Saturday, 19 September 2020

shimming the axle

 I've noted when undoing my axle that there is too much play for my taste (less is better) when the axle takes the forces of the motor torque (in order to power foward).

So I've added a shim of 0.3mm Aluminium Flashing to wrap around the axle to not only take up that, but move the future damage to that shim not keep letting the axle chew out the fork.

So, for the interested,  here's a video on that


Saturday, 12 September 2020

Cash Strapped Straps

 I finally got the straps for my two new Seikos and after farting about with a few band (all cheapies) lashed out (nearly a month ago) for this pair which I thought would suit the characters of these two watches nicely

The Green SRPE65K1


Each band was under AU$20.

They've made the watches feel nicer on and more balanced. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. I still have the NATO's or straps if I feel the desire to move back or just have a change, but I am pretty sure that aside from the black one (which might get a steel bracelet) the brown and the green is pretty good on the Budget Alpinist, and much better than the cheapo strap shown in that post.

I somehow still feel weird about having two almost identical watches, but there it is

Thursday, 10 September 2020

The Seiko Budget Alpinist (and perhaps term coined?)

 Some time back I purchased the Seiko SRPE61K1 which is dubbed the Dress KX by some and did a quick review (here), however while searching for it a model appeared which I'd not heard of before (well and I'm no watch watcher) which was cheaper than the 61K1, the SRPE65K1 AU*4 

Which I was tempted by but kept on with the search of the 61K1 which I thought was significantly more lustrous with its sunburst dial.

After I had the 61K1 for a while I found that unlike my other watches that lovely dial was in some lights making it hard to see where the hands are. Great if you're after a time piece you like to admire for a bit but annoying when trying to find the time at a glance. So I thought it actually be easier to read the green one (there was a charcoal option too) in some lights and thought "oh what the hell" and bought it.

Having already struggled with the NATO band (which I like for comfort but which puts the watch further away from my wrist thus exacerbating the feeling of weight) I thought I'd try a brown strap and ordered one on eBay too.

I've had the watch for a while now and been using it variously with the standard NATO and a green plain strap which I discussed here:

and generally feels nicer than the NATO for the above mentioned reason. The brown band arrived in due course (comming from China) and when I fitted it I was pretty instantly of the view that it made the watch look like an earlier model Alpinist (but of course without the hands or that compass rotating dial). 

I noted that Seiko have recently bumped up which are now more expensive and over AU$1000 now for the Alpinist. So in many ways at AU$360 for this 65K1 (and just $10 for that leather strap) I think that for all but the collectors this watch is a bargain.

Some time back now I also bought a green strap (well and another too) for my Seiko Sports 100 which I thought I'd try on this guy which I liked, but not as much as the brown strap. 

I hope you also found value for the video tip above which shows not only my other nylon fabric strap but also an advantage for slimmer wristed people in putting the buckle down.


Sunday, 6 September 2020

Hanging off my wrist

Regular readers of my blog may notice that I recently decided to re-start wearing a watch; however this is a little misleading because my break without a watch has been perhaps less than it seems.

Of course I started wearing a watch in school in the 70's because it was important to know the time and (hard to imagine for kids today) we didn't have phones. In the 80's I bought this watch: 

which I wore pretty much daily in conditions which would perhaps horrify the Rolex Watch Snob Set (distinct from just people who own a Rolex because to them its the same effective price this watch was at $200 when it was released in 1979 and they happen to like them).

Some time in about 2005 I stopped wearing it because simply the battery ran out and being over seas at the time (and having a mobile phone) didn't really need to.

It could be argued that I didn't have a watch again until May (but that would not be strictly true) this year when I bought this nice little Seiko 5 because I wanted a fully mechanical watch (which were sort of out of fashion when I bought the Sports 100 above).

its worth mentioning that while both have "analogue dials" the little Seiko 5 is fully mechanical:

not an electronic hybrid of gears to drive the hands but electronics to keep the time (Quartz) but merely mechanical hands (because digits are another argument all together)

(*the above taken when I changed my battery after being inspired to get it going as a result of enjoying the Seiko 5)

I liked the Seiko 5, but gradually found that without my glasses on and in lower light  I simply struggled to find the time on it. Partly this was because the hands are small and partly because the face is just a bit busy without clear indicators of the positions. I found myself wanting the simplicity of my older Sports 100 dial where the face was clear of distractions and the primary 12, 3, 6 and 9 (compass) points were clear. Soon enough YouTube had, through the few searches I had made to find which Seiko 5 (because there are quite a few), pushed up the Dress KX to me and suddenly I found the watch I was looking for

A lovely dial (and btw, I still love the metallic orange of the Sports 100 that I've had now for around 35 years) that's uncluttered and by the shapes easy to see the time.

It has a sort of "nod" to the style of a divers watch while not being as utilitarian and doesn't waste space on the rotating bezel, which I don't really need.

Fairly quickly however I became aware of "hey, this things heavy" and feel bulky, which although I'd had a (pseudo) Diver for most of my time I found that indeed it was thicker and heavier than my Sports 100 ... now I'm sure that was a marketing aspect of the watch back in 1979 when it was first released, but it came as a discovery to me (some 40 years later) how advanced this watch was.


The differences feel more than appear, but as best as I could I tried to photograph it in a way to explain this

relative to the aged Sports 100 (bottom of course) the "KX" is nearly 30% thicker while the Seiko 5 is only about 13% thicker (and I must say didn't feel significantly different on the wrist. Indeed due to its nice nylon strap felt lighter.


The scales tell an interesting story, these figures are watch alone (straps removed)

Watch Weight (g)
Sports 100 62.55
Seiko 5 47.24
Dress KX 59.68

Which explains why the 5 felt so light but the KX and the Sports 100 are actually more similar, which leads me to ask myself "why does it feel heavier"?


I think that the answer is found in the balance of the band and the watch, for the watch does not sit alone on your wrist. Now at the moment the Sports 100 alone has a metal bracelet, which makes a difference compared to the light weights of the nylon straps on the other two watches.

The bracelet on the Sports 100 weighs 33.64g, which is almost the weight of just the Seiko 5 watch, which comes with a nylon strap that weighs a mere 14g - bringing watch and strap to 61.32g or lighter than just the Sports 100 watch.

When putting that on you can feel its heavier, but its the balance and smooth fit (shit, its been on my wrist for over 20 years, you can be sure its had some minor metal bending to fit) means that its weight is not as watch imbalanced and so sits more evenly weighted (and doesn't tend to hang on a band that weighs a small fraction of the watch.

Worse, the KX came with a NATO strap which is not only lighter but causes the watch to sit above the strap and therefore a few mm further up than the other watches.

Don't get me wrong, the NATO feels nice and distributes the weight, but I know when I change it out to the green strap I bought to experiment with on the Sports 100 it feels "better". It makes me feel that NATO straps make more sense on lighter thinner watches. Which interestingly is how it was generally speaking "back in the day" as this blog makes clear. (an image I poached)

These watches however are all pretty similar, the 5 is 42.7mm the Sports 100 is 43.7 and KX is 44mm, which is actually not surprising they are so close because I typically shun bigger ostentatious watches.

So where does this leave me. 

Well for a start it leaves me with two really nice watches (as well as my old faithful running again now) and significantly informed by the journey. I bought the Seiko 5 because I wanted a "gentle in" to a new watch (in case for instance I lost interest) and was actually initially "inspired by a friends post on Facebook of a nice  military replica field watch. I also had another friend who collects (a little) WW2 era field watches and being more of an outdoor person wanted something more along that line.

Below you can see the two new Seikos side by side with the price (in Australian dollars) each cost me.

Given that the 5 comes in all manner of configurations, it occurs to me now (if there was such a thing as a watch shop anymore{certainly not out here}) I could have done some window shopping and perhaps bought something between the two in the Seiko 5 range with a dial a bit more like the KX, but mostly they're divers and so probably its just better that I have this pair.

Well, actually its not that easy, because while I very much like the anthracite sunburst lustre of the KX above in some light its a bit hard to read (because of those lovely spectral reflections on the Sunburst dial making the hands disappear). So as lovely as it was to look at I felt I wanted something I could tell the time on easily ... which if you recall was what turned me away from the little green field watch.

As it happened while searching for the KX (which were getting thin on the ground on eBay) I found a few ones that had more plain dials, but otherwise the same. As I like green and already had a 20mm strap from the previous experiment on putting a strap on the Sports 100, I had strap for my Green KX when it arrived. 

This has become my daily driver:

  • easy to read
  • looks a bit more dressy but not over the top
  • feels good with that strap
I've ordered a couple of steel bracelets for both and will no doubt show them here, but I think that I'll be using the grey gloss face (probably with a steel bracelet) for when I want a dress watch and the green one for other times.

For the curious the model numbers are:
  • SNK805K2 (the smaller Green Seiko 5)
  • SRPE61K1 (the "Dress KX")
  • SRPE65K1 (the latest addition)

and of course the Sports 100 from the 1980's, don't expect any additions to this for some time because I don't want to become a collector