Introduced in 1961, Seikos original Silverwave series of watches were the precursor to the now famous 6217-8001 divers watch. Whilst the Silverwaves weren’t true dive watches they were pitched squarely at the recreational diving industry as can be gleaned from the packaging, they came in a clamshell type presentation container inside a cardboard box adorned with underwater scenes and a diver. They came with two different depth ratings, the later Sportsmatic versions had a 30m rating with a snap on caseback whilst the Seikomatics were rated at 50m with a two piece screw down caseback. They came in a variety of designs, with silver and black dials and a black rotatable inner bezel for the Sportsmatics and silver dials with either a silver or a black inner bezel for the 50m Seikomatics. These also had a plain silver dial or a starburst type with a grained lines linking the opposing indicies. In total this means there are six to collect, good luck on finding them all! This particular one came in for a service and has the plain silver dial with the silver inner bezel.
Because it’s the earlier 50m version it has the two piece screw down caseback. Incidentally the tsunami wave design made its first appearance on these Silverwaves and this one is still readily recognisable 50 plus years on, a lot are now worn smooth. As this dates from 1962 it’s from the era where Seiko still put the serial numbers inside the caseback.
With the caseback removed you can see the Seikosha signed rotor atop the calibre 603 movement. This 18,000bph, 20 jewel automatic movement later formed the basis of the calibre 6201 and subsequently all iterations of 62xx from divers to Grand Seikos.
With the movement uncased we can get a better look at the dial. I think these original Silverwaves are the ultimate Seiko dial design of the period with its lovely mixture of fonts.
With the dial out of the way it doesn’t take long to strip the watch to its base components.
The movement was in reasonably good order apart from dried lubrication and the inevitable microscopic wear over the last 50 odd years. The rebuild began with the mainspring as usual.
Once it had got to this stage there were a number of issues to deal with. The first was the dial and handset, the minute hand was rusty from the canon pinion and the hands needed a gentle polish to get them looking as good as they’d go. The dial was very grubby with lots of particles and a few stains adorning it. The golden rule for watchmakers is (other than blowing loose particles off) don’t touch the dial as inevitably it’ll end up looking worse than when you began!
You can see the muck a bit better in this shot.
After some concerted effort with rodico, spit and a cotton bud I was very pleased with how it ended up, there were only a couple of stains that couldn’t be budged 🙂
The cleaned dial and handset were refitted, but those in the know will realise the crown isn’t the correct type, it should be a fluted type, part number 60W01NS.
Luckily I had one of these in stock!
Another problem with the incorrect crown was the original gear spring wouldn’t work, a home made one has been substituted here.
The assembly was stripped and once again I happened to have the correct spring in stock.
Here’s a shot of the rebuilt assembly.
With this done I could recase the movement then fit the rotor and crown.
With the caseback fitted the job was done. I have a soft spot for these early Silverwaves, unfortunately they are becoming very difficult to source these days.