The festive break has allowed me to get the blog updated a little and catch up with a few jobs, one of these jobs being my 6159-7001. I’ve owned this watch for a few years now and as I’ve sourced the parts I’ve installed a NOS bezel, crown, crystal and seals in that time . Although it’s always run acceptably at about +15spd I’ve always been meaning to service it just so I know it’s the best it can be. Well I found the time over the break and it’s finally done! As can be seen cosmetically it’s in outstanding condition with an unpolished case which is just how I like my watches.
It’s been bonanza time for vintage Grand Seikos here at watchbloke towers. This second generation GS calibre 430 had a problem with the hands only being able to be adjusted by rotating the crown clockwise, when turned anticlockwise it felt notchy and the hands didn’t move. The second generation GS’s such as the one featured had a more chunkier case than its predecessor, utilising sharp edges, mirror finishes, flat surfaces and contrasting brushed finishes that created a distinctive appearance. Seikos first designer Taro Tanaka developed this type of design to the classic style that Seiko used on its high end watch which became known as the “Grammar of Design”. This started with the next iteration of Grand Seikos, the 44GS of 1967 but it’s clear the DNA came from the 43999. The calibre 430 movement that powers the watch is a manual wind, 35 jewel, 18,000bph self certified chronometer grade movement featuring a date complication. This calibre was only used in the GS from 1963 to 1964 and was replaced by the calibre 5722 which had a higher beat rate of 19,800. The 430 heralded the last use of a low beat movement in a Grand Seiko.
This lovely Grand Seiko arrived in a non running state, the power couldn’t be wound on so there was obviously a problem with the mainspring or barrel. The Grand Seiko line was introduced in 1960 with the introduction of the calibre 3180 and continued in various guises until 1975 when it took a 13 year sabbatical. The brand was revived with introduction of the Grand Seiko 95SG quartz in 1988. The subject of this article is the original Grand Seiko, a calibre 3180 beauty, a manual wind, 18,000bph, 25 jewel, self certified chronometer grade movement. It was certified internally rather than by the Swiss COSC body, but to standards even more stringent than the Swiss organisation’s. The original Grand Seiko went through a few subtle changes during it’s 4 year life span, notably the distinctive Grand Seiko script on the dial started out being printed directly onto the dial in black, it then went to being carved into the dial and finally applied in gold as in the one featured. The cases were all 14K gold filled (as in rolled gold, a thicker version of gold plating) but a few were produced in platinum. I’ve yet to see a platinum cased example but I do know the owner of the one featured here has one complete with it’s original box and all it’s chronometer certificates. I’m not envious at all 🙂
As mentioned in my previous post I’ve been spoilt with regards to interesting vintage Seikos recently and the subject of this article is no exception. I’ve never seen one of these Queen Seikos in the metal before and was quite unaware that Seiko offered them in platinum as an option! It’s powered by the calibre 1020c movement which was based on the calibre 10. These 1020 movements are manual wind, 23 jewel, 19,800bph beauties and come in a, b or c designations. This watch has the 1020c at it’s heart which is the top end movement capable of full adjustment of the curb pins and micro adjustment of the regulation.
It’s that time of year again, I’m starting my break for the festivities at the end of today and I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy new year! I won’t be entirely idle as I hope to publish a few articles about some interesting jobs I’ve had on the bench recently but let’s get past the roast turkey and mince pies first 🙂
Today I’ve been reflecting on the past year and all the different jobs I’ve taken on, some great, some incredibly frustrating but ultimately all satisfying in one way or another. I then glanced at my final test windmill as it slowly rotated and thought I have the best job in the world. I’ve pulled the watches off the windmill to take a few pictures for you but where else would I get to work on a selection of beautiful watches like these! From left to right, the first ever Grand Seiko the calbre 3180 J14070GS, next is the manual wind Grand Seiko calibre 430 43999, next door to that is Seikos first ever 300m diver the 6215-7000, bottom row far left is Seikos first ever professional 300m diver the high beat 6159-7001, next is a platinum cased Queen Seiko and finally a 1940’s Zias triple register chronograph powered by a Landeron calibre42 movement. For a vintage Seiko nut like me it’s pure heaven!
Glycines Airman model introduced in 1953 became the companies most well known watch. Glycines chief sales director Sam Glur, on a Thai Airways flight listened closely as the pilot he was flying with described his requirements of the ideal pilot’s watch. When Sam returned from his trip he mentioned his conversation to Glycines owner Charles Hertig Sr. and almost immediately development began, remarkably the whole process only took four months for the watch to be completed. It was rolled out in the American market first and was an instant hit, with its 24hr dial and unique hacking feature which stopped the seconds hand exactly on the 24hr marker. Early watches used the Felsa 692 calibre movements until 1960 when they were replaced by A. Schild movements. This particular example is a pre 1960 model and came in for a service and to sort a problem with the winding and handsetting. The owner also wanted the green lume changed on the hands for something less jarring.
Accutron watches were developed by Bulova in the 1950’s in response to Elgin and Lips introduction of their electric watch. While their watches still retained an oscillating balance wheel to keep time Bulovas Accutron was driven by a tuning fork vibrating hundreds of times a second, meaning the Accutron was the worlds first electronic as opposed to electric watch. The genius engineers behind the miniturisation of the tuning fork concept which had been previously demonstarted in clocks were Swiss born Max Hetzel aided by William Bennett. By the time the Accutron was offered for sale to the public in 1960 the tuning fork was vibrating at 360 times per second and drove an index wheel via a pair of jewelled fingers. Each accutron coil has 8,100 turns of insulated copper wire at 0.015mm diameter which equates to 80 metres per coil! The Accutrons reliability is legendary and can perform flawlessly for decades with only the occasional battery change and service. Due to the unique operation of a tuning fork watch you can actually hear the watch hum whilst it’s running!
The Accutron featured in todays article was a 21st birthday gift for the owner in 1971 and has reliably provided him with time keeping until recently when the calendar mechanism jammed and battery life was down to about 5 months on a fresh cell. It’s powered by the calibre 218 movement.
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.
The other 6105-8110 I wanted to post about is this example. It’s not intrinsically any different to most of these asymmetric divers, but it did need a humungous amount of dial work which is the reason it’s featured here.
I’ve had a quite a number of 6105 divers on the bench in the last couple of weeks. I know I’ve posted about them on numerous occasions but there are a couple that I just have to show you. The first is this incredible 6105-8009 from the third month of production, May 1968. I’ve seen some biscuity lume on a couple of these before but I’ve never seen one with such an outstanding tobacco hue to it. The watch came in for a new crystal, a movement service and some conservation work on the minute hand.