Comparison: Sea-Gull ST 5 and Glycine calibre FHF 96-4.

IMG_0858Barry was wondering which of his watches would perform the best after a service.

Both watches are from around the same time period and I would think it will be a close match. The Seagull must have been a true luxury watch for the average Chinese back in the days. This particular Glycine was aimed at the middle class worker wanting a reasonably good quality timepiece. The Sea-Gull is a NOS watch and the FHF has clearly been used, so to even the battlefield I will keep the original mainspring in the Seagull and get a new mainspring for the FHF movement.

I will start with the Seagull

IMG_0859The Seagull looks new.IMG_0862The case is made out of stainless steel with a nice Sea-Gull motive on the case back.IMG_0874Always a good feature to have a dust cover. The case back feels cheaply made with the seagull showing through the back.IMG_0875Movement has some cool decorations.IMG_0864Performance is pretty good considering it has been lying around for 30 years.IMG_0884A positive surprise is the jewelled barrel bridge and centre wheel.IMG_0879The dial side has a rather rough surface finish, but all moving parts have a reasonable finish.IMG_0885I will reuse the old mainspring.IMG_0889Testing that the balance moves freely.IMG_0891Movement back together and ticking.IMG_0905Dial finish is acceptable, the hands have a cheap look to them as the design of the hour and minute hand does not quite match. I do like the red dot on the seconds hand.IMG_0908Watch back together and ready to test the performance.IMG_1034Dial down is very good.IMG_1035Dial Up.IMG_1036Crown down.IMG_1037Crown Left.IMG_1038Crown RightIMG_1039Crown Up.

And now the Glycine

IMG_0860The Glycine needs a little tidy up.IMG_0861Solid stainless steel case.IMG_0865The movement is in good condition No decoration, but finishes (well, brushed …) made for functionality. IMG_0863No doubt this watch needs a service. IMG_0867The FHF also has a date change mechanism and the finishes are slightly better than on the Sea-Gull.IMG_0872Surface finish overall is somewhat better than on the seagull, but the movement does not have a jewelled barrel bridge like the Seagull.IMG_0928The FHF gets a new mainspring to compensate that it is not a NOS watch unlike the Sea-Gull.IMG_0929Testing that the balance moves freely.IMG_0932Movement back together and beating. IMG_0940The hands and dial have a better finish than the seagull.IMG_0933Dial downIMG_0934Dial upIMG_0935Crown downIMG_0936Crown Left.IMG_0937Crown rightIMG_0938Crown up.


Performance is slightly better on the Sea-Gull but the Glycine is not a NOS watch. The Glycine dial and hands have an overall better finish than the Sea-Gull and feels more refined. The Sea-Gull movement has slightly better construction with a jewelled barrel bride even though finishes are a little rougher than on the FHF. The Glycine case is more solid than the Sea-Gull case, but the Seagull has a proper dust cover…IMG_0971As I thought,  it is a close match indeed. Up to you to decide which one you would want!

12 thoughts on “Comparison: Sea-Gull ST 5 and Glycine calibre FHF 96-4.

  1. You mentioned replacing the mainspring of the ST-96 movement with a newer one. I have a couple of these movements, Can you please tell me from where can I procure new/less used mainsprings for them. It would be of great help. Thank you

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  3. Very nice looking Seagull. Interesting combination of case and movement. The cushion-shaped cases are usually found on early seventies models. While this watch was clearly produced in the eighties for the export market. (After the Tianjin watch factory changed the brand name from Dongfeng (Eastwind) to Seagull.) Indicated by the English translation on the dial. Which is a vanilla flavour dial with the typical set of hands and the “meat ball” seconds hand. The “Seagull” markings on the movement bridge are actually very rare! Usually one would find a “17 Zuan” (17 Jewels) on the bridge. Nice find.

    This movement has a great number of followers and is considered one of the best movements that came out of the China watch industry in the 70s and 80s.

  4. I think the seagull would be much more attractive if made in china wasnt written right in the middle of the dial.

  5. Dear Mitka.

    As the owner of these watches I’d like to publicly thank- you for your excellent service and regulation as they are both now keeping excellent time.
    Further thanks for your great even handed review ( which you no doubt spent a lot of time putting together ) which indicates I think that Seagull probably did not make a bad effort with the ST 5 in 70’s.
    Finally think that it was the correct decision not to put the Exhibition back on the Seagull but to keep it original.
    Thanks Barry.

  6. If they retailed around the same cost, it would be no contest; the Glycine. But you get a lot of watch with the Sea-Gull.

  7. I would give the edge to the Glycine. The dial, hands, case are nicer. The Seagull has a thinner case back and the dust cover is a nice touch; probably adds anti-magnetic quality to it. The amplitude readings show to me a bit tighter construction on the Glycine. Curiously, the Seagull amplitude shows it runs faster in crown down position whereas the Glycine is the reverse (and my Swiss watches run a bit faster in crown up position). The contest is close and there are things about the Seagull that I like such as the jeweled barrel pins, the balance bridge having pins and collars to lock it in place and lastly, running a higher bph than the Glycine. Overall, thought, I’d go with the Glycine.

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