Monday, April 1, 2013

Glow in the dark........ Seiko Kinetic SQ50

The Ghostly Fluoroscent Green


All I could remember for my physic class is my Indian physic teacher proclamation on the word "Pecutan" which means acceleration and kinetic energy.... Kinetic Energy is the energy possessed by a moving object and caused by a motion. I give up.... can never understand physic. Don't think I can ever get an 'A" even with the help of Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein.  

Was on a flight during the mid-1990's reading the Qantas in-flight magazine On the very first page is a male hand holding this Seiko Kinetic SQ50. I tried to locate that advertisement to share here, but could not find any. 

The way I see Kinetic, AGS (Automatic Generating System) or Auto-Quartz and even the newer Spring Drive is a move away from Quartz. Seiko realised that from late 1980's onward, the mechanical watches were making a come back. The mentality is, Quartz  is often associated with cheaper and average watches, whereas mechanical watches are now viewed as jewels, arts and even a living lifestyle. Seiko has contributed enormously in the development of timekeeping technology. The kinetic and the Spring Drive is like automatic watches, they utilise the wrist's and hand's movement to power the watch. However they uses electronic components and IC to regulate the time and achieve a precision that is equivalent to quartz movement . Below is a diagram how Kinetic or Auto Quartz works:

This is a two tones watch with steel and gold colour. The case and bracelet was exquisite designed. In mid 1990's this watch gave an impression of contemporary and at the cutting edge. To be honest with you, I have regretted that I purchased this watch. The case for this one is actually Stainless steel plated. There are of course other models with the same design that come with solid stainless steel and titanium. The price tag for the watch was also not cheap for that time. I have another reason why this purchase was never a cherishing moment in my watch collecting history; I reserved that for a bit later.

Another speciality with this watch is the whole dial glows in the dark. This dial is actually very beautiful and colourful. If under bright light, the dial appears to be milky white colour. It will appear greenish when is dark. Erererrrr that is not my hand, I found this photo using google image.... The whole dial actually painted with Lumibrite. LumiBrite is the latest development in Seiko luminous paints. LumiBrite is a dramatically improved fluorescent luminous paint that quickly absorbs more of the light-energy falling on it and glows brighter, for much longer, in the dark. Safe and harmless to human beings and the environment, it is completely free of radioactivity and can be used without restriction --- therefore, can be used to cover the whole dial. This watch is with the scratch resistant saphlex crystal. 

There is also a power reserve indicator function. All you need to do is to press the push button at 2 o'clock when the second hand reaches 12 o'clock, and it will give you a pretty good ideal how much power the capacitor has. When fully charged, the watch will work for quite a while (weeks) before stopping. Now the second reason why I see this watch as a bad investment. The time I bought this watch, the Kinetic technology just started and had no matured. I bought the watch thinking that I never need to change any battery and it can keeps going like a mechanical watch for ages before some oiling services and some minor change of gears..... How wrong was I??? In a short history of less than 10 years, I have had changed twice the capacitors. I believe if you are wearing it everyday, maybe the lifespan of the capacitor will be longer. But for watch collectors, we tend to wear it for a short period of time and locked it away for a long while. 

Something that I don't really understand.... Why SQ 50? SQ stands for Seiko Quartz, so I presumed Seiko classified Kinetic watches as part of the Quartz family. Kinetic watch second hand movement is exactly like the quartz watch. 50 is for the 5 bar (50 meters) water resistant of this particular watch. The back case clearly show the water resist marking and stated 5 bar. 

The movement 5M43 is proudly made in Japan. I think this watch is cased elsewhere. Despite my negative feedback for this watch, it is still not a bad looking watch. This watch do have its place in horological history. Personally I see Kinetic as a transitional period before the more advance Spring Drive technology.  

Revised Higher Resolution photo


  1. I have one,but i replace original battery with 371 battery

  2. I have one passed to me recently by my mother after my father passed away. To me, it is great despite all the no value of it. love this watch since young since I saw my father had it

  3. I have one passed to me recently by my mother after my father passed away. To me, it is great despite all the no value of it. love this watch since young since I saw my father had it

  4. Have same watch except no sq 50 just says 50. Any significants

  5. would the titanium be any better?

    1. Titanium is lighter and less allergenic to our skin comparing to stainless steel. However you can polish a stainless steel after scratching; but you can't do that with Titanium.