1984 Tianjin Sea-Gull ST5 Antarctic Expedition Watch

Tianjin Sea-Gull watch built in 1984 for the first Chinese Antarctic expedition (note caseback characters). These were built to be issued watches for the expedition, not built as commemoratives.

I was told they were oiled differently than usual for the expedition (but I don't know the details), and that they received better-than-usual pre-issue QC. 

This, too, (like yesterday's Croton Antarctic) was a very kind gift. I received it on my second day ever in China. 

I was in Beijing, and had arranged to meet with Joel Chan of the wonderful Micmicmor Vintage Watch blog. He introduced me to some delicious local food, brought a number of extremely rare vintage watches for me to drool over and, among other things, gifted me this not often found gem.

Joel (Chen Heli) is one of the very early dedicated Chinese collectors of vintage Chinese watches. His knowledge is highly regarded among China's horological experts, and he has first-hand friendships with numerous industry pioneers: engineers, line workers and executives. 

The Micmicmor site was one of the earliest inspirations for my own collection, and Joel was among the very first to bring knowledge about China's watch industry to the west. 

Joel and me, Beijing 2011

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Very happily, we keep in touch, and we've spent time together many times since then.

Again: the best thing about horology is the people.

(I haven't opened this one, but here's an ST5 movement from another regular ST5 Sea-Gull in my collection...) 

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Another great watch with a great story! That’s two Antarctic references in two day – you got some plans to go south?

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roberto

Another great watch with a great story! That’s two Antarctic references in two day – you got some plans to go south?

Nope. I get enough cold in northern Alberta :-)

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Thanks for sharing, both the story of the watch being for this expedition, and of your trip to China. I think I said it on your last thread; I find these stories some of the most compelling things about watches. 

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It always amazes me how different the VCM watch personalities are within watches that have such similar dial colors and sizes. Yet they are all so unique. 
 

LOVE this one and the story behind it even more. 

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biglove

It always amazes me how different the VCM watch personalities are within watches that have such similar dial colors and sizes. Yet they are all so unique. 
 

LOVE this one and the story behind it even more. 

That's perceptive about the dial colours and sizes, because it's generally very true and it can be subtle. They're often so similar but they can still be recognized/identified at a glance once ya get a bit of familiarity.