The Chinese may not be well known for being watchmakers but the Sea-Gull Watch Company has been producing movements and watches for some time ( Started as Tianjin Watch Factory in 1955 ) and is still producing today with over 3000 employees.
Whilst most items produced in China are felt to be cheap and poorly made the Sea-Gull company have several high quality Tourbilon movements under their belt and even a Orbital Tourbilon ( similar to Jaeger LeCoultre GyroTourbilon ), and these are no cheap knock off's. In todays short blog we take a look at a simple and unassuming Sea-Gull watch produced in the 1970's, during the time this was considered a luxury good and equivalent to purchasing a Rolex today.
Casing & Cosmetics
The casing of the ST5 is rather simple and understated with a stamped sheet metal case back that seems cheap, however the movement does have a dust cover and includes a signed crown. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so lets not jump to conclusions based on what we see :)
The Movement - ST5
The movement inside is surprisingly well made, whilst some parts lack fine finishing the parts that matter are well made and to good standard. The upper bridges have a nice and interesting finish and the 19 jewels ( including the barrel pivots ) certainly go a long way to improving the quality of accuracy and reliability.
With a little tlc the watch was cleaned up and timing was returned to normal, the glass was lightly re polished to remove scratches and the casing given a light polish. A new 19mm leather strap to finish and this gem was back in business :)
The watch is very simplistic in its form and function but in honesty it does not need to be anything else, with so many watches of the era shouting out loud its refreshing to have something plain and functional. The Made In China print may be tag we often associate with cheap things but in this case i believe its a mark of pride, a historical point of proof that luxury is not always the loudest or shiniest of things.
There is another model that is identical to this but was used on a Chinese expedition to the Antartic, if your interested then follow the link below for more details >>
East Watch Review - www.eastwatchreview.com
Link > Sea-Gull ST5