Seiko 6217-8000

And yet another 62mas is featured today, but not any old 62mas – this is a rather special one. I picked up the watch a while ago and it has been sitting in the project drawer for some time now whilst I a) decided what to do with it, and b) actually arranged my schedule so I could get on with it. As you can see the watch wasn’t in too bad a condition when it arrived, it was minus an insert but complete. A yobokies insert was purchased and that was fitted before this shot was taken.

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As can be seen it’s an excellent watch to start with, apart from a few issues that I’ll go into later. If you haven’t spotted the thing that makes this particular 62mas interesting I’ll tell you, it was the first thing I noticed when I saw it for sale, the small crown. The case reference for the small crown models is 6217-8000 as opposed to 6217-8001 for the big crowns. You can just about make out the 8000 on the caseback in the shot below. Any 62mas casback manufactured during 1965/66 tends to wear quite readily, the very early 6217-8000 cases wear worst of all. I’ve yet to see a crisp one!

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The sharpest one I’ve ever seen belongs to a chap called Clayton, a serious Australian collector. You’ll note Clayton has fitted his with the bigger type crown, not because he didn’t have a small crown but because that’s the way he wanted the watch. (Picture courtesy of Clayton)

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The standard 62mas case reference looks like this.

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The eagle eyed amongst you will also notice that the production date is April 1965, this was the first month of production for the 6217-8000 and interestingly the last month of production was May so we have an incredibly short production run for the 8000, anything from a week to eight weeks. Unless of course anyone has spotted a June 1965 example of a 6217-8000 out there, I’ve been looking for years and I’ve never seen one!

You may ask why the case reference was changed from 8000 to 8001 when the only difference is the larger crown. Well that isn’t actually the only difference, the case design was changed because the crown tube was lengthened and it received a flange which meant the case had to be recessed to allow it to sit flush. These comparison shots of a previous small crown example I owned shows the differences.

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The height of the coin edge bezel also changed over time, I’ve seen short medium and long depths of coin edge but the difference isn’t reference specific. You can see three different heights in this shot of three examples I owned at one point.

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The crowns are interesting in as much as they share the same part number with the big crown. I have a few Seiko case reference books including some from the mid to late sixties and none of them specify a different number for the smaller crown, I presume when these watches were serviced they received the larger crown if it ever needed changing. You can see the size difference in these shots, both are signed with the Seiko logo.

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Enough of the history lesson, here’s what was done to the watch. I mentioned there were some issues when the watch arrived, and the biggest of these was to do with the case lugs. It looked like someone had gripped each lug in a vice at some point and had damaged each one.

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What a mess! This damage couldn’t be disguised by mere polishing, the marks were far too deep for that so the case was shipped out to Rocco Manfredi who does remarkable repair work on vintage cases. First the damage, nicks and dings were filled with laser welding then the profiles were bought back on a lapidery grinding and polishing machine. This technique can bring the profile back to what it should be and will polish the sides and restore the graining to the top surfaces. Rocco’s work is exemplary!

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Rocco also addressed some tool slippage marks on the chamfered part of the caseback.

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A NOS crystal was fitted and the casework was complete.

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When I replaced the crown the seal still felt very flexible which was very unusual as these have normally hardened over time, in fact I have had NOS crowns where the seals have become so hard that you couldn’t fit them over the tube. I applied some silicone grease to the crown and thought I may as well pressure test it and see how good the seal actually is. In the chamber it went and the pressure was pumped up.

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Fifteen minutes elapsed and the case was then submerged.

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The slightest leak and the crown would blow straight out as there’s no movement to keep it secure, but to my amazement when I released the pressure it stayed where it was – no bubbles what so ever! This would be a good result with a NOS crown but with a 50 year old (this month) original small crown it’s uncanny!

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My attention now turned to the dial and handset, they were all in great shape and the chrome wells of the dial were tip top but the lume was starting to degrade and blacken and as such I chose to relume it. Not a decision I took lightly as I normally prefer to leave watches in their original state if possible, but as the case had to undergo such extensive work I thought it was the right decision for this particular watch. As it was….

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…and as it is now.

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The movement was then addressed, it needed little more than a thorough service. A couple of shots before the strip down, here you can see that the date ring is a bit stained.

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But everything was still there and looked to be in good shape.

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During the stripdown I discovered why it wasn’t a runner when I bought it. Be careful what you do when you have the back off!

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The movement was completely stripped ready for cleaning and inspection.

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After inspection the rebuild started in the usual fashion.

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The watch had the usual 62 calibre problem of a slipping clutch so the parts drawer was raided for a NOS one, you can see the worn/chipped teeth on the original one on the left.

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The date ring was also a little too far gone so a better example was fitted.

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The dial and handset were re-fitted.

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The movement was recased with its new caseback seal….

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….and my work was done! I’m really pleased with how this one turned out, it took a long time to get to the bench but the results are well worth it. The small crown 6217-8000 is one of the hardest 62mas’s to source, but this example is certainly the nicest (and earliest) one I’ve ever owned.

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7 comments

  1. Another great read. These detailed descriptions of the background and work carried out are great to see. It makes me wonder how, without the Internet in the past, these restorations would been documented, if at all?

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    1. Awesome post!
      Great work!
      I have a 6217-8001 from June ’67, the date ring is also quite stained, are there any date rings from newer movements that will work on the 6217?
      Will a 6105 ring work?
      Thx,
      Mel

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      1. There aren’t any newer date rings that will work unfortunately. You can use the date ring from a 62xx series movement, 6205/6206 etc but it has to come from a watch with the crown at three otherwise the date won’t line up correctly in the window. Unfortunately all the 62xx series watches are from the same era!

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  2. I have a 62mas I’m putting together and realized the mainspring is broken. I can’t seem to find a part number or where to get it from. Any suggestions? Cheers

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    1. Hi Alex, original mainsprings are long gone, I haven’t seen one in years. Just measure your spring, the thickness, width, length and barrel diameter and order an automatic mainspring of the correct size from your part house of choice.

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  3. Nice restoration. I have one incoming this month. It comes with a yobokies bezel insert. Would you mind, if you have one old one, even a beat-up bezel insert. It’s so hard to find one right now. Or if you have any contacts where I can order from. Thanks sir!

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