate and welcoming communities out there. We feel this also makes it attractive for those looking to get into a hobby or start a small business of their own offering build services for clients as there are so many resources and “Helpful Hands” in the community to make it more inviting.
As soon as you step foot into this space you are welcomed by an army of Seiko Mod Enthusiasts that want nothing more than to help you have an incredible experience building your custom watch. So, the combination of being able to build a fully customized watch to your liking from the ground up, and a welcoming community has made it so popular to be in this space.
NWC: Which models are most popular and why?
AR: The foundation of the Seiko Watch Modding Community was built on 3 models: The SKX007, SKX013 and SRP Turtle. These three watch models not only provide the perfect foundation for building a custom watch, but also are built in a way that makes producing aftermarket parts in large varieties more attainable.
Having base models that are simple in build design allows for a larger volume of community members to enter the space. The SKX007 is largely the most popular model to build, not only due to the amount of parts available, but also it’s size and shape. The SKX013 is basically a smaller version of the SKX007, which makes it popular for community members with smaller wrists, and to produce some variation to its big brother (SKX007). The SRP Turtle “Cushion Case” also falls into the base model category for its availability of parts, and unique case shape that of a turtle.
NWC: Does Seikomods sell complete watches?
AR: We are a parts supplier only, so we offer parts directly to the consumer and professional watch builders. Our expertise is in the design and manufacturer of custom watch parts. The actual building of the watch is left in the hands for community members, and professional builders who created custom pieces for their clients.
We have incredible relationships with community members and professional watch builders, and building watches ourselves for customers isn’t our area. We have the duty of supplying this great community with exceptional parts to mod their watches, and that task is our only focus. As far as how many customers we supply each year; last year (2020) we supplied over 35,000 customers. Back in 2016 we were maybe supplying 1,000 customers total.
We attribute our growth over the last 5 years to the ever growing passionate #seikomodsfamily community who have supported us through every step.
NWC: What is the future of modding?
AR:We feel there are two areas that are the most important topic areas for both community experience, and growth of the community. One, the ability to conceptualize a build/mod, and envision how it is going to look once you put it together. Right now, community members are primarily using their imagination to visualize how a build/mod is going to look in their head, and sometimes it does not always turn out the way you expect it to.
We believe the future of modding will see a configurator created, that will allow you to see how your build/mod will look before purchasing the parts. This will not only improve the outcome of your build/mod but increase the experience that you have.
Also, we launched our apps into both app store(s) in 2020. We developed the app so community members can grab their mod parts on the go, and to increase their shopping experience with an easy-to-use interface and checkout experience. We see this as an ever-growing area that we will expand upon and will likely see more of in the space.
Second, the ease of access for new watch modders“NOOBS” to enter the space needs to be improved.
New watch modders are spending countless hours watching YouTube videos, reading tutorials, and learning about tools needed to build the watch. We feel that having some kind of “Mod Box” that a new watch modder can acquire containing all the tools, parts, and instructions needed to build an entire watch will entice new modders to enter the space.
Not only would this help new modders, but it is also educating the next generation of community members. Furthermore, the educational aspect has been and is still something that we continue to expand upon in our resources section of the website. Imagine being able to have one box that teaches you how to build a watch and has all the items necessary to execute that – awesome right?
On top of that having a configurator that enables you to visualize how your mod is going to look before you get the parts needed to execute the build. This we feel is the future of modding, and we look forward to playing a large role in it.
Feeling inspired? Visit Seikomods at these websites:
Watch retailing face-to-face has taken a hammering over the last year thanks to Covid and the hysterical over-reaction by western governments.
Meanwhile Zadok over in Houston Texas have been buolding the five star Hilton hotel of watches, a Selfridges experience where Barnum style showmanshp combines with luxury brands. How many? 60 of `em, including all the big Swiss players. Yep, this is destination watch retailing and we say go Texas!
Zadok is holding events at their store too and this is another way to bring in wealthy people, ready to spend money. Earlier in April Zadock showcased the Totem electric car on-site and the thought occurs to us that many watch brands have crossover with aviation, yachting, designer handbags like LVMH brands for example, sunglasses etc.
This is an area where UK jewellers are kinda slow to be blunt, because too many of them rely on the watch brands being the draw in thmselves. Which with Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Hublot, TAG and other well known, established brands is true.
But that isn’t the case with Breguet, Vacheron, Lange & Sohne, Arnold & Son or other prestige names that lack general awareness in the UK. You can buy all the online ad space you like, but until you put your watches in front of an affluent audience and they can see and feel them, you won’t win lifetime fans of your brand.
Now that Covid restrictions are lifting Zadok’s approach shows that if you build a luxury resort of watches, they will come. Over to you Baselworld, this is your chance to put watch retailing and showmanship together. Make sure you build a 30 storey luxury hotel on top of the watch exhibition space, with private elevators.
Would you pay £15,000 for a mint Rolex Submariner Batman to a complete stranger on eBay? No, of course you wouldn’t, even if you were Carrie Symonds and some clown had given you 30K to spend on any fripperies that caught your eye.
But there is a solution to the problem of transferring lots of cash for Swiss watches, and eBay have been busy perfecting it. Here’s the word;
eBay, one of the largest luxury watch marketplaces in the world, today announces the addition of escrow to marketplace payment offerings for luxury watches. This additional payment option allows buyers and sellers an added convenience via trusted third party Escrow.com, holding funds securely until the transaction is complete providing an additional level of protection. Benefiting both parties in the transaction process, escrow is now available to those buying and selling luxury watches over $10,000, expanding the payment options available to luxury watch enthusiasts to foster an even more seamless experience.
“We are changing the way people buy and sell luxury items on eBay,” said Tirath Kamdar, General Manager of Luxury at eBay. “When it comes to high value watches and other significant purchases, consumers expect additional assurances. eBay is committed to providing the best experience, from start to finish, and our new offerings will continue to deliver on that promise.”
There’s been a tremendous surge in enthusiasm for high value collectibles as consumers expand their investment opportunities. eBay is constantly introducing platform and product enhancements to improve the buying and selling experience, creating a seamless process for transactions on premiere brands like Patek Phillippe, Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet, and Hublot, which were some of the most coveted luxury watches in 2020. After launching its Authenticity Guarantee service in September 2020, more than 7,000 luxury watches priced at $10K+ were sold on eBay. Now, with the introduction of escrow, eBay continues to make shopping and selling high value items like collectible timepieces convenient and simplified.
“As a long-time leader in the luxury watch space with more than 1.2M daily live listings, eBay offers an unmatched selection of timepieces — from rare, vintage watches to new styles from top brands like Rolex, Omega, Tag Heuer and more,” said Charis Márquez, Vice President of Fashion, eBay. “We’ve seen a tremendous uptick in interest for luxury watches this past year, with more than 22 million site searches for Cartier, and more than 15 million for Tag Heuer. Escrow joins Authenticity Guarantee as eBay’s response to that growing appetite.”
How It Works
Enhancing the secure payment suite by partnering with Escrow.com, the most licensed online escrow company, this multi-step enhancement offers the eBay community of buyers and sellers another way to securely transact on watches $10,000 or more, with no processing fees. The streamlined service requires minimal steps to ensure a swift transaction process:
Getting Started: At checkout, if a shopper decides to purchase a qualifying luxury watch using escrow, they will be directed from eBay to Escrow.com’s website where they will receive step-by-step instructions for creating an account. Both buyers and sellers must have an account in order to send and receive payments; it is a one-time process and all data is privately shared between Escrow and the buyer or seller.
Transaction Process: The buyer funds an account via wire transfer or ACH electronic check, which is managed by Escrow.com as an intermediary. Funds are released by the third party to the seller once the item is received by the buyer in the condition described in the listing and terms of the transaction agreement are met to the satisfaction of both parties. They are protected against fraudulent customers through verification checks and payment being held by a third party in case of a return allowing sellers 5 days to inspect the merchandise and release funds to customers if the merchandise matches the original condition.
Progress Updates: Buyers and sellers can check the status of their transactions where payment is made via Escrow.com by visiting the “My eBay” drop down under “Order Details,” or via Escrow.com where they can access a transaction summary page and view the progress of all active Escrow.com transactions.
Item Inspection and Returns: After receiving their watch from the authenticator, the buyer will have up to seven days to inspect and examine the watch before accepting the item. Once accepted, or if the seven-day inspection period has passed, returns will not be available. In the event of a return, the watch is shipped back to the third party for verification and funds are then released to the customer if the merchandise matches the original condition.
Nearly eighty thousand new, pre-owned and vintage watches are marked with the Authenticity Guarantee badge on eBay.com, comprising an inventory of fine watches from brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Audemars Piguet and more. Each watch sold for $2,000 or more, marked with the Authenticity Guarantee badge on the listing, undergoes a rigorous third party inspection by Stoll & Co., the leading provider of watch repair services, ensuring the timepieces are authentic and as described. Escrow joins Authenticity Guarantee as another way eBay is evolving the buying and selling experience for eBay’s community of luxury watch enthusiasts.
You can pre-order the new Zelos Hammerhead V3 model in a couple of days, and we reckon the teal dial and emerald green dial are the pick of the range. With a slimmer profile at 13mm, the 44mm Hammerhead remains a serious dive watch, but is now something that can be worn slightly more comfortably every day. Sapphire crystal naturally, screw down crown, steel case, Seiko NH35 movement and 300m depth rating. You also get a date window for that practical wear-it-on-dry-land vibe too.
Chunky dive watches with sunburst/fume dials are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we love the sheer value that Zelos offers. Reliable Seiko power with real dive ability at just $349 plus import taxes etc is a bargain compared to a typical Swiss 300m dive watch. I mean an Oris Sixty-Five is about £1300 and can only handle 100m, the entry level Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba is another 100m watch, although it can be found for about £400. For a 300m Swiss made dive watch you need to look at spending over £2000, or £4000 if you want a prestige brand name like Omega,
The offer on this new Hammerhead is good until the end of May, and you can see the entire range; orange, brown, white dials etc here.
We only ask the question because Casio have other limited edition G-Shock watches that cost over 6K, which is basically Floyd Maywether level collecting mania. Compared to those, this titanium beauty actually seems like great value. It features a special alloy case material, which Casio says was developed for a mirror polish smooth finish and outstanding durability. That is the Casio G-Shock USP when you mull it over, so yeah, makes sense.
Inside there is a Casio movement that tells the time, day, date, week, plus features like a countdown, an hourly alarm function and a host of other digital goodness like a Worldtime function, so you can select which city to sync with, as you travel like the Fresh Prince of Instagram in Dubai.
There is a light button too. Old school. Nice.
Sapphire crystal and what the…what about those multi-coloured links? Get the Skittles Rainbow on your wrist. It also has a screw down crown, for that extra water resistance, in fact it’s good for 200m so no worries on swimming with this goldfinger Casio on. The watch is ion-plated, not gold plated, but you know what, if you are a diehard Casio fanboi then this is going to be a very collectable piece in years to come. Not saying that investing £1500 in a used Omega Constellation from the 1960s isn’t a better investment, because it undoubtedly is, but sometimes a quirky wristwatch, that’s way outside of the mainstream, is a good thing to own.
The Coast Watch company has a Kickstarter project happening now, which has already passed its target and it is easy to see why. The Pacific Explorer is a classic tool watch, with three different bezel options, the proven Sellita SW200 movement inside, steel case, sapphire crystal and a 39mm case diameter, which is spot-on for most wrists. It’s also good for 200m of depth underwater.
The best combo is perhaps the bronze bezel variant, with a fume tobacco brown dial, just because well…bronze.
Based in Denmark, you do have some import duty to pay if you’re in the UK, but the prices are very reasonable considering the high quality spec of this watch. Definitely worth a look and there are a few early bird deals still on the site. Prices start at about £410, that includes a leather travel pouch. Delivery expected in July.
Blanchard watches in Florida are doing the retro motorsport thing in style. They’re making chronographs for guys who race, and they don’t care if it sounds sexist and upsets the professional grievance hunters that lurk under every troll bridge on Twitter. Good for them we say.
The Seiko VK64 powered watch has three different dial designs, with the white dial, black sub-dials being our fave, plus four bezels. You get a little Allen key to undo the three tiny nuts that hold the bezel in place. There are two race circuit themed bezels as well, plus you get a springbar and spare straps in case you fancy a NATO option. 100m of water resistance, steel case, wonderful blue superlume dial at night.
This has a lot going for it and considering Robert Blanchard decided to start making watches in 2019, the company are offering a classy, old school motorsport chrono for not a great deal of money. A fast start is crucial, as they say in racing circles. Plus, they say they have more models and custom variations in the pipeline. Here’s the word from Blanchard;
The Gentleman Racer, gives you the ability to interchange bezels. Currently we are offering four designs with more to come in the future. The Gentleman Racer comes with your choice of three dial colors, and the options of a custom nylon NATO signed strap or a beautifully crafted tapering stainless steel bracelet with signed clasp. This premium chronograph was designed for race car drivers and spectators like yourself.
The project is already well funded by the way, delivery expected in June 21, price is about £213, plus import duty and VAT etc.