Things I Love: My Mechanical Watch

Seiko 5 watch case back
... a bit like this

The first Thing I Love is my Seiko 5 Automatic. This watch is not special. It is not Swiss. It is not a chronograph. It has very few complications. But it has a transparent case back (similar to the image at right). It works with no fuss, and while it works it provides me with a touchstone. A connection to the world of physics and pure mechanics. There are no transistors or batteries in this watch. There is no silicone.

When I’m struggling to overcome the inevitable electrocomputational dilemma of the day, I often find myself unstrapping this watch, turning it over, and gently rocking the rotor from side to side. If I press my ear to the case as I do this, I can hear the tiny two-way ratchet schtschtschtschting across the sub-millimetre cogs on the winding wheel.

It makes me happy.

I love it.

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  1. Yeah there’s something to be said for precision mechanical engineering that just keeps running flawlessly – I have my Dad’s watch, and old Omega Seamaster.

  2. Just like my Dad – he wears his too, about 50 years old now (the watch). Laughs at me spending $10 at The Warehouse for a new watch, like I’m extravagent! 😯

  3. Loved this post!

    I’m perversely fond of my clunky old Nokia phone – b&w screen, no camera, no mp3 – just a compact, reliable little phone that’s served me well for several years. People laugh at it, but I don’t care.

  4. Just bear in mind that the 7S26 is a chinese made movement with a life expectancy of about 3 years. It’s a cheap drop-in replacement for the superior 7009. There’s an upgraded version of it which is in turn another drop-in replacement, the 7S36 which is less prone to issues. It’s weakpoint is that the bearing surfaces on the mainspring wear out very quickly.

    It’s predecessor the 7009 was usually good for at least 20 years as long as it was serviced every 3-5 years.

    Regardless, exhibition-back automatics are still cool.

  5. Yeah Steve, I made a point of checking that mine is a 7S36A before buying. It’s no Swiss movement by any stretch, but in another couple of years I might have a go at servicing it myself just for kicks.

    Worst case is a replacement movement 😀

  6. I love my Antex 15w soldering iron.

    I've had that little guy for 24 years and I know I can plug it in tomorrow and it will melt stuff as well as the day I got it.

  7. I have a mechanical, albeit automatic, Seiko Diver’s 200M Watch and it’s never off my wrist. Looks just as good as the day I bought it about 5 years ago. And it’s not Swiss!

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