California-based micro brand Seals Watch Co. today announces the latest and last version of their Model A watch. The Seals Model A.5 is a colorful reinterpretation in two variations of the brand’s debut release that our own Matt Smith-Johnson enthusiastically reviewed here. Apparently conceived with the design of tanks in mind, with an appropriately sturdy profile and a lot of brushed finishing for that industrial look, the vibrant dials of the new models are an unexpected take on the theme.
Matt Smith-Johnson is more than the author of the review linked to above: he is a graphic designer with his own firm, Sentient Creative, and he’s done a lot of great writing and design work for aBlogtoWatch. He is also the designer of the Seals Model A.5 watch (aBlogtoWatch was not involved in this project, but we are happy to have the chance to report on it). If you know Matt and his work, as I do, you will recognize the bright green, apparently called “Acid Green,” as a sort of signature of his.
The brand launched with the Seals Model A on Kickstarter in 2014, having come in a few variants since then, and their offerings now also include the Model C and Dark Seal collections. This Seals Model A.5 is surely the greatest departure from previous Model A watches. As mentioned, the original idea for the brand and the watch took inspiration from tanks, and there is a clear overall military theme – but lest you think the brand’s name is a direct reference to the famous US Navy SEALS, it is actually due to the name of the founder, Michael Seals.
Anyhow, what has Matt done to put his jazzy mark on these macho watches? The bright colors immediately stand out, of course, but the dials and even hands have also been changed up in a few ways. There are two versions. One is a grey dial with Roman numerals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and stick indices elsewhere. On this version, the first thing you will notice is the “Acid Green” chapter ring with a minute/second scale in a pale blue. The seconds hand and pips above the five-minute markers are in “Acid Yellow,” let’s call it, and the pale blue is used for the minute/second markers, a crosshair motif in the dial center, and the “Model A.5” text on the dial.
That’s no fewer than six colors on the dial including some black and white. Slightly more somber, perhaps, but hardly less conspicuous, the other version has a black dial with the chapter ring in burgundy red and a lot of contrasting yellow. This version has Roman numeral markers at the even-numbered hour markers and stick indices at the odd numbers. Military time is indicated on the chapter ring with daytime hours in yellow and nighttime hours in black. A white ring with red minute/seconds markers provides a lot of contrast, seeming to both emphasize the chapter ring and frame the dial.
Unlike previous Seals Model A watches, these new versions have the hands filled in with lume instead of being skeletonized. This will allow for more lume to be used and therefore a brighter glow, but it also simplifies the hand design, which I think is an improvement. The hour markers are also all printed in lume, but the Seals logo is in an applied, brushed steel at 12 o’clock, so it won’t glow. Also new for the Model A.5 is the lollipop seconds hand as well as the omission of a date display – whereas previous models had the date at 3 o’clock. No-date watches seem to be popular nowadays.
The Seals Model A is largely defined by its case which is unchanged for the A.5 at 41mm wide and 12.2mm thick with a water resistance of 100m and topped by a flat sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. To me, the case shape with its bezel seems to echo the logo (also echoed by the lume-filled tip of the seconds hand), which in turn is based on the hexagonal bolts on tanks, we are told. It also reminds me a little of a more angular Tutima M2 case or maybe a Dietrich Time Companion. With the thick and heavy-looking metal bracelet and folding clasp, most surfaces have a brushed finish with some welcome contrast provided by the polished edges of the tall bezel.
While previous versions used the Miyota 9015 movement, the new Seals Model A.5 has the Miyota 9039 automatic movement inside running at 4Hz with 40 hours of power reserve. So what’s the difference between 9015 and 9039? Don’t say 24. It appears that the 9039 simply doesn’t include a date function and its hands sit a bit lower, allowing for thinner cases. Otherwise, the specs are identical. The relatively premium 9000 series of movements from Miyota are said to target ETA’s 2824 and have features that are basically standard nowadays like hand-winding and hacking.
The solid caseback of the Seals Model A.5 is engraved with “Everything Takes Time. Time Takes Everything.” Personally, this reminds me of the often charmingly morbid mottos that adorn old sundials, many in Latin, related to death or the passage of time. Here, I suppose it could also be seen to reference that the Seals Model A production is coming to an end.
Yes, as mentioned above, this will the the final run for the Seals Model A, but the brand soldiers on and evolves with more new models (something tells me there will be a Model B). Prices have yet to be confirmed but they will be similar to previous Model A versions on the steel bracelet at $800 with pre-orders opening in early August 2018. You will notice in the gallery below there is also a gold-toned version that will apparently be given away to a couple customers as part of a pre-order promotion. seals-watches.com