Why Everyone Should Have a Seiko

Alongside Rolex, Seiko is a watch brand which is loved by both casual and serious watch collectors. Like many Swiss brands, Seiko has been around since the late 1800s. It is also notable that most people who have very expensive and rare Swiss watches in their collections also have Seikos. What’s with Seiko and why do most people love it? Why should everyone have a Seiko?

The following are the reasons why everyone should have a Seiko:

  1. Superb watch quality
  2. Affordability and range
  3. Functionality
  4. Widely available to men and women
  5. Highly respected brand

Superb watch quality

Seiko watches are built with tremendous quality. You hear it time and again: “Seiko watches never break down.”. Generally, it remains true up to today. You can buy a Seiko watch and you can wear it everyday and it will not give you major problems.

In recent years, there has been a surge in interest for Seiko watches, both new and vintage. The primary reasons for the existence of this growing community of Seiko lovers are because the vintage Seikos still work well and Seikos, in general, have timeless designs.

It is almost a certainty that your Seiko will likely outlive you.

Affordability and range

Grand Seiko SBGA211 “Snowflake”

To put it simply, there is a Seiko for every price range. What is amazing is that, for the most part, you really get what you pay for in every price range. A Seiko will always be a bang for your buck.

Aside from dominating the entry-level watch market, Seiko has started to pour more attention to its premier Grand Seiko brand. While the Grand Seikos have not yet reached the status of Rolex and other Swiss watch manufacturers in terms of popularity, the quality of the Grand Seiko watches are arguably on par. There are even some people who will argue that Grand Seiko watches are perhaps better than many other Swiss brands.

This range of Seiko watches demonstrates Seiko’s understanding and mastery of watch manufacturing from the bottom to the top.

Functionality and design

Seiko SKX007

Seiko watches are built for different purposes. The most famous Seiko line is its diver’s watch line (most of these are under Seiko 5 and Prospex). Seiko has done a great job with ensuring that the watch can do its task and at the same time be presentable. It can be noted that Seiko watches often have very simple and minimalist designs. It’s rare that you will find an outrageously designed Seiko.

The other known model lines of Seiko are the Presage and Astron.

Widely available for men and women

Seiko Lukia SPB141J1

Seiko has expanded to accommodate both men and women. While Seiko is really known for its men’s watches, the women’s watches are also created equally beautiful. Seiko applies the same approach to women’s watches as they do in men’s.

Seiko watches are very much accessible as they are sold not only in Seiko boutiques but also in most department stores here in the Philippines and globally.

Highly respected

Seiko Presage SRPD37J1

Globally, Seiko watches are regarded as some of the best quality watches which you can purchase. Seiko is one of the brands which transcends language and cultural barriers. A Seiko is as respected in the Philippines as it is in Japan. It also helps to know that when you wear a Seiko, you are wearing a piece of watchmaking heritage.

The Watch That Every Serious Collector Should Have

Currently, it can be said that the most sought-after watches are the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and the Rolex Daytona. Some may have a longer list, but globally, the three watches are some of the hardest to get. The three watches have made their contentions on why the watch collecting world wants them. However, there is one watch which I believe many people are missing out on. I’m talking about the Vacheron Constantin Overseas.

Vacheron Constantin ref. 222. Image from Phillips Auctions.

The story of the Overseas started in 1977 with the launch of the sports watch Vacheron Constantin ref. 222. The reference is in relation to Vacheron Constantin’s 222nd anniversary. The watch was designed by then 24 year old Jorg Hysek. The 222 was produced in a limited run of 500 pieces in all metal and dial variations. One of the highlights of the 222 is that it features a small Maltese cross (the logo of Vacheron Constantin) near the 5 o’clock marker, outside of the bezel.

The first Vacheron Constantin bearing the model name “Overseas”. This had a production run from 1996-2004.

In 1996, Vacheron Constantin launched the Overseas. This watch was the successor to the 222. It was more refined and it was the first model which had hints of the Maltese cross on its bezel. Noticeable in this model is that the bracelet looks like an ordinary watch bracelet, without any unique design. Internally, it still did not feature an in-house movement.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas from 2004-2016. Image from Monochrome Watches.

In 2004, the Overseas was updated again. Aesthetic improvements include the newer bracelet and a stronger accent of the Maltese cross on the bezel. The 2004 update features for the first time the middle part of the bracelet having some design elements of the Vacheron Constantin logo integrated in it. At this point, mechanisms are still modified movements of other brands, including Jaeger-LeCoultre.

The current Vacheron Constantin Overseas ref. 4500V/110A-B128

The current iteration of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas was launched in 2016. The model has perfected the integration of tradition with modernity. The current Overseas models range from the simple self-winding ones up to the complicated models with tourbillons, perpetual calendars, moon phases, and more. The Overseas now feature in-house movements. All the movements feature the Hallmark of Geneva, or the “Geneva Seal”. Watches given the Geneva Seal have been thoroughly tested for quality.

Some of the gold models of the Overseas.

Commonalities of the Royal Oak, Nautilus, and Overseas

It is important to note that the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas (previously 222) shared three notable things: decade of launch, base of movement, and unibody design.

All three watches were launched in the 1970s, during the time when quartz seriously threatened the Swiss watch industry.

All three watches used movements based on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s caliber 920.

Lastly, the Nautilus, Royal Oak, and the Overseas all had a unibody design wherein the metal bracelet was integrated to the watch case.

Why should every serious watch collector have a Vacheron Constantin Overseas?

Made by Vacheron Constantin

Anything made by Vacheron Constantin is guaranteed to be of the highest standards. Vacheron Constantin leaves no aspect undone, both externally and internally. The materials used in the case and the bracelet are solid and are of quality. The movement, as mentioned earlier, features the coveted Geneva Seal.


You receive a metal bracelet, a rubber strap, and a leather strap when you purchase an Overseas.

When you purchase the Overseas, you get a metal band (steel or gold), a rubber strap, and a leather strap. Switching is made easy through a quick change mechanism. The best part of it all is that the Overseas looks good in all of the bands. With the inclusion of the three bands, you have a watch which can adapt to any situation.


Despite the long lines for the Patek Philippe Nautilus, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and the Rolex Daytona, these watches can be seen all over the place. There’s just an irony that it is unavailable but then many people have it. Due to the increasing prices brought about by speculation, these watches have lost some intrinsic value as they have become commodities and trading items for some. The Overseas does not suffer from the problem of long lines and price speculation. You will be able to purchase and obtain an Overseas in a similar time as you would with any Vacheron Constantin piece. You will also be secured in knowing that there are not much people who purchase and flip the Overseas for a higher price. And lastly, you will be happy to know that you will likely be the only person wearing the Overseas in a room at any given time.

People are asking why the Overseas has not reached the same level of cult-like following as with the Nautilus, Royal Oak, and the Daytona.

The easiest answer would be that Vacheron Constantin is not as aggressive in marketing the watch. Another answer is that there are much fewer celebrities and known personalities wearing the watch.

But then again, does Vacheron Constantin really want that attention? I would say that the attention is not needed. Watchmaking perfection is not dependent on the attention a watch gets. Watchmaking perfection depends on the craftsmanship of the watch combined with the appreciation of a person. Given this, I can say that the Overseas is truly a masterpiece and it remains a watch reserved for those with greater discernment in watches. There is absolutely no need for a cult-like following to understand that the Overseas is an absolute treasure.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas is available through its boutique. Starting price of the quartz model (33mm) is at P770,000. Starting price of the self-winding models are at P1,050,000. (37mm) and P1,130,000 (41mm).

Watch You Wearing: Dr. Rolando Hortaleza

Dr. Rolando Hortaleza is one of the most successful businessmen and visionaries in the Philippines. He founded beauty and personal care juggernaut Splash Corporation in 1985 and sold the same to Wipro Consumer Care in 2019 for an amount which is estimated to have reached up to P11 billion. Today, Dr. Rolan is keeping himself busy with his new hotel venture near Tagaytay called Hortz Hotels and Resorts. Other than that, he continues to guide his children Alfonso, who manages their financing company Prime Global Finance Corporation, and Alexone, who manages their FMCG business which primarily involves the Barrio Fiesta condiments business.

Watch Journey

“I don’t consider myself to be a watch collector” says Dr. Rolan. Despite this statement, his history with watches have been nothing short of breathtaking. 

Dr. Rolan says that he did not grow up with an affinity for watches. He shares that his first recollection of purchasing nice watches was when Splash Corporation started to make some profits. “I purchased three Rolexes with the President bracelet. One in gold, one in two tone, and one in platinum.” Not long after, Dr. Rolan was attracted to the slim formal watches worn by other businessmen who he looked up to. This resulted to him purchasing several Patek Philippe watches, including the iconic Calatrava.

Up to this point, Dr. Rolan said that he still did not feel any personal connection with his watches.


Dr. Rolan sporting a Panerai Slytech PAM 225 while with his sons Alexone (Left) and Alfonso (Right).

The first watch brand which Dr. Rolan felt a connection with was Panerai. He loved the size of the Panerais, especially those in 47mm cases. He then started purchasing limited editions of Panerai both locally and abroad. Among the highlights of his collection are his Panerai Bronzo and his Panerai Slytech PAM 225.

Now in the large watches, Dr. Rolan then purchased an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher Edition. He loves the look of the watch and the aesthetics. But due to the weight of the watch and due to him wanting an uncommon watch, Dr. Rolan started to look for another watch brand which could be more adapted to him and his lifestyle. 

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Dr. Rolan’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher Limited Edition

The search for a sporty watch which is light and which is more uncommon than an Audemars Piguet led him to purchase his first Richard Mille. He instantly fell in love with the watch and the brand. Dr. Rolan even shares that everytime he is in Geneva, Switzerland, the sales team in the Richard Mille boutique offers to clean his watch. The first Richard Mille of Dr. Rolan is the RM011 Felipe Massa. The RM011 is a great watch for Dr. Rolan. However, he noted that the watch was difficult to fit under his cuffs whenever he would wear long sleeves and a suit jacket to a meeting. “I would have a hard time fitting the watch inside my cuffs. So I looked for the slimmest available Richard Mille.” This brought him to purchase the RM67-01 RG, Richard Mille’s slimmest watch. 

Dr. Rolan’s Richard Mille RM67- The slimmest Richard Mille watch.

Just last month, Dr. Rolan added his third Richard Mille watch, the RM28 diver’s watch, to his personal collection as he has recently started to enjoy the seas through swimming, diving, and yachting.

Richard Mille RM28- Dr. Rolan’s latest acquisition.

Given this history of impressive timepieces, it is hard to believe Dr. Rolan when he says he is not a collector. 

Factors in Buying a Watch

Dr. Rolan keeps in mind two things, among others, when buying a watch: 1. The watch should not be mainstream; 2. The watch should be functional and apt for his lifestyle.

Dr. Rolan shares that his principle of being unique is reflective even during the time he started Splash Corporation. At that time, beauty and personal care products were not yet as relevant as they are today. Splash Corporation started the fast movement to beauty and personal care products. This philosophy of being unique continues to his selection of watches. He shares that his son Alfonso and other people were convincing him to purchase the sought-after Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711. But he didn’t feel attracted to the watch and thus he did not purchase. Dr. Rolan has no regrets on not purchasing the Nautilus even if the prices have gone up at least five-fold.

As to functionality, Dr. Rolan believes that a watch can also be a tool to help you through your life. As he started to love the outdoors and the adventures it brought, Dr. Rolan shifted from the more formal Patek Philippes to the more casual Panerais and Richard Milles. In fact, his latest Richard Mille RM28 will accompany him to his adventures in the water.

Dr. Rolan still has so much more ahead of him. Time is on his side. Dr. Rolan is now enjoying mixing business with pleasure. Like his continuing quest to develop new businesses, we expect Dr. Rolan to continue his journey with more precious timepieces.

Watch Manila

Dear Fellow Watch Enthusiasts,

I formally established Watch Manila on April 25, 2020, right at the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). I have been planning to work on this passion of mine for a few years prior to the pandemic but the demands of being a lawyer did not give me the adequate time for this. During the first hard lockdown, I realized that we should not be consumed by negative thoughts and energy. Instead, we should continue appreciating the beautiful and the good things in life. This is why I decided to devote and carve some time for Watch Manila. To my eyes, watches are truly beautiful and are works of art. Whenever I’m appreciating watches, good energy flows inside of me.

Ever since I was young, I have been a student of horology. I still am. The reason why I gravitated toward watches is because of my appreciation for time. The best way to remind a person of time is through a watch. Time is one of the few things money cannot buy. There is a time for work, time for rest, time for family, and time for everything. In all those moments, the only thing constant is that time is important and can never be recovered once it passes by.

The pandemic has reminded all of us again about the importance of time. Healthy today, gone tomorrow. That is how fragile our lives can be. The best thing to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increased appreciation of everyone for devoting time to the important people and things in our lives.

Watch Manila gained recognition for the identification of the watches of business tycoons. I decided to focus on these people as I believe that their choice of watches were conscious choices. Most (or all) of them did not simply stumble into a store and bought the shiniest one. The watches they wear constantly remind them that as business tycoons, they are given greater responsibilities in the sense that their decisions may impact thousands of lives.

As I end, I hope I can make people appreciate and value time even more through the beautiful watches featured in Watch Manila.

Today only happens once. Tomorrow will be a different day. What happens today can never be redone. So let’s make every moment worth it.

I hope that you continue to join me watch the watches here at Watch Manila.

God bless to everyone!

Atty. Siegfrid S. Suarez

Founder, Watch Manila