Looking for a replacement for its 7A28 Yacht Timer, Seiko turned its attention to creating a far more focused set of regatta timers. Whereas the first Yacht Timer was little more than a 7A28 with the correct color scheme, the Seiko 8M35 Yacht Timer – like the example here, replete with its original stainless-steel bracelet – was created to time races. In fact, the 8M35 is superior to the elusive 7A28 in every manner when used for regatta racing, and was purpose-built piece for sailors.
In sailing, the purpose of the watch is all about the countdown and ensuring one guides the boat at speed to the start line at exactly the right time. Thus, this timing function is key. Unlike the 7A28, which felt a bit more mechanical in operation with traditional pushers and time setting crown, the 8M35 uses its crown more as a selection tool to move between watch complications.
Yacht racing requires a countdown period before the start of a race to help keep the boats as fairly placed as possible. Before the start of a sailboat race, there are two guns, the first gun signals that the race will start in either five, 10, or 15 minutes (depending on the type of race sailed).
At the five minute mark, a gun is sounded and the sailors start their countdown functions and maneuver their sailboats as close to the start line as possible. Once the end of the five minute blue period is reached, the race has begun.
Instructions: In its normal position, the crown can be moved forward or backward and this changes the mode of the watch. The mode is shown in the lower register and is highlighted by a black triangular hand that outlines the pie-shaped mode indicator.
In time mode, setting the time is done by pulling the crown out one stop and then using the two pushers to change the hour and minute hands. Setting 15/10/5 modes moves the needle-like hand to the appropriate countdown area on the upper track. Then, the upper pusher stops and starts the timer and the lower resets. The general timer allows for a countdown function of up to 30 minutes and the “Match 0” function allows both hands to be reset to 12:00.
This Yacht Timer comes with its original bracelet, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1999 Seiko 8M35-8000 Yacht Timer
DIAL: The 8M35’s dial combines the typical yachting timer colors of red and blue – naturally, everything is highly legible. Note the slightly blue shade of the index surround at the five minute countdown marker (otherwise, known as 11:00). At first glance, this appears to the casual observer to be dial damage, but it’s on every dial, and strongly appears to be intentional – perhaps some manner of visual cue?
CASE: Original 39.5mm x 46mm stainless steel case. The case features a rather tough-looking plastic and metal rotating on the 60 minute bezel – this renders a watch that looks like it could stand up to the typical knocking around that likely occurs on a boat. Regardless, at a mere 10.5mm this is a thin watch!
CRYSTAL: Slightly domed hardlex crystal is scratch-free.
BAND: Original stainless-steel Seiko-signed bracelet – bracelet is in great condition, but it is missing one of the blue accents (not highly noticeable); this watch also comes with a red, white, and blue NATO strap, with stainless-steel hardware.
MOVEMENT: Original 8M35 four jewel quartz movement, manufactured in February 1999.
CROWN: Original unsigned crown.