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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So my 35th birthday is coming up in November. For a while now I’ve been promising myself the black dial Grand Seiko 9F GMT (SBGN003). I already own a 9F (SBGX095) so the the movement has has already proven itself to me beyond its stated capabilities.

Recently thought I’ve come to learn about Seiko’s other and lesser(?) HAQ watches and movements. One in particular is the SBCJ Alpinist with the 8F56 movement.

It’s quite obvious IMHO that the 9F is the far superior movement. Superior in accuracy and craftsmanship, but somehow I find myself drawn to the SBCJ.

For one, the price of a SBCJ is about 1/3 of the GS. Now, I have no problem spending $3k on a watch, be it mechanical or quartz, but in going with a SBCJ am I basically getting the same watch and saving $2000? Maybe even more?

Additionally, the SBCJs have a quiet, understated charm about them that is missing from the SBGNs (though I would agree that they are certainly less flashy than similar offerings) and this is something I really appreciate.

One of the main issues that’s holding me back from the Alpinists is the ruggedness and reliability of the 8F56 in the long term. Already (10-15 years on) there are reports of 8F56 movements losing accuracy and I’m not thrilled that you can’t reset the perpetual calendar on your own if needed. Again, the 9Fs would certainly be superior in this aspect.

Thoughts? Am I acting crazy by even putting these two timepieces in the same class or is this just the typical watch collecting neuroses that we all have?
 

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One of the main issues that’s holding me back from the Alpinists is the ruggedness and reliability of the 8F56 in the long term. Already (10-15 years on) there are reports of 8F56 movements losing accuracy and I’m not thrilled that you can’t reset the perpetual calendar on your own if needed. Again, the 9Fs would certainly be superior in this aspect.
I think you will find the 8F56 movement to be plenty rugged and reliable. It should continue running and be reasonably accurate long after the watch itself shows significant cosmetic wear. It won't be quite as accurate as when new but acceptable for an aging haq. The perpetual calendar can be reset at home when that 10 year battery finally gives out. The setting process is at best fiddly but can be done with steel tweezers or a small jumper. Those are my observations based on a Seiko SLT015 that I owned for about 18 years.

I would focus more on each watch as a whole rather than the movement. In your position I would be tempted by an Alpinist in really nice condition.
 

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So my 35th birthday is coming up in November. For a while now I’ve been promising myself the black dial Grand Seiko 9F GMT (SBGN003). I already own a 9F (SBGX095) so the the movement has has already proven itself to me beyond its stated capabilities.

Recently thought I’ve come to learn about Seiko’s other and lesser(?) HAQ watches and movements. One in particular is the SBCJ Alpinist with the 8F56 movement.

It’s quite obvious IMHO that the 9F is the far superior movement. Superior in accuracy and craftsmanship, but somehow I find myself drawn to the SBCJ.

For one, the price of a SBCJ is about 1/3 of the GS. Now, I have no problem spending $3k on a watch, be it mechanical or quartz, but in going with a SBCJ am I basically getting the same watch and saving $2000? Maybe even more?

Additionally, the SBCJs have a quiet, understated charm about them that is missing from the SBGNs (though I would agree that they are certainly less flashy than similar offerings) and this is something I really appreciate.

One of the main issues that’s holding me back from the Alpinists is the ruggedness and reliability of the 8F56 in the long term. Already (10-15 years on) there are reports of 8F56 movements losing accuracy and I’m not thrilled that you can’t reset the perpetual calendar on your own if needed. Again, the 9Fs would certainly be superior in this aspect.

Thoughts? Am I acting crazy by even putting these two timepieces in the same class or is this just the typical watch collecting neuroses that we all have?
Have you done any searches in this forum, to help you decide?
 

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I have 8F's and 9F's. Both have been trouble free. Same for my 7A's and 5856's, some more than 30 years old.
Money wise, the 8F Alpinists are classic and unlikely to lose value while the SBGN's are fairly new, still in production and can be found at a discount. The SBCJ's are also a smaller size, uncommon in GS's current lineup.
Buy what looks good to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Have you done any searches in this forum, to help you decide?
Yes, sure have. Was able to learn a lot. Again, the 8F56 appears to be very highly regarded but what worries me most about the movement is its serviceability.

I know the 8F has been out of production now for a while and, though Seiko will service the battery, from what I've read they are unable to service the movement itself. Also, from what I've read, the 8F cannot be regulated.

Agree @Watch19. The SBCJs are certainly smaller. Something that greatly appeals to me. Though, the SBGNs are not that much bigger, 2mm max.
 

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...I know the 8F has been out of production now for a while and, though Seiko will service the battery, from what I've read they are unable to service the movement itself. Also, from what I've read, the 8F cannot be regulated...
- Seiko can service the 8F movements (they can service even older movements as well).
- The 8F movements can be regulated (by pattern cutting) however the steps of adjustments are fairly coarse and limited and practically non-reversible (but that is still better than the no regulation option found with some other watches).
- The search engine of WUS is very good, use it!
 
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ppaulusz posted
- The 8F movements can be regulated (by pattern cutting)
I do not know what pattern cutting is -sounds interesting

- The search engine of WUS is very good, use it!
I did try and did read the 'help' but still failed to get anywhere.
pattern cutting or (pattern cutting) returned hundreds of hits because it looked for words 'pattern' & 'cutting'.
"pattern cutting" returned
-the following words are either very common, too long, or too short and were not included in your search-
Am I doing something wrong ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
- Seiko can service the 8F movements (they can service even older movements as well).
- The 8F movements can be regulated (by pattern cutting) however the steps of adjustments are fairly coarse and limited and practically non-reversible (but that is still better than the no regulation option found with some other watches).
- The search engine of WUS is very good, use it!
Interesting, interesting. That would certainly be a plus.

I've gone ahead and have a call into the service center for Seiko USA as well as an email. I'll let you know what they say
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Interesting, interesting. That would certainly be a plus.

I've gone ahead and have a call into the service center for Seiko USA as well as an email. I'll let you know what they say
Heard back from Seiko - they said they would need to physically see a watch in order to make an accurate assessment. Anyway, seems we're still in the same boat.

I'm leaning toward the 9F GMT. Though Seiko may be able to service the 8F now, they certainly won't be able to as the years progress. The 9F seems like the wiser choice for longevity.
 

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I'll give you my take. I got an SBCJ019. What I like about the SBCJ is the jump hour hand, the GMT hand, the general style and design of the compass ring and the rest of the face, the small size, the titanium case and bracelet. The quasi-HAQ aspect is nice too -- it means, hey, it's not +15 seconds a month. I haven't tracked it's accuracy, but I'm not worried that the time will be functionally inaccurate over the scale of a year.

It's in the same genre as a Casio Oceanus S100, and I'd say it's a better version. Black face, reflective indices, acceptable lume, easy time zone changes, don't worry about accuracy, 10 year battery vs. solar, smaller overall, more cheap feeling, harder to set, no squishy button, more comfortable and easier to adjust bracelet. But it's old and scratched up. The date wheel is faded.

Then an SBGR053 (9S65 mechanical) popped up at a reasonable price, in near perfect condition, and I jumped on it. And now I wear that. So maybe a 9F GMT, or an old 8J56 SBGF021, would have been the better option for me. The SBCJ is ultimately a $300 (plus inflation) watch.
 

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I can't help with the older movement but I have two of the new quartz GMTs. The 005 and the 007. I bought one in late winter this year and the other in early spring. I have set them once and they are keeping time exactly with TIME.is over these past few months. That certainly is not something I get from my Rolex watches.
 
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