This lovely one button chronograph came in recently a little the worst for wear. The 5717-8990 is a 21 jewel, manual wind 18,000bph single button chronograph. The 5717 signifies the movement has a date complication, models of these without a date are powered by the 5719 movement. The 5719 and 5717’s were brought to market on the back of the 1964 summer olympic games in Tokyo where Seiko were the official timekeepers. The early ones had an olympic torch stamped or etched on the caseback, but later ones can be seen with the seahorse design or the standard horseshoe type. There are also versions with the Asian games torch and the Military anchor so there are quite a few variants to choose from.The chap who sent this in received the watch as an engagement present from his fiancée in 1965 and the watch had been worn for many years until the pusher was lost and he was told no spares were available for that model anymore. As is usual in these cases the watch was consigned to a drawer for many years until it eventually made its way to me. Superficially the watch isn’t in too bad a shape but obviously the chronograph start/stop/reset button is missing and the crystal’s rather scuffed.
I thought I’d feature this 1962 Grand Seiko that came in recently for a service because I’ve never seen another in stainless steel. As far as I’m aware these were never offered for sale to the public in stainless steel so it’s a bit of a mystery as to why they were manufactured, if you wanted one you had the choice of Gold or if you were lucky and had deep pockets Platinum. There are various theories about whether they were display pieces, working salesman samples or for purchase by Seiko employees. I guess we’ll never know for sure now but what a joy to actually work on one of these! It’s powered by the same calibre 3180, chronometer grade, low beat, 25 jewel movement as it’s precious metal cousins.
This charming Thermidor twin register chronograph came in for a service recently. What’s interesting about this watch is it’s powered by a Calibre 12 movement, the calibre 11 which preceded it was developed by the ‘Chronomatic’ partnership of Heuer, Breitling, Hamilton-Buren and Dubois-Depraz in an attempt to be the first to the market with an automatic winding chronograph. The calibre 11 was revealed to the press on March 3 1969 in press conferences in NewYork and Geneva and was manufactured until about 1973. The calibre 12 was introduced in 1971 and was produced until 1980. The calibre 12 addressed a few of the issues that appeared with the calibre 11’s, modifications included using lighter jumper springs, a weaker mainspring to drive a redesigned date mechanism, some strengthening of various levers and hammers and a faster beat rate of 21,600 as opposed to the cal 11’s 19,800. This Thermidor cased example has a typically bright seventies style dial and handset design, and you can also see one of the cal 11/12’s more striking features, a 9 o’clock crown.
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.