Earlier, I mentioned that this watch was intended to have a steel bracelet from day one. Quality and production issues prevented this from happening as planned, but with the steel bracelet in place the original intent of the design becomes much clearer. You see, the original intent for the Seals Watch Co. Model A was to represent the construction of a tank. The two-piece case illustrates the separate hull and turret. The logo is inspired by the hexagonal bolts used to affix armor plating to the exterior of the tank, and the bracelet represents the tread.
At first blush, the tank theme wasn’t obvious to me, but I find that it’s quite a tasteful reinterpretation of the core idea. It might be cheesy if it literally looked like a tank, so I’m glad it came out like this. And like one of those Magic Eye posters from the 1990s, once you see the tank (or Magic Eye 3D Unicorn!) it’s obvious.
The bracelet itself is wonderful, and the man behind the watch, Michael Seals, waited to get it right before making it available. It’s why the watch was originally available on leather alone — the “do it right, or don’t do it at all” mentality that I’m happy to see implemented nowadays. It has a single folding clasp with squeezy button lock and four notches of micro-adjustment. It makes this watch surprisingly weighty, and it really completes the look. I also found it quite comfortable on my 7.25″ wrist, and it was surprisingly easy to install and size. Just make sure you have one of those slotted plastic blocks and a wee hammer for sizing the bracelet and you are all set.
The movement in the Seals Model A is the Miyota 9015, which is hidden from sight completely. This is a definite bonus for me because although I understand the Miyota 9015 Automatic is a simple and reliable caliber, it’s not exactly attractive. Sure, it has a 42-hour power reserve, you can wind it by hand, and it ticks away diligently at 28,800bph… Those are all good things. I’m just glad Seals was able to resist the urge to display its rotor just for the sake of it.
Let’s face it, the Miyota 9015 movement isn’t going to be what sets this watch apart from what other microbrands have on offer. A solid caseback is a smart move that sets the focus on the design of the watch without distracting (or reminding) you of what’s inside.
The Seals Model A is a watch I thoroughly enjoy, and I dare say it was one of my personal favourites over the past year. I was fortunate enough to speak face to face with Michael Seals when he was in Toronto, and I feel there is a real vision for the future of his brand.
I’m glad that this project got the kickstart it deserved back in 2014, and I’m happy to say it delivers upon its promises. You can get the Seals Watch Co. Model A for $675 USD on the standard strap, $800 USD on the steel bracelet, and upgrade to a handmade alligator strap with either for an additional $150 USD. seals-watches.com
>Brand: Seals Watch Co.
>Model: Model A
>Price: $675 to $800 (+$150 for additional handmade strap)
>Size: 41mm x 51mm x 12.2mm
>Material: 316L Stainless Steel
>Movement: Automatic, Miyota 9015
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone who is looking for a larger watch that is still totally wearable. That, or someone who likes vintage watches from the 1970s — Seems like it would fit into that era.
>Best characteristic of watch: The lugs and turret/hull construction of the case.
>Worst characteristic of watch: The weak lume.