This summer, on a flight from New York to Norfolk, I was seated next to a guy who clearly looked like he was in the military, Army rucksack, dive watch, and all. The flight time was under an hour, and other than him offering me some pistachios from a huge bag he was eating from, we did not say much to one another.
As we were about to land I noticed he had fallen asleep, then thump we hit the runway hard, probably the hardest landing I can ever recall. I looked over and he still looked asleep. Then I saw he opened his eyes and I said, “wow that was a hard landing!” To which he replied, “yeah it woke me up!”
At that point, I asked him if he was wearing a Seiko SKX dive watch, and he said, “yes, it’s funny you know that.” And then eventually explained he was a retired green beret, a dive instructor, and so forth, and had used this watch for years. And it looked like it with a chipped Hardlex crystal and many signs of heavy use. Yet despite the wear and tear, it still worked he said, and the signature Seiko accordion strap was still attached (albeit an OEM replacement strap). He said it speeds up or loses time occasionally but overall it has been an excellent watch.
We discussed watches a little more, I told him I write about watches, and explained how Seiko was one of the best dive watches, bar none, especially for the price. To which he replied that he paid something like $200 or $300 over a decade ago. And then went on to explain that he uses a dive computer when diving but uses the Seiko as a backup because you always need a backup.
By this point, it was almost time to deplane, and the guy in front of us got up, turned around to Terry, and said he watched his show “Hollywood Weapons” and loved it.
At this point, I said “I thought I recognized you from somewhere” and then asked about that show and more about his background. Turns out he was returning from a media meeting in NYC (which is where he is originally from) and was headed to his home in the Outerbanks, to which he had a car waiting to drive him the rest of the way. He explained that after the military he studied acting and worked on numerous military-themed shows, and in particular, he is the star of Hollywood Weapons.
Very interesting to a watch editor to find someone who could clearly afford to buy many other watches and easily get them for free, yet he still wears his trusty old Seiko SKX. Moreover, based on our brief conversation it sounded like he was not interested at all in flashier watch brands.
This true professional use really says a lot, and perhaps explains why Seiko, who is well-known as a pioneer in the field of diving, has such a rabid following.
After returning from my trip I found Hollywood Weapons on Netflix and watched a few of them over a period of a few weeks, and in each episode there it was, the Seiko SKX on his wrist, just like on the plane. Cool!
On the show, Schappert essentially tests out weapons-related movie scenes to determine if they are fact or fiction, kind of like the show Mythbusters, but in a more interesting way, at least to me, as I’m a fan of action films.
My favorite episode so far (Episode 2, Hollywood Weapons) is when Schappert, a former sniper, and his team recreate the famous scene from Jaws, where the late Roy Scheider fired an M1 Garand rifle at a scuba diving oxygen tank lodged in the teeth of Jaws and blew it up with a direct gunshot. The purpose of the recreation is to determine if it would really happen that way or if it was exaggerated for the sake of the movie. And of course, Schappert makes the shot, not an easy one by any means, with an actual M1 Garand, and he’s no doubt wearing the Seiko SKX. I don’t want to spoil it so you’ll have to tune in to the show to find out the results!