Seiko 6217-8001

Another 6217-8001 is featured today, I can’t resist them! This example was purchased new in 1966 by the current owners father who was then a seafaring man and a bit of a character by all accounts.


I’ll let the owner fill you in with some of the details about where the watch has been and what it’s been through on the wrist of his father, if any watch deserves a second wind I think this one does!

Dad joined the local TA Parachute Regiment in the late 1950’s then joined the Royal Navy in 1961, initially serving on anti-submarine warships. He bought his 62MAS in Singapore during his second tour of the Far East, by then he was an Engineering Artificer aboard HMS Bulwark, a Centaur class light aircraft carrier. 
Following his time on Bulwark he served ashore in Libya and was there when Gadaffi seized power in 1969. He was holed up in a hotel room and could hear machine guns being fired in the corridor outside. 
His final posting was aboard fast patrol boats before he left the Royal Navy after thirteen and a half years service in 1974. He then passed his board of trade examinations and served as Chief Engineer aboard the MV Magdalena, a refrigerated Fyffe’s vessel engaged in transporting bananas from South America to Naples. At one point in South America he found himself the unwilling passenger on a stampeding mule that carried him through a bar, destroying everything in its way. He and the mule were both arrested and spent a night in a cell together before being freed by the ship’s Captain the following morning. He only served for twelve months in the Merchant Navy, after which he returned to the UK. 
He then went on to a career in shore based Engineering and took up flying light aircraft in his spare time, he particularly liked flying the DH Tiger Moth based at the historic RAF Cranwell North airfield and he owned and operated a Taylorcraft Auster J1N there. He was a proficient but somewhat reckless pilot, frequently low flying and thus often found himself in trouble with the authorities.
He ran his own engineering companies during the eighties before becoming an ex-patriot engineer working overseas during the nineties. He worked as Superintendent Engineer in a large military power station in the Nafud Desert of Saudi Arabia, at one point surviving an unplanned excursion of five hundred miles across the open desert in his four by four, taking with him no water, radio, spares or compass and navigating by the sun. In 1997 he was attached to KFOR in Bosnia where he found himself under fire when he decided to drive into an unsecured area to take photographs.
During the nineteen nineties he also worked in Thailand, Libya again and India, where he was in charge of installing a mint in the Bengal. 
He died aged 60 in Calcutta on the 5th of December 1999 following a stroke. He was particularly well regarded by his Indian friends and a mass was held in his honour at St Paul’s Cathedral in Calcutta shortly after his death. He is buried in the church yard at Tealby in the Lincolnshire Wolds, the village he grew up in.
Dad wore his 62MAS every day from 1966 until it stopped working shortly before he died. It meant enough to him that he kept it safely even though it no longer kept time. Thanks to the generosity of his widow, Jan, I was fortunate to inherit the watch recently and think that Dad would be delighted to know that his trusty watch that he’d carried through so many adventures, was ticking and keeping time again.

The watch arrived looking a little tired, which regarding the exploits it’s been through is hardly surprising! The immediately noticeable issue was the original crown had been replaced with an incorrect one, the hands were stuck, the watch didn’t tick and the turning the crown had no effect on setting the time or date. It did have the basis of a good original watch though, the lume was all present and not particularly stained, although there was quite a bit of scale and corrosion on the chromed lume wells. As everything with regards to the dial was present and in reasonable condition and the lume hadn’t turned black it was more a case of conservation than restoration.


The caseback is very well preserved with no gouging and displays a production date of May 1966. Casebacks from 1965 and 66 tend to wear quite heavily so to see a good one is always nice.


With the caseback removed all the parts appear to be still there, however there’s a little more corrosion than I’d like to see, especially around some of the screws. Another problem is the rotor won’t turn at all.


A bit clearer with the rotor removed. The corrosion would have started when the crown was replaced as there was no sealing between it and the case, I presume it was replaced after his seafaring career!


Looking at the dial side you can see the peculiar scale that has formed on the lume surrounds, and the actual lume in places. I’ve seen this quite a number of times on 62mas dials and handsets, it can be addressed by carefully picking it off with a sharpened piece of pegwood, in some places a blade is needed to remove it. Needless to say it’s very delicate work that I don’t enjoy!


You can see I’ve picked clean the four and five well frames in this shot.


Four around to nine done here.


All the frames done in this shot, the dial and frames just need a polish now.


The hands picked clean of corrosion, again just in need of a polish. The hands are the worst to clean as the lume is only held at the edges and 50 year old lume doesn’t take much persuasion to crack and fall out!


What you don’t want to see in between the canon pinion and the hour wheel, rust….


With the dial removed more corrosion is apparent.


And with the top plate removed the jumper post is so corroded the date jumper is stuck in position, however the date wheel has survived remarkably well.


After much persuasion the canon pinion and hour wheel come out fused together.


After a bit of wrangling they come apart, it doesn’t take much corrosion to cause a lot of problems with watches.


The calendar side fully stripped, fortunately non of the screws sheared off although it was a close run thing with one or two of them.


On the motion work side the autowind bridge had a mixture of screws holding it on.


And on the underside the transmission wheel is toast, too much corrosion on the pivot unfortunately.


What you don’t want to see on a balance staff, another part for the scrap pile!


The motion work bridge is a bit stained.


And look at the corrosion on the centre wheel!


With the barrel opened the arbor is stuck in the cap with corrosion.


The arbor is also too far gone to be salvaged.


The watch was finally dismantled without any broken screws thank goodness. Ready now for de-rusting, cleaning and inspection.



A search through my parts drawers locates a NOS balance assembly which I’ll use, I’ll re-staff the old balance when I have time. Also found was a good arbor, centre wheel, transmission wheel and screws.


After cleaning reassembly begins.


The train coming together here.


Ticking away nicely.


Motion work completed.


Before starting on the calendar side a NOS stem and crown was fished out of the parts drawer. You can see that not only was the old crown incorrect, so was the stem.


The keyless work was the next to be refitted, the set lever spring retaining screw gave up the ghost when tightened up, thank goodness for the parts drawer!


The calendar side ready for the top plate


The dial and handset refitted.


Attention now turned to the case which was stripped ready for a thorough cleaning.


After the ultrasonic bath had finished with them the parts were dried….


….then reassembled, it has a nice smooth action on the bezel once more.


The movement was recased and she was then finished, a fantastic survivor from the sixties with more than a few stories to tell I reckon.




A shot with the replaced components.


And another (final) shot of the beautiful caseback.



  1. Thank you Duncan for your superb work in returning Dad’s watch to service. I shall wear it with pride and know that Dad would have been over the moon to see his watch working again.


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