Seiko debuted its hi-beat SUS 4S15 line – of which this full serviced 1997 Ref. SCFF001 "Military" here is an example - in the early 1990s, after it perceived a disconnect between its offerings and younger consumers, in an attempt to wean the same customers off of digital quartz watches.
Seiko set about conducting a series of surveys to gauge the interests of their target demographic, namely individuals between 19 and 22, by placing photographs of Seiko watches from 1913 through the early 1990s – and their overwhelming preference was the minimalist, utilitarian designs from Seiko’s wartime offerings.
And from, this the SUS (“Simple” and “Strong”) emerged. The design utilized historical aviation, military, and railroad timepieces that emphasized legibility above all else (important considerations when designing military watches, as well).
The SUS line went on to become a popular watch in Japan, and Seiko produced them, with their multiple variants, for eight years, to include automatic, quartz, and kinetic movements. Among these, the 4S15 “Military” variant – released in early 1996 – was by far the most popular. That said, the 4S15 was not actually designed to be a military watch (while the crown doesn’t screw down, it does hack).
The 4S15 dial is stark and utilitarian, with white Arabic numerals against a black base (SCFF001) or black Arabic numerals against a silver base (SCFF003) and both feature a short blunt hour hand contrasted with a longer thinner minute hand, aiding in wearer ability to distinguish the two immediately. Both also benefit from the discrete placement of a date window along the minutes track just below 4 o’clock, with negative impact upon the symmetry of its beautiful design.
This Seiko SUS 4S15 comes with a generic bracelet, nylon strap, hard plastic travel case, and springbar tool.
1996 Seiko SUS 4S15 Ref. SCFF001 Hi-Beat Automatic
DIAL: Black Seiko-signed dial, with nicely defined white script - no imperfections.
CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 35mm (38mm with crown/crown guards )x 41mm, with matching stainless-steel caseback. Case features drilled lugs, facilitating strap changes. Of note, these cases were designed to have a "distressed" finish - this is not wear. You read correctly - the factory pre-distressed the 4S15 cases in an attempt to appeal to their target demographic. A display back - not something you’d ever see on a true military watch - shows off the beautiful 4S15 caliber within.
CRYSTAL: Original sapphire crystal, no scratches or imperfections.
BAND: Brushed stainless-steel bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. 7.5 inch wrist; this 4S15 also comes with a black nylon strap - also with brushed stainless-steel hardware to match the watch case.
MOVEMENT: The SUS 4S15 is powered by the Calibre 4S15, which was part of Seiko’s higher-grade 4S movements that debuted in the early 1990s. The 4S15 is based on a 1970s King Seiko movement, and runs at 28,000-bph, hacks, and hand-winds. Beginning in 2007, Seiko has reserved its hand-assembled 4S movement line for exclusive use in its luxury Credor line. We have performed a full service on this watch.
CROWN: Non-screwdown crown.