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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, writer and noob to the forum here. Drafting a piece on Yobokies mods. Need help accurately describing for a general readership audience these six Yobokies mods, and why Seiko watch collectors admire them.

Here's my initial stab at trying to just describe the components of each mod. I want to get the details right, but more important, I want to concisely impart a sense of why each mod is harmonious and attractive, and how each fits within the history and traditions of horology.

So I'm frankly looking for more experienced collectors to set me straight and educate me about the aesthetics of just what makes each mod exceptional.

(1) Trinity – a Seiko SNZH5X diver’s watch that can be modded with a Yobokies Vintage Trinity dial (with or without a date); Yobokies Fifty-Five Fathom 2 hands; and a lumed glass, custom bezel insert.

What's a better way to describe this Trinity mod and what makes it exceptional?

(2) Lollipop – a Seiko SNZF17 diver’s watch that can be modded with a Yobokies lollipop dial and a set of lollipop hands with a custom aluminum chapter ring, a sub-bezel insert, and an anti-reflective coated, sapphire crystal complete with a cyclops to magnify the date.

What's a better way to describe this Lollipop mod and what makes it exceptional?

(3) Fifty-Five Fathoms (FFF) – a Yobokies custom dial and bezel insert let you mod a Seiko 5 Sports diver from the SNZH series and pay homage to a vintage Blancpain Fifty Fathoms for the price of a beater.

Wired magazine sums it up: “This is a modified Seiko 5 that bears an uncanny resemblance to the highly collectable Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, a legendary diving watch made famous by Jacques Cousteau and the U.S. Navy Seals.”

“Definitely one of the hottest Seiko mods,” writes Watchuseek member bluloo.

Replica Watch Info supporter olworthers “fancied a Fifty-Five Fathoms Seiko,” so he posted a photo tutorial on how to swap the Yobokies FFF dial.

What's a better way to describe this FFF mod and what makes it exceptional?

(4) Planet Ocean – a reworking of a Seiko SKX007K that resembles an Omega Planet Ocean diver’s watch with a Yobokies dial, nicely lumed hands, and a sapphire crystal.

Watchuseek member tolly calls this “my longterm favorite Yobokies creation” with “plenty of extras” that “runs reliably as you’d expect of a Seiko workhorse.” “She didn’t get you the Omega? Here’s the next best thing to treat yourself to.”

What's a better way to describe this Planet Ocean mod and what makes it exceptional?

(5) Night Monster – a Seiko diver’s watch that can be kitted out with a custom bezel in a matte black finish; a Sinn-style dial; lumed, white, sword minute and hour hands; and an anti-reflective coated, sapphire crystal.

A reviewer on Xtrememeantime writes: “That’s a bad-ass looking Seiko mod. Man, I love that dial and hand combo. I’m going to have to sit down and order some parts.” Watchuseek member steve12345 writes: “He makes a Seiko look modded so much they don’t look like the same watch and you know you still get the Seiko quality.”

What's a better way to describe this Night Monster mod and what makes it exceptional?

(6) Sinnko Big Military – a military field watch mod based on a Seiko 5 SNGZ13. It’s Harold Ng’s homage to a Sinn, the ultimate Teutonic aviator’s watch.

What's a better way to describe this Sinnko Big Military mod and what makes it exceptional? Also, how could this particular mod be improved, in your opinion?

Thanks for your kind consideration. Okay, I asked for it. Let me have it. What do general readers really need to know about what makes each of these mods bad-ass and exceptional?

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I'm not really sure we can do all the homework for you, but specific, concise questions might work better. Do we get author credit? ;-)

A lot of these are homages. There can be a bit of a fine line between homages and copies. Also for mods, some may be watch equivalent of an AC Cobra kit car, others may be a fiberglass "ferrari" body on a '73 Volkswagen. Both considerations are at play here.

Some partial answers:

1) Homaging some of the lesser-known early dive watches-- probably most notably the Zodiac Sea Wolf and the Eterna KonTiki. It's a nice overall package and finding a modern interpretation of this design can be hard. Eterna still does some stuff that's similar, but they're >$1,000 USD. Zodiac has abandoned this design language, so it seems mostly like a way to get into a particular design without worrying about finding a rare vintage.

2) I don't think the lollipop mod is particularly *exceptional.* There are dozens of very minor variations on the Rolex Submariner (let alone all the variations of the Submariner itself) that each slice and dice very minor, detail changes. This is one of them. It's a nicer one than many, but it's in a crowded field.

3) The FFF is particularly noteworthy just because it's a mod that happens to come together very nicely. It's also clear about what it homages without trying to be a copy. What has been written already is probably better than anything I could add.

4) I'm not really blown away by the PO mod. Again, like the Sub homages, there are plenty of these. It's probably put together nicer than many-- and the bezel is nice-- but it just ends up being a lookalike to me.

5) Something maybe missing here is that it kind of homages a Sinn or Bell & Ross dial, but there was also a now-retired Seiko diverdesign called the SRP043 "Spork" that is the more direct inspiration: I think this is a better example of modding in a way-- different elements are being adapted to make something new, rather than using iconic or recognizable design elements.

6) I'm not sure there's anything particularly noteworthy about this one, but it's a nice clean design. It doesn't particularly betray its Seiko origins or look like an obvious mod.

So I guess the last point is that it can be really satisfying to make something your own, but a lot of these are obvious attempts at replicating (elements of) more expensive watches (to a greater or lesser degree). I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, but to make it accessible the basic Seiko workhorses that are used as a basis carry design elements or in some cases limitations of their origin. All of the SNZ-based mods use a non-hacking, non-handwinding, low-beat movement for example. The sorts of things they homage would typically be hacking, handwinding, high beat, highly finished, maybe COSC certified etc. So while there's a valid reasoning for using affordable watches as a basis (if you screw it up, you're not out $$$ and the modded parts all add cost) but there are those considerations as well. They're not really quality *concerns* at the $100 or $150 price point for the base Seiko, but perhaps more of a concern depending on how you're comparing them.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for sharing your insights. This is the kind of evaluation and analysis I was hoping to receive. I plan to work collectors' comments into my draft, as space permits, and subject to editorial oversight. But I believe it's important to include collectors' views on what these particular Yobokies mods mean to them, and how they see these watches fitting within, or departing from, certain traditions.
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