In 1992, Bell & Ross launched its first watch: an airplane cockpit-inspired timepiece. Eleven years earlier, Seiko unveiled the Cockpit 2628-0040, born within their Silverwave collection (a Seikomatic and Sportsmatic sub-brand). The similarities are striking, yes? The photo above comes courtesy @cedlamontre. Let’s take a closer look with some other shots . . .
The Silverwave Cockpit’s face is secured by four mounting screws. Its black rubberised finish pays homage to the finish used on aircraft cockpit dials to reduce reflection.
The Silverwave Cockpit’s original thick rubber strap (right in image above) also drew from the aircraft aesthetic.
A two-jewel caliber 2628 movement running at 32,768 Hz powered the Silverwave Cockpit. The engine was so small it needed spacers to hold it in place.
As you’d expect, the Seiko wasn’t nearly as expensive as a latter day B&R. A Silverwave Cockpit 2628 would have set a buyer back 25,000 yen ($670 in today’s money) for either the dark navy blue or the dark green version. Production was short lived, running from 1981 until 1983.
The Seiko Cockpit’s design earned the watchmaker the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s coveted g-mark Japan Good Design award. Older Seikos – especially distinctive examples like this – are a firm favorite with budget-minded buyers. A Silverwave Cockpit in reasonable condition currently lists on eBay for $1k, but that’s at the top of the market.
As you can see from the picture of a fully restored Silverwave Cockpit above (h/t to akabal at thewatchsite.com) the timepieces clean up nice. They’re a whole lot smaller (34mm) than B&R’s modern pieces (42mm), which helps make the Seiko more desireable for design-oriented collectors who appreciate historically significant watches.
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