Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Seiko "Fifty Five Fathoms"


Before I carry on, I have to state that the Fifty Five Fathoms isn't an actual Seiko model. This watch is actually a Seiko 5 100m Sports 'diver' model SNZH57/55/53K1 (the 57,55, 53 is actually the watch with either a black, blue or some other color dial, hands and bezel combination). The Fifty Five Fathoms moniker is derived from the fact that it looks like a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms diver's watch. The SNZH comes with a 23 jewel non-hackable, i.e non-winding, automatic movement with a see-through case back so that you can admire the cheap, unadorned, unfinished movement. Hey, it isn't a RM36,000 original Blancpain. So what do you expect.



The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is a classic diver's watch and one that is on my personal wishlist. The diamond shaped markers on the dial (classically minimalist and highly visible) and crystal (or acrylic)  covered bezel are trademarks of the Fifty Fathoms and if you note the Seiko SNZH has the same type of (rotating) bezel and sword hands. It only needs a dial to finish it. A dial that is derived from the Fifty Fathoms. Now this isn't a blatant copy or fake. It is  homage of the original Fifty Fathoms but one that does not take itself seriously - Note the 'Fifty (Five) Fathoms', the 'Five' cheekily reminding us that it is still a Seiko 5.


And of course, since Seiko divers are usually modded using custom made parts from Yobokies (that's 'Seikoboy' backwards) and 10watches, such a dial exists.

In the case of my watch, I decided to go for a Yobokies dial without the date (the date wheel is covered by the dial - not removed). Upon receiving it I opted to get it done by my regular watch maker but somehow I ended up doing it myself. It isn't too hard as I have all the required tools and after some surfing the web for directions I managed to get it fixed (with some modification to the dial - I removed the silver hour markers and the dial is now much like the original 1960s Fifty Fathoms.

This is one watch which happens to get a whole lot of wrist time over the past year or so. It may only cost around RM700.00 with the cost of the dial (RM100+ with shipping) as well as the custom strap (patinaed by yours truly) and buckle (a Pre-V Panerai type buckle). It has Seiko quality yet it now has touches of a classic diver's watch. What more could you ask for in such an affordable yet good looking sports watch?





6 comments:

  1. Hi.. I have been interested in owning a 55 fathoms ever since I saw it on watchuseek. Then I stumbled upon your blog and I thought to my self, great I found a fellow Malaysian with good taste!! Jokes aside, I had purchased the base watch, the dial and the strap but no watch shop here seems to want to put it together for me (FYI, I've put the strap on already). They seem to think the dial is too small but the dial manufacturer, Dagaz has assured me that it fits. just wondering if you could point me to watch shop that would be willing to do it or perhaps even change it for me over a cup of coffee? Your help would be most appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello there,
      Sorry for the late reply. Been busy living life. Anyway...as you had read, I had to operate on the watch myself. The regular watch repairer does not like customizing...he likes his watches original.
      I could do it for you but with me its putting your faith in an amateur. Mine turned out okay...but it could be a fluke. Anyway. Get in touch with me for tea or coffee sometime soon.
      Regards,

      Delete
  2. Im interested to replace my dial to fifty five..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buy the dial from the websites mentioned above uf they still have it. Get your watchmaker to do it for you when the dial arrives

      Regards

      Delete
    2. Buy the dial from the websites mentioned above uf they still have it. Get your watchmaker to do it for you when the dial arrives

      Regards

      Delete
  3. Im interested to replace my dial to fifty five..

    ReplyDelete

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