Behind The Build #001 - Yachtmaster
There's a huge shift going on in the community of watch aficionados right now that we think you shouldn’t miss. And it’s one of the most exciting changes we've seen in a long time!
It’s fair to say that watch wearing has become more than just a marker of status. People refuse to be labeled by what they wear; instead, they alter parts of the timepiece to suit their personality and lifestyle.
Modifying a watch can also be a form of defiance against the mass production of timepieces. Now that finely crafted watch parts are widely available, the possibility of customization and freedom to create a personalized style is infinite.
"Modifying a watch can also be a form of defiance against the mass production of timepieces."
Above: Some of the tools of the trade (Source: @rom.media on Instagram)
Those who became part of the community have various reasons why they enjoy customization. Some want to develop their focus by tinkering with watch parts; some are curious about how things work; and some want to achieve a specific look that’s different from the original timepiece when they got it from the store. Off-the-shelf stuff is boring.
Don’t worry if you’re just starting to dip your toe in the watch modding scene. You’re not the only one. Setting out to design your own watch from scratch can be really challenging. In our years of selling Seiko mod parts, modifying our own watches, and interacting with the community, we've come to understand that every brilliant and skillful watch modder started as a newbie. And there's no shame in that!
One less intimidating way of approaching a watch mod is to take inspiration from well-known builds. For this purpose, we spent some time deconstructing and contextualizing popular watch mods in this new series of articles, which we're coining "Behind the Build".
First off, we’ll be starting with the Seiko Yachtmaster Mod -- a style that never fails to grab someone’s attention.
Let's dive (wink wink) right in.
The Seiko Yachtmaster
The Seiko Yachtmaster (YM) Mod is one of the most popular and well-loved style of builds by watch modders. The easiest way to distinguish this style is from the use of a Yachtmaster bezel insert. There are various color versions of Seiko SKX007 Yachtmaster bezel inserts which includes silver, gold, and black, just to name a few.
Above: The Silver Yachtmaster style bezel insert on an SKX007 - One of our best selling bezel inserts (Source: namokiMODS)
The bold, yet still somehow elegant, bezel insert style can be traced back to 1992 when the Rolex Yacht Master had its maiden voyage in the market. It received an overwhelming reception as it was a timepiece that just oozed opulence - The market had never before seen a luxury watch, designed for luxury seacraft owners. Additionally, the Yacht Master broke Rolex’s tradition of rarely launching watch variations as they decided to offer it in 29mm, 35mm, and 40mm sizes.
Who would have guessed that years later, the Yacht Master would inspire watch modders and builders to emulate it, using the classic Seiko SKX007 as a platform? The SKX, the watch for the everyman, is everything that the Yachtmaster isn't - and yet the pairing of the two diametrically opposed styles seems so natural when you look at a well-executed Yachtmaster build.
Above: While not ALWAYS used on Yachtmaster builds, Mercedes hands are a common design choice (Source: namokiMODS)
If you’d like to work on your YM build and aren't sure where to start, we've put together a collection of commonly used parts for your very own Seiko x Yachtmaster build or mod.
Most Yachtmaster builds out there can be broken down into the following sub-categories:
Above: Staying true to the over-the-top luxe styling of the Yachtmaster: A full gold Yachtmaster build (Source: @overwrist1980 on Instagram)
The full gold Yachtmaster style build is definitely not an easy one to pull off - you have to possess a certain type of personality to wear a full gold watch, and not allow it wear you instead. That being said - when done right, it looks absolutely bling-tastic.
You can check out our gold Yachtmaster style bezel insert here.
Above: Silver Yachtmaster style builds are perfect if you're going for something a little more subtle. (Source: @jp_wristshot on Instagram)
Don't think the full gold look is up your alley? A Silver Yachtmaster build might be what you're looking for. Paired with the right watch dial, it's the classy and understated choice.
If you think this is the one for you, check out our Silver YM style bezel insert here.
Above: Beautifully clean - this Yachtmaster build contains some MarineMaster elements as well. (Source: @nafokies on Instagram)
Above: Black Yachtmaster builds are always a fan favourite. (Source: @marcleong on Instagram)
Black Yachtmaster builds are by and large one of the most popular ways to execute this style. It's no surprise that our Black YM Style bezel insert is our bestselling bezel insert, of all time!
They're low-key, stealthy, and just look so damn cool. Some Black Yachtmaster style builds use a black watch case, as shown in the above image. Others prefer to use a silver watch case, which adds a nice bit of contrast. See below for an example.
Above: A polished silver case is a perfect contrast to the matte black Yachtmaster bezel insert. (Source: @marcleong on Instagram)
Above: Two Tone builds - the perfect balance of Bling and Understated-ness (Source: @lume_shot on Instagram)
Two-tone builds are usually identified by their use of two different tones of metal, with gold being one of the accent tones. Popular combinations are black and gold, or silver and gold. A great two-tone build is all about balance, and when executed well, they're one of the most gorgeous watches out there.
This style has its fair share of fans, evident by the many incredible photos circulating on Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and various websites. But some are still on the fence because not all modders, and would-be modders, successfully find compatible parts needed for their first SKX Yachtmaster build. Another issue is - there are so many different parts, where does one even start?
Beginners may also encounter doubts, and feel discouraged about whether they can make the mod work. These are common, and very normal, issues that are typically faced even by experienced modders.
It really takes time and repetition to transition from clumsy hands into being able to pull off precise movements and apply just the right pressure to achieve the first build.
We admit though, that the process is a bit technical. And handling delicate bits of a watch to build an SKX007 Yachtmaster mod, or any other style of watch build, requires patience and some level of dedication.
You might want to check our written series on Why We Mod (here's the first interview we did for Why We Mod to get you started), where you can get some first-hand, tried and tested advice from the featured modders. These guys show us that it’s possible to learn how to DIY once you get past that seemingly-intimidating learning curve, equipped with the right approach, mindset, and tools.
"There’s a pleasure in owning something that is specially crafted, not mass-produced."
Those who painstakingly embarked on their watch modding journey now enjoy wearing the watch on their wrist with pride. The complexity and difficulty, just like any other craft such as car modifying, renovating a house, sewing personal clothes (instead of getting a Ready-to-Wear) makes watch modding all the more fulfilling. There’s a pleasure in owning something that is specially crafted, not mass-produced.
We would love to know how your first build turned out!
Feel free to send us comments, suggestions, and photos of your awesome mod at firstname.lastname@example.org.