But Giorgetto doesn’t just design cars. He also works with Seiko and has designed several watches. His original 7A28-7009 is worn by the character Ripley in James Cameron’s “Aliens,” and gets a couple really great hero shots in that movie. Ripley is the epitome of a sci-fi badass heroine. Now that Seiko has reissued the design in the SCED035, or Spirit Smart, we have another chance to strap one on our wrist.
Let’s go over some specs first:
- Case: 42mm including the chrono-pusher, 39mm for the face only.
- Case Thickness: 11.1mm
- Lug to Lug: 42mm
- Lug Width: 18mm
- Weight: 3.8oz
The Ripley is the definition of an unconventional watch. The massive chrono-pusher superstructure on the right side, and the relatively small actual size of the face makes you think that this watch is going to be awful to wear. The reality couldn’t be more different. The watch measures out at a pretty svelt 42mm and the pusher block prevents any sort of crown-stabbing. In many ways the watch wears the same way a 42mm x 42mm square would, since the lug to lug is nearly identical to the case width. All-in-all the watch rides surprisingly well on my 7.25” wrist, and doesn’t look out of place, well as much as a watch like this can.
The original Seiko Ripley came with a 7A quartz chronograph movement. The original intent behind these was to give the Swiss a run for their money. They developed a decorated 15 jewel, regulateable quartz movement, that ticked at 1/10 of a second, that were used in these watches when they were under the Speedtimer banner. The reissue has a 7T12 movement, that ticks at 1/5 a second. Accurate and high quality but not nearly as robust as the original.
That being said, this watch tracks a remarkable amount of things, including date, chronograph, split seconds chronograph, 24-hr time, and a minutes counter. This is an enormous amount of functionality out of this watch, but on one hand I think the 24-hr time is a bit superfluous. It might prove to be useful if you had the ability to set a second time zone, but I guess now it simply operates as an AM/PM function on a otherwise unused sub-dial.
Coming from my background with strictly mechanical pieces having a quartz chronograph is…a little weird, the watch is always right, always on time, and the date is always correct. There aren’t any mechanical issues that I see looming on the horizon apart from a battery hidden by a snap-on case back that might cause an unwieldy watchmaker to gouge the case when the battery change time comes. It makes you begin to wonder about the merits of having a couple quartz watches in the watch box just in case you need to grab something quickly on your way out the door.
Dial, Crystal, and Bezel:
The crystal is Seiko’s proprietary flat Hardlex crystal. I feel at this point, discussing the merits of hardlex is almost pointless. It’s decent enough material, stronger than plain acrylic, and softer than sapphire. Ultimately, the crystal will be scratched easier than sapphire (but with more difficulty than acrylic) and should that happen the polish job will be more difficult than it would be with acrylic (yet possible, unlike sapphire). That being said, the anti-reflection is very effective, making it seem as if you could reach in and touch the hands with your finger.
The dial itself is busy, but not in a chaotic way. There is a grey cutout on the lower third of the dial that houses the three sub dials, and the rest is black. The minute and hour indices are painted yellow, whereas the sub-dials are white. The minuter and hour hands are a sort of dark orange that REALLY contrast with the dial of the watch itself and the chronograph seconds is yellow to match the the smaller details on the dial.
The thing that really makes this watch readable is the contrast between the brightly colored hands and indices and the black/grey dial. The orange jumps off the background to really guide your eye at what you need to be looking at, and the yellow second hand stands out just enough to be readable when you’re using it.
Case & Crown:
The case on this particular Seiko is a beautiful matte steel case. Coming from my pocket knife background I’ve always loved bead blasted handles and cases. They can show wear, when bumped or scuffed, but in my opinion there’s nothing more beautiful than a well worn matte metal (ref the handles of a well carried Sebenza).
It’s worth mentioning at this point that the case size is extremely polarizing. There is a giant superstructure on the right side of the case that houses the chronograph pushers. The original design behind that is to make them accessible when you’re driving. This was, in fact, a driving watch, with functionality to track laps, and all that good stuff. In this scenario, it makes sense and works perfectly. However in the alien slaying application, it’s dubious, at best.
The crown, is almost totally hidden by the chromo pusher assembly, and on one hand is reasonably difficult to access and use. This is a quartz watch though, so the amount of time you’re going to need to spend adjusting the time and date is likely very little.
The Ripley ships on a folded steel link bracelet. When I first saw this I figured I would immediately want to put this watch on a rubber or NATO strap because I either wasn’t going to be able to size this bracelet, or if I did get it sized, it wouldn’t be comfortable to wear. The watch came to me with the bracelet at exactly my size, from what I’ve read online these bracelets are very difficult to size and that’s something I would keep in mind. Apart from that the bracelet is comfortable, I didn’t notice any hair pulling or pinching, and it draped fairly well on my wrist.
Upon inspecting the case and lugs in person I think it would actually be difficult to get a NATO on this watch. There isn’t a ton of clearance between the springbars and case. So, providing that you can size the bracelet and like the way it looks, I think you’ll dig wearing this piece.
Seiko SCED035 “Ripley” Review – Final Thoughts
There really isn’t a more sci-fi watch you can own. If you’re a fan of science fiction, in particular the Alien’s series, this watch is a no-brainer for you. The design of the case, and chrono-pushers is clearly very polarizing. It’s EXTREMELY 80’s and would really be home in a Delorean listening to Wham! but it can also fit into a modern watch collection as a bit of a novelty piece. It still retains all the functionality that we have come to expect. I believe they will also be something of value props going forward, and will likely increase as you own them.
I recommend purchasing the Seiko SCED035 at Amazon.com. Although they don’t currently have the exact SCED035 in stock, they do have similar Seiko watches designed by Giugiaro, such as the SCED037. Please consider that purchasing anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.