Perhaps the most popular watch on is the Seagull 1963 Chronograph. We have previously reviewed the HKED version of the watch but now our Editor has got his hands on the “period correct” version. Here’s the lowdown.

We maintain a link to our recommended place to buy a Seagull 1963 in the UK at

A Week on the Wrist – Seagull 1963 D304 Chronograph

My WRUK reviews usually begin by looking at the packaging of a watch, but in the case of the Seagull 1963, there is no packaging to speak of, except that which the various sellers provide. I bought the watch in a “plain” box but would have been just as happy with nothing at all as watches are for wearing! At this price point, the lack of presentation is just fine with me.


The Seagull D304 Chinese chronograph watch has a 38mm case, topped with a domed acrylic crystal. Acrylic crystals look good, and although they scratch more easily than glass they can be polished out with Polywatch or even toothpaste and they are very cheap to replace. As with most military watches, the case has few decorative features: the crown and pushers are plain and unsigned and the case back is solid with some simple engraving. Military watches are intended to be functional and this is certainly the case here.

Dial and Hands

The dial and hands are more decorative than the case. The dial is a stunning cream colour that looks authentically vintage. Applied gold markers are used for hours, with numbers at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 with triangles elsewhere (unlike the HKED Seagull 1963 that has squares). The logo is a red star with an applied gold border. All the dial text is clear and legible (if you can read Chinese). The subdials denote running seconds (on the left) and elapsed minutes for the chronograph (on the right)

Seagull 1963 UK

The hands are really nice. Hours, minutes and sub-dials are a rich blue colour and the central chronograph hand is red. The balance between the colours is spot on and gives the watch a real depth and that indescribable feeling of quality.


The supplied strap went straight in the bin. To produce a watch at this price means compromise and Chinese watches are famous for the poor quality of their straps. This is of no concern to me, as pairing a watch with the right strap is one of the most enjoyable parts of budget wristwatch collecting for me. I chose an olive green 18mm single piece strap for mine but a NATO, Zulu or two-piece strap would look just as good.

Seagull 1963 Video Review

What I liked

  • The watch looks great – the colour combination and vintage feel are a winner
  • At the price, it’s a steal for a mechanical chronograph
  • It’s really comfortable to wear as it is so small and light

What I didn’t like

  • A common moan of mine, but the lack of a date makes it frustrating as a daily wearer
  • The small case might not be to everyone’s taste (although you can buy a 42mm Seagull 1963 D304 watch)
  • The lack of presentation and after-sales support could put some buyers off – although some European sellers do provide a box and papers.

Seagull 1963 D304 Chinese Airforce Watch – The WRUK Verdict

Well, for what it’s worth, this is my own, personal watch. I like it enough to part with my own hard-earned cash and there can be no higher praise than that! There’s a place in every collection for a mechanical chronograph and this one is about the best balance between price, quality and looks that you will find – I’d wholeheartedly recommend it.

Buy a Seagull 1963 Watch

We maintain a link to our recommended place to buy a Seagull 1963 in the UK at

What do the Chinese Characters on the Seagull 1963 Say?

Reader Nick Hewitt tells us that he recently bought on a Seagull 1963 – the 21 jewel version with 4 Chinese characters 中国制造 on the face. These translate to Made in China (literally China 中国 Manufacture 制造) There is no mention of the Tianjin Watch Factory on the watch, but there are variants with 6 characters on the face – the one reviewed by Worn & Wound for example – which have 中 国 and 天津手表厂 on them which is indeed China (中 国) – Tianjin (天津) Watch (手表) Factory (厂).  The engraving on his transparent case is …. 中國空軍第一隻航空碼表復刻版 – which translates as follows …. 中國空軍 (Chinese Air Force) 第一隻 (first) 航空碼表 (aviation chronograph) 復刻版 (reissue) … Chinese Air Force first aviation chronograph reissue.

Author: Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

20 Replies to “Seagull 1963 D304 Chronograph Review

  1. Hello Mike. I noted in your cons you stated the lack of a date. I’m really trying to find a 38mm chronograph with the date that is in the same price league as this one. Have you come across any that you could lead me to? Has to be 38mm as my wrist is very small and all others look bulky. Maybe 38.5. I own an Orient Star Classic and its ok – a bit big – but really am looking for a chronograph,

          1. Last question: have you any thoughts on the Red Star Hand Wind Mechanical Chronograph with moon phase at Long Island Watches? It 40mm but has a date and moon phase, albeit a pretty bad one (30 day, thus needing constant adjustments)

          2. The Sinn 356 is 38.5mm and used a Valjoux 7750 until they switched to the SW500 which is just a Swiss copy of the 7750.

  2. Hi Mike. I think this watch is not a Seagull…or “Sea Gull” as they spell it. I hope you can prove me wrong as if it is, I’ll feel a lot better about buying one. It’s a beautiful watch, made well by a capable factory in China, and almost certainly using an authentic Seagull movement. The hand on the second sub-dial is correct. The one on the minute sub-dial should match. I see this baton hand on the minute sub-dial quite often and hope that Seagull made a version that I am unaware of, but I don’t think so. Also, the current Seagull 1963 re-issue has a much more elaborate case back engraving. Think current Omega Speedmaster, which I am wearing as I type this. As for the box: I know for a fact that the 1963 came in a soft zippered case with a rather decent manual. More recently, they are coming in an upscale-ish cardboard box, similar to the new Timex automatics. I read on another forum that an authentic Seagull will have a QR code on the back when new from the factory. I’m not certain this is so and of course have no idea if yours did…

    I have seen so many variations of this watch it’s hard to keep track. They are almost always sold by reputable sellers. If you think the West has trouble with Chinese patent abuse and forgery, imagine what a Chinese company has to deal with. It’s a free-for-all over there.

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