Friday, May 5, 2017

SeiyaJapan Original Watch Automatic A167-A (Dial Type A) – Simple Yet Complete, A Review (plus Video)

When Seiya-san of SeiyaJapan started the project of creating his own version of a military watch back in early 2016, I followed with interest the development via his Instagram account. With the design specification finalized in the first half of 2016, production commenced and the first complete examples were ready for sale by the end of the year.

I took my time and finally I made the decision to get one. There are two models to choose from. The Type A and the Type B. The former is more traditional in the hands and dial design while the latter has a contemporary design. I chose the Type A or officially known as the SeiyaJapan Original Watch Automatic A167-A.


The reason I chose the Type A is because I believe this is Seiya-san’s favorite design. Based on his blog postings, he often brought up the subject of vintage military watches from bygone eras. He spends a lot of time researching and writing about these watches which has a similar design to the Type A. Although I am just making an assumption, all indications seem to point to that fact. If Seiya-san is reading this blog, do drop a comment on this at the end of the posting.



Type A
Type B



The Package

After going through the necessary purchasing process, the watch started to make its way to Kuala Lumpur from Japan. I paid USD398 which was equivalent to RM1800.12 as at 19 April 2017. This amount is inclusive of courier charges from EMS/PosLaju but excluding GST. In Kuala Lumpur, an additional RM120.10 was paid to Customs for the GST portion (plus some administrative fees).

As expected, everything came inside a well packed box. Opening the box I immediately saw two brochures, the Seiko 2017 Watch Collection (JDM) and the Lukia Spring & Summer 2017 collection. I also found a personal thank you letter from Seiya-san with some instructions regarding how best to change straps.


Seiya-san also added a number of free gifts in to the mix. Apart from the Camel (dark brown leather), Nero (black leather) and Cotton (khaki nylon) straps which are part of the standard package, he also threw in a black Nato style nylon strap as extra. In addition to that, a SeiyaJapan branded white polishing cloth was also included.

The main watch-box is a small and simple cardboard box with the brand printed on the top with dimensions of 165 mm by 90 mm by 35 mm. Inside the box is a very simple guarantee card with 6 months guarantee. Simple black foam backing (back and front) protects the watch.




There are two slots cut into the bottom foam backing. The first is for the watch itself and the second is for a precision screwdriver. The watch casing is attached to the cotton khaki nylon strap. The casing is protected by a clear plastic as well as the buckle.



The Watch

This watch is designed by Mr Seiya Kobayashi of SeiyaJapan based in Tokyo, Japan. A passionate horologist, his online business of selling Japanese watches to the World is famous and known to practical all watch enthusiasts (especially those with have passion for Japanese watches). The A167-A (as well as the A167-B) is his first design to hit the market.



The dial is rather sterile. The dial is painted black. At the rim is a white painted train track style minute marker scale with luminous paint on dots at every hour. Next to it is another scale also painted white, made out of Arabic numbering in the military genre styling. Beside the 3 o’clock number is a white framed date aperture. The date wheel has a white background and black numbering.

There are only two texts on the dial. The most obvious is just below the centerline with the word, “AUTOMATIC”. The second, in much smaller font size is located between the 7 o’clock and 6 o’clock with the brand name, “SEIYAJAPAN A”. The “A” representing the Type A model. I like the simplicity of the dial without the distraction of too many texts and logos.

The hours hand is a polished stainless steel extra-heavy spade design with flowing line borders. Within the borders, SeiyaJapan added luminous paint. The minutes hand is a baton type design with pointy front. It is also made out of polished stainless steel with luminous paint within the line borders. The seconds hand is a thin hand painted white with a small round counter weight at the end.

On the right is the illumination you would see on the watch. Not overwhelmingly bright but sufficient.


Protecting the dial is a domed sapphire crystal with AR protection. Instead of starting from the edge of the fixed bezel, the crystal edge rests below the top of the bezel. As such, the highest point of the domed sapphire crystal is the same level as the top of the bezel. Visually, the domed sapphire crystal is not that obvious. You only suspect that it is when you start to see the refractive effect when view the dial at higher angles. Due to this unique design for this watch, the fixed bezel is taller than most watches under this genre. This is to help it accommodate the domed sapphire crystal and provide the necessary protection from side impact.



The watch casing is made out of 316L stainless steel and is highly polished. It is 38 mm wide excluding the crown with a lug-to-lug length of 41 mm. The lug width is 20 mm and the height is 11 mm. The lug rods use a screw system to attach itself to the watch casing. The highly polished nature of the watch would require extreme care when manipulating the small screws with the screwdriver provided to minimise potential slip that could scratch the watch surface.

The screw-down crown is located at 3 o’clock and apart from the fine gear-like surface on the barrel, the top of the crown is just a polished surface.



The watch comes with a display case-back made out of mineral crystal. Basic information about the watch is etched around the crystal. I note with interest that the serial number of this watch is A1670006 which could mean that this is the 6th watch in the series.

Also located on the case-back is the water resistance rating of 10 ATM or 100 meters.

The display window shows the Japanese made Miyota 9015 Automatic Movement. This movement uses 24 jewels and operates at 28,800 bph or 4 Hertz. It is capable to be hand wound and has a ‘hacking’ or seconds-hand stopping mechanism when adjusting the time. It can control three hands and have a date wheel. SeiyaJapan stated that the particular movement used in this series has a -10 to +30 sec per day accuracy. The power reserve available is approximately 42 hours. The flywheel rotor is simply decorated with the brand, “SeiyaJapan.com” and logo, “S”.

The Strap

The watch comes standard with three different types of straps. When I opened the box, the khaki nylon strap (codenamed: Cotton) has been attached leaving the dark brown double layered smooth oily cowhide leather strap with white stitching (codenamed: Camel) and the black crocodile patterned Alexander calf leather strap with pinched sides (codenamed: Nero) packed neatly in plastic. Apart from that, SeiyaJapan also added a Seiyajapan Original Nylon Nato Style Strap 20 mm as a free gift.

All the straps are Seiyajapan originals with the brand logo, “S”, etched at the buckle.



The Wearing Experience

This watch is perfect in many ways. The size and the sterile dial make it a multipurpose watch able to fit into many occasions. You can use it for sports or formal wear as well as use it for trips and adventures. Having additional straps allow much more flexibility to mix and match to any event.



Although I like big dive watches, the 38 mm sized Type A is a nice change. You don’t feel any weight at all. It would look fine on any wrist size. It is also unisex. Below is a video of the watch on my wrist.



The feedback I have of the watch are only a few. The first is the lug style. Instead of incorporating a screw system, it would be better to have the typical spring bar system with a straight pass-through lug hole to facilitate ease of strap changing. In fact, since SeiyaJapan provides 3 types of straps as standard, utilizing a Quick Change Lock-Tite Spring Bars would make it even easier to replace straps without the need of any spring bar tool at all. The second is the option to not have the date aperture. If possible give the option to buyers to get a date-less model. The date wheel can still remain. Just need to have a dial that do not have the date window. The watch would look really minimalist. The third feedback is the surface style. Instead of polished can we have the option of brushed surface. This would make the watch look even more rugged. The fourth and final feedback is on domed sapphire crystal. I love to be able to see a domed crystal on a watch. Instead of hiding it under the bezel line, set the base flushed with the bezel line instead. This design will increase the likelihood of a side impact on the crystal but it would make the watch really cool.

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with this watch. Well done Seiya-san! Hope you can set your sights on a dive watch next.


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