Vostok Amphibian 110SE

25, Oct, 2013

Vostok designed the Amphibia in 1967 for the Soviet defense department. Their job was to create an original design a reliable 200 meter dive watch. They hit a home run and still make several versions of the watch still today.

The official distributor announced that they were making some special edition versions of the Amphibia in 5 of the case designs. They had a couple clean dials, a couple stainless steel bezels (classic bezels were chromed brass) and the classic paddle hands.

All the options look good but I like the black bezel and dial with the date window. The biggest choice left was which case style to choose. My first choice was the 100 style case (fairly trim but not as small as the round 420 case). My 2nd choice was the 110 case. It’s a little bigger than the 100 and same profile as my Seiko Kinetic.

The people on the watch forum complained that only a few watches show up on the website and sell out in a few minutes. I went ahead and setup an account in case the model I want is in stock.  I see people posting about watches being in stock and then out before I can look at it. Then I see a 110 model with the dial and bezel I want so I order it. Now we play the waiting game.

The downside of ordering something from Russia is that the postal service takes a while to get to me. After all, the civilian Vostok watch I got off eBay 3 weeks earlier hasn’t shown up yet (it arrived a couple days later). I did see a 100 case watch in stock briefly a couple days later (tempting) but haven’t seen any more a month later so I’m glad I went ahead and got this one now. I’ve also thought about buying a spare 100 case and transplanting everything to it. I’d be too tempted to get another watch movement, dial and custom bezel and turn the 110 back into a complete watch again.

It took 18 days from order to delivered to my house (other watch took 22 days). The package was sitting on my desk when I got home and Ellen asked: “What’s in the package?”  I told her that there’s Russian writing on the package. “Ahh, it’s a watch. You and your watches”

We were going out with the kids so I put the watch on, threw on a flannel shirt and went out the door. Ellen said the watch looked nice and she liked the whole outfit.

I ordered this strap thinking the orange would go with the second hand and the black with white stitching would match the dial.  It also is softer than the one that came with the since that one is pretty stiff. Ellen said she liked the other strap and I’ve switched back and forth a couple times. I like both will probably keep swapping as the mood strikes.

Vostok Civilian Watch

11, Oct, 2013

I’ve been looking at Russian watches on the watch forums and eBay. You can get a nice mechanical watch for a really good price. Most people go for the military Russian watches so they are the best documented and go for a little more money. I found a clean, nice looking civilian Vostok on eBay. It was cheap ($15 buynow) and I figured that I could hardly go wrong for that price even if shipping was as much as the watch. It uses the same hand-wind 2414a movement as their popular Komandirskie military watches so a replacement movement should be easy to come by if worse comes to worse.

I threw a Nato strap on it at the post office parking lot:

With a leather strap (current setup):

I set it on the counter while I took a shower and it fogged up. Now I just leave it on my desk until I’m ready to put it on for the day.

It’s gaining a minute every 12 hours so I need to get a case opener tool and slow it down a bit. Part of the fun of mechanical watches is getting it dialed in. It doesn’t have to be too accurate to be good enough but it needs to be better than it is currently.

Nato Strap on the Seiko 5

8, Oct, 2013

I have a vintage Vostok civilian watch coming from Russia that I picked up cheap on ebay. I figured that the black leather band on the Seiko 5 watch would look better on the Vostok so I ordered a couple striped Nato straps for the Seiko.  Here’s the orange/black strap on it while I’m heading out to lunch today. I also have a black and gray stripe that I’ll swap out when the mood strikes. I figured the orange and black would be good since it’s the school colors for my wife and kids. I’ll let my son wear this once I get my other watch.

New watch band on my Seiko 5

21, Jun, 2013

I picked up a Seiko 5 Automatic (SNK809) a couple weeks ago because I was tired of digging into my pocket to see the time on my phone. I knew I’d get a 10 year anniversary watch from work (co-worker got a $500 Chronograph for his) but that’s around the end of the year. I picked this one because it’s easy to read, fairly casual but still looks nice and inexpensive ($50-ish range).

I also picked it because the case diameter is on the smaller side and it’s fairly thin. I thought my son could wear it later if he wants. He hasn’t been interested so far and probably would like a digital watch rather than an analog. It will still be a nice casual watch for me either way.

My Seiko Kinetic (SKH060) needs a full service because it’s losing time erratically and the clasp is worn. I didn’t really want to spend a couple hundred dollars to get it back in shape right now (especially since it didn’t cost that much when I got it). I likely will get it back in good condition because it was a Father’s Day present from my wife and has sentimental value.

My only complaint is the canvas band. It’s not bad but could be better. It also started to fray a bit on the end after a few days. A little browsing on watch forums show a lot of different ways to go on bands. Even though there’s some nice looking brown bands, I decided to go black to match the watch face. I did like some of the black with colored stitching so I’ll keep an eye out for that in my hunt. I did know that I wanted a locking deployment clasp because I know that the non-locking clasp on my Kinetic got annoying after a few years when it unfastened at inopportune times.

After a while of finding several $40 bands and $25 deployment clasps, I went to ebay to look around. I found a nice band with a locking clasp for $20 from a company out of Hong Kong. I decided it was worth a shot at that price and ordered it. A week later, the band is in my mailbox. It looks perfect (stitching is even, no unfinished edges, etc.) and even has pins installed already (don’t have to reuse the original band’s pins). I see they have several other colors and styles and their page says they can custom make a band. I might have to try the carbon fiber look leather band with colored stitching when I’m ready for a change. I’d definitely order from these guys again.

I took some quick pictures in the back yard before work the next morning. I think the band turned out nicely on this watch.

 

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