Starting on a slightly sombre note, writing up this topic has served as a poignant reminder of one's own mortality - in that we all have a limited time to complete those long unfinished projects. I turned 70 earlier this month. The other two people remembered here sadly passed away at much younger ages, taken by the reaper well before their time.
This particular unfinished project of mine has been gestating (more like festering) for nearly 9 years - mostly due, has to be said, through indecision. Though the fact that I restrict my collecting to 7A38's has had some bearing on that.
Subtitled: An introduction to the unloved 7A34.
The Seiko 7A34 (in both 7A34-7000 and -7010 / -7019 guises and their various two-tone and gold-tone finishes) are probably some of the least popular 7Axx variants; not just in the 1980's, but with Seiko collectors today. Generally disliked, not only because they're too dressy, but because of the odd positioning of their date windows at 12 o'clock.
The 7A34-7000 has a conventional lugged watch case, with a crescent shaped date display which exposes 9 plus date numbers in a 120° arc. The current date is shown at 12 o'clock. The 7A34-7010/9 has a smaller diameter (37.5mm Ø) watch case, with an integrated bracelet. Its date display @ 12 is possibly better in some respects, in that it shows only the current date through a circular aperture surrounded by a gold-plated escutcheon, but is less legible, being partially obscured by the parked chronograph sweep second hand. These ill-conceived unattractive 7Axx designs are debatably some of Seiko's worst in period. It's difficult to fathom why, in designing a date only quartz chronograph, they chose to place the viewing window @ 12. Especially when they used an almost identical movement (the 7A74A) in their upmarket Jean Lassale Thalassa chronograph, which much more sensibly, had an angled date display @ 4:30. But I digress ....
Subtitled: Friday's Failed Franken Fumblings.
For those among us, with latent non-purist tendencies, who enjoy a little modding, both 7A34 case designs easily lend themselves to serve as the basis for 7Axx franken building, particularly using 7A38 dial / movements, which will usually drop straight in and line up perfectly (dependent on thickness of their dial plates). Not that I'm advocating wholesale butchery, but given that the slightly larger diameter distinctly fugly 7A34-7000 has a conventionally lugged watch case, I'm surprised to say that I can't remember seeing many being frankened. One such recent example was this, which was listed for sale on Reddit in March this year and indeed started off the new forum's 'Heads Up on a 7A38 Franken' thread.
For that matter, I can't say that I've seen many 7Axx frankens based on the 7A34-7010/9 either. There was a certain modded example, almost made 'famous', by virtue of having appeared in the US ABC TV action series 'MacGyver', worn by the eponymously named star of the show, Richard Dean Anderson in Season 4. There are a couple of references to it online, notably here and on the dedicated MacGyver fan site. Evidently cobbled together by the props department.
Of course I've got my own much-loved dressy little 7A34-7019 based 7A38 franken that I nailed together 10 years ago. Getting it out of the collection box for the first time in a long while and posting a wrist shot in the WRUW thread on Friday morning is what prompted these musings. In the afternoon, I'd experimented with another different franken combination, using the 7210 dial from a stainless 7A38-7130, which didn't turn out quite as well as I hoped it might. So, having previously toyed with that idea on a few occasions over the years, having finally gotten around to trying it and finding the resultant franken combination left me feeling more ambiguous than disappointed .... Whither next ?
Subtitled: Reversion to an earlier aversion.
Granted, I could have carried on experimenting with any number of different permutations of 7A38 dial / movements. I'd even very briefly considered fitting the black / gold-sub-dialed movement from my Jean Lassale Thalassa 7A74-018 into the 7A34 case, in an effort to emulate (read better) the 'MacGyver' watch (and put the date window in the 'right' place into the bargain). But that might have ended up being a potentially rather expensive franken experiment (had I liked the result). Besides, I don't really think I could (cheaply) improve on my original 7A34 franken with the 609L dial.
Which is how I finally came around, full circle: to the idea of re-building myself an example of the unloved 7A34-7019.
In fact, I didn't buy it in September, but right at the end of August 2012, almost exactly 9 years ago. When I'd written 'September', in error, I'd just quickly glanced at the posting date on the box (see below), without actually checking my spreadsheet records. I'll say now, that in the few years I had the pleasure of dealing with Ron, I never had the slightest cause to complain about anything I ever bought from him; sometimes quite the contrary. But let's just say that his eBay photos didn't alway portray the watches in the best light. It may well be that he was using a very old digital camera. As typical examples of his unusual lighting effects, here are Ron's eBay listing photos of that 7A34-7019 sample case:Seiko7A38 wrote: ↑Fri Aug 27, 2021 12:59 pmAbout a year after I bought that 7A34-7019 salesman's sample case, I bought another, in September 2012, which thankfully this time came with a full bracelet (less clasp) from the same US eBay seller 49ronnie (a.k.a. the late Ron Canda R.I.P.). Back in those days, Ron must have had shelves full of Seiko salesman's sample cases in his St. Louis jewellery store's stockroom, because he was constantly listing them on eBay, usually for very reasonable prices, too.
I'd won another of Ron's auctions for a 7A38-7029 SAA013J / AA013M salesman's sample case / bracelet the previous day, so requested he consolidate them into one shipment, to save on postage costs. Ron went to his usual lengths of packing them in his customary bomb-proof manner. The 7A38-7029 sample case was naturally quickly deployed to good purpose. The 7A34-7019 sample case / bracelet has remained, forgotten and neglected, in the same box it came in, until now.
Although suffering from a few light handling scuffs, its received condition looked better than belied by Ron's photos.
Note that on this later serial numbered example, the original white oblong S23210 sticker showing a R.R.P. of $350.00 has been overlaid by another sticker with 395.00. Maybe wishful thinking on the part of Seiko and their salesmen ?
Incidentally, I belatedly learned of Ron Canda's passing more by accident, as I hadn't dealt with him in a good few years.
I can't remember what I was looking for at the time, but something prompted me to check his eBay user ID 49ronnie, to see if he might be listing anything of interest. He wasn't and hadn't done so for over 3 years. Not only that, a couple of inconsiderate thoughtless people had left unkind feedback.
I posted this as a footnote on the old archived forum's Salesman's Sample Case sales thread:
Topic under construction - I haven't finished by a long way yet !!