Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
I do most of my shopping at Amazon and AliExpress. They provide good products and work hard to ensure their customers are fully satisfied.
Wish is another website that I sometimes visit. While not my favorite eCommerce site, Wish's vendors offer a variety of unique and interesting items. They even sell replica watches.
Most internet stores avoid selling replicas because these watches are produced without regard to copyright laws. The factories that manufacture them steal both the originating company's design and their branding information. These timepieces are of lower quality than the original and, when they fail, the company whose name is featured on the watch is the one whose reputation suffers.
Replica watches, however, are popular. Because of this, I sometimes tear one apart to determine its strengths and weaknesses. Today I am taking a close look at a replica of the Seagull 1963 Airforce Watch.
In 1961 the Tianjin Watch Factory was assigned to manufacture the first Chinese aviation watch for the People's Liberation Army's Air Force. Two years later, the factory completed and delivered 1400 of these timepieces.
The Seagull ST1901 mechanical movement was utilized to power these chronographs.
Lately, the Tianjin Watch Factory has begun to manufacture an official remake of this watch. It is equipped with the same hand-wound movement that powered the original.
However, the replica described below is not the official authorized version, was not manufactured by the Tianjin Watch Factory, and does not include a Seagull movement.
This replica, which arrived packed within an attractive cardboard box, weighs in at two ounces. Its case spans 40 millimeters and is 14 millimeters thick. This timepiece is matched with a black PU leather strap.
A Sunon PE60 quartz chronograph movement is encased within what appears to be a stainless-steel case. An acrylic crystal hovers above.
The watch face is white colored with gold markings and a pair of subdials. The hour, minute, and chronograph second indicators are attached to the timepiece's center wheel and pinion. The left subdial is used in conjunction with the chronograph's 60-minute timer. Unfortunately, the right subdial—the movement's 24-hour clock—is mislabeled as a thirty-minute timer.
- Manufacturer: Unknown
- Brand: Replica of Seagull 1963 Airforce Watch
- Condition: New
- Place of origin: China
- Gender: Male
- Display: Analog
- Movement: Sunon PE60 quartz chronograph
- Style: Retro
- Features: Chronograph
- Functions: Time of day, timer, 24-hour clock
- Band material: PU leather
- Band width: 20-millimeter
- Dial color: White
- Dial window material: Acrylic
- Case material: Stainless-steel
- Case diameter: 40-millimeter
- Case thickness: 14-millimeter
- Weight: 59 grams (2 ounces)
- Water resistance: 3Bar
The original timepiece was quite handsome, and this reproduction proved to be a reasonably faithful copy. The combination of a white face with gold numbering and a pair of subdials provides a clean and functional appearance. I also appreciated the use of blued hands offset by the red chronograph second-hand timer.
This watch is enclosed within a well-designed case and equipped with a black PU leather strap that matches well.
The case appears to be composed of stainless steel and is equipped with a metal crown and two metal pushbuttons. The caseback is of the screw-on variety and is relatively easy to remove.
This timepiece is fitted with an acrylic crystal. This type of cover can be easily scratched, but I won't complain because the original Seagull 1963 chronograph also featured an acrylic crystal.
In an effort to build this watch as inexpensively as possible, the manufacturer substituted the Seagull ST1901 mechanical movement with a Sunon PE60 quartz chronograph movement. A G6A LR921 button battery provides power to this mechanism.
Sunon appears to have acquired a decent reputation as a manufacturer of low-cost quartz movements. Please note, however, that the gears of this movement are composed of plastic. This suggests a lifespan of approximately one year.
The Sunon PE60 can present a visual indication of hours, minutes, and seconds and provide both a 60-second and a 60-minute timer. There are also provisions to accommodate a 24-hour clock and a day-of-the-month indication.
My timepiece is fitted with a black PU leather band of decent quality. A NATO-style strap is also available.
To set the time, pull out the crown and turn it until the hour and minute hands have reached their proper positions.
When the upper pushbutton is pressed, the chronograph begins to count. It will stop when the button is pushed again.
The chronograph hands return to their original position when the bottom pushbutton is depressed.
If the chronograph's second counter is not centered correctly at the start position, pull out the crown. Then depress the top pushbutton and hold. This will cause the second counter's hand to turn. When it reaches the twelve o'clock position, remove your finger from the button.
If the chronograph's minute counter is not correctly centered at the start position, pull out the crown. Then depress the bottom pushbutton and hold. This will cause the minute counter's hand to turn. When it reaches the top center position, remove your finger from the button.
The designers of this replica worked hard to provide a faithful visual copy of the original timepiece while keeping costs to a minimum. This resulted in selecting a quartz movement with outputs that differ from those provided by the Seagull ST1901 movement.
The outputs associated with the second hand and day-of-the-week are not used. The left subdial is utilized as a 60-minute counter instead of a second hand.
The right subdial is used as a 24-hour clock rather than a thirty-minute timer. Because this subdial's indications are numbered from 0-30, it provides a measurement of thirty hours with a length of 48 minutes each. This feature would be helpful to the man who is always complaining that there are not enough hours in the day to get his work done.
While it was a lot of fun to test this replica, I certainly cannot recommend it. This timepiece is overpriced, features an inaccurately marked 24-hour clock, and lacks a second hand.
If you like the style, I suggest you go to Amazon or AliExpress and check out the official Seagull 1963 Chronograph. This timepiece is reasonably priced, well constructed, and is fitted with an accurate and reliable mechanical movement.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Walter Shillington