Next month marks the 8th anniversary of the first entry in this blog charting my adventures in amateur watch fettling. In that time, I have written 125 posts, including this one, describing for the most part the restoration of vintage Seiko watches but also a number of projects featuring watches from other Japanese manufacturers as well as a few from Switzerland and elsewhere. In addition to restoration and service, you will find examples of modification, overt to very subtle, self-builds and one or two accounts of near or complete disasters.
I am prompted to note the passing of time since starting the blog not because 8 years is of particular significance but because this month the blog passes 1 million page views. To me that is something to be celebrated even though I recognise that this has been achieved through the internet equivalent of natural erosion. I also acknowledge that even though 1 million seems like a large number, it is small potatoes by any measure of internet popularity.
In reflecting on what’s gone down well and what’s slipped below the radar, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at a few of the most popular posts and to pick out a few that I like but which may not have attracted quite so much attention. First up, the top ten most popular posts.
It does not come as a massive surprise that this post, from November 2013, is well read given the popularity of what is certainly one of Seiko’s most iconic divers watches.
Another 150m divers watch, but this one quartz, and so a slight surprise that this post from 2015 has outstripped the 6309 one in terms of popularity. However, that may simply be a function of the fact the blog was attracting four times as many visitors in 2015 than in 2013.
Clearly, 150m divers watches bring in the punters. I am pleased to see this one up there as this was a project I was pretty pleased with, given the awful state of the movement.
This is a bit of a turn up. How nice to see this classic Seikomatic getting some love. This is a post from 2014 and its lofty position in the hit parade is a result of a steady, growing stream of views, peaking in 2018 but still going strong.
Now this is a surprise. A humble Seiko 5. Why is this post so popular? Could it be attracting traffic unintentionally from momentarily diverted Miles Davis fans?
Given the popularity of the military watch as an object of desire for watch collectors, perhaps it is no great surprise to see this up there. The first non-Seiko watch to make an appearance in the top ten.
The popularity of this post clearly benefited from a mention on the aBlogtoWatch website. It doesn’t hurt that the account includes incident and recovery from disaster. Nothing like a good plot with a beginning, middle and end. 18,870 page views and 64 comments.
Dating from 2012, this is the oldest post to make it into the top 10 and in fact adapted from an earlier watch forum post I made back in April 2011. The poor quality photos clearly don’t detract too much from a walk-through of a service of a classic Seiko automatic chronograph movement.
It’s not completely obvious to me why this post has been so popular. A very humble watch but fitted with a very interesting movement whose vulnerabilities add a certain notoriety. 25,442 page views and 33 comments.
It comes as no surprise to see this at number 1, given the deliberately provocative title. I think it’s a good post too so I’m not unhappy to see it up there. The popularity helped also by a mention on the aBlogtoWatch website.
A few posts for which I hold some sort of personal affection but which have not garnered as many views as perhaps they deserve. In no particular order:
An account of the revival of a Seiko 6105-8000 posted in June 2012. I still have this watch and love it.
This was a marathon effort that tested me to the limit. These three posts date from 2017 and so they’ve not really had time to accumulate page views to the extent of other posts but worth a mention here I think.
- Three self-build projects: Sub Story, A Poor Man’s Big Pilot and Common Denominator
Not particularly brilliant posts (ok, the last one is pretty neat) but these three projects chart one facet of my development as a watchsmith of sorts.
I love this modified 6105-8000, fitted with a Grand Seiko 6146 high beat movement. This one challenged my problem-solving abilities for sure.
Another self-build but this one charting the construction of a North Yorkshire equivalent of a WatchCo Seamaster 300. The first project to make me feel distinctly uncomfortable at the investment required.
We can’t not pay tribute here to at least one Bell-Matic. I like this post not least because I think the photos are pretty decent.
I include this as a representative modders project and because I think the end result was pretty effective. I’ve long since lost interest in this type watch modding but I still reflect back on some of these projects with fondness.
8. White heat: A Seiko 3823-7001 Quartz V.F.A from 1973
Arguably, one of the most important landmarks in Seiko’s early quartz history. A fabulous movement and a special watch.
Bloody scary, but it turned out well.
10. Parallel Universe: The King Seiko 4420-9990 Chronometer
An important watch in Seiko’s early modern history, yet somehow rather overlooked. I was also very pleased with how this one turned out in the face of some adversity.
11. A 52 year old Olympian: Seiko one-button chronograph from October 1964
A watch born one month before I emerged into the world and a celebration of the last time the Olympics were held in Tokyo. It is increasingly looking like 2020 might not be the year of the second Tokyo Olympics but maybe 2021.
12. Grand Seiko vs. Grand Seiko
A compare and contrast between the original Grand Seiko Self-Dater from 1964 and the 50th Anniversary 9F-powered tribute, the SBGV009.
The popularity of the blog has grown organically since 2012 without the benefit of much in the way of aggressive marketing. I’ve augmented the blog with an Instagram page (October 2014), a Facebook page (late 2017), Pinterest (not sure when, but about the same time as Instagram) and YouTube (2013 but properly-produced content only from last year). Only Pinterest and Facebook generates significant amounts of traffic for the blog, with Pinterest comfortably ahead.
One unanticipated dent in traffic passing through the blog was the unfortunate result of my decision in February 2018 to shorten the domain name from adventuresinamateurwatchfettling.wordpress.com to adventuresinamateurwatchfettling.com. This brilliant marketing idea had the effect of halving page views pretty much overnight. It took about 7 months to recover to where I was before the change and probably another 3 or 4 months before the hit rate started to grow again.
Readers of this blog come from an astonishing 210 countries and territories from every corner of the globe.
Readership ranges in size from the USA (255,691 page views) to Bhutan (1). It is understandable that the bulk of readers come from English-speaking territories but the blog is also popular in mainland Europe, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and numerous others. It is wonderful to have somehow achieved such a reach and humbling that so many people from so far and wide seem interested in my endeavours. Thank you to all of my readers for taking an interest, interacting with me through comments, emails, Instagram and Facebook, and I hope, for your continued support.
I make no excuses for indulging in this spot of stuff and nonsense at this time of international crisis. From time to time, it does us good to reflect on the rhythms of life and to hark back to trivial concerns and routines. I hope that before long, we can recover some equilibrium and stability and put behind us the upheavals that have challenged us over the past three or four years, culminating in this rotten virus. And so in that spirit, I for one will continue to work away at my hobby, to concoct my documentary accounts and to continue to post here. More of that will follow very soon.
Please stay safe.
Greetings from Spain and that the virus does not discover us. :-))
Aaron Roy said:
Love your blog Martin!! Thank you for all of your contributions! I eagerly await each new entry and frequently revisit your old projects
Thanks Aaron. I’ve two or three entries brewing but held up slightly by a slight snag. Hopefully resolved soon!
David higgs said:
I for one would like to say thanks for a very well written blog with great pictures…keep up the good work..!!
Thanks David. I appreciate that!
Richard Perrett said:
Martin, your work is a global asset! I am in awe of your ability as a watchmaker, your knowledge, your talent for clear communication via this blog and your photography. There is simply no weak link here. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures so vividly and entertainingly. Richard
Thank you Richard. I really value your support and appreciation.
Paul Cornforth said:
Martin , a most noteworthy achievement
Here’s to the next million views. I will raise a small glass of Lagavulin in your honour tonight.
Ahh – Lagavulin. A nice peaty number that served as Santa’s tipple in our household for 20 years or so. Thank you for the support!
George Hughes said:
Good evening Martin,
Yet another detailed piece of writing about a subject dear to my heart. You mention in the text, “1 million seems like a large number, it is small potatoes by any measure of internet popularity”. The expression ‘quality rather than quantity’, seems to come to mind, with the quality firmly in your favour.
I thought while reading this you were going to say you intended to stop. Had me worried for a while.
Keep up the good work, stay safe and keep witing 🙂
Hi George, it hadn’t occurred to me that this post might have appeared to be signposting a conclusion to proceedings but that of course was not my intent! I’ve been working on a couple of projects that have thrown the odd spanner into the works which has slowed progress but rest assured, more posts will follow. Thanks for your kind words and continued support.
Kevin Z said:
I look forward to your updates and future watch getting. Many thanks for countless hours of fascinating imagery and captivating writing.
Julien MARCHAND said:
Congratulations and thank you so much for this great blog. I really like the writing style and appreciate the care that clearly goes into the detailed photos.
I owe my discovery of King Seikos pretty much entirely to your blog: Rise and Fall: The King Seiko 4502-7001, (great title) and I am now the proud owner of a gorgeous KS 5625-7000 which (thanks to a recommendation which I think I saw somewhere on your site) was beautlifully restored by Richard Askham.
Julien (avid reader from Luxembourg!)
Thank you Julien. I am pleased to hear you are enjoying your King Seiko so much. It’s an absolute classic.
Keep up the incredible work you do! You are possibly the main factor in the development of my appreciation of 1960s Seikos, and for that I cannot thank you enough. I am still screwing up my courage to service one of the pieces I own, though 😀
I was hoping to see the 5106 “Tour de force” post among the tops, but as it is not, it means that I will be able to afford specimens of the hidden gem also in the future!
All the best,
Thanks Martti – I appreciate that. The 5106 post is actually the 20th most popular and so clearly has its fans. I suspect the complexity of the movement puts off some buyers but in my book, some of the Seikomatic-P models are among the most desirable Seikos from that period.
I’m new to your site but I think the calibre of your posts (pun not intended) is impressive. The range of your content, the quality of your writing style and the quality of your work and knowledge are very impressive (I know because I’ve begun trying to restore old Seikos and it’s a steep learning curve and investment curve). Well done. Really!
Many thanks for this. I appreciate the positive feedback. Good luck with your own Seiko adventures.
All the best