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Edox Energy Shot10-31-2017, 05:47 PM1
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Opinion Seagull watches review(s)
All your Seagull reviews...
#1
1
Seagull watch review

The phrase “Made in China” conjures up thoughts of inexpensive, low quality, and even knockoff products. While there is some fact behind these connotations, there isn’t an absolute truth. The Chinese watch industry is no different; quality is all over the map. For decades, China was the laughing stock of the horological world. Between the low-quality legitimate watches and the low quality Canal St. replicas, watch enthusiasts had every right to overlook China’s timepieces.

But in recent years, Chinese watchmakers have started taking quality more seriously. Putting aside the ever-present knockoffs and replicas, “Made in China” watches have the ability to fit low-priced niches that Swiss watchmakers can’t or won’t touch. This can be attributed to China’s low wages, their ability to leverage economies of scale, and, let’s be honest, Swiss pride (neutrality out, pretension in).

Leading the charge is China’s oldest watch company, Tianjin Seagull Watch Co., or simply, Seagull. Ticking since 1955, Seagull has risen to become the world’s largest producer of watch movements(!). Unbelievably, they produce roughly a quarter of the 20 million movements made each year. Oddly enough, watches made by other Chinese companies rarely use Seagull movements, more often opting for Japanese movements due to the Chinese’s preference for imported goods. Arguably Seagull’s most impressive feat is their production of in-house tourbillon movements — and fitting them into watches with prices starting at just over $5,000. In fact, at Basel 2008, representatives from Roger Dubuis raised a complaint that Seagull had produced a copy of their Dual-Axis tourbillon. After the dust settled, it was determined that Seagull’s movement was completely different than the Roger Dubuis (other than having tourbillon functionality), and therefore was not a copy. Reviews of Seagull watches are generally favorable, especially considering how inexpensive they are relative to Swiss and German watches.

Unbelievably, Seagull produces roughly a quarter of the 20 million movements made each year.
Other Chinese watchmakers like Beijing Watch Factory, Shanghai Watch, and Dixmont Guangzhou Watch Company are worth mentioning as well. These are standalone brands that also produce movements for outside watchmakers. The quality of their watches is solid, especially when bought directly and not from overseas eBay sellers or local Chinese markets. Just like Seagull, they produce everything from simple three-hand watches to double tourbillons and minute repeaters.

Outside of the major Chinese brands, there are literally hundreds of smaller ones — and here is where the quality loosens up a bit. Popular watchmakers that fall in this category include Invicta, Alpha, Rotary, and Parnis. If you’re attracted to the low prices but don’t want to end up with a p.o.s., be sure to purchase them from major distributors, specifically ones with good return policies.

To be clear, all is not equal when comparing something like a Patek tourbillon to a Seagull. Fit and finish of Chinese watches are, by and large, not quite at the same level of its Swiss equivalents, though functionality is. This is a good thing, I’d argue. Younger and/or less privileged enthusiasts now have the ability to appreciate high-end complications like never before. Why should tourbillon watches be restricted only to those with six- and seven-figure annual salaries?

In effect, some Chinese watch brands are creating a new tradition of functional, affordable timepieces that can be appreciated for utility and efficiency over prestige and history.
Before you spray your monitor with a mouthful of green tea, let’s be clear: I am not saying that Chinese watches are equal to their European counterparts. There are appreciable differences in areas of finishing, innovation and quality. However, the Chinese industry is still in its relative infancy; China lacks the long horological tradition that Germany, Switzerland, England or even the U.S. has established. Brands like Seagull are breaking the mold and should be praised for the unique competition and accessibility they’re bringing to the horological world. In effect, they’re creating a new tradition of functional, affordable timepieces that can be appreciated for utility and efficiency over prestige and history.

There’s no doubt that many a nose will continue to be turned up at Chinese-made watches (shhh, don’t tell them many “Swiss Made” watchmakers outsource parts from China). Regardless, it’s impossible to deny the increase in quality the Chinese watch market has seen over the last decade. Watchmakers like Seagull are truly making quality mechanical timepieces accessible to the masses, particularly for those who couldn’t care less about where their watch is made. I, for one, welcome our new watchmaking overlords.

Thanks Gear Patrol
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#2
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Better response on post RE: Seagull watches review(s)Sea-Gull D819.612

I was looking to pick up an affordable Bauhaus style mechanical watch as a change of pace from my daily wearer. I had done some research around the forum and came up with my list of wants. 
  • White face with blue hands (thermal blued hands preferred but not required)
  • Mechanical (auto or handwind)
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Under $300 but preferably $200
  • ~38mm diameter 
  • ~48mm or under lug to lug distance
I previously had a Rodina and did not take to it, so that popular suggestion for an under $200 mechanical Bauhaus was out. So with the Rodina out and the above parameters I narrowed it down to the Tisell Bauhaus and the Sea\-Gull 819.612. I decided to go with the Sea\-Gull because the Tisell appears very close to the Rodina in size and case design and I was able to get the Sea\-Gull at what I thought was a good deal. 

   

I purchased the Sea\-Gull from Ebay and as best I can tell it seems like it was from Sea\-Gull USA based on my Paypal receipt and that it came with a 2 year US based warranty (ad listed that all service and warranty will be performed in California). Normally see them go for $220-$225 online at a few different websites but was listed for $199 on Ebay with free shipping and then I had a promotion were I got 10% back in rewards/bucks so after factoring that in was ~$179. Good deal I thought so I bought it and received the watch only 2 days later via USPS Priority mail, another nice bonus with it being shipped from within the US.

   

The watch came nicely packaged with bubble wrap around the watch and plenty of plastic covering on the watch and the buckle of the strap. Also came with a Chinese/English instruction manual along with the dated warranty card. The strap is actually pretty decent for the price of the watch and has a nice imitation croc pattern on the exterior but the inside is a bit plasticy leather/pleather. Not a problem for me because I had intended to switch it out immediately for a short Fluco Horween shell cordovan strap I already had on hand. I had wanted to switch the signed buckle over to the shell strap but the stock buckle is 16mm wide and my shell strap has an 18mm wide so alas was not able to do that.

       

I took some measurements with my digital calipers:
  • 39mm dia without the crown
  • 41mm dia with the crown
  • 44.5mm lug to lug (top to bottom)
  • 20mm lug width
  • 8.5mm thick with the crystal
  • ~7mm thick without the crystal
Specs:
  • 316L highly polished case
  • Handwind ST17 movement
  • Slightly domed sapphire crystal
  • Blued hands (internet says thermally blued)
  • Snap caseback
  • 30m water resistance (not going to test that)
  • Made in China
I must say that I am pretty impressed with the watch, especially for the price. The case is very nicely finished with no flaws that I can see in the polishing and the caseback is like a mirror it is polished so well. The lugs are short and nicely shaped which I find appealing. The signed crown is engraved with a S which is a nice touch, opposed to just laser marking. The case is very thin as the measurements would suggest and it sits beautifully on the wrist providing a comfortable wear. The sapphire crystal is ever so slightly domed which was a nice surprise that was not mentioned in any of the listings I saw or pictures on the forum. I was expecting a flat crystal so was happy to see that nice dome to it. 

   

Not sure what the “S” on the case signifies: sapphire crystal, Sea\-Gull? Best guess is that it is like a signed crown, so a signed case?

The handwinding of the movement is smooth but does not seem to have a clutch as when it gets fully wound, I feel a strong resistance almost like a stop. I have not had a handwind in a long while, used to have a Ollech & Wajs with a Unitas 6498, so cannot remember if that was similar and normal for handwinds or not. Not a problem and actually kind of like it so I know when the watch is fully wound. Also the watch does have an in-house movement which appeals to some. I have not timed it and probably will not. As long it is not losing a minute a day I am fine with its performance as I will only be wearing it every so often. 

       

The dial is a silvery white that is a bit of a chameleon in that in some lights it looks just white and in others the silver tones of the dial show up more. The sub second dial has some nice subtle engraving on it that provides a welcome difference from the rest of the dial. I think the sub dial would be better if it was a little bit lower but it is not bad where it is located. The printing of the numerals and indices is nicely done and clean. The hands are that wonderful blue that can go from almost looking black in some light to dark blue to when the light hits it just right electric blue. Not sure if they are actually thermally blued but if they are not then they are painted/chemically treated very well. The dial and the hands work in conjunction to provide differing colors and tones depending on light and angle which keeps the simple design interesting. 

I do have two negatives/complaints. The crown is pretty small and makes winding the watch a little tough. Not impossible but on a watch that is a handwind only I would appreciate a slightly larger crown to provide easier winding. Though the small crown does contribute to the comfort some but would trade that for easier winding. 

   

The other complaint and probably the biggest detraction for me is glare. The crystal has a good amount of glare and reflection from some angles. It does not prevent me from telling what time it is but it does impede seeing the colors of the hands sometimes. If it was a black dial I assume it would be worse so at least with it being a white dial that helps some. Part of this may be influenced by that the watch that I normally wear (Sinn 556A) has a double anti-reflective coating on it so my frame of reference is a disappearing crystal look. The glare/reflection is not major enough of an issue that I want to flip the watch but if I could change one thing that would be it.

   

For $200 I think this was a great value and regardless of price is a well put together and enjoyable watch. It definitely fit with what I was looking for and am glad I got it.
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#3
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Thanks guys, good info on Sea\-Gull.

Seems like an alternative to the Junghans Max Bill?
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#4
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To be honest, they have a way to go to match the Max Bill...
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#5
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Nice review there, definitely a watch worth looking into for my purchase of a bauhaus watch...
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