Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
A Marvel of Design - but not Durability, Longevity, or Low Cost Maintenance
on August 22, 2012
It's striking appearance, good price, large easy to read hands, Seiko quality, and the watch's ability to run up to 6 months without being worn sold me. I probably looked at a 100 different Seikos before zeroing in on this one. Plus I had owned an older Seiko kinetic which gave many years of reliable service. It eventually died for the following reasons.
What I have discovered with Kinetic watches is that the design of a large gear with a heavy pendulum turning a small one with a magnetic rotor at high speeds is inherently subject to high wear and friction. In addition, any shock to a kinetic watch can be significantly damaging to this delicate gear structure. The bottom line is while these watches are a marvel of design, they are not very tolerant of shock and not likely to last as long as a solar or run of the mill battery powered quartz watch. And getting them fixed is often an expensive option with not very good long term results. I know from having one fixed twice.
In addition, the Seiko kinetic claim not to need batteries is not quite true. What Seiko calls an "energy storage unit (ESU)" is, in fact, a rechargeable Li-ion battery which apparently lasts 5-8 years if you are lucky.
Replacing this battery requires removing several very small delicate parts/screws and likely best left to a professional with the right tools. Plan on spending $50+. The ESU alone is about $20 online. So in the long term it isn't really less expensive than multiple simple replacements of a pop in battery in a non-kinetic quartz watch - especially if you can replace them yourself.
Where you do come out ahead is in avoiding multiple battery replacement trips to a jeweler. And the kinetic watch will continue to keep accurate time even with a dying energy storage unit - providing it is continuously worn. So you wont be faced with a non functioning time piece as is typical when the battery dies in a normal quartz watch.
However, the trade off is that a solar or quartz watch is likely to provide better longevity and durability. For my next watch I'll be seeking a solar powered watch which offers the long time between battery changes without all the wear problems of a kinetic watch's mechanically based electricity generation hardware.
I did discover that fully charging this watch takes only a matter of days, and then it is good for months. Hence, it is suitable for someone who only wears it occasionally. Perhaps the ESU in this model is an improvement over the last one I owned and will last more than a few years.
As for any noise from this watch, I can't hear anything but I could feel the vibrations of the rotor moving when held in my hand. On my wrist, I noticed nothing.