Hands up all you vintage Seiko dive watch enthusiasts who remember this one? I certainly do, when it appeared on ebay last year I was inundated with requests for information for the duration of the auction! Some people were a bit coy and showed me a few photographs saying they “had the chance of purchasing a 6159 diver that was in pieces”, others were more candid and said “this 6159’s on ebay, what do you think?” Looking at the picture below it actually looks quite reasonable, probably in need of a relume you may think.
This very early Seiko 6138-0010 “UFO” came in recently for some attention. The owner had bought it in 1971 when he was working as a race mechanic for the Tyrell formula one team when they were in Japan that season. He saw it on the wrist of a Japanese mechanic working for one of the other teams and fell in love with it so a deal was struck. It was worn continuously throughout his career and he eventually ended up running his own engineering firm that produced parts for race teams. The watch was regularly serviced until a number of years ago when he was told it wasn’t possible to get the parts anymore. He took it to a couple of watchmakers in the intervening years to try and get it resurrected but ultimately all that happened was it was returned not working with some parts missing! Having sold his company and taking life a little easier his thoughts came back to getting the watch repaired and this is where I come in.
The watch itself is a Japanese domestic market version of a model that has since been given the nickname “UFO”, the 0010 designation shows it was the Japanese “Speedtimer Sports” version. An early example like this is powered by the calibre 6138a, a hand windable automatic, 21 jewels, 21,600bph, twin register, column wheel with vertical clutch chronograph movement. The later models were powered by the calibre 6138b movement and there are a few subtle differences that I’ll point out later in the article.
This Lorenz chronograph was a recent arrival in need of it’s worn winding pinion sorting out along with a movement service. Powered by the Lemania calibre 5100 movement it’s a handsome looking watch. I’ve written about the calibre 5100 before so I’ll skip the history and just say it’s a very robust movement and because of this was used to power a lot of military (and military influenced) watches.
I thought I’d feature this 6105-8110 as it’s an example that actually worked for a living as opposed to being taken for an occasional swim or snorkel! It was bought in the 1970’s by the current owners father who was a professional deep sea diver back in those days. He wore it throughout his diving career and when he’d finished the watch dropped off the radar only to reappear in 2015 when his son was clearing out the garage. He contacted me to see if it could be resurrected as a reminder of his late dad. As you can see it’s had a hard life, the insert has faded to a lovely grey colour but that’s about the only positive I could see! The lume was grotty, the hands were ominously stained with rust and the seconds hand was floating about under the crystal. The movement couldn’t be turned by the crown, everything was locked up.
An interesting job that came in recently was this Seiko Alpinist from July 1964. The Alpinist models were a Japanese domestic market range of watches which were introduced in 1961 and ran to 1964. The line was inspired by the Japanese concept of Yamaotoko, this term roughly translates as ‘Mountain man’, and describes the Japanese tradition of amateur mountaineering whereby people climbed Japan’s mountains during weekends and holidays. This example is powered by Seikos calibre 851, a 17 jewel, 18,000bph manual wind movement. It arrived needing an overhaul but interestingly the owner had a NOS case, dial and handset for it.
This classic 6159-7001 came in recently for a movement service, a new crystal, a relume of the dial and hands and investigation of the non clicking bezel. I’ve written about these beautiful watches a few times before, they were actually Seikos first ‘Professional’ series divers watch (a line which continues to today) developed in conjunction with real divers who listed the features they’d find most useful in a dive watch. When released they were more expensive than many of the Swiss brands (including Rolex) and as such tended to be bought and used by professional divers for their intended purpose as a hard working tool watch. Remember these were the days before big chunky watches became fashionable, the average dress watches at the time were 35mm and a lot slimmer 🙂
As can be seen on this one the lume on the minute and seconds hand had dropped out and had been replaced with a non matching compound, the remaining original lume was quite grubby but the gilt frames had survived remarkably well.
An interesting refurbishment that came in near the end of last year was this Heuer 980.023 quartz powered 1,000m divers watch. The owner remembers buying it sometime in the early eighties and did many dives with it, he also said it holds a special place in his life story and as such he would like it running again. The watch has been used hard for its intended purpose and the owner didn’t want to take any of it’s history away by reluming or replacing the dial, he wanted it to be the watch he remembered wearing on his dives. Similarly we decided to replace the crystal but apart from a thorough clean of the case not to do anything further.
One of the more unusual jobs that came in at the end of last year was this Omega Seamaster chronograph. The Seamaster chronograph is a lot less common than the Speedmaster chronograph or moonwatch as it’s become known. This example is from 1968 and as such would be classified as a pre moon watch if it were a Speedmaster. It’s powered by Omegas calibre 861, cam operated, three register chronograph movement. The watch itself is in lovely condition and just needed a service carried out to get it functioning as it should do.
I thought I’d feature this example as it’s one of the lesser trumpeted Seamasters that Omega produced but just as good looking and collectable as it’s 300 & 600 stablemates, in fact with it’s slimmer case it’s more at home with a formal business suit in my opinion. This one arrived for a service and a new crystal along with a relume of the bezel pip.
This 6215-7000 was tackled recently and arrived in lots of small packages as can be seen from the picture below 🙂 It came in for the movement to be serviced and the rest of the components to be assembled. The 6215-7000 was Seikos first attempt at a 300m diver, launched in 1967 it featured a monocoque case and was powered by the calibre 6215 movement. This is an automatic wind, 35 jewel, 19,800bph hackable movement based on the 62xx platform. The monocoque case featured a screw down crystal retaining ring and a split stem.