Saturday, November 11, 2006

Collection Part 10 - Lights, Colour, Action (Advan, Actus, Bellmatic, Vanac, Elnix)

Seiko has often made watches that are a bit out of the ordinary as to design and/or function. A lot of these a newer and quartz so they fall outside my collection but I will try to cover some noisy or colourful variants from the 60s and the 70s.

Probably the most well known Seiko trademark is the Bellmatic and no Seiko collection would be complete without one. The Bellmatic watches have been sold in the US and outside of Japan to a much larger extent than for example KS and GS.

John Ns site at www.bellmatics.com will provide you with pictures, sounds, manuals and everything else you need to know about Bellmatics and the forum there is an inexhaustible resource for repair help, ebay advice and every other issue regarding Bellmatics. Perhaps the only thing missing is a compiled Bellmatic history (hint). The front page is a Bellmatic collectors dream.

The Bellmatic started production in 1967 with the 4005 caliber but seem to have been replaced the same year by the 4006 caliber. The 4005 is day only and the 4006 is day/date. The 4006 come in 17, 21 and 27j version but the 4005 only in 27j. The 4005 together with the 21j 4006 seems to be the most rare versions. Bellmatics are usually marked with "Bellmatic" on the dial but there also exists a rare "Business Bell" version of the 4006. I have not been able to ascertain when Bellmatic production stopped but there seem to be very few after 1976.

I also saw the other day on SCWF that there was a Quartz Bellmatic.
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1162733756


A 4006-7001 from January 1970. SCTF purchase. Nice condition but no casing spring.


A 4006-6011 from December 1971.

Staying on the sounding watch track, Seiko has produced a number of quartz watches that do all kinds of strange feats like TVs, calculators, computers and much else. The A966 talking watch is a relatively simple watch by comparision but it still manages to speak the time in both English and Spanish and I think it looks really cool.


A A966-4010 from June 1986.

In the years between the mechanical watch period and the quartz period, Seiko (as many other watchmakers) produced a few electronic watches. These were the 31/3102 from 1968, the EL-370 from 1970, the EL-330 from 1972 and the Elnix from 1973. The first three are 21600 and the Elnix is 28800 bph. The Elnix was a high end watch higher in price than the KS. As I understand it these are transistorised watches with a balance spring similar to the Bulova Dynotron (but not the Bulova Accutron, which is a tuning fork style).

To avoid discussing things that I do not understand, Pieter Doensen has a very good site on electric watches here (even if his info does not match the one from my Japanese watch books);
http://www.xs4all.nl/~doensen/contents.html

As usual, Nakahiro has pages on the Elnix and the EL-370 with excellent movement pics; http://nakahiro.parfait.ne.jp/moji/elnix.html
http://nakahiro.parfait.ne.jp/moji/electronic.html

Jake B had some additional Elnix pictures here http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1154259770 and Aaron and Zoodles did a good summary on these watches here http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1152674641


A 0702 caliber Elnix from September 1974


A 3703 caliber EL-370 from October 1971

Both these watches are working fine and keeping good time. Modern batteries work well but might need to be adjusted as original voltages are not always available.

To continue into the 70s, Seiko produced a colourful avant garde style watch called the advan from about 1972-75. The advan was usually a 7019 caliber but there are also 7039 and 6106 caliber variants as well as 6106 DX models that look like advans but does not have the advan label. Advan bracelets are marked advan and sometimes as interesting as the watch. Advans came in a multitude of dial styles and cases most om them with faceted crystals. Unfortunately, a lot of the crystals have been buffed out or replaced so original crystals are less common. Advans were not cheap. Both the 7019 and 6106 are medium quality calibers and advans seems to have been priced similar to LMs at around JPY 22-24,000.As you can see, all my advans are a bit beat up but I thought I would try to get as many as I could so I have imposed a USD 25 limit on my purchases.

Randall has a nice meteorite advan here; http://www.network54.com/Forum/78440/message/1012097595/SEIKO+AdVan%2C%2C%2C%2C%2C%2C%2C%2C%2C%2C%2Cfor+Don+%28scans%29
An advan-ad from Don;
http://www.network54.com/Forum/78440/message/1051736803/
And no advan post would be complete without Dons seascape advan. Comes in a few different colours but probably the best advan design;
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1153933029


A 7019 from April 1973. Crystal changed. The dial on this is a nice blue/silver combination.


A 7019-7280 from August 1973


A 7019-7310 from March 1974. Original crystal on advan bracelet. Interesting brass dot on case.

I also have a 5 Actus that might as well have been called an advan. As mentioned by Isthmus in the sub-brand post, Actus were produced both as advan-style watches as well as divers like the silver wave and also in other more tarditional styles. The Actus brand is therefore not that practical as a cathegorisation. Aaron has helpfully noted that Actus means "moving through" or "a thing done" in Latin. Not sure which meaning Seiko was referring to.


A 7019 5 Actus from October 1976. Faceted crystal and a very nice deep blue slightly 3D dial.

Aaron had a pair of similar 5 Actus here;
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1139381274


A 7005-7001 from November 1970. The other Seikos of the early 70s also had a marked design element to them. Not very common with the magnifying crystal so I assume this has been added to the original. This looks very similar to the Presmatic in a part 7.

To conclude the tour of strange Japanese words, the high end modern style Seiko of the 70s was the Vanac. Vanacs came with 5246, 5256 and 5626 movements. My 5626 Vanac was posted in part 7 so I will focus on the 52XX series here.

I think I have referenced Dons post on Vanacs and Vanac Specials before but it is again relevant as to the differences between a KS Vanac and a KS Special Vanac;
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1139411570

Even though authenticity was questioned, I think this is a very interesting Vanac and I have never seen this type of faceted crystal on any other watch;
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1143737147

Perhaps sometimes overlooked, jayhawks database has a good selection of Vanacs in the vintage KS section. Chect the 5626-726A for the most fascinating case ever made by Seiko;
http://www.ittc.ku.edu/~jgauch/watch/ks_history/index.html


A 5256-6000 from December 1973. Brown is really not the best colour for watches.

Citizen closely followed or perhaps sometimes led the 70s styling race and had a number of watches similar to the Advans and Vanacs. I do not have anything with a close resemblance in my collection but this is a nice 70s style watch. Not much information on these but a 28j high beat watch would normally compete with a Presmatic or a LM Special.

Nakahiros page (in Japanese) on the Leopard is here;
http://nakahiro.parfait.ne.jp/moji/leopard.html


A 36000 bph 7200 caliber 28j Leopard from April 1970.

To conclude the post of colourful watches, I have the only diver in the collection postings (I have a few more divers but not interesting enough to post and my diver knowledge is minute so I cannot contribute very much there either). I do however like this one (came from the SCTF) a lot.


A 6106-8100 from June 1969. They are also very nice with the black and silver dial but the yellow wins in my book.

To sum up the pricing/collecting issues as usual, Bellmatics are probably the most common non-diver Seiko on ebay. Quality varies significantly but not always consistently with prices. Crystals are readily available and easy to change so that should not be a big issue.

Missing casing springs is the scourge of BM collecting. Check Richies blog about the only known successful example of making one http://thewatchspot.blogspot.com/2006/08/seiko-4006-6011-17j-bell-matic.html. As most sellers have no idea how to check this and as there is significant risk in getting a bad watch for a high price on ebay, I would advice doing your purchasing on the SCTF. It is also a good idea to spend a few more dollars for a better quality BM. Good BMs on the SCTF would be around USD 100.

If you want a talking watch, I have seen them everywhere from USD 75 to USD 300 on ebay. Bid low and be patient. Advans and similar Actus used to be cheap at around USD 25 in the beginning of the year. Lately they have sold around USD 50 but supply also seems to be increasing. Here as well, bid low and be patient unless there is a particular design that you absolutely must have. A Vanac would run you about USD 250 unless it is really ugly where examples go below USD 200. The 61XX-8XXX divers are quite popular and usually ends up around or above the USD 100 mark.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Collection Part 9 - Silver (5717, Sportsman, Skyliner)

To start things off, this is the pride of my collection, a 5717 with the Seahorse case back. As I do not collect divers, GSs or newer stuff, this is probably as far as I can get until I find a 5718 or a black dial 5717/9. The 5717 seems to have started production early 1964 (I have never seen one with a 1963 date but there are a few from the first half of 1964). As everyone knows, the watch was produced to celebrate the technical achievement of the Japanese industry in advance of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Petew did a nice post with lots of pics on the 5717 and the newer commemorative editions a few years ago.
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1097942201/

The black version is here. Just had to link to this picture.
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1143400752

Randall has also made a 5717 post with a movement pic and some additional technical info.
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1035236721

Probably even more interesting is the 5718 with the extra register. Here is a post with a pic of the 5718 and the 5719.
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1049253965

And as always, there is a Don post regarding the 5718C so I do not need to get into more detail on that one.
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1043779405


A 5717-8990 from September 1964


It gets an extra picture


There is also this Tokyo Olympics commemorative watch. Not as technically advanced but it plays a nice tune.

In the mid 60s, Seiko made a few "designer" watches based on the 6220 Skyliner movement. Handwind watches in a dress style very different from what was otherwise produced at that time. This one is a bit hard to wear as it is quite small (about 32mm wide by 40mm high). It also has one of Seikos best logo designs.


Two 6220-7970/90 Skyliners from April 1965 and September 1968

The Seiko Sportsman starts production at Suwa in 1960. Essentially you would find it with the 66 non-date movement and the 6602 date version (also as the 957 caliber). The Sportsman is a low end watch presumably sold as an everyday watch at fairly low prices, usually at 17j but also with 15j. It comes in a large number of styles and forms during all of the 60s and probably into the 70s. The automatic version of the Sportsman is the Sportsmatic from 1961 onwards. The Sportsman also exits in a low budget 7j version from 1962. You will find it both with and without the Sportsman text on the dial and with a few different casebacks, usually that flat style but also with the seahorse and less commonly with the dolphin.


A 6602-1990 from June 1963. This is the standard style Sportsman.


A 66-9990 from June 1962. A nice mint version from the SCTF with box, tag, manual and warranty.


A 6602 Sportsman from September 1963. Very similar to the first one but now with the Sportsman text on the dial.


A 66-8040 from December 1968. Later on, lumed more sporty version were produced. This is an export version in quite good shape.


A 6602-9010 from March 1965. Sportsmans as well as Skyliners, Uniques (and perhaps Goldfeathers) also turn up as pocket watches, usually from the mid 60s. Not materially different from the ordinary watches with the same movements but perhaps slightly different dials.


A 66-8980 Seahorse from March 1967. The Sportsman also has a Seahorse version. The only difference that I can see is that it has the Sea Horse designation on the dial. Confusingly the Sea Horse do not always have the Sea Horse caseback, nor do the Sea Horse caseback always coem with a Sea Horse dial.

I have touched on the 62XX caliber in a previous chapter (Collection Part 3). The Seikomatic pages (http://www.h4.dion.ne.jp/~smatic/aboutseikomatic.html) has the complete story on the 62XX. This watch could have gone into the Seikomatic chapter but as it does not have any Seikomatic designation, I put it in here instead. Short story is that the 6201 is an auto caliber from the early 60s, presumably most common in the Silver wave watches.


A 6201-7010 from May 1965

To end things, just a quick new purchase which has not yet arrived but fits OK in the chapter on simple SS watches. This is a 7001 which does not seem to be very common. An easy guess is that this is just a non-date version of the 7005/9, which also gives me a chance to post this link to a good article on these calibers.
http://people.timezone.com/msandler/Articles/Workbench/Seiko/Seiko7005.html


A 7001 from April 1970. A nice military style design not very common to the early 70s Seikos.

This chapter ranges from the cheapest to some of the most expensive Seikos. 5717/9s used to be very rare earlier this year but thing have picked up after the summer and now there are one or two a month. Expect to pay at least USD 250 for lousy stuff, USD 400-500 for OK/good ones and more than USD 1000 for the extremely good ones. On the other hand, Sportsmans are amoung the cheapest vintage Seikos and you can get one for USD 30-50 any day. Pocket watches are even cheaper and have also turned up more often lately.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Collection Part 8 - Citizen Watches

I tend to pick up a Citizen or two from time to time usually because it has some kind of interesting design or technical feature.

It is much harder to get any information on Citizen watches than on Seiko watches. Many fewer people seem to collect Citizen watches than Seiko and discussions on this forum are much more sparse. The only decent Citizen watch history in English that I have been able to find are these two articles (which are however very good) and most of the info in here come from them. It could be noted that there is a lot of guessing involved in this Chapter as it has been quite hard to verify dates and similar. As you can imagine, searching for Citizen watch on Google turns up a lot of neighbourhood fire organisations and Citizen Homer gets you mainly Simpsons episodes.

http://www.citizen.co.jp/english/ujs_history.pdf
http://www.citizen.co.jp/english/annual/pdf/ar01_15.pdf

Japanese sources are also limited. Arochan has a Citizen page with good photos of the vintage things but not as information-filled as his Seiko pages and Ao has good listings and pics of newer Citizens.

http://arochan.hp.infoseek.co.jp/citizen.htm
http://www.hm.aitai.ne.jp/~aoki-kyk/J-TOP.htm

Citizen seems to have had volume production of watches at least as early as Seiko and has for a lot of its history been the larger producer. In general Seiko and Citizen have competed head to head and you can often see similarities in development and styles. For a lot of things, like the introduction of quartz watches, there were only months between the companies. Citizen is later to the international markets and gets into the US in 1960 through a cooperation with Bulova and into Europe in 1965.

The Citizen Deluxe was introduced in 1958 as a high end manual watch with a 25j caliber regulated in three positions, perhaps similar to the Seiko Goldfeather. The Deluxe came in a number of variants with both 23j and 21j and continued together with the Super Deluxe to be produced a few years into the 60s.



A 21j Citizen Deluxe from approx 1960. The watch has a nice textured dial, which unfortunately my picture skills are not good enough to capture.

Also from 1958 is the Citizen Junior. A lower grade watch produced in 9, 11, 15 and 17j versions presumably in large volumes.



A 17j Junior from 1962.

Citizen came early to the making of alarm watches. The first one was the A-980 caliber introduced in 1958. I did a brief post with some links on the Citizen alarm movement a few months ago. As mentioned in the post, I think the Citizen movement is based on a Swiss movement from the mid 50s. I have put a Citizen and a Poljot movement pic below for comparision. The Poljot 2612 movement which is still produced has the same ancestry and as you can see, the movements are very similar. Poljot got the movement by purchasing the production tools from Schild in the 1960s.
http://www.network54.com/Forum/78440/message/1154413791/

The alarm function is not really as advanced as in the Bellmatics, as this is essentially a separate alarm movement with its own winding and spring function placed on top of an ordinary movement but it usually has a good ring to it. If you check the case back picture, you see the little dot next to the serial number, which is the end of the pin that is struck to produce the ring.



A 21j Citizen Alarm Date from 1967. I think this is one of the nicest looking Citizen watches. As you can see, the hands uses some kind of fill-in lume and are actually hollow. The lume seesm to disintegrate with time so most of these watches look like the come with hollow hands (which also look quite nice). I have two of these watches, one with a good movement but bad dial and crystal and one opposite so I should really switch movements.



Citizen does not use animals or similar arty casebacks but do a quite nice job with text and lines. It is said that the serial number has the same format as Seiko, with production year and month at the start. It is however much harder to figure out decades due to lack of info.



Movementpic Citizen (borrowed from Cellowatch on ebay)



Movementpic Poljot (borrowed from Foro reljoes)

The Citizen Jet series starts in 1961 and turns up as Jet, Super Jet and Super Jet Auto Dater. Nakahiro has a great page on the restoration of a 39j Super Jet Auto Dater, which to me is one of Citizens most interesting movements.
http://nakahiro.parfait.ne.jp/moji/superjet2.html



A 21j Citizen Jet Auto Dater from 1963. Citizen tend to overload their dials with a lot of text, but you cannot beat the design of the Jet plane.



The Auto Dater and a number of other Citizens from the early/mid 60s use the sharks tooth rotor. This solution was used by a few more manufacturers but I do not think anyone used it as extensively as Citizen. It has an internal cog linked to the rotor. I assume that the rotor would rotate more smoothly, but do not really know what the technical advantages might be.

Citizens volume brand during the 60s was the Homer, starting in 1960 and still being produced in the 70s. It came in lots of shapes and styles and would probably be easiest to compare with the Seiko Crown.



A 17j Citizen Homer Date from 1965 (75?). Citizen did a lot of these cleaner SS designs for the general Japanese market. Obviously, Parawater (introduced in 1959) and Parashock (introduced in 1956) are the Citizen designations for waterproof and shockproof. Looks a lot like a Selfdater, even down to the blue text in the waterproof part.



A 23j Citizen Seven Star V2 from 1970. While Seiko went with five, Citizen was two better and continued to seven with the Crystal Seven in 1965 and the Seven Star from 1968. The Crystal Seven was the fancier watch while the Seven Star was more sporty with a few Advan-like touches like this one (http://www.himawari.sakura.ne.jp/~garaken/JW/CITI-A30.htm). I bought this watch because of the nice 70s styling and the very cool day/date display. As you can see, it uses overlapping day and date wheels where the date is shown in a cut-out under the day wheel.



A 23j 8110 cal chrono from 1981. As mentioned previously, Seiko and Citizen introduced watches more or less in parallell with each other. Citizens reply to the 6138/9 was the 8100 caliber in 1972, supposedly called the Easter Rabbit. Mine is probably repainted, redialed and re-everything else as it was purchased very early in my starting phase. Still a nice watch though and easier to wear than the Seiko bullhead as it is a 38-39mm size.

Prices for Citizens are lower than for comparable Seikos, perhaps with the exception of the Alarm watches, which will cost you about USD 90-100 on ebay. Bullheads are much cheaper than Seikos and USD 100 will buy you a good one. Keep an eye out for the 80s ones which are quite nice and there has also been a lot of colourful aftermarket dialed ones lately that are fun.

Collection Part 7 - Fancy 5000s (Presmatic Vanac LM Special and a DX)

Continuing the ongoing saga of Seiko watches, this is now the 7th chapter of 10 or so.

General reference history from Kevins post here; http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1155356747

Anything written by Don will provide reference to this chapter but I have chosen to use them in connection with the particular watches described.

SteveGs recent Presmatic review tells you all you want know about Presmatics and has some fantastic close-up pictures.
http://ninanet.net/watches/others14/Mediums/mpresm.html

The 51XX caliber is a Daini development starting in 1967. The most common variant is the 5106 that is used in the Seikomatic-P and its export version, the Presmatic. The Presmatic is supposedly named after its hex-crown inset which is "pressed" to activate the quick-set, a function which was new with the Presmatic. Presmatics always have very high quality dials and finishing (see some of SteveGs pics for the attention to detail) and while being a low-beat caliber, it would probably be possible to adjust to KS grade standards.



A 5106-7010 from June 1968

Unfortunately this one does not have the hex crown (and a replacement one costs as much as the watch). The dial is better than I can get the picture to show with a midnight blue deep colour dial.



A 5106-8020 from April 1968

A SCTF purchase that I am very satisfied with. The onyx/black insets set it off nicely. The Presmatics are about 38-39mm so the are (for me at least) very wearable watches that do not dominate. Excellent on black leather straps.



A 5106-9000 from December 1967

My newest purchase which is in pretty much NOS condition with a bit of the blue stuff still on the back. It has a serial number of 0068 so I think it is a very early version Presmatic. It has (like the previous one) the most common Presmatic design, which seems to have been available in a number of dial colours but with the same type hands and dial markers. This light grey version gives it a bit extra life and shine.

The 51XX series also had a few DX models at 5126 and 5139 with 23 and 27 jewels respectively. Not much is written about these but I assume they were medium grade. Except for the number of jewels, the calibers are very similar. John W puts them as down-jeweled versions of the 5106.



A 5139-7020 from June 1968

Moving on from the 51XX series, we get to the 52XX series. This is also a Daini development starting in 1969 and used in the LM Special, the Chronometers and the KS Vanacs. The 5206/16 comes in both 23j and 25j variants but the rest are 25j only. As with the 51XX we are still in the high range and watches are nicely finished. Don noted in a post a few years ago that dials and finishing in this range is pretty much the same as with the GSs.

I have not been able to find any major differences between the 23j and 25j versions or between the 5206 and 5216 and they turn up in pretty much the same brands and case styles.



A 5206-6070 from December 1971

This is a LM Special with a meteorite dial. As mentioned above, excellent quality and finish. I particularily like the little yellow arrow on the second hand.



A 5216-7070 from May 1975

If you want the fancy 3D dials, they are probably most common in the LM Special range. Usually and perhaps exclusively comes with the faceted crystal. This crystal is a bit prone to chipping so there are many out there with plain crystal. There seem to be faceted replacement crystals being made so hopefully the trend can be reversed as the facets really add to the appearance of the watch. Again a pretty small watch at about 36-37mm (but the longer length balances it out quite well).

For more of the blue dialed versions, see Dons post from a few weeks ago, which also has a few more details about LM specials and these fancy dials.
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1161006924

And here is another Don post regarding the "Special" designation; http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1094231780

Leaving the 52XX we get to the 56XX series. The 56XX series is made by Suwa and starts about 1968. Again a high-end series going from the 560X LMs through the 562X KS to the 564X GS. The 560X was covered in a previous post so I will leave those out. The 5626 is a high-beat caliber used for the KS, the KS Vanac, the Vanac and the Chronometer. I am not that familiar with the technical details but any search on KS or GS, of which they have been quite a lot, will bring you the requisite details.



A 5626-7150 from April 1972

A SCTF purchase of a very nice Vanac. It is not completely evident from the picture but this has a 9- faceted slightly blue coloured crystal(essentially there are 3 faceted (either split horisontally or vertically) or 9 faceted (like tic-tac-toe) dials). The blue colour works very well with the blue dial and adds life to what could otherwise have been a bit boring.

Another Don post, this time on Vanacs and KS Vanacs. A you probably know, Dons posts on high end stuff below GS from the late 60s and 70s is probably the most valuable (only competition would be early Lee and a few of Koheis over at TZ but they are more picture-based) non-Japanese reference on these watches and everyone of them is a great pleasure to read. Wish someone would make more and possibly an index (hint, hint).
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1139411570



A 5626-5029 from November 1971

The KS 5626 was also made in an export version. The thing to note about this one is that it does not say KS anywhere but is one of the few that actually says "Officially certified Chronometer" at a time when this was also true. There is a very interesting movie about the certification process and the establishment of the Japanese certification institute on the Seiko site but I cannot find the link at the moment.



A 6106-7720 from June 1974

I thought I would throw this one in here as well. It is not a 5XXX series but for time and design purposes, it is very similar to the Vanacs of the time. As usual, Seiko is trying to spread its designs over a large price and customer range. Faceted crystal and a nice dial.



A 5606-5211 from December 1975

A slight discourse from the theme but it did not fit into my previous 5606 post (or any other post really). A SCTF purchase which presumably should be dated as 1975, but could as well be 1985. Seiko did a few of these designs which were ahead of its time like the 6220-7990 Skyliner and this one. Also a good way of using your 24mm leather straps.

Just to make my 5000 post more or less complete (I have deliberatly skipped the 50XX Tomony kids watches), we should also include the 57XX. As I do not have any GS and the 5717 is saved for a later post, the remaining one is the 5740 Lord Marvel. A high beat (36000) 5740C. The 5740A and B are low beat Lord Marvels.

As usual, a Don post will provide all the information you need about the 5740C.
http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=0&id=1067522656



A 5740-8000 from August 1968

Don has tirelessly been promoting these watches as the most value for money high end Seikos and it is very hard not to agree. Collection focus have kept me out of the GS range but with these watches I do not really feel that I have lost very much as to quality, workmanship and technical perfection.

Presmatics would be available on ebay at least once or twice a month. Expect to pay from USD 125 for fair quality to above USD 200 for very good quality. Go for the Seikomatic-P as the Presmatic badge adds probably USD 20-40. LM Specials are also not that unusual and have even better prices. If you are lucky, you can catch one where the competition is low at about USD 75. Really good examples with good crystals would bring you into the USD 150 bracket.

Advans and KS Advans are generally lower then KS prices and not that common. Keep you eyes out and expect to pay about USD 250. Lord Matic 36000 is also available from time to time. A bit overpriced in my mind and some of the designs are quite ugly (none is excellent). Prices around USD 150.

Collection Part 6 - A flock of Sealions - Dress watches from the mid 60s

This time, I have picked out a cross-section of my Sealions. This is one of the hardest line of Seikos to get a grip on so additional information and corrections are very welcome.

Sealions must be Seikos most commonly used trademark during the mid 60s. Sealions start 1964 (or perhaps late 1963) in the 394 caliber. Roughly, Sealions come in a L Series, an M series and a CR series. There is also a LD series of Sealion ladies watches. I have heard of a C series but never seen one.

The L series seems only to use the 6220/22 caliber named as the L33 Sealion and the CR series uses the 8306 caliber as the CR 220 (however, the 8306 also turns up in the M series as the M 110). The CR 220 seems to be identical to the Seikomatic-R.

The M series is the broadest series of the Sealions. It comes as the M55, the M77, the M88, the M99, the M110 and the M880. I have heard of a M44 but never seen one. There is no absolute corrolation between these designation and calibers, but I have only seen 8306 movements in M77, M99 and M110 and only 6106 movements in the M880. The M55 is the most common Sealion and turns up during the whole of its existence with a progression of calibers with the 394, the 6205 (which essentially is a relabelling of the 394) and the 6106.

Isthmus cites Mr Tokunaga as saying that Sealion was a designation for high grade chronometer watches during the 60s. This makes sense for watches like the 8306 but I would not say that about the 6106 or a 17j 6205 for example.

To confuse matters even more, Sealions are also designated Selfdaters, Weekdaters, DXs or nothing at all. I would also assume that Sealion casebacks have ended up on other watches as they would fit a lot of watches and there is nothing on the case or the dial to say that it is a Sealion.

First watch is a nice champagne dial bought from Ponycarp. Sealions are most common in silver or dark grey but champagne is a very nice variation. It has the little castle dial markers which are probably the most common type on Sealions.


A Sealion M55 6106-8040 from November 1967

The brother of the first one but with a dark grey dial.


A Sealion M55 6106-8040 from July 1969

Next one my only L series and the only handwind. Uses the "house" dial markers.


A Sealion L33 6220-8990 from August 1967

The nicest markers in my opinion is these ice cream cone markers. Unfortunately a re-dial with the text not that well executed. On its original bracelet, which is a pretty nice style common ca 1966-67.


A Sealion M77 8306-1000 from July 1967

Early Sealion with the 394 caliber.


A Sealion M55 394 caliber from October 1964

The crosshairs is the most common dial marking but this one is also quite common.


A Sealion M88 6205-8000 from October 1965

Parts watch with broken crystal. Luckily the crystals are all plastic and quite easy to get hold of.


A Sealion M55 6205-8960 from December 1966

Finally, two Sportsmatics 5s who were put in this chapter as they share the same design and same time period as the Sealions. Fitted with the 6619 workhorse caliber, they are very nice watches. I am extremely grateful that they did not spoil the dial with the "5" badge.


A Sportsmatic 5 6619-7001 from December 1965

Do not dare to wear the mint one so I had to get its silver twin brother.


A Sportsmatic 5 6619-7001 from September 1967

Prices for Sealions are extremely reasonable. As they are dress watches rather than sports watches, they are usually in good condition. Ebay price for a good condition ordinary Sealion would be USD 50-70. Unusual ones, like the 8306 touches USD 100 and at the other end, a DX could be yours for USD 30-40.

For those of you who were expecting the late 60s fancy watch chapter, this has been moved to next week.

/ mart

(should of course have added the Sealion from the beginning)