I’ve done the majority of my vintage watch shopping at Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market, a massive collection of tented stalls that sell everything from exotic wildlife to artisanal soap. That market taught me more about vintage watches than any website or magazine.
I visited about a dozen vintage watch dealers bi-weekly when I lived in Thailand, from 2010-2016, and over time, they started to understand my taste and put watches aside for me. Whenever they’d ask what I was looking for though, I’d tell them the same thing: The elusive Seiko Yellow Monster. A 300-piece limited edition that was released at the Bangkok Fair in 2004; I’ve loved it since I saw it on the forums in 2006.
It had everything a neophyte collector could ask for: It was just like the Orange and Black Monsters that I owned and loved, except it featured a vibrant primary yellow dial with “LIMITED EDITION” in bright red, along with a cyclops over the date. Inside was a 7S36, a movement analogous to the workhorse 7S26, but with 23 jewels instead of 21. Part of the appeal was the all-capital distinction of having “LIMITED EDITION” prominently displayed in alarming red text. Back then, knowing you had a limited watch wasn’t any fun unless everyone else knew you had a limited-edition watch, too.
Before I moved to Bangkok and started looking for the watch in earnest, I saw them come up for sale on the forums every now and again. First they were listed for just over a thousand dollars in the mid-aughts, then a year or two later for about $2,000. This was during a time when a standard orange or black monster was roughly $200. The Yellow Monster was a grail of mine, but more than …read more