Half duplex nerd

More on watch madness - the Seiko SBDB001

Posted on 28 Oct 2005.

Velociphile has a nice re-post of ten lessons from a watch collector.

One of them is

Just buy that Lange (or Patek, or Rolex, or Vacheron, or whatever your personal Grand Ultimate Fetish Object is) first, and save yourself some agony and expense. Once you've gotten The Best, you may be able to resist a lot of impulse purchases, and avoid cluttering up your house with watchwinders, cases, and so on.

For me, after much searching, this is it, my personal GUFU:


Seiko SBDB001


Here's another picture, next to my current watch:


Update 8/8/08: Duncan McMorrin and gave me his pictures to add. Thanks, Duncan!

click for big

Quick factoids for you:

Why this one?

So, you ask, why this one? What makes it the GUFO for me?

Hmm. I like auto divers quite a lot. I love the SpringDrive movement; it's a really cool advance from mechanical. Ten times as accurate as my current watch. I place a high value on legibility, and this has it in spades, both time and GMT.

I also fly, and for that a GMT hand and legibility are paramount. I have a pilot's watch, but it's so busy-faced as to be unreadable. I much prefer flying with my diver, which I can read instantly and in bad lighting.

I also like the fact that this is a really odd watch, so no one is going to recognize it. This is not something where even the average Seiko fan will recognize it, so it's more internal gratification than external recognition; I like it that way. If you want bling, buy a Rolex.

If I get back into diving (likely), I dunno if I'll have the guts to dive with this; its one more thing to worry about damaging. I'll probably just wear my yellow-face diver instead. It's nice to know that this one would dive as well, well past any depth I'll ever get to.

The Bad News

The bad news: List price is 450 thousand yen. Discounted, that's about three grand USD.

Wow. Here I used to disrespect the Rolex fanboys, and I discover this shameful need for a massively over-engineered and overpriced bit of newly obsolete technology.

Not to mention the fact that no real diver would ever spend this much on a watch when dive computers have replaced watches anyway. Then again, it's a magnificent ode to a world passed by, and one hell of a cool watch.

More information

I highly recommend that you read these threee reviews. The first has a great deal of history, and an extensive comparison with the Marinemaster that preceded it:

Various and sundry thoughts on the Seiko 600M SpringDrive

The second is a bit shorter, and has more details on the movement and specs:

1 week with the Spring Drive Marine Master

The third is TimeZone, and quite good: Seiko Spring Drive 600M Diver... Information and mimi review

The ever-trusty Watch Report has a nice one-pager: The Seiko Marinemaster GMT Spring Drive (Ref SBDB001)

Lastly, Timezone has a great in-depth look at SpringDrive that's quite interesting. The Watch Report has a nice writeup on SpringDrive as well.


Every good case of gadget infatuation starts with pictures; here's are a couple picture galleries of this watch:

Got cash?

If you want one and (unlike me) can afford it, there's only a couple of reputable dealers who can import it. (For reasons known only to them, it's not sold outside Japan.)


It verges on criminally stupid to even consider spending this much on a watch, really. Then again, if we can't save for things that make us happy, what exactly are we living for anyway?

We'll see if my infatuation holds out, but it's lasted two months so far and isn't abating. Not a good sign for my future.

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