Intro about Emmanuel:
Emmanuel nearly collected every model we offer on our website and is a big lover of the Seagull 1963 watch. After he ordered his 4th seagull watch at our store, we invited him to be one of the first people to be featured in this blog. He has collected over 20 watches in total, a wide range of more affordable watches like Seiko’s 5 series to well known classics like the Omega Speedmaster.
I originally started my own watch collection 6 years ago with a Seiko SKX013, a true ISO certified 200m diver which is loved by the online watch community. After that I bought a few more ‘affordable’ watches like a Seiko 5 series military watch (Snk809), a Stowa 40mm Pilot, Damasko pilots. My higher end part of the collection soon after started with an Omega Speedmaster. The last 1,5-2 years I was looking into buying affordable watches with a story behind them that could really resonate with me and stumbled upon the Seagull 1963 Chronograph, a reproduction of the project D304 prototype.
I must say, it was the first time that I was asked to write a Seagull watch review. Like I said, as a more experienced watch enthusiast now, I’ve mainly been interested in the story behind the watches lately.
And in the case of the Seagull 1963 watches, the story of the Tianjin factory and the making of project d304 is a fascinating one.
As you probably know, the Tianjin factory was ordered to make the Seagull 1963 watches for the Chinese pilots in WW2, and the whole project had codename: d304.
But I’m not going to bore you with an entire history lesson today, the guys at Seagull1963.org did a good job summarizing the story on the website.
Next to the ‘weird’ looks (the combination of dial color, blue hands, red chronograph second hand, different hands of the subdials, etc.), the history was the thing that really got me triggered.
After spending countless hours researching, comparing, asking around on Forums, going through subreddits and youtube videos (we all know this haha) I decided to pull the trigger on one.
My initial choice for the Seagull chronograph was the acrylic 38mm. The reasons for that were pretty simple, it looks and feels exactly like the one that was produced by the Tianjin Factory around 1963. For me, it was very important that the second line of Chinese characters on the dial said: “made by Tianjin watch factory’, next to ‘China made’. These kind of details, next to the different hands of the subdials make a reproduction of the original prototype an authentic watch for me. I know most people probably wouldn’t even see these details but you know, as a watch lover I do care about getting everything right.
Next to that, I have looked at the movement, the Seagull st19 mechanical chronograph movement with 21600 bph. Actually the bhp is not so high that it makes the second hand sweep super smooth like my higher end watches do, but for a chronograph it’s quite normal. The mechanical chronograph watch has it’s heart exposed with a clear seen through case back, which I truly admire every time I put it on my wrist. One thing that also impressed me a lot is the 42 hour power reserve, after winding the tiny handwinding movement, this thing runs for almost 2 days!
After ordering ‘the most original 38mm acrylic’ version, I wanted to get the sapphire 38mm version as well. For me, it’s all about having the ‘set’ and I’m now collecting the ones with the colored dials editions too, just to match every outfit I have, haha!
Whenever you’re at an event or on an occasion where you’re wearing a Seagull 1963 and someone around you notices this (chances are slim but hey, the community around it is growing I have seen), you’re guaranteed to have an instant connection and an endless conversation if you like. Even if people don’t recognise your timepiece, they will ask about it guaranteed!!
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this short ‘blog’ and it has sparked your interest in getting one yourself. Hope to run into some of you at an event and we can talk about our Seagull 1963’s 🙂