My love affair with Seiko started when I was maybe five or six years old. My father used to have a big fancy silver Seiko watch which I always admired. I never knew how to tell the time back then, so I would always ask him, and we would both together look at the dial.
I never understood time. I had no idea how it actually worked. But I knew dad had the answer by looking at his wrist.
He was a man that would wear his watch all the time. He would pretty much never take it off. But when he did, I was close by to try it on. I remember the immense size, the large men's sized dial hung over the edge of my wrist, and the band I am sure could have fitted around my whole body, but I wanted to be just like my dad, and have a big fancy watch.
It was like he had radar or something. As soon as I put it on my wrist, he would be on at me to "Put that back! It's not a toy!" I knew it was important if dad wouldn't let me play with it, "When you're a big boy, you can have your own watch" he would say.
The only time I was legitimately allowed to use it was on the long trip to see my grandparents on the far north coast of NSW. We would be nagging at dad to stop and let us get out of the car. He would always reply with 'In an hour, or forty minutes'. We didn't know what that meant.... He would take off his watch and point out on the dial where the big hand needed to be pointing in order for us to stop. He would always say 'It's not a toy - be careful with my watch'. I was the eldest, so it was my job to sit in the middle and be the 'neutral ground' between my two brothers, and therefore, I got to hold it. We would sit there endlessly watching for that hand to reach the destination.
I think in this early stage of life, I knew that a watch was an important thing. The constant nagging that it wasn't a toy confirmed this.
When I got older, maybe about 8 or 9, mum and dad presented me with my first watch. I remember it clearly. Its case was white as was the band, but the dial was actually an analogue LCD. It was an analogue just like my dad's, but it had this cool space age LCD screen.
I remember feeling so grown up. To be allowed to wear a watch. But it still wasn't like my dad's. I wasn't that grown up just yet. I wore the white watch for a while , and it broke while wrestling with my brother. I won by the way, but in order to win, you must make sacrifices - and my white watch was the victim.
Mum and dad were furious! "You need to take more care of your things!"
My plastic cased watch was dead. The band had broken the plastic case when my brother pulled it from my wrist. "You don't have a watch now, and you aren't getting another one" was the answer to my problem. I think they call that tough love, but I am seriously not convinced.
So I was watchless until I turned 18. For my 18th birthday mum and dad gave me some money to buy something I wanted. I remember dad telling me not to waste it. I should buy something 'good', something that will last a long time. Something I can look back on and remember that is what mum and dad gave me for my coming of age.
I bought a Seiko
It was a Seiko alarm chronograph. It was stainless steel, with a blue dial and had a rotating bezel.
It was awesome! It was just like my dad's only better. His was a three hands calendar - and mine had an alarm and stopwatch! Haha beat that dad!
When I was purchasing it, I remembered those words my father said to me... "Buy something good". If my father had worn a Seiko all those years, and treasured it so much, it was the only choice I could make.
I hadn't worn a watch for so many years, and had no shame in showing off to anyone I met my new fancy watch. Anyone I told knew Seiko, "They've been around for years", "That's the best watch you can get" they would say.
I was addicted. I loved my watch! I wore it every day. Just like dad, it never came off my wrist.
When I turned 21, that's the other coming of age apparently. Mum and dad gave me some more money and gave me that 'buy something good' spiel. What do you think I bought? Yep, another Seiko.
This one was a Kinetic. It had a see-thru back, so you could see the movement working inside.
It was beautiful. The latest technology, and again, I had no shame in showing it off. I loved my two Seikos.
Every now and then when I was in the shops I would look in on the jewellers and see what the new Seikos looked like. Whoops, there was another purchase, oh dear, and another one. Pretty soon I had gotten up to 15. All of the Seiko. I looked at other brands, but Seiko was important to me.
I remember showing my grandfather my latest purchase while visiting him in their new house, closer to our home. He told me he had an old Seiko somewhere packed away. 'I will have to find it and show you'.
Next visit, my Pa was good to his word, he located his old Seiko. It was an Automatic Chronograph, (a Calibre 6139 for the Seiko buffs - affectionately known as the 'Pepsi' watch because of the red and blue bezel), it was in pretty good condition since it was purchased by him back in the early 1970's. The glass was scratched, the band and case had a few knocks, but it still worked when we gave it a shake. He said he wore that watch every day at work. It accompanied him on his travels, and helped him to stay out of strife with my Nanna for being late.
Seiko cal 6139 Pepsi watch and calculator He told me the story of when he purchased it. It was a jeweller on George street in Sydney. He told me he would go in there every week and try it on. He was going to eventually buy it, but in his negotiations to 'get a good deal' he failed. The jeweller wouldn't budge on the price, and knowing how stubborn my Pa is, he was not going to buy it without a decent discount.
For about six months this went on.
He visited the jeweller once again. 'You know what', the jeweller said, you come in here every week, tie up my staff trying it on and going through the whole sales process but you never make a purchase. What do I have to do to get you to walk out the door with the watch on your wrist?' Pa explained to me with that cheeky grin he gets when he is up to no good, that he gave the jeweller a ridiculously reduced price that he was prepared to pay. The jeweller reluctantly agreed, and Pa walked out the shop with the watch on his wrist.
He started to tell me a few stories of him wearing it at work, and on holiday. Stories I had never heard. Stories that came to mind all because of his Seiko watch. Stories that I would more than likely have never heard if it wasn't for my love of Seiko.
He turned to me and said "You like Seiko watches so much, I want you to have it".
"I don't need it anymore. I am retired. I get out of bed when I want, I eat when I am hungry, I sleep when I am tired, and let's be honest, your grandmother keeps me on time".
I put it on my wrist and it fit perfectly.
The next week I took it to a jeweller and asked them to replace the glass and clean it up a bit. A few weeks later I picked it up and it looked brand new. The next time I saw my Pa I took it along to show him. "Wow, that looks brand new! I should have kept it!" I gave it back to him and told him I wanted him to wear it again. He refused, pointing at my grandmother, 'that is my watch'.
Seiko was in my blood. From my grandfather, to my father and now me. The brand was part of my family.
The collection kept growing and growing. It had become so large that my youngest brother's HSC woodwork project was to build me a watch cabinet.
After his exams, and the exhibition I came home from work to discover this huge wooden showcase, complete with a locking door, glass shelves and a see through front in my bedroom. It was just shy of the ceiling and as wide as an elephant. He came into my room and explained it was for my watches. I immediately started setting them up in their new home. It was much easier to make a selection in the morning when I could see them all laid out.
I was very touched by this. My brother knew of my love of watches, and had taken the time to build it with me and my collection in mind.
My watch collection is renown throughout our whole extended family. Whenever I would see a cousin, or an aunty or uncle, they would insist on being shown the latest purchase.
My brother's wedding was no exception. Seiko even outshone the bride to be when I plastered on Facebook the day before that I had picked up my $10,000 Seiko Ananta Spring Drive Chronograph that I had saved so hard for. No-one was interested in the bride. All they wanted to see was my watch! That was five years ago, and I still watch my back when she is around.
Seiko Ananta Spring Drive SPS007J1 When looking to buy a new watch there is only one prerequisite. It will be a Seiko.
I do not have a set way to buy a new Seiko. Generally I will browse through the app or website and build a list of ones I like. I am pretty clued up on the technology offered by Seiko, and this can be seen throughout the different collections. I have more Kinetic watches than anything else. The whole idea of not needing to change a battery appealed to me. It is still one of the newest watch technologies on the market in any brand. Solar is another technology that Seiko seems to be investing in nowadays, which means it is starting to be seen in my watch cabinet.
There are a lot of watches in my cabinet that do not get worn anymore. As fashion changes, so does my taste. There is not one in my collection that I regret buying. But there are a lot that do not see the light of day anymore. The were 'me' back in the day, but as I get older my taste and fashion change. So let's just say they do not suit me these days.
There are also a lot of watches that I look at with pride. Milestone watches. Like the watch I wore to my brother's wedding - the one that my father points out cost more than his house. Or the watch that my Pa gave me. There are some quirky unusuals, like the Final Fantasy watch from 2001 that I had to bribe the lady in the jewellery store with donuts to give me the display it sat upon once they sold the last one. Or the limited edition Seiko Astron GPS Solars I have bought - four of them to be exact.
Seiko Final Fantasy Watch W444-4000 Limited Edition Last year I served 15 years with the company I work for, and was given a handsome sum of money to celebrate this milestone. I invested it in a Grand Seiko Automatic Hi-Beat.
I had always known about Grand Seiko, it was something that was generally out of my reach - my pockets are not that deep - and something that never really appealed to me. The design I always felt was too conservative, and too grown up. Funny thing was, I was grown up.
When I decided to purchase a Grand Seiko, I did some research and decided I would go with the traditional mechanical movement. It just seemed right that I keep with Grand Seiko's core tradition. They were assembled and finished by hand, and the grand Seiko standard exceeded the COSC (that is Swiss talk for accuracy). I had great delight in pointing out to my Omega, Tag, Rolex etc wearing contemporaries that my watch was more accurate than theirs!
This year Seiko is celebrating 50 years of diver's watches. Ok,I am not a diver. I am scared of the whole thought of diving. Stuck under the water relying on canned oxygen for survival - NO THANKS! I will not let the fact that I am not a diver and more scared of water than a 5 year old is of the boogie man stop me from exchanging some of my hard earned bucks on a few Seiko diver's watches. Seiko released a few special edition models in the new Prospex range, and you guessed it, I bought them all...
Looking into this diver's watch caper was pretty darn interesting, and seeing Seiko at the forefront of developing diver's watch technology. I was amazed to hear the accordion style band was actually a Seiko invention, and that the International Standard for diver's watches was actually written using Seiko's standard.
Why are they all Seiko I get asked often. They are all Seiko because this is what is in my blood. This is the brand that my family came to trust to tell the time. This is the brand that has seen, and been rewarded to me for milestones in my life.
I now have several hundred Seiko's and it is still growing. I purchased just this week a Marinemaster 300, which would have to be one of the most beautiful watches I have ever seen. I love its simplicity, the robustness with the one piece case, and the deep dish dial. I must say, this one has certainly turned some heads.
Seiko Marinemaster 300m Automatic For anyone who intends to start collecting Seiko watches - DO IT!! It is addictive. It is expensive. It does take up a lot of room when you get to the several hundreds, but it is worth it.