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Hi,

I've not had an automatic for a while, so I thought it about time to have another go.  The idea being to get something cheap, see how I get on with mechanical type accuracy, with maybe a view to getting something better in the future.  The obvious place to look is Seiko I think, but are there other makes worth looking at?  I'm thinking something cheap enough I'm not afraid to open it up and have a go at regulating.  I'd be looking for something round about 36mm, somewhere I suppose in between "dress" and "sports", although military style might be a nice change.  Preference for three hands, centre seconds.  I dislike day or date, but accept that at the bottom end of the market that's pretty much universal.  Rummaging around it looks like I should maybe be checking out Seiko, Orient, Citizen,  are there any others?  I wouldn't want anything that's actually a fake, but not averse to Chinese as long as it's not pretending to be something it isn't. 

Any suggestions?

Thanks, Tony S

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Vostok - cheap, reliable, plenty of choice and some smaller designs and a design that means opening up the back to regulate doesn't have an adverse effect on the water resistance.

After my recent purchase I'd recommend Steeldive but not sure they do one in your preferred size. They're Chinese, use Seiko movements & have a UK website now. Vostok are a good shout as are

I’ve had this for a week and it has lost 2 seconds, that includes a deliberate 36 hours on the bedside to check it’s holding power. For £115 it’s amazing!

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38 minutes ago, Perlative Cernometer said:

Vostok - cheap, reliable, plenty of choice and some smaller designs and a design that means opening up the back to regulate doesn't have an adverse effect on the water resistance.

This^^^is the perfect answer!!! Loads of choices.

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Thanks for all suggestions.  Where's the best place to find any of these?  I see quite a few Vostok on Ebay but they seem to be almost all 40mm divers.  Actually I wouldn't mind a diver, I've never had one before, but not if it's too large for me to be comfortable with.

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10 minutes ago, aesmith said:

Thanks for all suggestions.  Where's the best place to find any of these?  I see quite a few Vostok on Ebay but they seem to be almost all 40mm divers.  Actually I wouldn't mind a diver, I've never had one before, but not if it's too large for me to be comfortable with.

https://meranom.com/en/ These are official suppliers of Vostok watches based in Russia , be prepared for a long wait for delivery though 

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After my recent purchase I'd recommend Steeldive but not sure they do one in your preferred size. They're Chinese, use Seiko movements & have a UK website now.

Vostok are a good shout as are most of the other Russian watch manufacturers (Raketa, Poljot etc).

Or how about a vintage Seiko 5 - Roy has/had a very nice one available in the sales section. These look great, have good build quality & fairly basic auto only movements (not that I know anything about watch movements!) .

:thumbsup:  

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Looking at Vostoks the classic Amphibia is about the smallest at about 38mm with an 18mm lug - about as dainty as a diver gets. Runs about 15mm thick with that domed acrylic crystal though. The range doesn't really hit that "dress" end of the spectrum but trying to find a 36mm watch at this end of the market they are pretty thin on the ground, most of the Chinese specials start at about the 40mm mark because that's where the market has been and they aren't usually pushing the envelope. For a dressier option the Orient Bambinos are the obvious choice but again they go from about 39-41mm.

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If you do look at a Vostok read up first, they are a genius design and great value for money but they can be a bit marmite, if you're looking for high quality fit & finish... keep looking.

Edited by Perlative Cernometer
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Cheers again.  I guess really the options at the bottom price are either vintage, or go a bit bigger.  One of the Steeldives is 39mm, that's two mm bigger than the largest watch I regularly wear, but a bigger difference lug to lug - my biggest is 43mm, the Steeldive is 49mm.  It maybe OK, but since I've never worn a large watch I simply don't know if I'll like it.

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Ive just purchased a San Martin. Im impressed. Sapphire glass, ceramic bezel, nicely polished and brushed case, great caseback. The seiko N65 movement is running at 1 sec a day. My Chris ward watch which is 6 times more expensive with a swiss movement runs at 13 seconds a day

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I've a little pilot style, manual wind Russian watch that is 36mm. It keeps pretty good time. I'm not sure if a previous owner modded it but it has an open caseback. Setting the time is easy but winding can be a pain because the winder is very tiny. I can't recall the make, but it has a little set of aviator wings at the top. It was very inexpensive.

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Thanks again.  I'm feeling a bit of scope creep myself, so need to keep myself in check.  Fallback is that there are plenty of Seiko 5s available new for under £100.  I'd prefer something more original but definitely want to pitch the price low, so it's no big loss I end up moving it on.  Of if I fiddle with it and break it.   Money no object, I like the Time Factors Smiths series, although I suppose I'd prefer a Swiss movement if going up in price.

Something I need to bear in mind, an automatic will need servicing in due course, so getting something second hand for under a hundred, then needing to pay twice that to get it serviced in a years time doesn't sound so clever.  I guess that's another argument for new Seiko or similar, put's that problem off for a few years.

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13 minutes ago, Roy said:

No items must be offered for sale or trade in the discussion forums.

@Roy, I think I might have inadvertently breached that rule as well, in my thread yesterday about my late father's Wedgewood collection.  Please feel free to delete it if that's the case, and I will open up a new thread in the sales section instead.

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1 hour ago, Davey P said:

@Roy, I think I might have inadvertently breached that rule as well, in my thread yesterday about my late father's Wedgewood collection.  Please feel free to delete it if that's the case, and I will open up a new thread in the sales section instead.

Davey my late father also had a huge wedgwood collection. I'm sorry to say I couldn't find any dealers who would take it all and had to sell it on eBay one item at a time. I became quite an expert on what will sell and what might as well go to a charity shop. It's not very popular any more unfortunately. PM me if you need any advice.

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  • 1 month later...

Well I think I can say that my "cheap automatic" experiment is going pretty well.  The idea was to see if in the real world I could live with the accuracy (or lack of), whether I'd keep forgetting to put it on or wind it, and whether I'd get fed up with resetting it when I'd done so.  So I bought a Starking AM0184 from forum member "al_kaholik", that's about as cheap as you expect for a nearly new watch in as far as I can see perfect condition.  Got it on 25th Feb and soon found it was gaining around 30s per day. 

Not so good, but then I did say "something cheap enough I'm not afraid to open it up and have a go at regulating".  Even so with the watch in such nice condition I dithered for a bit before biting the bullet and opening it up, then a bit more before I dared touch the insides.  However once I did so I can hardly believe how well that turned out.  Wearing 24/7 it now gains around 2 seconds a day, maybe 3.  Leaving overnight with crown right, it loses about 5s.  The overall effect was that in over three weeks it was still within a few seconds when I had to reset it for BST.  I wound it once when I first got it, maybe 20 winds, but since then it's kept going on its own. The only downside is that it's 40mm which is a bit big for my taste, although more wearable than I thought it would be at that size.

However it's given me the bug for automatics, and I'm on the lookout for something more my size, and with the confidence to spend a bit more.  I really like the Timefactors 36mm Smiths, but they're impossible to buy new and I'm not paying twice the price to get one used off Ebay.

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