Wednesday, December 02, 2009

In the "It's Always Sumthin" Category...

My watch quit today.  It might only be a dead battery but I kinda doubt that, as I replaced the battery last year and batteries usually last three years or so.  That's been my experience over the past 20+ years I've owned this watch, anyhoo.  And I dearly love the thing... a garden variety Seiko Lassale... coz it's a beautiful piece of work:

I bought the watch about a year after I got out of the Air Force... seeking something simple and elegant... and the watch is all that and a bag o' chips.  And they don't make 'em like this any longer, either.
Jean Lassale, a Swiss watch maker, sold his business to Seiko sometime in the late-70s or 80s (?). Seiko didn't sell their Seiko Lassale brand very long, and those Seiko watches sold new, at the time, for around the $400 to $500 mark. The Seiko Lassale's are Japanese-made and have a Japanese movement. Jean Lassale has since taken up his watch-making business again (I believe sometime after 2000, maybe 2003?). Those watches are "Jean Lassale", are Swiss-made and have a Swiss movement and retail for several thousand dollars. A recent quote I received from Jean Lassale in Geneva was almost $7,000. *gulp*

A used Seiko Lassale can be had at eBay for between $50 and $200, and there is usually a small but steady stream of them. It's worth checking out, because even the Seiko Lassales are beautiful and very, very thin.
I didn't pay near that much for this watch, if memory serves.  I'm not into bling yet I sure do love this watch.  We've been through a lot together and it's been my constant companion for nearly 25 years (it looks it, too). The thought of replacing it with something similar pains me greatly.


  1. My wedding gift to The Oracle was a Seiko Lassale. Bought it in Canada in 1983 for, I think, around $300 U.S. He bought me one as well. We still have them, though they have been replaced with Movado's.

    I do still love them though - very pretty even 26 years later.

    Buck - have you thought of finding an old-time watchmaker to look at it?

  2. At least let a jewelry store look at it. Not one of those ones in the mall, but a place that does repairs. Might really just need a new batt. and a good cleaning inside.

    Altho -- first the coffee pot, now the watch -- what's number three? And there was a full moon last night. ;)

  3. Wouldn't a wearing works use more power leading to shorter battery life?

    Understanding the sentimentallity (surely not a word, or is spelled incorrectly) for timepieces will soon disappear, as will the true meaning of "rolling down the window" or "the phone is ringing." I'm sure Lileks wrote an essay on this.

    I'm reminded of a long monologue by Christopher Walken's character in the movie Pulp Fiction. I know you're not a movie guy, but that scene is how you'd probably explain your thoughts, i.e. the watch is not a timepiece in this case but a strong tie to the past.

  4. Upon graduation from high school in 1972, my Great-Aunt Serina gave me a Bulova Accutron. It was the hype at the time because of the tuning fork movement. Hey what do I know about watches except that they tell time. That Bulova entered active duty with me and made four deployments as the only watch I owned. Sometime in early 1982 it stopped. I took it to the jeweler/watch repair guy in Oak Harbor, WA. He called me, couple of days later and said it should have a decent burial. Salt air exposure over the ten years finally did it in. Since then, I have gone through watches as though they were candy. I now spend the princely sum of 20 bucks on a Casio Forester. Lighted dial and a day-calendar. Nothing fancy and it has to come off on the flight line.
    But I know how you feel, Buck. When one has a watch for that length of time it becomes almost a living thing. Weird, ain't it?

  5. Try cleaning the contacts for the battery - that fixed mine - though it also took a new battery....

  6. Buck, I'd go along with finding someone to fix the thing, starting with the battery. I don't wear watches, I tried but could get in the habit, even tried a pocket watch for a time but gave up on that. I look for clues along the way, there are clocks in a lot of places that are not obvious to the casual observer and I listen to the radio and they give out the fairly time frequently. After a good time fix I "dead recon" time from there.

    BT: Jimmy T sends.

  7. I totally understand. Hopefully the watch is fixable and will be with you for a while longer. Toby bought me a Mickey Mouse Seiko back in the early 80's when we had very little money. That watch was very special to me. It had two big scrapes on the crystal from a 4-wheeler wreck, which made it all the more special. I've gone through lots of cheap watches since then. Recently Toby used his ten year gift from Halliburton to give me a new Seiko. I'm hoping for some great memories while wearing it.

  8. My wife bought me a Seiko (something) as a wedding gift in 1979. It stopped working about 10 years later. I stuck it in the drawer..."gonna take it and get it fixed." Never did. It's still in the drawer, and I haven't worn one since then.

    Amazing, I'm the only one of my crowd that doesn't wear a watch, and the ONLY one that's always on time.

    My vote is for trying to get it fixed.

  9. I'm a watch freak, Buck, mainly look, but do own about seven or eight--everything from Kenneth Cole silver w. black dress strap to seiko sport and everything in between depending on whether I'm going for the silver or gold, sport or dress look depending on the occasion. If I wear my gold class ring on goes one of the gold. Some days I wear my Dad's silver & turquoise ring, so on goes one of the silver or dark gray titanium. Modern trends have not been kind to me as the "outsized" face is now the norm and I have small wrists, so need to have the smaller, thinner kind such as yours depicted for it to look & fit correctly. Yours is classy look--I'd try like hell to keep it.

    (Next bank I rob I'm getting one of the old art deco 60s plain-faced gold Patek Phillipe classics...)

    My wife also owns a classic gold & white-faced triangle Movado w. roman numerals & cordovan colored strap much like in your pic (not the plain faced one)

  10. Kris: Interesting coincidence about your wedding gifts! It's a foregone conclusion that I'm gonna try and save the watch... but I think I'm gonna wait until tomorrow. ;-)

    Kath sez: ...first the coffee pot, now the watch -- what's number three?

    See today's pic. ;-)

    Glenn: I had an Accutron in the way-back, too! All the cool kids did! ;-)

    Bob sez: ...i.e. the watch is not a timepiece in this case but a strong tie to the past.

    It's both. You can't begin to imagine how many times I've instinctively glanced at my naked wrist in the last 24 hours... But your point IS well taken, Bob. The thing and I covered a lot of ground together.

    Cynthia: Noted! And thanks.

    Jimmy: I've always worn a watch... began doing it in jr high school. But you're right... there's lotsa clocks everywhere, e.g., cell phones.

    Lou: The very first Christmas gift The Second Mrs. Pennington ever gave me was a pretty cool Seiko; she spent all the money she made teaching English on it when we lived in Tokyo as kids. I still have it, too. You don't get rid of things like that.

    Andy sez: I'm the only one of my crowd that doesn't wear a watch, and the ONLY one that's always on time.

    That's an attitude thing, Andy. And "being late" is one of my pet peeves, too.

    Virgil: My dad was a watch freak, too, and like you he had several watches and wore them all. He passed down a Girard-Perregaux to me when I went in the AF... and I was too damned dumb at the time to realize what I had. I managed to break it and threw it out, believe it or don't.

  11. I'm still mourning my Seiko -- a birthday gift from the hubby a -- um -- number of years ago.
    You just may have inspired me to get it looked at! Good luck to us both.

  12. I still have a Seiko from 1987, it was running great until a few years back when the battery died. First battery worked until 1992!

    My main watch is self winding and is now 14 years old. Keeps crappy time. The Casio with blue light however; Awesome.

    I too love them watches, must be because they used to be so expensive.

    Go spend some rehab loot on fixing ol' reliable.

  13. Moogie: Glad to have been of service!

    Darryl: Yeah... when the weather returns to normal I'm off to The Big(ger) City to get 'er fixed.


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