Seagull 1963

seagull 1963 chronograph watch on an olive nato strap

The Seagull 1963 is a reissue of a watch that was first commissioned for the Chinese Air Force in the 1960s. Today, it exists as a popular, bicompax chronograph watch that has a pleasing military aesthetic. It was originally produced by the Tianjin Watch Factory and is often rated as one of the best Chinese watches ever created.

The 38mm case on the Seagull 1963 is made of stainless steel and is highly polished. It has an elegant shape that looks really good on male or female wrists. The water resistance on this watch is only 30 meters so there is no screw down crown. Instead, you have a push/pull crown that is flanked by the two pushers that are used to operate the mechanical chronograph.

The champagne dial on the 1963 is contrasted with gold indices, blue hour hands, and a red chronograph hand. This gives it a striking appearance that is more colorful than you typically find on a pilot’s chronograph. It is topped with a domed sapphire or acrylic crystal, depending on the model you get.

The movement is perhaps the most interesting part of the Seagull 1963. A mechanical chronograph is typically an expensive luxury, but the ST19 is an affordable and well-decorated movement. In fact, most Seagull 1963s have a display case back to showcase the beauty of this movement. It dates back to 1961 when Venus, a Swiss watch manufacturer, sold the blueprints for its 175 movements to the Tianjin Watch Factory where it was developed further and later became the ST19. Today, it can also be found in modern watches like the Lorier Gemini and the Baltic Bicompax.

Watch Specifications

  • Case Size: 38mm
  • Case Thickness: 13mm
  • Lug to Lug: 46mm
  • Strap width: 18mm
  • Movement: ST19 Mechanical Movement
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Crystal: Acrylic or Sapphire

The only real question mark that lingers over the Seagull 1963 is its providence. It exists in many forms and the watch seems to be licensed to other manufacturers. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you are getting an original Seagull or not, but there is also a question over whether or not there even is an original Seagull anymore. You can learn more about that here.

Nevertheless, the Seagull 1963 is an enduring success and a popular addition to the watch box of countless collectors. It’s instantly recognizable and somewhat unique too. Few people would have imagined the cult status it would inherit after decades of use, but today it stands tall among aviation watches. The 1963 is a true classic and it’s a timepiece you will always be glad to own.

Video Review of the Seagull 1963

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