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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings,

A friend of mine and I had a watch swap so that we could check out each other's watch. I sent him my Bell & Ross and he sent me his Seiko Spring Drive (SNR001). I posted an image of the watch on the "what are you wearing today" thread and a couple of people made comments asking what I thought of it. Well...here's what I think.



Firstly, Seiko has done an incredible job with their Spring Drive series. There is a nice article on the Spring Drive in the November 2007 issue of iW magazine. I thought it interesting that Seiko decided to introduce the Spring Drive as an effort, not only to move them up the status ladder of horology, but to stay competitive in the watch market as a whole. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, the Chinese are probably going to be taking over the lower end watch industry in the same way they're taking over other manufacturing segments.

In any case, you know you're holding quality right from the box. The design of the case is solid and modern - decidedly modern - and the fit and finish is wonderful; certainly on par with other $3-$5k watches.

The design of the white face, hands and markers is also modern, though I have to admit that while I like the clean look I think that they can be difficult to see in both bright and low light. But, this can be said for many dress watches (especially those with white or silver dials) so I guess I really don't hold that against it.

The dial has a sweep second hand, date window at 3 o'clock and a 70-hour power reserve indicator in the lower right quadrant. The power reserve indicator is a cool complication, but if I were to niggle a bit I'd have to say that I thought it was too big and would like to see it smaller - as it is in the "small seconds" version of the Spring Drive.

My friend sent me the OEM bracelet as well as a black leather strap (which I assume is not OEM). I have not installed the bracelet as I'd have to put a link back in and such, but I also have to say that I prefer this particular version of the Spring Drive on the strap. I think it cuts some of the ultra-modern styling and gives it a classy, dressier look. The bracelet itself is nice. The finishing is nice, but it has a deployant style clasp that I don't particularly care for on bracelets. However, I'll admit that I'm biased. I now compare every bracelet to the one on my Glashütte Original and, quite frankly, that's a measure not many watch makers can meet.



The heart of this watch is, of course, Seiko's Spring Drive movement. There is some great information in the iW magazine article, as well as on Seiko's web site, so I won't try to explain the differences between it and other mechanical movements - only to say that it does incorporate an ingenious integrated circuit to control the regulation.

But don't ask me how it actually gets powered. As an artist - and a blonde - who doesn't do well with engineering type stuff I know that I could never understand it fully myself, let alone explain it with those two strikes against me. But I can say that the accuracy is uncanny. I set the watch when I took it out of the box and it hasn't gained or lost any time in several days. That's right. It's running at +/- ZERO seconds/day.

The watch does have a screw-on display back, so you can see the movement. The finishing is quite nice, but there isn't much in the way of decoration and no gold and no blued screws. According to the iW article, the Seiko watchmakers are still learning about movement decoration. Some of the limited edition watches have more decoration, but not the production models. Though they have hired a good teacher as their consultant - Phillippe Dufour - so I expect that the decoration on the Spring Drive movements is only going to get better and better as time goes on.



So what do I think? Well, it's a very, very nice watch and I'm enjoying wearing it quite a bit. Do I want to own one? No. Let me qualify. Not this one - and it has nothing to do with it being a Seiko or not being being made in the more traditional regions of watchmaking in Switzerland or Germany.

It's aesthetics. My favorite watches are those that incorporate classic/vintage styling along with modern elements. It's how I design interiors, pair art pieces and how I dress. The Seiko Spring Drive is modern, modern, modern. There's nothing wrong with that, but as such just doesn't hit that right chord with my sensibilities. The leather strap softens its vibe, but it's still a very modern watch. There are, however, other variations in the Spring Drive line that I do like very much - like the small seconds version (and the moon phase is magnificent).

I think that my aesthetic impressions were confirmed during my photo session. I kept trying to put the watch into a vintage setting to satisfy my sensibilities, and while the photos came out OK, I think it's a very modern looking watch and it looks best with plain backgrounds and higher key lighting.

Overall, I like it quite a bit. It's comfortable on the wrist, has wonderful fit and finish and accuracy I'm not sure any other mechanical could out perform. Can't take away any points there. It's an in-house calibre of both design and manufacture - so no points lost there either. It's like choosing any other luxury watch, you just have to find a design that speaks to you.

As an addendum, while the one I'm wearing isn't my favorite version visually, I would own either one of these. The very modern elements are cut a bit by a more classic "look" on the face design. I love the moon phase. How the moon is fashioned is very Japanese. Just stunning! :drool::drool:





Hope this was enjoyable!

-Ben
 

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Thanks for a great read, Ben. Very insightful. I enjoyed it - and learned quite a bit, too.
I think you're analysis of the styling is dead-on.
It is very modern. Yet I find it clean and classic. Maybe that's Neo-classic.
Again, my thanks!
 

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Something that struck me, but maybe not others, it the Spring Drive's absolutely perfect second hand sweep. Most of us are used to 28K bpm watches where there are multiple "ticks" within each second. The effect of a 28K or higher bpm watch is close to a pure sweep but not perfect as there still is a bit of a "jaggy" in the motion.

I challenge everyone here to stare at a Spring Drive and not be mesmerized by the perfect sweep. I find it fascinating, but I'm easily amused.:001_tt2:
 

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Awesome review! The Spring Drive series is just another of the many reasons to consider a Seiko. Well done. :thumbup:

Gary
 

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wow thanks for the review. you forgot to show us the case back and the bracelet. i like the moon phase too haven't seen that one
 

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Well thought out and written review and stunning photography.

I enjoyed that a lot.:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

Thanks for sharing.

So, did your friend like your Bell and Ross?
 

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Well thought out and written review and stunning photography.

I enjoyed that a lot.:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

Thanks for sharing.

So, did your friend like your Bell and Ross?

Ditto, and if you're considering sending away your B & R again, feel free to PM me for my address... :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:
 
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