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Hello!

One of the very watches that kickstarted my dive watch collecting habit was the Seiko H558-500X hybrid diver's 150m, a.k.a. Seiko 'Arnie'.

Being an Arnie (the actor) fan myself, and a Commando (the movie) afficionado, I jnew that one day I had to own that watch on Arnold's wrist. Back then I was 9 years old (1985) when the movie hit the theaters in Brazil, and I drove my dad mad until he finally gave in and took me to watch it!

Fast forward to 2009, I was finally able to realize what was that watch, thanks to internet watch foruns (the SCWF, precisely) and I was lucky enough to locate 2 beautiful specimens of the H558 to call my own. One of the 5000 type (JDM market), and another of the 5009 type (export version). Roughly they are the very same watch.

One nasty problem that this watch has is within the part that makes it so distinctive as it is: the shroud.

Like all the plastic/rubber watch parts made in the 80s, the Seiko Arnie shroud is known for not aging too well. It becomes brittle and eventually cracks, sometimes it turns to powder right in front of the owner's eyes! The effect of sun, chlorine, salt water and plain age thus affect the shroud badly.
So it's not uncommon to find these watches on ebay and other places with a missing shroud.

Some ingenious men tried to figure out a way to make the arnie whole again, producing an aftermarket shroud made in aluminum, much more resistant and virtually unbreakable or unperishable like the OEM part.

Tim Cook made the very first arnie aftermarket shroud, in aircraft alumium, PVD'ed, as the mark I alternative shroud.
It has a snug fit, very well finished, but it had 2 problems: first, it was made in extremely limited batches, and it is practically impossible to find one, unless you can swing an owner to sell his to you. Second, it doesn't reproduce in a 1:1 proportion the exact cast/format/shape of the OEM part. It has a squarer look to it, specially when you look at it from the top. But Tim has to be applauded for making it available to us the one and only (until then, at least) shroud reproduction, thus giving hope to the old arnie owners to restore their watches to their former glory and also to the prospecting collectors who still didn't owned an arnie, but weren't too encouraged to go hunting due to the prone to breake original shroud, leaving the watch with a steampunk, horrible look to it.

Cook's mark I shroud had 2 limited runs and then no more.

After Cook's last batch, in comes Claudion a.k.a. Armsaver, a manufacturer of prostetic parts made in aircraft aluminum.

Claudio brought hope once again to those who have missed the bus on Cook's product. Let's call Armsaver's the mark II shroud.

This version of the arnie OEM shroud had a rougher finishing, specially in the black painting (which I believe is not PVD, but rather some kind of special black painting, other people will be able to correct me if I'm wrong). But although a rougher finishing in comparison to the mark I shroud, at least it improved in something that Cook's was a bit behind: the 1:1 shape.
The mark II has a rounder shape, thus much more closer to the original part made from Seiko. Also, it was made available in 2 types: one in black color, and the other in st. steel brushed finishing (making the life of modders a lot happier). The mark II shroud had more than 2 runs, being made available thorugh a lot of batches, from which you could easily find on ebay. It cost roughly half the price of Cook's mark I shroud, but you got what you paid for in both of them.

As an important note, both aftermarket shrouds improved upon the OEM in one thing: they allowed to be assembled on the watch case directly via the 3 phillips screws attachment, without the use of collars or washers. The OEM shroud didn't need the screws for attachment, thus rendering them as purely cosmetically. It was attached to the case via 2 lips, one located at the 12 o'clock position, and the other at the 6 o'clock position.

Fast forward to 2014, and we finally have what I would call the definitive solution for the arnie aftermarket shroud: a 316 L st. steel version, made available in 2 versions (one DLC and the other st. steel brushed), made by commission from Mr. Wayne Pettit (Montecristo1) from London, England.

Wayne's shroud is the mark III. It conjures up the shortcomings from the previous mark versions.

It has a 1:1 exact proportion and shape of the original product made by Seiko, thus being round on the top and a snug fit upon assembly.
It also goes attached to the main case via the 3 screws fastening. The finishing of the DLC version (faithfull to the original shroud in its black finish) is simply perfect! Smooth, without rough edges or blobs, a real quality custom made part to specs.

This shroud is unbreakable. It won't perish from the effects of time and age. It is as resistant as a regular tuna metal shroud made by Seiko.

It does come with a price, though. Naturally, as a much better part than its previous iteractions, it is by far the most expensive arnie aftermarket shroud to date, but I can asure you that you won't ever need to worry about your arnie shroud dismantling, again!

The limited quantity problem is also not a factor, that is, as long as you manage to secure yours with Wayne, or hope that it will have a great demand from arnie fans to guarantee a few batches production for greater quantities than the previous ones.

Wayne does not save on costs and details in his product. The detailing touches can be seen right from the packaging itself, which is a cool can where the shroud comes very well packed around a special wrapping to prevent scratches. It's cool to see such attention to detail.

Here are some shots of Wayne's shroud, compared to the previous mark types...


A comparison between mark II and mark III underside profiles...




Mark II shroud:


(Mark III on the right...)


(Now Mark II on he right)


(Mark III at the bottom)


Now Mark II at the bottom...


Mark III on the right...


Top profiles view (Mark III on the right)



The Arnie with Mark II shroud assembled, prior to switching to the Mark III version (on the right)


Mark III underside profile

(check out the great detailing, even on the underside!)

For you reference, Tim Cook's shroud (Mark I)


Armsaver's shroud (Mark II)


Mark I (on the right) and Mark II comparo shots:




Unboxing pics (check out the cool packaging!)











Thumbs up for the Mark III a.k.a. Wayne's Shroud!





I hope you like this essay and be aware of a great product made available to us, Arnie fans, thanks to another fellow collector who saw no boundaries in taking the bull by the horns as a challenge to top the previous 2 aftermarket shrouds available on the market!

As an important note, I have no affiliation whatsoever with Wayne, and I had to actually purchase 02 of his shrouds! Full prices!
Just sharing with my fellow Arnie fans that we have another option to make our watches looking new, again.

As far as arnie shrouds go, there's a new sheriff in town!
 

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Thank you Chris for the review, I wish you a lifetime of happiness with my Stainless Steel 316L DLC shrouds and your H558s for generations to come. Kind regards Wayne
 

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Chris, thanks for the great review. Really enjoyed reading it :) Now off to some auction sites to search for a nice Arnie... ;)
 

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Buying those H558 Arnie's

Hi Mario, hope to hear from you soon. Plenty of H558 Arnie's popping up on the bay at the moment. Good luck shopping regards Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you, gents!

And a special thank you to Wayne, for bringing to the market such a quality piece to us, Arnie fans. It was the last time I had to spend money with those Arnie shrouds! :)
 

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Hi All, additional features include countersunk screw holes that enhance the profile, along with the case lips removed making the transition from plastic to steel a simple screw on process. Available not only as DLC black, but also polished.
See more details here on SCWF - http://www.thewatchsite.com/8-seiko-citizen-trading-post/89826-fs-seiko-h558-reproduction-stainless-steel-316l-dlc-shroud-131-a.html
There are further coating options now available including different Cerekote colours. Please PM me for more details.
Kind regards
Wayne
 
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