ZRC Grands Fonds homage - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 12-03-2015, 04:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default ZRC Grands Fonds homage

Browsing through galleries of timepieces used by Cousteau et al is perhaps one of the worst ways to instill watch acquisition syndrom (WAS), but it's as irresistible as light is for a moth. I already possess an LM-7 Pro & a Doxa 600t, which for most folks would be more than enough -- but there's always that one watch which becomes the next obsession to join the ranks of daily wearers.

Vintage ZRC Grands Fonds are virtually impossible to acquire, and I can't warrant purchasing the new ZRC re-issue. So what about creating an homage from a Seiko? There's enough variety & diversity in Seiko design which could approximate a decent homage.

To accomplish this, I figured there are two significant challenges: (1) finding the right case; and (2) finding the right bracelet.

Regarding the case: I figured an older, dive-inspired Seiko model with a relatively boxy case might approximate the hexagonal ZRC. Nevermind the 6-o'clock crown, too problematic to either mod or service; therefore, the case would have to be substantial enough to act as a crown guard.

Regarding the bracelet: nothing in the Seiko world comes close to mimicking the form of the ZRC spring-loaded, case-specific bracelet. However, the retro-vintage/vented bracelet look COULD be simulated with the straight-lug razor bracelets.

IMO, both issues are resolved with the Seiko Rally Diver: the 5126-8120/8130 model:

Problem: who wants to mod a vintage Rally Diver? I wouldn't have the heart to "renovate" one when they're so valued & loved for their original design. However, the Rally Divers came with the unique, vented bracelets which are period enough to replicate the ZRC.

Enter the reissue SBSS015 with the 7S36 movement:

This particular one had all the signs of being a daily wearer & was ticking strong, so I felt no particular guilt about modifying it. It also came with its original razor bracelet, which I felt replicated the ZRC bracelet closer than the other Seiko bracelet models.

Understandably, the Rally Diver Reissues are difficult to find at a good price, and I didn't want to psych myself into a pipe dream that wouldn't work well in reality, so I did a Photoshop mock-up to see if it conceptually worked:

The moment I saw the comparison, I was committed to violating a Rally Diver Reissue.

Time to go shopping for parts: the dial & hands from Yobokies, the second hand & bezel insert from Jake. Nobody makes the ZRC "magnum" hands (yet), so I figured I'd replicate the visual effect of the ZRC hands by using largest, white pilot hands against the black of the dial.

No idea what prompted Jake to produce the dotted bezel insert, but it totally sets the ZRC look for this mod.

And voila:

Vented bracelet? Done.

Still considering getting a true lollipop second hand & replacing the hour hand w/a white Ploprof hand -- but for now, it ticks my ZRC acquisition syndrome.

Thoughts? Did I bastardize an already rare reissue, or does this inspire someone else to be silly like me?

Last edited by DrNikolai; 12-03-2015 at 04:11 AM.
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