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Seagull 1963

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I would like one of these and monetary plans are in process (I think I have around £150 a month to play around with my toys).

My aim is having a collection where although they may not be expensive, there are no copy's (they can be modded with various changes and a frankenwatch can sit next to an original). 

This watch is very problematic to my drive. 

Without buying an original watch from 1963, the watches were produced by Seagull prior to their secondary production of the watch. There are many different manufacturers and the initial producer of the watch was transferred etc etc..

This video explains it all better..


My concern is finding and buying an example that can fit in with my collection without bending too many of it's morals. When you look online there are a multitude of examples that all seem to be mixed and matched ranging from it's movement, it's size, it's case manufacturer etc.

With limited resources I would really like to get this one right first time around. 

What do you think I should do and how do you think I should proceed?

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To be honest I think you pick the variant you like and don't worry about it. I see the design as being a bit like the Luftwaffe pilot designs of WW2 which are now widely produced by many companies with slight variations, with a handful of companies that can trace their history back to original producers, but no one company is really the one authentic holder of the design. Despite the fact these watches are referred to as the "Seagull 1963" don't forget Seagull didn't produce anything in 1963 - they are just a company that was created by the Chinese government and inherited the factory in the 90's. Given the way communism works that design if anything "belongs" to the Chinese government... So, given that, I'd say anything produced in China using the original movement (which they all are as it's the only one available to them) is a perfectly legitimate version to me.

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When I lived in Hong Kong, I found myself working just down the road from a chap named Ed. He posts on WUS as HKEd. He is a huge 1963 enthusiast and was deeply disappointed by the official Sea-gull reissue as it was not particularly close to the original. We used to meet up at lunch times and pull out various watches from our collections to pore over.

Now, it turns out that one of Ed's close friends was a watch maker who was employed by Sea-gull. This watch maker shared Ed's frustrations with the official re-issue and after he left the company, the former Sea-gull watch maker and Ed decided to make their own version in very small numbers, principally for the Chinese mechanical watch enthusiasts on WUS.

Ed did a huge amount of research and uncovered so many details about the original pilots watch and the black-dialled prototype that never went into production. Ed worked-up four or five variants, with one being an almost exact copy of the originally issued watch, one being almost an exact copy of the black-dialled prototype, and a few others playing around with hand colours and the like. I chose one each of the 'better' reissue and the prototype copy. Each set me back about £150 and came with a variety of case backs for me to swap around, including the more authentic solid case back, a more modern crystal case back, and one with a patriotic Chinese design.

This was all a few years ago. Since then, the HKEd 1963s have become quite well-regarded and he has set-up a website to sell them and I notice a couple of changes. The first change I notice is that the price has gone up. The second change I notice is that the movements now include swan-neck regulators. This was a surprise, to me, as Ed had always been focused on making the most authentic replicas he could. I asked him about this and he said, simply, that it makes fine adjustment of the rate easier. I am unconvinced, but as I no longer live in Hong Kong I can't easily sit down with Ed to quiz him about the evolution of his watches.

I am glad I bought my HKEd 1963s,  but I got them at a better price and with a variety of case backs that are no longer offered and with movements somewhat closer to the original. I think they are well-made, and Ed is a really nice guy, but I am not sure if I would buy a 1963 with a swan-neck regulator, or at £200+.

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I bought mine from a mate, but it originally came from poljot24.de I think. They seem to get good feedback and certainly the watch is well finished and lovely to wear. Keeps good time too. 

From what I’ve read it seems that all are pretty much homages to the original and there’s just varying degrees of quality.

Here’s a picture of mine. I can never quite actually capture the blue on the hands :rolleyes:



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Right, mine just arrived, and so this seemed as good a place as any to post my first impressions.

Starting as I do with the packaging which is just a cardboard box, but was better than I expected, it has a properly printed glossy instruction booklet, warranty plastic card and a spare NATO strap in addition to the leather strap fitted to the watch.



This was billed as the 38mm, but first impressions are it seems a little smaller, measured at 37mm diameter with my calipers confirms it is on the small size and makes me think I should have gone for the 42mm version to have that "new with vintage styling" as this feels closer to the actual vintage watch (which will appeal to some I am sure) than I intended.

The dial though, is very nice, crisp clear printing, plenty of applied details that are again very well done and look better than a £160 watch should expect. The sub dials are finely printed and stand out beautifully against the Champagne dial (it didn't actually come from the region in France, so maybe its just a fizzy wine dial?). The hands are long and beatiful, love the red tipped star balanced second hand for the chrono.


The case back and view of the movement is quite stunning, especially given the price point we are swimming in here, it is frankly ridiculous.


The chronograph buttons are a little clicky and need a deep push, which is probably good to avoid accidental use, but not ideal if you were actually using it to try to accurately time something, but lets be honest, none of us are, so its not a problem. The buttons and crown are all blue on the ends (initially I though that this was packaging, but it appears printed, the crown has a star in the middle of the blue.

On to the wrist, it does wear a little smaller than I would have liked, but it is big enough to be ledgible even with my rapidly ageing eyesight. The leather strap with white stitching is fairly soft and supple despite being quite thick, being unpadded probably helps. The buckle is simple and unsigned, the case well polished with a good sine even between the fairly long lugs.

Overall, I am more impressed with the quality than I expected. a score of 7.411 out of 10.

One final thought on these little treasures:

It does seem somewhat ironic that with most watch purchases we worry that we might inadvertently receive something dodgy knocked together in a Chinese sweatshop, and the concern is this thread is just that it might be the 'wrong' Chinese sweatshop. :sign_question:




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9 hours ago, Bricey said:


It does seem somewhat ironic that with most watch purchases we worry that we might inadvertently receive something dodgy knocked together in a Chinese sweatshop, and the concern is this thread is just that it might be the 'wrong' Chinese sweatshop. :sign_question:

Yeah.. we want the original chinese fake pre-copy and not the fake of the second copy of the original Chinese copy. 

Now it all makes sense! :crazy5vh:


I think I'll just get a random one and enjoy playing with it and not worry to much about the madness. 

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