2016-01-31

No 116 & 174 - Orient Star Diver

This is a perfect example of when I’m not sure about whether I should make one post or two separate. This time I decided to bunch the two Star Diver’s into one post. Neither of them stayed for very long and I don’t have very much to say about them I think. It’s just stupid to make two separate posts and keep repeating myself. 

Orient’s Star Diver is commonly thought of as the equivalent to Seiko’s Marine Master 300 (SBDX001). They are two 300m dive watches which are rather similar size-wise. While the MM300 only comes with a black dial the Orient has a couple of different colors to choose from. I’ve had the black and the yellow dialed versions but there are at least an orange, a red and a white dialed version that I know of. Oh, and also there is a black dialed two tone version which is such a badass! I really know nothing about Orient and their automatic movements. These two are the only Orient's I've had and I haven't found a single other model that have looked interesting enough to catch my attention. What made the Star Diver stand out was its power reserve meter and that the date window was positioned at 9 o’clock which is rather unusual. I have only good things to say about the quality. I found both watches to be built really well and the detail finish was above what could be expected from a watch in this price range. The automatic movement in both watches ran super accurate. 

I bought my first one in January 2012. It was the black dialed version. It was a full set and came on the bracelet which I immediately changed for the rubber strap. Much better! I’m not sure but I think the Star Diver might be bigger than the MM300, perhaps with just a millimeter or so but that difference made it wear much better than the MM300. At least that’s how I experienced it.

#116 - The Orient Star Diver 300m ref. WZ0251FD.



My second Star Diver was bought in May 2013. It had the yellow dial and was also a full set. It was delivered to me on the rubber and I never even bothered to try it on the bracelet. I knew it wasn’t going to work out. The yellow color was amazing. It had a hint of a sparkle finish to it and really made the watch come alive in the sunlight. This was the perfect summer watch. I just love yellow dials! Even more than I love orange dials I think.

#174 - The yellow dialed ref. WZ0271FD.




Out on a spring evening power walk in Stockholm.

None of them got to go on any real adventures which they both deserved very much. The Star Diver really is a solid watch and being half as expensive as a MM300 I think it’s a much wiser choice. Adding the fact that it kicks the MM300’s ass I would say it’s an obvious choice! If you try to get a hold of one I would recommend you to try and find the ones with the older logo (like the ones I’ve had). The recent Star Diver’s has the new Orient logo which must be one of the ugliest designs of all time.

It turned out I had much more to say about the Star Diver than I first thought. This is actually a great dive watch which I can do nothing else than to recommend to all of you that I haven't given it a try yet. Just do it!


© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted.

2016-01-27

No 113 & 332 - Seiko H558-500X


Arnold Schwarzenegger proudly posing with his Seiko H558-5000. (picture borrowed. unknown source)

Made famous when being worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in some classic 80's movies like Raw Deal, Predator and Commando and therefore nicknamed “Arnie”. Ever since the Arnie came to my attention I kept an extra eye out looking for one and in January 2012 it finally showed up and surprisingly it was located on home ground. It was quite wide (45mm excl. crown) and wore almost like a Tuna but without being as thick. It had a small crack in the plastic shroud at 6 o’clock but I never bothered to have it replaced. It still held together and fulfilled its purpose of protecting the bezel. However I changed the battery and bought a new flat vent Z-22 rubber for it because I think I might have received it on a black zulu. Yuck! It functioned perfectly and even think the little backlight for the digital display started to work after the battery change. I was a little disappointed when I learned that the depth meter scale wasn’t actually an analog depth meter like on an Aqualand. Instead it was a scale of how to calculate your speed when ascending from a dive. Boring!

#113 - The Seiko H558-5000 a.k.a. Arnie.




I can’t believe it took me about three months selling this watch. I wasn’t even asking much for it. I just wanted my money in return which was about $300-350 something. Today it would have been gone like that! Finally my dear bro Ricrob sacrificed himself and embraced it with open arms (well almost anyway! The little cheapskate still had to shave off a couple of dollars to close the deal). Prices have gone up a little since then but not as crazy as e.g. the Giugiaro’s from the Alien movies has increased. Extra fun to own one if you’re a Schwarzenegger fan but even if you’re not it’s still a cool piece to have in your collection.

Wrist shot after a skiing accident in February 2012. Got away with only a minor concussion, a hip fracture, a blue battered body and a torn ligament in my left thumb.


UPDATE - January 10th 2017.

Last year in the end of November I managed to get a hold of the orange version in a trade. The condition was absolutely stunning and it had recently gone through a service. All gaskets had been replaced and it was waterproof to 150m. The movement worked flawlessly and the watch was just perfect in general. I instantly had people asking me when I was going to flipp it and I eventually ended up selling it to another crazy Seiko flipper, Seikosthlm on Instagram, who perhaps some of you might know.

#332 - The orange "Arnie", ref. H558-500A.


Such an awesome watch!



© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted.

2016-01-24

No 112, 131 & 334 - Seiko SBBN007

The first time I ever saw the so called “Tuna” I thought they were equally ugly as the Orange Monster and I ignored all I saw for sale. They weren’t the least interesting to me. Then something happened. I don’t know what it was but suddenly one day I just woke up and understood what the Tuna’s were all about. They’d transformed from something hideous to something beautiful and what I saw was a hardcore dive watch. The SBBN007 was my first acquaintance in the Tuna family. At first I didn’t like that the 6, 9 and 12-index’s had the extra outer lining but I grew to appreciate them more and more and looking back on all the Tuna’s I’ve had so far I find this dial to be the best looking. As most of the newer Tuna’s this one also house the reliable 7c46 quartz movement. My first SBBN007 was delivered to me on the rubber from a SBBN017 which made it look so much better than the horrible V-vent Z22-rubber that I think was the standard rubber it was being sold with. 

#112 - The Seiko SBBN007. A member of the Tuna family. 

My second SBBN007 had a second hand with a red tip which I’m not one hundred percent sure of if it was original or after market. My friend Magnus helped me out switching the insert for a bleached pepsi-insert from a SKX009. Wore this one on the original Seiko flat vent Z22-rubber. 

#131 - The second SBBN007. Modified with a bleached pepsi-insert.

Out in the archipelago having a break after some pike fishing.

Since the SBBN007 was discontinued it has become a little harder to source and prices can now exceed used SBBN017's and sometimes even the SBBN015's. I think the SBBN007 is a fantastic beater and I know I will have at least on more before I'm done. I have an idea of having it fitted with a black insert and a black shroud. I’m pretty sure it would look really good. 


UPDATE - January 11th 2017.

Just as I had foreseen. The mod mentioned above just had to be done and when my buddy Nic (Seikosthlm) got a hold of a 007 in mid-December last year I saw my chance. Both the shroud and insert was ordered from Yobokies. The shroud was actually quite expensive. About $150. Worth it though! I think it turned out really badass. For once it got a toolier look but also it brought out more of a vintage feel to it thanks to the black insert which made it resemble a vintage 7549 Tuna. 
 
#334 - My third SBBN007. Worn on a DAL1BP rubber.

Waiting for the train.

So. Frakking. Good.

The complete kit just before I sold it.


© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted.

2016-01-22

No 110 - Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600

When this one showed up for sale there was no time for hesitation. It was a ’96 full set and it had recently gone through a full service. Its tritium dial and hand set had been replaced with luminova parts but the original dial and hands were still a part of the kit. To me this was just perfect since I always prefer some proper lume before moldy tritium. This was back in December 2011 and the price it was being sold for was considered really low even back then; hence no time for hesitation. So what else could I do? Why go through the Submariner/GMT phase when I was given the opportunity to go directly for the big boy?

Unboxing the Sea-Dweller gave me a special feeling. This was somehow a proper watch. A freakin' legend for god's sake! The feeling of having something that to others might have looked like a Submariner at first glance, when it actually was something a little bigger, better and badder, made me feel so good. “Sorry, if it’s a what? A Submariner? Oh no, you see it’s a Sea-Dweller!” I know it sounds weird but this watch had an obvious impact on me and it somehow made me feel important and gave me a huge confidence boost. Crazy I know but wearing it was like tripping on some good drugs. I was invincible!

#110 - The Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600.



Like all trips the feeling wore off after a while. Instead I started to feel a little uncomfortable wearing such an expensive watch. Had I taken this big step too fast? My previously most expensive watch before the Sea-Dweller had been the IWC 3538 and the difference between the IWC and the Rolex had been more than $1200. I was also a bit reluctant to freeze that much funds in a single watch and I when I started to think about how many cheaper dive watches I was missing out on because of it I decided to part with the Sea-Dweller. 


The 16600 is one of my all-time favorite Rolex references and I’m forever going to regret selling it. As for most used Rolex’s the prices skyrocketed during 2015 so if I would want another one again I just would have to accept the fact and pay up. Comparing the 16600 to the Submariner 14060M, which is the watch I’ve been wearing the most during 2015, I actually think I prefer the slimmer proportions of the 14060M to the bulkier 16600. However, there is a certain intangible mystery to the Sea-Dweller's that the regular Submariners will never acquire. That's just a fact.


© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted.

2016-01-18

No 109 & 214 - MKII Blackwater

Let’s get on with one more classic from MKII! The Blackwater. Another one of all those homages to the old Benrus Vietnamn watch. This one might be the best one of them though.

I got my first one in late November 2011. I had a guy responding to one of my want-to-buy-adds and it turned out that he just lived a couple of blocks away from me. I remember running to him fast as hell in the pouring rain early one Saturday morning. Unfortunately it turned out to be the version I was looking for the least but it had to do for the moment. I didn’t want to have made that miserable run for nothing and I also felt a little forced to buy it since this gentleman had responded so quickly and I pretty much wrote back “I’ll take it!” without asking any questions. Classic flipper disease syndrome! This was the MOD2RC which has a different bezel from the original Benrus and was fitted with the Type I dial.

#109 - The MKII Blackwater. MOD1RC.

My second one was a MOD2C which I bought in February 2014. It had the correct bezel I was looking for but it also had the Type I dial like the first one so it wasn’t perfect. Its bezel insert was beautifully worn down and had begun to fade. This one faced some trouble when it was sold. I was down at the post office handing over two parcels. One contained the Blackwater and the other a Seiko 7548-7000. The next day my friend Björn calls me saying he received a MKII and not a Seiko. I then realize the cashier must have mixed up the two address labels so the watches went to the wrong recipient. Both watches were sent with an extra insurance option and were supposed to be handled with extra care by the employees. I went back and asked them how this could have happend and according to the lady who'd helped me the day before this was absolutley impossible and she refused to accept she'd made a mistake. Luckily I had sent the watches to two honest guys and all turned out good in the end.

#214 - The MOD1C with some beautiful patina.



So which configuration have I been searching for all this time? The MOD2A with the traditional bezel and the Type-II dial of course! I just love that setup. But unfortunately like with all the older MKII’s the Blackwater’s are just becoming more and more expensive and I don’t think they are worth paying what people are asking for for them today.


© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted.