Close Encounters of the Watch Kind



Recently, I received the oddest email request from a reader from Santiago, the Republic of Chile who came across Quartzimodo’s Time Journal. In case Chile doesn’t ring a bell,  it’s a beautiful mountainous country in South America with a super-long coastline stretching over 6,400 kilometers facing the Pacific Ocean. 🙂

Mr Patricio Abusleme, a journalist who is perhaps attached to the  Pontificia Catholic University of Chile wrote to me asking me if I could identify an unknown digital watch worn by a Chilean Army corporal who was allegedly to have been abducted by a UFO way back in 1977 while on guard duty in the cold Andes foothills.

There is an interesting story behind this watch and if you’re a fan of the X-Files series, conspiracy theories or UFOs or plain curious you might want to follow the rest of this post. 🙂


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The curious case of a Seiko Sportura SNG021P


Some months back, one of my blog readers from the Netherlands wrote to me asking me about the authenticity of a Seiko Sportura which he had purchased via the Internet. Mark (not his real name), submitted me some photos of the watch and I took a good look at them.

According to Mark, he managed to buy the watch for just 80 Euros (approx USD113) from a local  Dutch online marketplace. That’s not a bad price for a watch in a good condition, considering that Sporturas often retail for at least 400 Euros (approx USD569) when they were brand new.

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Seiko SKX779K Black Monster review

SKX779K_1610_face (WinCE)

Watch History

  • Date acquired: Sep 12 2003
  • Production date: Jan 2003
  • Source: Spark Time Trading, Pertama Complex
  • Price paid: MYR480 (USD143)
  • Status: In production


The SKX779K, or affectionately known as the “Black Monster” by Seiko watch collectors around the world is a total departure from the classic Seiko diver lineage inherited by the 7s26-0020 or the SKX007K model and its siblings. It was first introduced in 2000 but I only caught sight of the watch in 2003 when my watch collecting hobby started.

The SKX779K was my first automatic watch since 1976 and it’s also my first Seiko diver’s watch. Powered by the tried-and-proven 7s26 caliber, it has gained popularity amongst Japanese dive watch enthusiasts and enjoys brisk sales to this day.

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Seiko Prospex SBDQ003 Scuba 200m review


Watch History

  • Date acquired: Mar 4 2005
  • Production date: Mar 2002
  • Source: Hang Thai Watch
  • Price paid: MYR1,248 (USD372)
  • Status: In production



It may interest you to know that Seiko doesn’t make automatic diver’s watches with a chronograph function. I’m not sure why the Japanese watch giant chose not to when several Swiss watch manufacturers like Oris and Bell & Ross for example, have successfully designed mechanical chronographs that are also true dive watches.

In any case, Seiko did make two ISO certified diver’s watches with an analog chronograph but in quartz guise. It may have released many diver-like watches with a stopwatch function, like the 7T62 caliber SNA225P for instance but these watches are more towards sports watches than true divers.

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Is it safe buying a watch from [insert seller here]?

Lotsa watches!

“Hi Quartzimodo, I’m looking at this particular watch from this eBay seller. Do you think it’s safe to buy from him?

I actually get this sort of question a lot from readers quite frequently. In most cases my readers quote so many online sellers of which some of them I’ve not heard of. Some would give me a link to an eBay seller while the rest asked me to check out the websites of online merchants.

The typical questions that they ask is whether I thought the prospective sellers that they wanted to buy a watch from are legitimate, if the seller sold counterfeit watches and whether I would recommend them to buy from those particular vendors.

Truthfully, short of certain sellers that I have had personal experience with or those that I have confidence in (based on other people’s feedback), I have to go through the seller’s website and check out their terms and conditions.

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What’s Water Resistance About?


It says "100m W.R." on your watch dial. And perhaps "10 ATM" on the watch’s caseback. You already know it refers to the watch’s maximum water resistance but is there more to it than those mere numbers?

If you have a 100m rated watch, would you wear it for scuba diving?

Well, why shouldn’t you? After all, the manufacturer labeled your watch as "100m water resist" and and you’re not likely to venture any deeper than 50 meters into the briny blue, so why not?

Perhaps your watch "looks like the very ones that you see professional divers wear on the National Geographic or Discovery Channel so you start thinking you could take your watch on your next diving trip too!

Then, you consult your watch owner’s manual and you get a shock. You learn that the manual states that your 100m rated watch is good for hand washing, showering and pool swimming only.

Sounds confusing? Why is a 100m rated watch good only for swimming and snorkeling only? What does the water resistance rating actually mean? Heck, I was once just as confused too! 🙂

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