Seagull 1963 Review

The Seagull 1963 is a re-issue of a Chinese-made mechanical chronograph, originally developed for the Chinese military. As seems to be the case with a few Chinese brands, multiple manufactuers can make the "same" watch, with varying quality. The one I have is from WatchUnique, and is the 38mm variant with a domed acrylic crystal.

In photos the colourscheme can seem a bit busy: (painted) blue hands, red chronograph hand, gold applied indicies and the gold and red Chinese star. In person though, it works quite well. The printed seconds track and sub-dials are well executed, everything lines up well, and the gold indicies give the dial a sense of depth that it would have otherwise lacked. The domed acrylic adds an extra layer of warmth and 3-dimensionality.

Inside is the Seagull ST19, a column-wheel chronograph, which started life in 1957 as a licenced clone of the Venus 175. It is now a very common, and relatively well regarded movement. In terms of timekeeping, mine is running at about +10s/d, which is acceptable if not excellent.

The chronograph operates smoothly, although the start/stop button has a bit of a weird feel to it. One of my favourite features is that the minute subdial jumps between the markers as the running hand hits 0.

At 38mm, and with a substantial bezel, it wears perfectly as a dress(ish) watch for me. Despite being 14mm thick, it slides well under a cuff and doesn't feel anywhere near as thick as the measurements indicate. The long, curved lugs help it sit very nicely.

There are only really two downsides that I've come across. Using the crown can be fiddly, because of the proximity of the chrono pushers. The case finishing looks good, but there are some sharp points that could have done with a bit of smoothing out.

Overall, I'm impressed. This watch is part of a tour I'm running, so I'll only have it for about a week until it's shipped to the next person. For the price (approx AU$255 shipped) it's very well executed, and I think I'll miss having it in my collection.

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