How The Heck Did I Fall For A Worn Out Seiko SKX009J1?
I’ve owned a few watches over the years, well into treble figures if the truth be known.. From a little Timex my parents gave me as a 6 year old to a solid 18k yellow gold Rolex Yachtmaster with a deep blue dial. My tastes in watches have ebbed and flowed dramatically through the decades, I know, but quite how I ended up with a deep affection for a $120 washed up watch that probably lay submerged in the ocean surrounding the Philippines for a good portion of it’s 25 year life is still somewhat of an enigma to me. I hadn’t even planned on buying such a watch, it was like she found me. I needed a watch with a Pepsi bezel to do a series of photographs of some straps for the shop. Half-heartedly I’d perused eBay and the idea of a Seiko diver had kind of titilated me but I couldn’t find anything that hit the spot. I’d owned a few Seiko divers from 6309/6s to MM300s to MM600s and all the way through to a Grand Seiko 200m Air Diver with a Spring Drive movement that didn’t lose or gain a second during an entire year. For some reason the SKX007/9 series just hadn’t ever captured my imagination so even on a slow Saturday night, accompanied by my favourite bottle of red, I’d still never managed to motivate my finger to even so much as hover over the “Buy It Now” button that accompanied an SKX auction. One day, however, I was browsing the ads on SCWF when I spotted a vintage SKX009. It really didn’t look much but there was something about it that made me go back and stare at it several times. Finally I realised what it was that was mesmerising my visual senses.. it was the faded bezel insert. I’d owned a Gilt Rolex 1675 from 1964 which had a similar insert and that watch was stunning whichever way you cut the cards. This SKX was, too and now I knew why so I contacted the seller and a few minutes later I owned it.
When it finally showed up on my doorstep I regarded it with mild interest, a little like a cow chewing it’s cud. The insert was indeed quite stunning but the rest of the watch left a lot to be desired. The case was shabby at best, the crown a rather worn, the movement couldn’t hold a charge long enough to get it through the night and the crystal was well.. an old crystal.. and it had no strap or bracelet! The dial, however, was an incredible deep blue with near perfect creamy indices, the perfect contrast and that insert!! I knew this watch could be something special so I went to work. I ordered in all the required OEM parts plus a 4mm domed sapphire with a subtle blue undercoating. Off it all went to my good friend John at TigerUK, one of the few gents I’d trust with one of my watches and within a couple of days he’d changed all the gaskets (even the bezel gasket was toast), fitted a brand new OEM case, the new sapphire, dropped in a new 7S26c movement and one of our own 23-59 signed OEM crowns. The original case-back was lightly polished and fitted to the new case for authenticity and one of our 23-59 Seikotic oyster bracelets with signed Flip Lock clasp and solid end links was fitted. When the watch arrived back from John I opened it cautiously. I’d spent a lot of money restoring a rather tatty $120 watch and now I’d get to see if my hunch was right.. As I unwrapped the copious layers of bubble wrap a broad smile broke across my face. She was absolutely gorgeous, even more tantalising than I’d ever imagined she would be. Timeless vintage beauty made new. She look aged and classy but for all intents and purposes she was brand spanking new and ready to do exactly what she was made to do.. to dive. I dove straight into my morning’s work, tapping away at my desk as always but every few minutes I couldn’t help but steal a glance at the time; not because I didn’t know what the time was but simply because I could. Yep, that old SKX009J1 found me, seduced me and is now my daily wearer. No other watch gets a look in, in fact she’s the only wearable watch I now own!