Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hope Japan -- G Shock

Saw on mygshock that Casio is offering a limited edition line of G Shock watches with all proceeds to go toward the continued efforts for earthquake relief for Japan.

The models are designed by Eric Haze who all G Shock fans should be familiar with and feature the simple "Hope Japan" logo on the white band of each model.  Model numbers are DW-6900FS-8HJ, G-7900A-7HJ and GA-110C-7AHJ and are available through gshock.com at prices of $89, $99, and $120 respectively.

More info here.

More Details Are Released About the new Solar Citizen" Chronomasters"

Photo courtesy of Citizen Watch Corporation, LTD - Japan

Citizen Japan released today more details about the most significant product update done to the "The Citizen" line since 2005. Right now we know more about the watches and the new solar high end quartz movement that powers them. We now also know that they will be released in the Japan domestic market at the end of June, 2011.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Citizen Chronomaster CTQ57-0961 has Been Discontinued

Citizen "The Citizen" Chronomaster CTQ57-061
"Close to the hearts of people everywhere"
(Photo Courtesy of http://www.012.co.jp)

From the "Chopping block" file comes official word that the Chronomaster CTQ57-0961 has been discontinued by Citizen Japan after a 6 year tenure.

The watch was reviewed earlier last week here

This model was my favorite in the Chronomaster series. Not just because I happen to own this wonderful watch but because it was the most affordable 38mm "Oyster case/bracelet" variant, made in stainless steel with Citizen's Duratect surface treatment and lumed hands and dial markers. The photo caption above shows the fairly bright and long lasting luminosity of this watch. Probably one of the best among high end dress watches.

The steel CTQ57-0961 was introduced in 2005 along with the more expensive Titanium + Duratect 38mm oyster case variants with black, blue, white and champagne colored dials.

This watch retailed in Japan for 231,000 YEN. I can say that this is a lot of watch for the money. From build quality, finish, attention to detail and high end A660 thermo compensated quartz movement with perpetual calendar, independent set hour hand and -/+ 5 seconds per year accuracy, this watch is probably the only timepiece you'll ever need (For those of us hot and heavy into this hobby, there is no "One watch", but you get the idea).

Unfortunately, the main online Japan based retailers report "Sold out" status with this model. It is also not clear at this time if other Chronomaster models have been discontinued as well.

Looks like it will be replaced with the all new "Eco-Drive" solar powered Chronomaster unveiled at Basel World in March. See Jikan article here.

The new solar models will be released later this summer and have a lower retail price of 210,000 YEN. As more details about the new Eco-Drive models become available, rest assured that Jikan Watch Blog will bring you all the latest details and photographs right to your browser.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Orient Star Models Spotted

New Orient Star models have been posted on the Orient Japan website.  The Orient Star line is a Japan only product comparable to the Seiko SARB models.  These new Orient Star models are similar to the existing Orient Star Classic line although the new models are more traditionally styled with a 3 o'clock crown and date window and no power reserve indicator.  I know it makes no sense that the Classic line is actually less classic designed than these new models, but follow Orient long enough and you get used to these little quirky things.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Leaked" Photo of the New Upcoming Citizen Attesa Direct Flight

This appears to be the yet to be released Citizen Attesa Direct Flight model BY0040-51F
(Photo courtesy of Journal.mycom.co.jp)

This is the first "Real life" photo we have seen of the new Attesa Direct Flight models since the Citizen press release at Basel World '11 in March. The watch has a release date of June 2011 in the Japan domestic market, but was informed by a reliable source that due to the aftermath of the Japan earthquake tragedy in early March, the watch release has been pushed back to August, 2011.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT SBGE001 Arrival

I had the pleasure of receiving this beauty just about 2 weeks ago from Mr. Joe Kirk at Arizona Fine Time (www.azfinetime.com). AZFT was the first Grand Seiko dealer to offer these wonderful watches in the US as of late 2010.

This year I set out to get a couple of Seiko Spring Drive grails and decided on the Ananta SPS007 SD Chrono and the GS SGBGE001 SD GMT as "40th birthday" presents. Indeed, once you get over the hill it is crucial to have some fine timepieces for the journey into the golden years :P

In between been very busy in between schedules, I simply did not have the time/tranquility to sit down and immerse myself into this sublime watch.

So... Better later than never, eh?

Much has been said and written about this watch over the years, so I'll let my humble pictures do much of the talking.

And here it goes.... The official unboxing ceremony of the mighty SBGE001 8) :

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jikan Video Review: Seiko Ananta Spring Drive GMT Chronograph SPS007J

Yet another watch video review for the pleasure of our loyal readers. Enjoy!

See how this magnificent watch is put together by Seiko Japan:

Last Call: Higuchi Has Received Last Few Stocks of Seiko SBCM023 Quartz Divers

Seiko Prospex SBCM023 Quartz Diver Caliber 8F35

That's right folks. Higuchi has reported receiving what could possibly amount to be the very last shipment of brand new Seiko Prospex SBCM023 quartz divers here

He doesn't specify how many pieces he is got but all of them are up for grabs at this very moment at his usual great price. As a matter of fact, I just picked one up as this legendary 8F35 high accuracy diver with perpetual calendar and ISO rated 200m case is simply no more.

So there you have it. If you have been on the fence about this watch, the time to act on it is now. Keep in mind that existing inventories have been depleted all over Japan ever since Seiko announced the discontinuation of this model. This comes as no surprise because other JDM online retailer said that the SBCM023 was the best selling Seiko diver watch in Japan, bar none!.

Snooze and you will lose!

Edit: Higuchi says that as of 5/20/2011 he is completely sold out on this watch.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jikan Video Review: Citizen Chronomaster CTQ57-0961

Hope our dear readers enjoy this video review I recently prepared about this fabulous watch:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Win a Seiko Discus Burger!

I happened to see posted on the WUS Seiko/Citizen forum that monochrome.nl is offering to give away a free Seiko Discus Burger in celebration of the site's 5 year and 5 month anniversary.

Image from Monochrome.

The Seiko Discus is part of the Moving Design Collection and is a unique watch because it uses moving dials instead of hands to display the time.  Inside runs the 6R15 caliber.

Entry requires:
  1. Subscription to the Monochrome newsletter to receive the newest posts in your mailbox
  2. Become a fan of Monochrome on Facebook
  3. Become a fan of MB&F on Facebook
Check out the monochrome site for more details.

More "Casualties" Arising from Seiko's Latest Product Consolidation Efforts

Yesterday I was perusing the official Seiko Japan web page (www.seiko-watch.co.jp) and while checking out the mechanical watches under the "Brightz Phoenix" lineup, I discovered that the pair of 8L35 powered 200m divers (Models SAGQ005 & SAGQ007 respectively) are suddenly missing from the product catalog. My hunch is that these models did not sell well upon their 2010 introduction at Basel World (And to much fanfare in part of Seiko executives at the time). While I never had the pleasure to handle one it seems to me they looked a bit too generic given their $2K+ price tag. They actually have a strong resemblance to the now popular 7S26 powered Seiko divers nicknamed "Stargate".

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seiko JDM Discontinuations Continue

A reader sent in a note that the "Land Monster" models have been discontinued.  These are SARB047, SARB048 and SARB048.  These models were released a couple of years ago and were basically the case and bracelet of the regular Monster with a 6R15 caliber inside and a land oriented hand, dial and compass bezel.

Also hearing rumors that the green dialed SARB017 Alpinist is on its last legs.  At least that one has been around for a while longer.

All these discontinuations don't bother me so much as the lack of replacements does.  Hopefully some new models will be introduced in the next few months.

I wonder if all these changes have been planned or if the events associated with the earthquake have accelerated the decision making.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Video Friday: Grand Seiko Spring Drive 200m Divers

When you think of Grand Seiko watches, the first thing that comes to mind are classically styled, non-descript and superbly made high end timepieces. However, Grand Seiko was really never associated with sports or active lifestyle watches. That perception began to gradually change back in 2002, when the first ever GMT Grand Seiko was released, the SBGM001 9S mechanical. Then circa 2006 the Spring Drive GMT SBGE001 was released. This model features a 200m steel diver's case, complete with screw down crown at the 4 o'clock position, lumed hands/dial markers and a rotating 24 hour bezel made in sapphire and also lumed. The year 2007 also saw the release of the first ever Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Chronographs from the SBGC series sporting the then all new 9R86 movement.

But even until then, there wasn't a "True" ISO rated diver's watch under the GS umbrella. So in the Spring of 2008 Seiko introduced at the Basel fair the first ever pair of 200m rated Spring Driven ISO divers in both stainless steel and titanium cases and bracelets. Models SBGA029 (Steel) and SBGA031 (Titanium) made their debut and not without criticism from Seiko fans and others alike who perceived these models to be too similar looking to famous watch offerings from Swiss heavyweights such as Rolex and Omega. These models were a departure from the Grand Seiko watch design philosophy with their 44.3mm cases, ceramic rotating timing bezels, big "Cathedral" styled hands, power reserve indicator, and generous amounts of dial lume in the hands and markers. Also the bracelets have pins and collars instead of screws and the sport clasp has the same exact ratchet system diver's wet suit extension as found in tool divers from the Prospex range. And finally a nicely sized sports clasp with multiple micro-adjustment points. In sort, the new GS 200m Spring Drive 9R65 divers were viewed as a wild departure from the core principles of the brand.

Whether you like their styling or not, it is hard to ignore their significance and superb finishing, not too mention the innovative Spring Drive movement that powers them. Are these the ultimate luxury "Desk Divers"?

Video Friday: Grand Seiko 36000 Hi-Beat 9S85

The Grand Seiko 36000 Hi-Beat (SBGH001, SBGH005 & SBGH013) are considered to be the "Holy Grail" of mechanical watch lovers, and more so, of those who focus their collection on Japanese timepieces. Grand Seiko has a long history of hi-beat calibers that were produced in the 1960s and early 1970s. The current 9S85 caliber was released in 2009 after a forty year absence from the Grand Seiko product line. This model features a 55+ hour power reserve, +5/-3 seconds per day guaranteed accuracy (Better than Swiss COSC), and a 37 jewel hand assembled movement. The watch dimensions are 40mm case width by 13mm thick. Total weight is 151g with no bracelet links removed.

These watches are priced the same as high end Grand Seiko Spring Drive offerings. It is a very special watch and made for those who are fierce admirers of fine traditional watchmaking.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Seiko Izul Chronograph Video

The Izul chronograph is not mentioned much these days.  Released in 2007 and it is a marvel to look at.  Spring Drive chronograph.  Super cool rotary case design.  Check out the subdial hands.  They are the exact same shape used on Seiko stopwatches from the 1960's.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dear Citizen Watch Company -- Re: Signature Line

I love the Citizen Signature line, but you have to modernize the caliber selection.

Using a modified version of the E210 chronograph was a fantastic idea.  That is an excellent caliber (dare I say historical) and a perfect match for the quality of the Signatures.  I hope its use continues for many more years. The Grand Complication caliber is OK too for many of the same reasons.

But the other calibers have to go.  There's nothing wrong with them per say, but they are found in base models and are antiquated.  I am disappointed to see that with the new diver model for the Signature line you are continuing to use the E820 multifunction which is not very functional and a ho-hum three handed analog.  True they are perpetual calendars, but in this day and age, I don't think that is so innovative.  More importantly they are not fitting for a luxury watch line.

Please take advantage of your radio controlled analogue calibers.  I'm specifically referring to the three handed analogue H144 and the multi function H610.  Radio controlled.  Perpetual calendar.  Separate motors for the hour and minute hands makes the world timer, chronograph and alarm actually functional.  Cutting edge technology.  These are awesome calibers.   Premium calibers for premium watches.  You have them.  Nobody else does.

The Signature line is something special.  People want a special watch and that includes a special caliber inside.  The Appleseed GPS watch has created an incredible amount of attention.  Far more than I would have expected.  The market is ready for quartz to be special again.  Put your most special calibers in the Signature line.  Trust me on this one.