The Seiko Bullhead Collectors Guide

The Seiko Bullhead 6138-0040 was introduced in 1969 as part of the  “Seiko 5” family. According to Seiko’s official website, the “5 Sports” line came to be known as such because of five defining traits. These attributes are automatic winding, day/date displayed in a single window, water resistance, recessed crown at the 4 o’clock position, and a durable case and bracelet. Condensed into affordable, high-performance watches, they came in different guises aimed at a younger generation with very active lifestyles. [1]

THE SEIKO BULLHEAD’S HISTORY

Seiko Bullhead Timeline

Upon receiving the honour of being the official timekeeper of the 1964 Olympic Games hosted by its homeland, Seiko, the premiere Japanese watchmaker, responded by developing for the technology-driven nation its first-ever chronograph and then exceeding this standard with its own Grand Seiko Standard. Five years later Seiko followed through with an even bigger coup: giving the world the first-ever automatic chronograph movement produced in a mass scale, the 6139.  Along with its successor, the caliber 6138 movement, Seiko holds the distinction of having the first automatic chronograph to equip the column wheel and vertical coupling as standard features. What this meant was a new standard for accuracy and precision in watch movements, laying down a template that still serves as a guide for world-leading watch manufacturers 30 years on. [2]

Seiko Tokyo 1964 Olympics

PRODUCTION

Seiko would release 10 different incarnations housing the revolutionary 6138 movement, with a total of 18 variants, from 1971 until the end of production in 1979.  Famed for its reliability and requiring hardly any servicing at all, these timepieces are some of the most desirable Seiko watches among vintage watch collectors. It is widely accepted that the most sought after member of the 6138 family is the Seiko 6138-0040. Also known as the “Seiko Bullhead” to collectors, it was called as such due to the distinctive setting of the chronograph pushers at 12 o’clock, over the watch band which resembled a bull’s horned head.  It is said that this design came about to prevent the wearer from inadvertently pushing the buttons that controlled its chronograph functions. [3]

6138 movement

The 6138B movement used for Seiko Bullhead

Seiko Bullhead pusher

Seiko’s defining characteristic is its chronograph pusher at 12 o’clock, resembling a bull’s horned head

SEIKO BULLHEAD’S DESIGN AND VARIATIONS

The Seiko Bullhead was released in two colorways; a brown version which had a reddish brown dial complemented by golden subdials, and black version which came with steely blue sub-dials that resembled a monochromatic colour effect. Both of these Bullheads were released as a standard “Chronograph Automatic” version and was marked either as  Reference 6138-0049 or Reference 6138-0040, depending on what market the watch was originally sold in. Additionally, the brown dial Bullhead was released in a JDM version, or the Speed-Timer; there are two versions of the brown bullhead Speed-Timer. One  is marked “Seiko Speed-Timer” on the dial; while the other variant is marked “Seiko 5Sports Speed-Timer”. No black dialed “Speed-Timer” version was ever produced by Seiko.

Produced in vast quantities, the Bullhead would never become a rare watch. However, it has reached cult status due to a combination of its modern-contemporary looks and unpretentious affordability. Released in the same year as one of the rarest collector’s watches, the Omega Bullhead, the Seiko 6138-0040 & 6138-0049 could easily stand toe-to-toe in terms of technical capabilities and features. [5]

Seiko Bullhead Japanese Domestic and World Market variations

Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) variations: A. ‘5Sports Speed-Timer’; B. ‘Speed-Timer’; World Market variations: C. Chronograph Automatic w/ black dial; and D. Chronograph Automatic w/ brown dial

DETAILS AND SPECIFICATIONS OF SEIKO BULLHEAD

Seiko is part of a select group of watchmakers in the world that has produced all of its components in-house throughout the entirety of their existence. The Seiko 6138-0040 came equipped with two Seiko original inventions. The first of which is an unbreakable alloy known as “diaflex” that was used as the material for its mainspring. Secondly, a system known as “diashock” was first implemented by Seiko in the 1960s. These innovations are now fixtures installed in most of Seiko’s watches to this very day. [4]

Seiko Diashock manual info

Information about the ‘diashock’ device taken from the Seiko manual

MOVEMENTS

The 6138 movement was developed by Suwa Seikosha, a branch of the Seiko Corporation, as evidenced by the Suwa logo located on the dial at the 6 o’clock position. [6]  Although touted as the successor of the 6139 movement, both were manufactured until 1979. The significance of both these movements to Seiko’s history cannot be stated enough, as these gave them the honour of creating the world’s first automatic chronograph movement that features a column wheel and a vertical coupling mechanism. There were also 2 versions of the 6138 movement; 6138A with 21 jewels, and 6138B with 23 jewels. Both versions were classified as 2 register chronographs, equipped with a manual wind day/date indicator. The specifications for both versions are a height of 7.9mm and a movement diameter of 27.4mm, allowing them to accurately measure up to  ⅙ of a second, or 21,600 beats per hour. Seiko successfully mass-produced the layout for the column wheel and the vertical coupling mechanism, which later on became mainstream, and was adapted by Rolex for the development of the in-house movement that they would use on the Daytona. This would come about some 3 decades later, a testament to the innovative advancements offered by the Seiko brand to watchmakers the world over. [3]

Seiko Bullhead's 6138 movement, Rolex Daytona's 4130 movement

Seiko Bullhead’s 6138 movement (left), Rolex Daytona’s 4130 movement, an adaptation of the 6138 (right)

DIALS

The 2 subdials for the Seiko Bullhead feature a 30-minute and 12-hour register, as well as a 60-second sweep. The Seiko 6138-0040 comes with a dial reference number on either side of the vertical column day and date wheel. The Seiko Chronograph Automatic (brown and black dial) has a reference number of “6138-0060T”. The Japanese Domestic versions, the Seiko Speed-Timer and the Seiko 5Sports Speed-Timer, have dial reference numbers “6138-0071T” and “6138-0070T” respectively. [7] For all versions, the numbering of the Seiko 6138-0040 came in Arabic numerals. The Bullhead watch hands come in the pencil-style and are white. The Chronograph hands have a central lume.  The hands on the sub-dials are in the obelisque style and come in black or white for the brown and black colour variations respectively. [8]  The sweep second hands are yellow on the Chronometer models and maroon on the JDM versions. The day wheel of JDM versions is written in Kanji, while the international Seiko Chronograph model is written in either English or Spanish.

Seiko Bullhead Chronograph Automatic dial reference: 6138-0060T

The Chronograph Automatic variation carries a dial reference number of 6138-0060T

Seiko Bullhead 5Sports Speed-Timer dial reference: 6138-0070T

5Sports Speed-Timer has the 6138-0070T reference number

Seiko Bullhead Speed-Timer dial reference: 6138-0071T

The Speed-Timer variation with its 6138-0071T reference number

CASE

The cushion style case of the Seiko 6138-0040 is made of pure stainless steel with a matte finish and highly brushed, polished edges. The Bullhead is one of the biggest and bulkiest watches ever produced by Seiko. It measures 44mm in diameter (with a length of 45mm from lug to lug) and a height of 16mm. It is also one of the thickest Seiko watches available. Measuring at 15mm, they are quite difficult to wear, especially if you plan on fitting them under your cuffs. The case back of the Seiko 6138-0040 is a screw-down type, imprinted with the words “Seiko”, “water-resistant”, and the Suwa logo. The relatively large size of the Seiko Bullhead contributes to its appeal and desirability. However, this very trait makes it susceptible to the nuances of everyday wear and tear, and few models have survived without nicks and scratches. The Bullhead was primarily marketed as a driver’s watch. With that being said, the orientation of the case has a slight tilt at the 12 o’clock position to give it functionality when used in a motorsport setting.

Seiko Bullhead 15mm case

Seiko Bullhead’s thick 15mm case sets it apart from the rest

CRYSTAL

Staying true to its heritage, the crystal for the 6138-0040 is an in-house manufactured Seiko Hardlex. Hardlex glass is a synthetic mineral crystal that is extremely resistant to scratches. Hardlex crystal is extensively used by Seiko in some of its other watches, most notably in their PULSAR and LORUS models.

Hardlex crystal for the Seiko Bullhead
Hardlex crystal used to protect the Bullhead

BEZEL

The outer bezel of the Seiko 6138-0040 is non-rotating. More notably, it is inscribed with a tachymeter, a scale which drivers use to measure speed over a given distance. [9] Depending on the version of the Seiko Bullhead, there is a slight difference in the color index of the tachymeter,  although all versions have the numbering of the tachymeter in silver.

Bullhead tachymeter color variations

Slight difference on tachymeter color depending on variation (Left to right: JDM Speed-Timer, JDM 5Sports Speed-Timer, Chronograph Automatic w/ brown dial, Chronograph Automatic w/ black dial)

RECOMMENDATIONS

This section is devoted to providing a detailed description of the Seiko 6138-0040 “Bullhead”. As is the case for most vintage watches, there are many instances in which models have been equipped with aftermarket pieces and components. One of the defining traits of an old Seiko is that they seem to have a problem in keeping out moisture, so be wary of models that show signs of mold or rust, particularly to the inside case and the threads of the case-back screws. [10]  Keep in mind that the value of a vintage watch is dependent on its condition, however, it is extremely difficult to find a pristine, unscratched specimen of the Seiko 6138-0040 as they are quite bulky and prone to physical contact. Also note that the original standard bracelet is a steel, folded fishbone style with a stamped steel-folding clasp for “Chronograph Automatic” versions, while the straps for JDM Bullheads are steel oyster style. These should be stamped with either “Seiko SpeedTimer” or “Seiko 5Sports SpeedTimer”. All versions of the bullhead have asymmetrical bracelets that have wider attachments to the top of the case than to the bottom, due to the orientation of its case lugs. One of the easiest ways to determine if the strap is not original is to check if they are attached in proportion to the watch. [2]

 

START WITH

The differences that can be noted in between all the variations of the Seiko 6138-0040 lies in a combination of aesthetics and market releases. Therefore a budding Seiko Bullhead collector is better off starting with the entry-level brown JDM “Speed-Timer”. The JDM version is inherently inferior to a brown “Automatic Chronograph” due to the fact that it has no luminous material present on its hands. This makes it less functional. The “Speed-Timer” also starts off as an inferior model in comparison to the other JDM version, the brown “5Sports”. [2]

Chronograph Automatic, JDM Speed-timer

The presence of the lume in the Chronograph Automatic makes it superior than a JDM Speed-timer

SOMETHING DIFFERENT

With a total of three versions of the Seiko Brown Bullhead, the “Chronograph Automatic” and the “5Sports Speed-Timer” are on equal footing. The “Chronograph Automatic” is also the only one of the versions with the case back reference number “6138-0049”. Along with luminous hands, this quirk automatically gives it certain desirability, as well as having the quintessential “look” of a Seiko Bullhead. On the other hand, the brown “5Sports Speed-Timer” is the only version with “5Sports” written on the dial.[2]

Rare Chronograph Automatic with ref. number 6138-0049

A Chronograph Automatic with reference number 6138-0049

THE HIGH END

Since the Seiko 6138-0040 was produced in high quantities in the 1970s, the best choice when purchasing one is to get a NOS, or new old stock. NOS version of a watch as commonplace as the Seiko 6138-0040 could have easily been swept through the machinations of inventory management and come up for sale relatively frequently. With a combination of time and fortuitousness, they could end up with something that has appreciated in value. If your serious about collecting this timepiece, NOS is the way to go.

 

BEWARE OF BULLHEAD REPLICAS

Just a heads up; there are several Bullhead knock-offs floating around on eBay. At first glance, they appear to be NOS watches, but a closer inspection gives off the differences. If you are interested to purchase a Bullhead, we suggest that you do some research beforehand.

Bullhead dial replica

Dial of a black Bullhead replica

replica case back

6N3147 is the serial number of the fake Bullheads that are being produced. Notice that the stamping is relatively lighter than the genuine one.

Word on the street that the replicas also come in kits.

Bullhead replica kit

From The Spring Bar Store:

 

References

  1. seikowatches, The Seiko 5 Story : Why “https://springlive.wpengine.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1198&action=edit5”?, Article
  2. Indera Sadikin, SOLD: SEIKO Automatic Chronograph 6138-0049 “Brown Bullhead” , Blog post
  3. watchuseek user freemind1, Seiko 6138 Chronograph Reference Guide , Forum post 2015
  4. thewatchsite user Harry, Denmark, Diashock and Diafix, Forum post 2010
  5. watchuseek user Isthmus, HOW TO BUY A SEIKO 6138-0040/0049 “BULLHEAD” CHRONOGRAPH – A Collector’s Buying Guide , Forum post 2008
  6. kaskus user nikidasi, SEIKO Automatic Chronograph 6138 Series (Part 1 of 2), Forum post 2012
  7. seikobullhead, How to Buy a Seiko Bullhead, Blog post
  8. watchtalkforums user ulackfocus, Horology 101 – hand style names , Forum post 2009
  9. wikipedia, Tachymeter (watch), wiki 2016
  10. Felix Scholz, IN-DEPTH: Your Vintage Seiko Chronograph Buying Guide, Article

The Seiko Tuna Collector’s Guide

Seiko Tuna is the name given to a range of watches designed for scuba and professional diving. In particular, Seiko made these watches with saturation diving or greater depth diving in mind.[1] All of the watches in the Seiko Tuna range are characterized by protective screwed-on shrouds that have earned them the nickname of “Tuna”.[2]

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The Seiko Tuna series covers four main movements: 6159B, 7549A, 7C46, and 5M23. The first was the 6159B movement, which is also called the “Grandfather Tuna.” It was followed by the 7549A and 7C46 movements, which are both called “Golden Tuna” due to the distinct gold tint in their shrouds. Lastly, the youngest in the series, 5M23, is aptly called “Baby Tuna.”[1]

The Seiko Tuna range boasts of many firsts. The range was the first to feature a ceramic-coated titanium shroud, a titanium monocoque case, an L-shaped gasket, and a vented rubber strap.[1] Primarily built for functionality, the Seiko Tuna watches can withstand great depths as tools for professional divers.

HISTORY OF THE SEIKO TUNA

Seiko Tuna timeline

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Built-in 1975, the first Seiko Tuna watch was created in response to a letter the company received in 1968.[1] A saturation diver from Kure City in the Hiroshima prefecture of Japan had sent a complaint regarding Seiko divers watches, which the company had been making since 1965. These pre-Seiko Tuna models were not robust to impact and could not withstand exposure to deep underwater pressure for prolonged periods.

Divers watches must withstand uniquely challenging conditions. Professional divers breathe helium mixed with oxygen at extreme depths where helium gets easily absorbed by a watch’s rubber seals. When divers go through the required decompression, helium is released through special escape valves in divers watches, without which the watch crystal would crack.[1,3]

Ikuo Tokunaga

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Ikuo Tokunaga and his team of engineers developed the “perfect professional diver’s watch”

Seiko engineers who read the letter took on the challenge to create the “perfect professional diver’s watch.”[1] These engineers, led by Ikuo Tokunaga, decided to develop the new Seiko Tuna watches for saturation diving from the start. Tokunaga and his team began development in 1968 and released the first Seiko Tuna watch seven years and more than 20 patents later.

The first Seiko Tuna watch (6159-7010) was run by the mechanical 6159B movement. This Hi-Beat movement had been used in the 6159-7001 Professional 300m divers watch released eight years earlier. (Outside of Japan, it was also given the model number 6159-7019, but we will only refer to 6159-7010 in this article.) The Seiko Tuna 6159-7010 is noted for introducing many world’s firsts. It was the first to feature a titanium monocoque case and a titanium shroud coated with ceramic. It was also the first to use an L-shaped gasket and a vented rubber strap.[1]

The first of the Seiko Tunas

The Grandfather Tuna, as watch collectors call it, dispensed with the escape valve, a mechanism first introduced by Rolex and Doxa S.A.[4] that allowed helium, hydrogen, and other gases trapped inside the watch case to be released. Instead, the Seiko Tuna 6159-7010 featured a one-piece case and a crystal restrained by a locking ring. It is from this screw-down crystal retaining system that the range earned the nickname “Tuna Can.”[5] Some collectors also call it the “Hockey Puck” after the hockey disk which it resembles.[6,7,8]

Grandfather Tuna case

The Grandfather Tuna is also notable for surpassing ISO testing standards for divers watches[5] and for its  resistance to pressure, shock of up to 10 Gs, extreme temperatures, helium gas intrusion, and magnetic resistance at 60 Gauss.

The anatomy of a Grandfather Tuna

Another popular model in the Seiko Tuna series is the 7549-7009 (DJM model 7549-7010), which was featured in the 1981 Roger Moore James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only.[2,3] The watch is barely visible in one underwater shot.[3]

Seiko Tuna 7549-7009 in James Bond: For Your Eyes Only

PRODUCTION

Seiko produced the first Seiko Tuna, 6159-7010, in 1975.[1] Manufactured until 1978, it was replaced by the Golden Tuna, 7549A, which was produced until 1985.[9] Production-run details of the re-issued Golden Tuna, 7C46A, and the Baby Tuna, 5M23A, are obscure.

Seiko Diver production timeline

In addition to the regular models in the Seiko Tuna range, Seiko has released a number of limited editions.

DESIGN AND VARIATIONS

The Seiko Tuna range was designed by Seiko engineer Ikuo Tokunaga,[1] who is also noted for working on other special timepieces such as pilot, adventure, and railway watches.[12]

Tokunaga and his team specifically designed the series for saturation diving, which[1,3] meant that Seiko Tuna watches needed to be resistant to gas penetration, shock, corrosion, and magnetization.[1]

Seiko Tuna design

Seiko achieved its goal by using a special L-shaped gasket and a monocoque case. According to Tokunaga, “Using the special gasket of L type and one-piece case became the conclusive factor in the He-tightness. As the result of the experiment, the penetration of helium gas is suppressed by about 1/100 to the conventional watch case, the inner pressure of the case does not turn into high pressure and the diver’s watch of the ideal saturation diving specification which does not need ‘helium gas escape valve’ is completed.”[1] In essence, the L-shaped gasket made the watch more water-resistant and airtight.[13]

Seiko Tuna design

Seiko was first company to use titanium in a diver’s watch for the first time in the Seiko Tuna watches. Titanium not only made the Tuna watches highly resistant to corrosion but also lighter.[13] Meanwhile, the Seiko Tuna’s characteristic shroud protected the bezel from turning and the watch from scratches during hard use.[1]

VARIATIONS

Seiko created a total of 11 variations or executions under the Seiko Tuna series. First came the Grandfather Tuna, followed by the Golden Tunas, which had four variations each. For the 7549A, Seiko issued the 7549-7009 SQ, the 7549-7010 SQ, the 7549-7010 Professional, and the 7549-7000 Professional. For the Golden Tuna Re-issue 7C46, Seiko released the 7C46-7009 SQ, the 7C46-7009 Professional, the 7C46-7008 Professional, the Prospex Marinemaster 7C46-7011, and the 7C46-0AA0. Finally, the Baby Tuna 5M23A had two variations: the 5M23-6A19 (Kinetic Quartz) and the 5M23-6A10 (AGS).

Seiko Tuna collection

The Grandfather Tuna 6159-7010 introduced the titanium case and the ceramic-coated shroud, two design elements that continued throughout most of the Seiko Tuna watch range. However, for the Golden Tuna 7549-7010, both were made of stainless steel, while for the Baby Tuna 5M23, both were made of plastic.

Seiko Tuna: Grandfather and Baby Tunas

The Golden Tunas (7549A and 7C46) that followed had their own signature style as well, thanks to their gold-tinted shrouds. This golden color came from nitride-plated titanium.[1]

Seiko Tuna: Golden Seiko Tunas

As its name suggests, the Darth Tuna did away with the gold-tinted shroud in favor of  the all-black look of DLC titanium.

The youngest of the series, Baby Tunas (5M23) are also the smallest with a 43-mm diameter. While the first Seiko Tuna (6159B) had a 50-mm diameter, 7549A and 7C46  did not go below 45 mm.

Seiko Tuna: Baby Tuna case size variations

Meanwhile, the Golden Tuna 7549-7010, which is bigger than the 5M23 watches by 4 mm, deviated from most of the Golden Tuna watches due to its unique lugs and curved, domed hardlex crystal.

DETAILS AND SPECIFICATIONS

MOVEMENTS

The Seiko Tuna has four movements: 6159B, 7549A, 7C46, and 5M23A. All of these were created in-house.

The 6159B movement running the Grandfather Tuna and the 7549A movement of the first Golden Tuna were both created by the company’s Suwa division.

The 6159B movement, which was derived from the well-respected 61xx movement that ran the Grand Seiko, was confined to professional Seiko dive watches and was never used in any other Seiko model.

It is not clear exactly who manufactured the 7C46 and 5M23A movements of the re-issued Golden Tuna and the Baby Tuna, but it was most likely Suwa [14] as well.

The 6159B movement contains the most functional jewels in the entire range at 25 jewels. On the other hand, the 7549A movement has the fewest at five jewels, while the 7C46 and 5M23A follow closely at seven jewels and six jewels, respectively. All watches in the range hack and can be hand-wound. Most of them run at 36,000 bph.

Seiko Tuna Cal. 6159B

Cal. 6159B

The 7549A movement is quartz rather than mechanical, making the watch a little more robust than the mechanical model it replaced.

Seiko caliber 7549A

Cal. 7549A

The 7C46 is a very reliable movement, still used in Tunas, and has a five-year battery life.

Seiko 7C46 movement

Cal. 7C46

The 5M23 is a reliable and accurate kinetic quartz movement. Instead of a battery or winding, it uses the wearer’s arm movement to generate electrical energy which powers the watch.[22]

DIALS

The Seiko Tuna range is characterized by black dials and LumiBrite lume. These watches are also known to feature markers instead of numbers to indicate the hours. An upside-down triangle represents the 12-o’clock position, while round dots or circles mark all other hours.

Seiko Tuna LumiBrite lume

All Seiko Tuna watches have “Seiko” written on their dials, as well as an indication of depth range. When Seiko released the first Tuna watch, 6159-7010, the dial showed the depth range as “600” instead of “600m.” Some believe that this was a misprint, however, as later 1975 6159-7010 models and 6159-7019 models show  “600m.” [15] Others believe otherwise citing watches with “600” instead of “600m” persisted well into 1975.

Of the three models that followed, the 7549-7009 Seiko Quartz (SQ) and the 7549-7000 Professional also have a 600m water resistance, but 7549-7010 SQ Professional has a 300m water resistance. On the other hand, models 7C46-7009, 7C46-7008, and 7C46-0AA0 (Darth Tuna) can withstand depths of up to 1000m.  Meanwhile, the Prospex Marinemaster (7C46-7011) and the 7C46-0AC0 have a lower water resistance of up to 300m and the Baby Tuna 5M23 has a water resistance of 200m only.

Seiko Tuna 6159-7010 dial with 600 marking

One of the early models of 6159-7010 with the “600” markings

In addition to the water resistance indication, each model also has a special designation printed on the dial, such as “Professional,” “SQ,” or “Marinemaster.”[15] The Grandfather Tuna 6159-7010 is “Automatic” and “Professional.” In addition, it features the Suwa logo, the only model in the entire series to do so. The Golden Tunas have the “Divers” indication, while the Tuna Can 7C46-0AC0 and the Darth Tuna 7C46-0AA0 both have “Marinemaster” indication. Finally, the Baby Tuna 5M23 has “Kinetic Quartz” in the dial.

Seiko Tuna Dial markings

The different ranges of Seiko Tuna divers. 200m, 300m, 600m and 1000m dive watches

Each movement has some unique features that differentiate it from the other movements within the range.[16-20] The Grandfather Tuna 6159B features an automatic and auxiliary hand winding with sweep second, a micro adjustor, diashock, and a diafix lubrication device.

Even the Golden Tunas, 7549A and 7C46, have some differences. While the 7549A features a two-pole step motor driving system, the 7C46 has a step motor driving system. The former has a second setting device, while the latter has a train-wheelsetting device. Another differentiating feature of the 7549A is its bilingual changeover system for the date, while the 7C46 has an electronic circuit reset switch.

Seiko Tuna date window variations

Date and day/date complications

Similar to the Golden Tuna 7C46, the Baby Tuna 5M23 also uses a train wheel setting device and a step motor driving system, which is basically a load-compensated driving pulse type. What sets apart this movement from the rest of the Seiko Tuna watches, however, is its automatic generating system and power reserve indicator.

The Seiko Tuna watches have no subdials, but they do have complications showing the date and/or day, with an instant setting device for the date calendar.

CASE(S)

The Seiko Tuna watches have a uniform tuna can-like design from which they derive their nickname. The Seiko Tuna features a round monocoque case that’s mostly made of titanium, except variations under 7549-7010 and 5M23-6A. Both the SQ and Professional executions of model 7549-7010 have cases of stainless steel, while model 5M23-6A19’s Kinetic and AGS variants are made of plastic. Both 7549-7010 and 5M23-6A feature a screwback case.

Seiko Tuna case

Another characteristic that sets the Seiko Tuna apart is its shroud. The shroud of the Grandfather Tuna and the Golden Tuna 7549-7009 SQ and 7549-7000 Professional aremade of ceramic-coated titanium. The re-issued Golden Tuna, meanwhile, features a ceramic shroud. On the other hand, the shroud of 7549-7010 SQ and Professional and 5M23-6A19 Kinetic and AGS variants are made of the same material as their cases.

Seiko Tuna shroud

CRYSTAL

Most of the watches in the Seiko Tuna range have a flat hardlex crystal, except for three variants. The company used a domed hardlex for the Golden Tuna 7549-7010 SQ and Professional models, while it used flat AR-coated sapphire for the Darth Tuna 7C46-0AA0 model’s case.

Seiko Tuna crystal

The AR properties can be seen by the blue reflections it gives

BEZEL

All watches in the Seiko Tuna series feature a uniform unidirectional rotating bezel. The bezel works by showing divers how many minutes they have spent underwater. One click means one rotation, and each rotation turns half a minute. There are two access points on the shroud to spin the bezel. Once set, divers simply have to look at the minute which the hand points to determine the elapsed time.

Seiko Tuna bezel parts

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Seiko Tuna watches were released in limited quantities and with expensive price tags. Due to their limited number, prices of vintage Seiko Tuna watches in early 2015 ranged from $1,200 to more than $2,000.[2] A watch collector might find one of these watches on eBay or other brand-only forums today. For instance, a 6159-7019 sold for $2,200 in March 2015 at the Seiko Citizen Watch Forum.[21]

However, if they do happen to find one, watch collectors should look for signs of water entry, chipped shrouds, stripped crown tubes, and missing or stripped shroud screws before finalizing their purchase decision.[2] Recent prices for early 6159-7010 600 models in Japan have been in the $1,900 to $2,400 range.

 

START WITH

Beginner watch collectors or even veteran watch enthusiasts hoping to have their own Seiko Tuna collection can start with any model in good original condition. The shroud and other distinct features should help anyone distinguish a genuine Seiko Tuna model from a fake one.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Those who are looking for something different to add to their collections can search for the Golden Tuna variant 7549-7010 and the Darth Tuna 7C46-0AA0. Both feature different crystals from the rest of the Seiko Tuna range, with the former having a domed hardlex crystal and the latter having a flat AR-coated sapphire crystal.

Seiko Tuna 7549-7010 versions

The 7549-7010 came in both SQ and Non-SQ versions

Seiko tuna 7C46-0AA0

The 7C46-0AA0 better known as “Darth Tuna”

THE GRAIL

Watch collectors seeking the ultimate Seiko Tuna timepiece should look no further than the first variant in the series, the Grandfather Tuna 6159-7010. In particular, they should search for the early 1975 execution which had no “m” as it’s rarer than the variant with an “m.” Because of its rarity, watch collectors should expect to pay more for this piece. As a point of reference, Seiko sold the original 6159-7010 for a list price of 89,000 yen.[1]   Current price is around $7000.

Seiko Tuna 6159-7010

Notice the “600” without the “m” that came with the later models of the Grandfather Tuna

Recent Tuna releases

There have been recent releases by Seiko of Golden Tuna inspired watches.

The “Grandfather Tuna” used the 6159B mechanical movement, which was followed by the 7549A quartz movement in the “Golden Tuna” , the world’s first diver watch powered by a quartz movement.

The four 7549 models were released in 1978.

In 2018 Seiko issued the S23626J1, a model based on the Golden Tuna and limited to 1978 pieces, called the Seiko 1978 Quartz Saturation Diver’s Recreation Limited Edition.

The S23626J1 has a 7C46 movement but is water resistant to 1000M.  Essentially, due to the water resistance and movement used, it actually more similar to the 7C46 generation Golden Tuna that was released in about 1985.

S23626J1 on left (1000M on dial) and 7549-7000 on right (600M).

The tuna models have always been large with the standard models about 50mm in diameter and over 15mm in depth.  

But, also in 2018, another modern reinterpretation of the 1978 original Golden Tuna quartz tuna model was introduced in the cheaper Prospex line, with solar power.   It is smaller with a diameter of 47 mm and a thickness of 12mm.

The model is the SNE498P1

This has the original golden bezel, golden shroud screws, black strap, black shroud, black dial and silver hands. The model is rated at 200m instead of the significantly deeper depths on other Tunas, and the date window is at 4 instead of 3.

Other variations of both these 2018 models are available, and are not covered in depth here.

 

References:

  1. Illias Giannopoulos, The history of the Seiko Tuna, the Deep Sea Fish, Article 2015
  2. Michael Stockton, Seiko 6159-7010 Grandfather Tuna, Article 2014
  3. Seiko, A Journey in Time – A Remarkable History of Seiko, pdf
  4. wikipedia, Helium release valve, 2016
  5. thewatchbloke, Seiko 6159-7010 ‘Tuna can’, Article 2015
  6. Robert-Jan Broer, #TBT Seiko 6159-7010 Tuna, Article 2016
  7. seikoholics user Ninja01, Seiko – 6159 [Professional 600M], Forum post 2010
  8. watchuseek user casiophile, Large Vintage Watches? , Forum post 2010
  9. rolexforums user fmc000, The Seiko Gold Tuna: a brief history and a review., Forum post 2013
  10. Raphael Too, Seiko Superior Limited Edition Dive Watch SRP 453 Baby Tuna Review, Blog post 2014
  11. rakuten, Seiko Superio SRP453K1 Limited Edition 200M Diver’s Automatic Watch, Online retailer
  12. Li Wang, Buying a (Seiko) Tuna, Article 2015
  13. Seiko, The History of Seiko Diver’s Watches
  14. Quaztzimondo Admin, Seiko SBDX005 Professional 600m review, Blog post 2010
  15. watchuseek Zoodles95, Collector’s Guide To All The Seiko’s Shrouded (“Tuna”) Divers… , Forum post 2009
  16. Seiko, Manual for Cal. 7C46, 7N36, 7N85, V736
  17. Seiko, Seiko 6159B Parts list
  18. Seiko, Parts Catalogue/Technical Guide for Cal. 7C43A
  19. thewatchsite user UncleSeiko, FS: SEIKO Automatic Titanium Diver 6159-7019 Minty–$2200–SOLD, Forum post 2015

The Tudor “Snowflake” Submariner Collector’s Guide

Collectors use the name “Snowflake” to refer the Tudor Submariners with reference numbers 7016/0, 7021/0, 9104/0, and 9411/0 produced from 1969 to 1975 [1] and some newer reissue models. These watches featured square hour markers and a unique hand style that distinguished them back then, and still distinguish them today, from other watches. The Tudor Snowflake Submariner’s unique features differentiated the watch from its older brother, the Rolex Submariner.

Tudor Snowflake Submariners, like other Submariners produced by the brand, were supplied to the Marine Nationale French Navy, which became a testing bed for Tudor’s Submariner line [2]. As a result, these watches eventually became tool watches for the French Military.

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Although a  diver’s watch at its core, the Tudor Submariner “Snowflake” was also fashioned to be suitable and elegant enough for everyday use [3]. Tudor positioned these watches as budget-friendly alternatives to the Submariners produced by its parent company, Rolex [4].

 

HISTORY OF THE TUDOR SUBMARINER “SNOWFLAKE”

Tudor Snowflake Timeline

The Tudor Snowflake series is the brand’s second generation of Submariners. Tudor’s first generation was released in 1954, when the company introduced its first line of diver watches- the Tudor Oyster Prince Submariners – beginning with reference number 7922 [5] and ending with reference number 7928.

Tudor Submariner "Snowflake" ref. 7922 and 7928

In 1954, Tudor released its first two Submariners, ref. 7922 and ref. 7928

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Model 7928 is considered to be the classic Tudor Submariner, which the company based its second generation Submariners on. Tudor took design cues from its classic Submariner, such as the case and bezel [6], and incorporated them into the Snowflake Submariners. However, Tudor infused their newer watches with distinct characteristics to separate them not only from first generation Submariners, but also from Rolex Submariners line and is Tudor’s parent company. The introduction of an angled hand style and the square shaped hour indicators marked Tudor’s first attempt to create a unique identity from its parent brand [7].

The Marine Nationale

However, there is more to the Tudor’s Snowflake Submariner line than its creative visual features. The second-generation Tudor Submariners also marked the watchmaker’s transition from caliber 390 created created by Parmigiani Fleurier SA (Fleurier) to movements produced by Swiss watchmaker, ETA SA Manufacturer Horlogère Suisse (ETA) [6, 8]. Snowflake Submariners were also the first Tudor watches to use modified ETA movements.

Speaking of firsts, the Tudor Snowflake Submariner with reference number 7016/0 was the first model to use Tudor’s new logo, a shield, whereas the first generation models used a rose logo [9]. Additionally, model 7021/0 was the first Tudor Submariner to feature a date complication [10]. Tudor’s Snowflake Submariner series also went down in history books as the first Tudor watches to use luminescent hands and markers [10], which allowed users to clearly see their timepieces underwater.

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Tudor Submariner "Snowflake" with rose logo

First generation Tudor Submariner with a rose logo

The French Navy helped shape the Snowflake series, and series’ influence can be seen in many ways, including design specifications such as the ones mentioned above. The Marine Nationale also lent its name to one of Tudor’s Snowflake Submariners model 9401/0 which is called the “Marine Nationale” (in reference to it being one of the French Navy’s watches). The French Navy’s initials were also first engraved in the casebacks of this series, specifically the black dialed 7016 model that was released in 1974 [2].

French Navy set up the Snowflake

PRODUCTION

The first Tudor Snowflake Submariner watches were introduced to the market in 1969 [1]. Tudor launched two models simultaneously and offered consumers the option to buy a model with or without a date display. The Tudor Snowflake Submariner with reference number 7016/0 did not have any complications, whereas, model 7021/0 was released with a date complication. In 1975, Tudor ended their black-dialed 7016/0 and blue-dialed 7021/0 production run.

Tudor Submariner Catalog

The duo was then followed by another pair of Tudor Snowflake Submariners with reference numbers 9401/0 and 9411/0; both were available in black and blue dial variants. Similar to the first pair, one model (9411/0) had a date function while the other did not. Tudor started producing these models in 1975; however, pundits agree on what year Tudor stopped producing them. It is believed to be sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s [6,11].

Tudor Submariner catalog - variations

Although Tudor did not produce any limited editions for this series, the Snowflake Submariner’s distinct “Snowflake” hand style was used in the Tudor Heritage Black Bay [7,12], which was part of the company’s Heritage Collection launched in 2013. The release of this heritage collection marked Tudor’s re-entry into the United States watch market [13], after being absent from it for nearly a decade (since 2004) [14].

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Red and Blue

DESIGN

The Rolex Submariner and French Navy played major roles in shaping Tudor’s Snowflake Submariner line: Rolex Submariners provided the design templated, and the Marine Nationale influenced specific design details that made the Snowflake line recognizable both then and now to watch consumers.

Rolex and Tudor Submariners were born from the same concept that was introduced by René-Paul Jeanneret, a member of Rolex SA’s Board of Directors. Jeanneret, who was also a diver, came up with the idea to create a watch that would not only be great for diving but also be elegant enough for casual use. His idea spurred the creation of many Rolex diver’s watches, including the Submariner. Therefore, Rolex and Tudor Submariner watches were created to serve two purposes: First be durable enough to handle the rigors of diving underwater use and second – be suitable timepieces for everyday wear [3,6].

ROLEX VS TUDOR

The Tudor Snowflake Submariner and the Rolex Submariner

In addition to the base concept, Tudor and Rolex Submariners also shared the same components and manufacturing process. As a result, Tudor Submariners often looked very similar to Rolex Submariners [4]. Both used the same water-resistant Oyster cases, and Tudor also used Rolex-stamped crowns, case backs, and bracelets. Early Tudor Submariners even used in-house Rolex calibers before transitioning to movements sourced from third party suppliers [4,8].

Tudor Submariner "Snowflake" versus the Rolex Submariner features

Design elements that are similar to both Tudor Snowflake Submariner and Rolex Submariner

ETA provided Tudor with the first third-party movements, which were simpler and more serviceable than the in-house movement [2,7]. This resulted in a watch that was of the same or of a similar build to Rolex’s watches but with a cheaper price tag. For Tudor, which catered to a different segment of the watch market than its parent company- this was good news. And while Rolex positioned its Submariners as luxury timepieces for the rich and affluent watch consumers, Tudor marketed its Submariners as less expensive alternatives in an effort to capture growing sports watch market during the late 1960s to early 1970s [7].

Snowflake 2784 movement

ETA 2784

A major contributor to the success of this particular Submariner series was the watch’s unique design elements that set it apart, at least visually, from the Rolex Submariner. The hour indicators and watch hand were the watch’s distinct features, and they were specifically created in response to a request from the French Navy.

Marine Nationale watch face

Tudor’s relationship with the Marine Nationale goes back to the Tudor Submariners with reference number 7922, which were the first batch of watches that were supplied to the military branch [2]. These watches were replaced by model 7928– a more robust model. The Tudor Snowflake Submariners that followed were another robust iteration of the company’s diver’s watches, and that they featured square hour markers and a unique angular hand style. The markers and hands were designed to provide better visibility underwater, a feature that the French Navy wanted for their tool watches [6].

Tudor Submariner Marine Nationale with papers

In addition to supplying the French Navy, a very small number of Tudor Snowflake Submariners were also used by the South African Navy.[2]

DETAILS/SPECIFICATIONS

 

MOVEMENT(S)

All movements in the Tudor Snowflake Submariners series were made by Swiss watch manufacturer ETA [15]. Tudor used a total of four ETA movements in the Snowflake Submariner line. The first Tudor Snowflake Submariners models 7016/0 and 7021/0, used ETA 2483 and EFA 2484 movements, respectively. Meanwhile, the second duo, models 9401/0 and 9411/0, used ETA 2776 and ETA 2784 movements, respectively. All four movements used functional jewels ranging in number from 17 to 30. Most, if not all, calibers came with automatic winding, sweep second, and hacking [16,21].

DIAL(S), CRYSTAL, CASE AND BEZELS

Tudor used only two dial colors for its Snowflake Submariner line: black and blue. The earlier models used only one dial color, but later models had variations featuring both black and blue dials. Subsequently, there were a total of six possible dial executions or variations available in Tudor Snowflake Submariner series.

Tudor Snowflake color variation

On the face of the dial, the Tudor Snowflake Submariner was line with creamed-colored square markers to indicate the hours (except at the 3 o’clock position in models that had a date complication). These hour markers had tritium lume [7,28] that illuminated in poor lighting conditions. The watch’s hands also had a matching cream color: the minute hand was a long slim rectangle, while the hour hand was wider with two protruding angulars near the top. The angulars are reminiscent of snowflakes, which inspired the nickname given by collectors. The watch’s unique features were encased and protected by a plexiglass crystal [4,7,10-11,22,27].

Snowflake dial face

Tudor Snowflake crystal and lume

Going back to the complications, (for each pair) that was released simultaneously, Tudor offered watch consumers two models: one that had a date complication and one that did not [4,7,10-11,22,27]. Models with a date complication had alternating red and black numbers [8].

"Snowflake" date placement

Red and black numbers for the date display

The dial featured certain words and phrases that characterized Tudor Snowflake Submariners, and the dial’s wording was mostly consistent throughout the entire line. The 12 o’clock position featured the new shield logo [9] and below that was the “TUDOR” branding. Below these two dial markings, the watches either displayed “OYSTER PRINCE” or “PRINCE OYSTERDATE”. At 6 o’clock mark, Tudor used “200m=660ft” and “SUBMARINER”.

Tudor Oyster prince marking

The Tudor’s Snowflake Submariner watches all used a uniform, round stainless steel case, which is indicated in the reference number with “/0”. The case measured 40 mm in diameter and were 12.8 mm thick [4,7,10-11,22-27].

Tudor Snowflake Case

The Tudor Snowflake Submariners also have a 60-minute outer bezel. This is the same or similar to the bezels found in other Tudor Submariners. And as is the case with dive bezels, this one rotates counterclockwise, too [29].

MODEL 7016/0

The very first Tudor Snowflake Submariner had a black dial with no complication, and on the dial’s face, Tudor used “OYSTER PRINCE”.

Tudor Snowflake ref. 7016

An image of Tudor Snowflake Submariner model 7016/0, which came with a black dial and no date complication.

MODEL 7021/0

The Tudor Snowflake Submariner with reference number 7021/0 had a blue dial. Unlike the 7016/0, its dial face featured a date complication and the marking “PRINCE OYSTERDATE”.

Tudor Submariner 7021

An image of Tudor Snowflake Submariner model 7021/0, which came with a blue dial and featured a date complication.

MODEL 9401/0

Tudor introduced its second pair of Snowflake Submariner watches in two dial color variations. Model 9401/0, which offered a black and blue dial variations, however, did not have a date complication; its dial used the wording “OYSTER PRINCE”.

Tudor Snowflake reference 94010 details

An image of Tudor Snowflake Submariner model 9401/0 that came in black and blue dial variations.

MODEL 9411/0

The Tudor Snowflake Submariner with reference number 7411/0 also came in black and blue dial variations. This model featured a date function, too, and the dial marking “PRINCE OYSTERDATE”.

Tudor Ref. 9411-0 also known as the "Prince Oysterdate"

An image of Tudor Snowflake Submariner model 9411/0 that came in black and blue dial variations and featured a date complication.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Although initially snubbed by watch enthusiasts during the early 2000s (when vintage Rolex sports watches were in high demand), the Tudor Snowflake Submariners are now highly valued and sought after by vintage watch collectors [4]. Tudor Submariners –once thought to be a second-rate copy of Rolex — are now considered to be a “legitimate and interesting alternative [9]. The new perception was brought about, in part, by the company’s return to the US shores and, re-introducing its classic designs with a modern twist.

Today, watch collectors may consider it harder to find a Tudor Snowflake Submariner that it is to find a Rolex Submariner. This is because Tudor generally produced fewer Submariners than Rolex produced.

Vintage Tudor watches are rare and carry a high price tag. In 2008, the watches sold from $2000 to $3300; however, they now sell from $4000 to $9000+ if the watches are in good, original, or mint condition [4].

 

MODELS TO START WITH

Those who are looking for a Tudor Snowflake Submariner should start with model that’s in good, original condition. Collectors and enthusiasts should look for the non-date model, 9401/0, or model with a date complication, 9411/0 [4]. Both are available in blue and black dial variations.

Tudor 9401/0 versus 9411/0 watch face

9401/0 on the left, and 9411/0 on the right

DIFFERENT RARE MODELS

For those who want something different or rarer, look for the non-date model blue variation of the Tudor Snowflake Submariner with reference number 9401/0. This watch is also called Marine Nationale because of its connection to the French Navy, and it is among the most sought after of the military watches.

Rare Tudor Submariner Snowflake 9401/0 model

9401/0 also known as the “Marine Nationale”

THE TUDOR SNOWFLAKE SUBMARINER HOLY GRAIL

For the ultimate Tudor Snowflake Submariner, look no further than the military-issued model 7016, produced in 1974. These watches were the first to have MN engravings on their casebacks. Military-issued Tudor Snowflake Submariners can sell for double the price– upwards of $20,000 [4] — of the regular models [9].

Tudor Submariner "Snowflake" ref 7016

 

From The Spring Bar Store:

 

References:

  1. tudorwatch, Diving Into the Legend, Article
  2. bulang, Tudor and the French Navy – A Quarter of a Century of Collaboration, Article 2014
  3. Robert-Jan Broer, Rolex Submariner – Historical Overview Of A Diving Legend, Article 2014
  4. James Lamdin, Tudor Submariner: the Rolex alternative, Article 2014
  5. tudorwatch, Diving Into the Legend, Article
  6. Balazs Ferenczi, Tudor Submariner – A Historical Overview, Article 2015
  7. analogshift, Tudor Submariner ‘Snowflake’, Online retailer
  8. deskdivers, Tudor Submariner Snowflake, Article
  9. AK, Snowflake: Tudor Submariner Icon, Article
  10. watchionista, Diving Into the Legend, Article
  11. tudorcollectorsite,  Submariner Model 9401/0 & 9411/0, Blog post
  12. tudorwatch, Tudor Heritage Black Bay, Article
  13. Benjamin Clymer, It’s Official: Tudor Is Coming Back To The United States, And Soon!, Article 2013
  14. Norma Buchanan, Rolex to Launch Tudor in the U.S. this Summer, Article 2013
  15. ETA, ETA – the motorist of time
  16. worldoftime, Tudor Specs table
  17. ranfft, ETA 2776
  18. A Watchmaker, ETA 2824 – Another Little Engine that Could, Article
  19. vintagewatchspecialist, TUDOR PRINCE OYSTERDATE, SMALL ROSE, REFERENCE 7966, CALIBRE ETA 2484, C1959, Online retailer
  20. manoftheworld, Tudor Prince Oysterdate, Online retailer
  21. ranfft, ETA 2784
  22. rolexforums user luxurywatchbuyer, FS: 1974 Tudor Submariner ref. 7016/0 Snowflake, Forum post 2015
  23. chrono24, Tudor Vintage Snowflake Submariner No Date Black Dial, Online retailer
  24. hqmilton, 1968 TUDOR SUBMARINER 7016/0 SNOWFLAKE, Online retailer
  25. gmtbroker, Tudor submariner snowflake raro 94010, Online retailer
  26. sweepinghand, Tudor Serial Numbers
  27. iconeek, TUDOR, PRINCE OYSTERDATE, 200M 660FT, SUBMARINER, « SNOWFLAKE », REF.9411-0, Online retailer
  28. watchuseek user sryukon, Tudor Submariner Lume?, Forum post 2011
  29. edcforums user doggone, How to use the rotating bezel, Forum post 2008

The Breitling Top Time Collector’s Guide

Breitling Top Time is the name given to the series of watches characterized by a bold and elegant design, which were also useful tools for professional pilots and racers. These watches were first introduced in 1964 [1] and were primarily intended for young men [2]. Breitling Top Time watches were positioned as entry-level chronographs [1], with much lower prices than the company’s flagships, the Navitimer and Chronomat.

The Breitling Top Time eventually became a classic among watch enthusiasts, thanks to its continued popularity. The many celebrities from the entertainment and sports worlds who were known to wear a Breitling Top Time paved the way for the watch to be etched forever as a part of pop culture.

Sean Connery wearing a Breitling Top Time in Thunderball

Sean Connery in the movie James Bond: Thunderball

The most famous among these celebrities is actor Sean Connery who played Agent 007[3-7] in the 1965 James Bond movie “Thunderball.” In the film, Connery’s character was tasked to find two NATO atomic bombs that had been stolen by the criminal organization Spectre. To aid in his mission, Q (Desmond Llewelyn) presented James Bond with a modified version of the Breitling Top Time Ref. 2002, equipped with a Geiger counter.[3] The watch featured in various scenes in the movie as Bond uses it to survey radiation in places where the stolen bombs were thought to have been hidden, including in the Disco Volante boat and the Nassau Palmyra estate [4].

The Breitling Top Time Ref. 2002 is one of only two watches worn by Sean Connery alias James Bond. The other is a Rolex Submariner 6538 featured in  “Goldfinger”, “From Russia with Love”, and “Dr. No”, as well as in “Thunderball” [4,8-9]. The Top Time 2002 is the first Q-modified watch to appear in the spy film franchise [3], but not the only Breitling featured. The Breitling Navitimer with Ref. 806 can also be spotted on the wrist of François Derval (Paul Stassino), NATO pilot and brother of Dominique “Domino” Derval (Claudine Auger) [7,10-11].

Sid James wearing a Breitling Top Time

A Breitling Top Time Panda on the wrist of comedian Sid James

A Breitling Top Time Watch is also worn by actor and comedian Sid James in the 1973 movie “Carry on Girls” [12] although, the Breitling Top Time Panda he wore was not nicknamed after him or the movie.

Jean Killy and Breitling Top Time

Breitling Top Time Ref. 1765 nicknamed after the ski racer Jean-Claude Killy

In the world of sports, Olympian Jean-Claude Killy is well-known not only for being an alpine ski racer but also as the owner of a Breitling Top Time Ref. 1765, for which the watch was nicknamed “Jean-Claude Killy”. Killy is said to have worn the watch before, during, and after the 1968 Olympics. He also reportedly wore the watch during his car races [13].

Racer Jim Clark

Another sportsman who has been associated with Top Time is Scottish Formula One racer James “Jim” Clark, after whom model 810 has been wrongly nicknamed. Clark’s ownership of a Top Time is heavily debated upon by the community of Breitling watch enthusiasts and some Breitling experts now have photos to prove Clark was wearing an Enicar Sherpa Graph, rather than a Top Time [14-15].

HISTORY

Breitling Top Time timeline

Today, the Breitling Top Time watches are considered to be classic of their era [16] like other Breitling watches, the Top Time is also linked to aviation and also racing.

Breitling is generally associated with the aviation industry, thanks to its partnership with airlines and aircraft manufacturers which use the company’s chronograph watches as part of their standard equipment [2]. The same connection can be made regarding Top Time series, which the company started producing as early as the 1950s [1,16,19-21] in the Swiss factory of Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland [17].

The watch maker’s relationship with aviation started during the leadership of Willy Breitling, grandson of founder Leon Breitling. Willy, who took the helm in 1932, developed the aircraft chronograph and went on to supply the Royal Air Force. This particular contract was instrumental in the company’s popularity and success worldwide.[17]

Thanks to its popularity, Breitling continued to produce Top Time watches years after the introduction of automatic chronographs in the late 1960s.[1]  Breitling Top Time’s production run ended in the late 1970s[1,16,19-21], roughly two decades after its original release. Unfortunately, Breitling does not provide information on its production numbers so there is no way of knowing how many watches actually entered the market [18].

DESIGN

Breitling specifically design the Top Time watches to appeal to young men under 25 [2]. Within this market, the watchmaker positioned its chronographs as befitting sports, and technology, enthusiasts and generally anyone with an active lifestyle. The timepieces were advertised as “instrument panels” that young men could wear on their wrists [2], most probably alluding to the tachymeter scale featured on the watches’ outer rim, useful in measuring speed and distances.

“We are sweeping into the field of youth and we are going to speak their language … Our special models are particularly suited to the needs of the young and active professionals … [W]e are designing a superb range of ultra modern chronographs, led by a completely new model, the Top Time.” – Willy L. Breitling, 1964 [2]

Despite being a sports watch at its core, the Breitling Top Time also attracted a solid base of young women, thanks to its “bold new lines,” “rare and distinctive air,” and overall elegance.[22] In other words, the Top Time was also an elegant dress watch because as Breitling puts it: “The young man, or woman, who buys a Top Time isn’t necessarily a specialist in short time measurements.” [2]

SPECIFICATIONS

MOVEMENT(S)

By the time the first Top Time was produced, Breitling had already transitioned from in-house to third-party movements, which allowed it to save costs while focusing on its core task of designing special dials [17]. For the Top Time series in particular, the watch maker used five movements from Venus and Valjoux: Venus 178, Venus 188, Valjoux 7730, Valjoux 7733, and Valjoux 7736.

These movements were all manual-wind chronographs that made used of 17 jewels at 18,000 bph [23]. Most of them, with the exception of  Venus 178, had sub second cam switches. The Venus 178, the earliest movement among the five, had a sub second pillar wheel.

The Venus movements were used in earlier models, while the Valjoux movements were used in later models. However, it’s important to note that Valjoux bought Venus when the later was facing some financial difficulties. When the deal was done, Valjoux selected Venus’ best movements, continued their production, and stamped the Valjoux brand on them. For instance, Valjoux 7730 is made from the Venus 188 movement, though it was given a new name. The Valjoux 7733 was also based on Venus 188, although Valjoux included some improvements such a new bridge form [16,23-24].

Venus and Valjoux movements are well regarded among watch enthusiasts and can also be seen in a number of watches designed popular brands like TAG Heuer, Hamilton, and Omega. Venus 178, in particular, is a highly accurate movement and is considered to be iconic by many watch collectors [25]. Meanwhile, the three Valjoux movements, all based on Venus 188, also gained much respect among the watch collecting community.

DIAL(S)

Breitling provided watch consumers with a number of options when it came to dial color. The company produced seven dial color variations.

Breitling Top Time used either a 60-second, 30/45-minute subregister or a 60-second, 30-minute, 12-hour subregister. On the dial’s face, Breitling placed its logo, “Breitling,” and “Geneve” at the 12 o’clock position, while “Top Time” can be seen at the six o’clock mark. The latter, however, was removed in Ref. 815 and 814. The tachymeter scale is present in all variations.

Breitling Top Time watches mostly featured index and obelisk hands, although a Ref. 2007-33 variant also used dauphine hands. The numbering consist mostly of batons, except for reference 824, 1765, and 7656. Top Time 824 used Roman numerals, while 1765 and 7656 both used stick markers. As for the lume, Breitling used tritium.

BREITLING TOP TIME “PANDA”

Breitling Top Time Panda

The term “panda” refers to watches having a silver main dial and black sub dials. This color combination and the placement of the sub dials create a look that recalls that of a panda and is the most likely the reason behind its name. A variant of the panda dial called “reverse panda” features a black main dial and white sub dials. Another variation is known as the “Panda bear” or “true panda”, with a white main dial and black sub dials [22,25].

Among the three, the reverse panda appears to have come first, followed by the panda bear or true panda and then the panda. It is believed that Breitling was the first to introduce the reverse panda style in 1957 with its SuperOcean Chronograph Ref. 807. This was followed by its AVI Co-Pilot Ref. 765 which entered the market in the early 1960s. TAG Heuer and Rolex followed suit, with the former releasing its Autavia in 1962 and the latter launching its Cosmograph in 1963. During the same year, Breitling’s popular Navitimer Ref. 806 embraced the reverse panda design as well [22].

However, when it came to the true pandas, Rolex took the lead, releasing its Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6239 in 1963. Breitling’s true panda hit the market in 1966, the TAG Heuer Carrera launched in 1968, and the Zenith El Primero A384 released in 1969. Zenith also released the first tri-color panda Ref. A386 in the same year [22].

For its Top Time series, in particular, Breitling produced reverse pandas when the line released in 1964. True pandas were only introduced in 1966 [22].

Breitling Top Time Panda catalog

The image above shows what is believed to be the first appearance of the Breitling Top Time pandas in a catalog from early 1964 [22].

BREITLING TOP TIME “LONG PLAYING”

Breitling Top Time Long Playing catalog

The term “Long Playing” referred to Breitling Top Time watches that had an extraordinarily long mainspring providing users with a 52-hour power reserve from a single wind [26,27]. Some examples of the Breitling Top Time Long Playing include Ref. 810.3, 810.4, 824.3, and 824.4, pictures of which can be seen in the image above, taken from the 1969 catalog [22].

BREITLING TOP TIME “RACING”

Breitling Top Time "Racing" ref. 2211

The Breitling Top Time Racing refers to a variation of Ref. 2211, characterized by the checkered markings located at the center of the dial and retro orange hands [28]. This particular variation comes with a stainless steel cushion case around 38 mm in diameter and a black dial with matching tachymeter.

CASE, CRYSTAL, AND BEZEL

Breitling Top Time watches come with round or cushion cases made from stainless steel, white metal, and 18-karat gold, or gold-plating material. The company started producing with cushion-shaped cases around the late 1960s and used them exclusively in Ref. 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 810. Case size was in the range of 35 mm to about 40 mm. The watches either had a plexiglass or acrylic domed crystal [23] and featured no bezel, except for Ref. 1765 and 7656.

Meanwhile, the caseback changed depending on the variation, specifically if the watches were waterproof or not. The Top Time waterproof variations, like Ref. 2001 and 2002, featured a removable case back. On the other hand, the non-waterproof variants, such as Ref. 2003, used a monocoque case. Despite the difference in case construction, the watches looked similar, thanks to the line milled into the case of non-waterproof variants which creates the illusion of a separate case back [16, 23].

VARIATIONS

REF. 2000

REF. 2000-3

Breitling Top Time ref 2000-33 dials

Breitling Top Time Ref. 2000-33 released in 1960s offered a reverse panda variation (left) and a panda variant (right).

REF. 2000.4

Breitling Top Time ref 2000-4 dials

The 1964 water-resistant Breitling Top Time Ref. 2000.4 offered three dial variations. One variant (left) came with a silver sunburst dial and silver sub dials. It also appeared in reverse panda (center) and panda (right) executions.

REF. 2001

REF. 2001.5

Breitling Top Time 2001.5 dials

Although the 1968 Breitling Top Time Ref. 2001 was released in only one model, Ref. 2001.5, it offered three dial options: panda (left), reverse panda (center), and a variant with white main and sub dials (right). It was run by Valjoux 7733 movement which is housed in a non-water resistant 18-karat gold case.

REF. 2002

REF. 2002-3

Breitling Top Time 2002-33 dials

Breitling Top Time Ref. 2002-33 houses a Valjoux 7733 movement within its round stainless steel water resistant case. It was available in two dial variations, panda and reverse panda

REF. 2002.3

Breitling Top Time Ref. 2002.3 also came in two dial variations. One (left) featured a silver sunburst main dial with silver sub dials, while the other (right) had a black main dial with silver sub dials. It is powered by a Valjoux 7730 movement protected by a round stainless steel, water-resistant case.

Breitling Top Time 2002.3 dials

REF. 2003

REF. 2003.4

Breitling Top Time 2003.4 dials

The 1964 Breitling Top Time Ref. 2003.4 used the earlier Venus 188 movement enclosed in a round, gold-plated, non-water-resistant case. It was offered in two dial variants. One came with a silver sunburst main dial and silver sub dials (left) and the other was a reverse panda (right).

REF. 2004

REF. 2004.5

Breitling Top Time 2004.5 dials

The Breitling Top Time Ref. 2004.5 released in 1976 and ran a Valjoux 7730 movement, which was protected by a water-resistant, 18-karat gold case. It was available in reverse panda (left), panda (center), and a third variant (right) with silver sunburst main dial and silver sub dials.

REF. 2006

REF. 2006.3

Breitling Top Time 2006.3 dial

Breitling Top Time Ref. 2006.3 was run by a Valjoux 7730 movement housed in a stainless steel cushion case. The watch came with a black main dial and silver sub dials.

REF. 2006-33

Breitling Top Time 2006-33 dials

Breitling Top Time Ref. 2006-33 runs the Valjoux 7730 movement and uses the same case as its sibling. However, it offered two dial options: panda (left) and reverse panda (right).

REF. 2007

REF. 2007-33

Breitling Top Time 2007-33 dials

Breitling Top Time Ref. 2007-33 features a textured white metal cushion case measuring 35 mm in diameter. Within this distinct case lies the Valjoux 7730 movement which runs the chronograph. It was available in two dial variants, panda (right) and one with a silver sunburst main dial and silver sub dials (left).

REF. 2007.1

Breitling Top Time 2007.1 dial

Unlike its sibling, the Breitling Top Time Ref. 2007.1 was only produced in the reverse panda dial variation. However, it was powered by the same Valjoux 7730 movement housed in the same 35-mm textured white metal cushion case.

REF. 2008

REF. 2008.4

Breitling Top Time 2008.4 dials

The earlier Breitling Top Time Ref. 2008.4 watches introduced in 1967 used the Venus 188 movement, although this was later on replaced by the Valjoux 7730 movement. It was available in three dial variations: panda, reverse panda, and one with a silver sunburst main dial and silver sub dials.

REF. 2008-3

Breitling Top Time 2008-33 dials

The Breitling Top Time Ref. 2008-33 of 1969 featured a fancy scallop design on its gold-plated cushion case. This model came in two dial variations, reverse panda (right) and with a silver sunburst main dial and silver sub dial (left).

REF. 2008.3

Introduced to the market in 1968, the Breitling Top Time Ref. 2008.3 was limited to the panda dial design.

 

REF. 2009

Breitling Top Time ref 2009 dials

REF. 2009.4

Breitling Top Time Ref. 2009.4 offered the interesting “race look” dial (first from left). It also came in the usual panda (second from the left), reverse panda (first from right), and the variation with a silver sunburst main dial and silver sub dials (second from right). All variations used a 36.6-mm gold-plated cushion case.

REF. 2009-33

Breitling Top Time ref 2009-33

Breitling Top Time Ref. 2009-33 used the same case as its sibling, Ref. 2009.4. It used the Valjoux 7730 movement and came in only one dial variant featuring a black main dial with silver sub dials.

REF. 810

REF. 810.3

Breitling Top Time 810.3 dials

Breitling Top Time Ref. 810.3 used the Venus 178 which featured the sub second pillar wheel. The movement is housed in a 38-mm stainless steel round case, while the dial is protected by plexiglass crystal. Three dial variations were available for Ref. 810.3: panda (center), reverse panda (right), and an execution featuring a silver sunburst main dial with silver sub dials (left).

REF. 810.4

Breitling Top Time ref 810.4

The Breitling Top Time Ref. 810.4 was released a year after its sibling in 1967. It used the same case as Ref. 810.3 but carried one less dial option. Ref. 810.4 was offered in panda (left) and reverse panda (right).

REF. 814

Breitling Top Time 814 dials

Ref. 814 used the earliest Breitling Top Time movement, Venus caliber 178. It’s characterized by its stainless steel screw-back[29] cushion case and the pop of orange hand or hands. Some consider this particular model as a transition piece from the comparatively dull monochromatic and dichromatic schemes of the 1960s to the more colorful and “progressive” 1970s [29]. This watch was available in two dial variations. One featured a black main dial with white sub dials (left), while the other used a white sunburst main dial with black sub dials (right).

REF. 815

Breitling Top Time 815 dials

Breitling Top Time Ref. 815 appeared for the first time in the 1970 catalog.[29] It features a stainless steel, snap-back round case, within which lies the Valjoux 7736 movement. It came with a silver sunburst main dial and three black sub dials.

REF. 824

REF. 824-3

Breitling Top TIme Ref. 824-3

Breitling Top Time Ref. 824.3 used Venus 178 movement housed in stainless steel, water-resistant round case. The model was offered in a reverse panda dial.

REF. 824.4

Breitling Top Time ref 824.4

Breitling Top Time Ref. 824.4 is also a water-resistant watch, although unlike its sibling, it used a gold-plated round case. It was also only available in a 24-hour black main dial with white sub dial option.

REF. 1765

Breitling Top Time ref 1765

The Breitling Top Time Ref. 1765 is also known as the Jean-Claude Killy, after the famous alpine ski racer who owned this particular model. It used the Valjoux 7736 in a 42-mm stainless steel case, which was larger than most Top Time cases. It came with a black dial with three white sub-dials and a bezel.

REF. 2211

Breitling Top Time 2211 dials

Breitling Top Time Ref. 1765 came with a slightly smaller 38-mm case than Ref. 1765, although still bigger than the typical case size of this series. It used the Venus 188 movement within its stainless steel case. One variation of Ref. 2211 is also known as the Breitling Top Time racing (third from the left) due to the checkered design featured on its dial. This model also used of colorful hands.

REF. 7656

Breitling Top Time ref 7656

Breitling Top Time Ref. 7656’s distinct feature is its 12-hour rotating bezel. It’s one of only two models in this series that included the feature. The other Top Time that used a bezel is Ref. 1765. The watch has a black main dial with three white sub-dials.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Breitling Top Time watches are good entry-level timepieces for anyone looking to start watch collecting. Any of the different variants mentioned in this article have simple yet elegant designs and quality hand-winding movements, thus making them good starting points for beginner watch collectors.[10,30] In addition, traditional cases add to the watches’ vintage value.

START WITH

Breitling Top Time ref. 810

Watch enthusiasts can start their own Breitling Top Time collection with any of the various models, provided these are in good original or mint condition are available for $2,500[31] – not cheap but definitely lower than one would spend for a Heuer Carrera or Rolex Daytona. The Top Time watches with Venus caliber 178 and 188 are generally well regarded movements. The Venus 188 movement, in particular, commands a higher price than the Valjoux movements used in the series [25].

SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Breitling Top Time ref 2211

Those looking for something different can try Breitling Top Time Racing Ref. 2211. This features the checkered design in its dial plus colorful hands, which really make it stand out from the rest. This currently costs about $2,000 [32,33].

THE GRAIL

Breitling Top Time Thunderball

The ultimate Breitling Top Time collectible watch is Ref. 2002 or the Thunderball. With its rich history and significant link to pop culture, it’s the must-have model to add to any Breitling Top Time collection. The watch used in the James Bond movie was sold at an auction for $160,000.[3-7]

From The Spring Bar Store:

 

References:

  1. thewatchblogspot, Breitling Cosmonaut Chrono-Matic Ref 1809, Blog spot 2015
  2. watchuseek user Dracha, nice old ad’s from the 60ies % 70ies, Forum post 2006
  3. Eric Wind, On The Block: The James Bond Breitling Top Time Geiger Counter From Thunderball, Article 2013
  4. Editor, James Bond Breitling Top Time Watch In Thunderball Sells for $160,383, Article 2013
  5. reuters, James Bond watch with geiger counter sells for $160,000, Article 2013
  6. Brian Vinciguerra and Ed Maggiani, Original Thunderball Geiger counter watch found by Bond fans, Article 2013
  7. jamesbondlifestyle, Breitling Top Time, Article
  8. Robert Klara, How James Bond Made the Submariner Rolex’s Coolest, Most Recognized Watch, Article 2015
  9. Matt Klahre, FROM ROLEX WITH LOVE- A LOOK AT THE BOND WATCH LEGACY, Article 2013
  10. watchuseek user bradders, Re: Breitling Top Time – info sought, Forum post 2006
  11. jamesbondlifestyle, Breitling Navitimer 806, Article
  12. watchtalkforum user jeniffer, Breitling in Movies, Forum post 2014
  13. vintage-breitling, Breitling 765 AVI – CP family chronology 1953 to 1978, Article
  14. watchuseek user DragonDan,  Jim Clark & Motor Racing Watches of the 60’s & 70’s, Forum post 2013
  15. GVM, Jim Clark and Enicar Sherpa, Article
  16. vintage-watches, Breitling TopTime chronograph steel with papers 1967, Article
  17. timezone, Unofficial Breitling FAQ, Article 2007
  18. timezone, Unofficial Breitling FAQ – More Specifics, Article 2007
  19. Idan K, Breitling from 1950-1959
  20. Idan K, Breitling from 1960-1969
  21. Idan K, Breitling from 1970-1979
  22. watchuseek user sempervivens, Which was the first Panda ?, Forum post 2013
  23. watchuseek user Maniacfive, Help IDing dad’s battered 60’s Top Time., Forum post 2013
  24. breitlingsource, The History of Movement Manufacturing, Article
  25. rolexforums user BB83, “Panda” Dial on Vintage Daytona?, Forum post 2010
  26. omegaforums user cssmhs, SOLD Breitling 815 Long Playing Triple Register, Forum post 2014
  27. corrvintagewatches, Breitling, Online retailer
  28. retrovintagewatch, BREITLING Top Time 1969 Racing Chronograph – Venus 175 – Vintage monaco, Online retailer
  29. breitlingsource user Roffensian, Where to start with vintage watches?, Forum post 2012
  30. ebay, Your Guide to Vintage Breitling Watches, Article 2014
  31. Benjamin Clymer, Ten Vintage Watches That Should Be More Expensive Than They Are, And Why, Article 2013
  32. chrono24, Breitling Top Time, Online retailer
  33. retrovintagewatch, BREITLING Top Time 1969 Racing Chronograph – Venus 175 – Vintage monaco, Online retailer

IWC 3705 Collector’s Guide

The IWC 3705 was one model in a line of aviation chronograph (fliegerchronograph) wristwatches manufactured by Swiss watchmaker International Watch Company (IWC). Nicknamed the “black flieger,”[1] the IWC 3705 was the first ceramic chronograph ever produced.[2]

HISTORY OF IWC 3705

IWC 3705 timeline

The IWC 3705 was part of IWC’s pilots watch collection, a collection that goes all the way back to the iconic Mark XI model, which also helped IWC become a household name in luxury pilots watches.[3]

IWC 3705 Flieger Chrono

The IWC 3705, also known as the “Black Flieger” (images by DWC user: aikiman44)

The 3705 was manufactured during the early days of what is known as the Swiss resurgence in watchmaking. During that time, IWC was one of the first luxury watchmakers to experiment with new materials in their efforts to manufacture durable watch cases. In manufacturing the 3705, the watchmaker went for a type of ceramic made from zirconium oxide, known to be durable but a notoriously difficult and expensive material to work with at the time.

The 3705 line was introduced in 1994. However, it was only available in the market for a short time as it was discontinued in 1997, three years after its debut. Some speculations have been raised as to why the 3705 line only had a short run in the market. One speculation is that IWC found it too difficult and expensive to continue utilizing zirconium oxide to manufacture the watch cases. The fact that it was the first time a manufacturer attempted to mass-produce a watch case made of this material also compounded matters for the manufacturer. Another speculation is that IWC was disappointed with the market reaction to the 3705 as it was perceived to be cheap-looking, a product of an aversion of the public at the time to black watches, as most of the black watches in the market then were made of cheap quartz plastic. Despite being a ceramic wristwatch, the black coating of the 3705 made it a target of an adverse public reaction to black watches in general.[3]

IWC 3705 ad

A catalog scan for the 3705 (left), and an ad featuring the similar 3713 (right)

Despite its short history, the IWC 3705 has achieved cult status, as it attracted a number of admirers, not to mention countless imitations as well. One admirer is J.J. Redick, a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers team of the NBA. Redick, himself an avid collector of fine watches, is noted in an article to have a blacked-out IWC 3705 which has a luminous display of the radioactive tritium on its dial.[4]

PRODUCTION

Fewer than 2000 examples of the IWC 3705 were made during its short production run; all were designed, assembled, and regulated in IWC’s facilities in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.[5] It adopted the Valjoux 7750 calibre as its base movement and had two variations that were manufactured based on different calibres of this movement: cal 7902 (manufactured from 1994 to 1997) and cal 7912. (manufactured in 1997).[6]

In addition, IWC also manufactured a stainless steel version of the 3705, the IWC 3706. Other than the material used, the rest of the technical and design specifications of the 3706 are similar to that of the 3705.[1]

Due to its short history, IWC 3705 watches are now very rare to find.

DESIGN

The watch bears the design conceptualized by Lothar Schmidt, an engineer and watch entrepreneur who worked with IWC at the time. During his stint in IWC, he developed an innovative case and bracelet production and helped solve problems which dealt with the difficulty to process materials such as titanium, platinum, and ceramics.[7]

IWC’s Annual Edition (published circa 1993) noted that the IWC 3705 seemed destined to cause quite a stir among lovers of unusual timepieces. The report raved about the use of ceramic in creating a watch which was reminiscent of state-of-the-art stealth and space travel technology.[8]

IWC 3705

The watch has a matte black surround, the precision of which can be seen in the luminescent white hands and numerals, while the high-tech ceramic technology used in the watch would reportedly allow for stealth technology. With regards to day-to-day use, the watch is noted to be the most durable that can withstand everyday wear without significant risk of damage thanks to its super-durable ceramic case.[3]

DETAILS AND SPECIFICATIONS

 

MOVEMENT

Valjoux 7750, the base movement for the IWC 3705, was developed by Valjoux, a notable producer of chronograph movements, especially mechanical chronograph movements that have been used in a number of watches, such as those manufactured by Enicar, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Longines, and IWC.[9]

Valjoux 7750

IWC cal 7902 and 7912

IWC calibre 7902 (left), IWC calibre 7912 (right)

DIALS

The 3705 dial is of luminous material that was made from tritium, with black coating and featured pump pushers and a traditional pilot’s Chrono dial.[10] Later versions, however, replaced tritium with Luminova.[1]

IWC 3705 hands

The layout consists of luminous hands and markers (light patina), Day and Date at 3:00, and 3 registers: 30 Minute Register at 12:00, 12 Hour Register at 6:00, and Subsidiary Seconds at 9:00. The numbers are marked in Arabic numerals. [11]

subdials of the 3705

This dial configuration is known as the “black pilot,” particularly the models of the 3705 manufactured in 1994.[12]

CASE

As noted earlier, aside from the matte black ceramic case used in IWC 3705, a stainless steel variant was made for the IWC 3706, which is essentially the stainless steel version of the 3705.[13] The caseback is a screw back type and is made of stainless steel, the same material used for the crown and the pushers as well.[5]

CRYSTAL

The IWC 3705 uses sapphire crystal as material for the watch crystal.[14]

Sapphire Crystal

A sapphire crystal protects the face of the IWC 3705

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE IWC 3705

During the time it was on production, the IWC 3705 commanded an original premium of 50% at list price. At that time, it had a price tag of about $6000.

IWC 3705 Ceramic Flieger Chronograph

Image by: Francis Chang (minutedreamer on flickr)

Currently, a 3705 in good condition would fetch somewhere between US$4000 and US$7000 in auctions and from second hand retailers.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Given its short production history, the IWC 3705 is rare to find at present. At the same time, its place as an important timepiece in the history of watchmaking makes it a high-end watch and a collector’s item itself.

During the time it was on production, the IWC 3705 commanded an original premium of 50% at list price, with a price tag of about $6000. Today, a unit can command a price range from US$4000 to as high as  US$7000 in auctions and online marketplaces.

There are no known variations of the 3705, given the limited time, it was on the market, save for its sibling, the aforementioned IWC 3706 which is the stainless steel version of the ceramic cased 3705. The 3706 has a lower premium as it is being sold anywhere between $2500 to $3500.

One important thing to remember in purchasing a 3705 is that there may be a lack of available replacement cases should damage occur at the ceramic case. In the event of such damage, you may be advised that it could be replaced with a stainless steel case, which would turn the watch into a 3706.[13]

 

From The Spring Bar Store:

 

References:

  1. goldstein, IWC Fliegeruhr Chronograph 3705, Movement archive 2009
  2. hodinkee, History Lesson: Comparing The IWC Top Gun Miramar Chronograph vs. IWC’s Very First Ceramic Chronograph, The 3705, Article 2012
  3. reddit user zanonymous, —- /r/Watches Official Buying Guide US$5000-$10000 —-, Post 2012
  4. Peter Flax, L.A. CLIPPERS STAR J.J. REDICK REVEALS HIS NOT-SO-SECRET “OBSESSION”: WATCHES, Article 2014
  5. thedivewatchconnection user aikiman44, The Flieger Chrono, Forum post 2012
  6. watchprosite user shing, small review of the history of IWC ceramic pilots…, Forum post 2013
  7. watchwiki, Schmidt, Lothar, Watch Wiki 2015
  8. Alexander Linz, CHARLIE-ECHO-ROMEO-ALFA-MIKE-INDIA-CHARLIE, Article 2012
  9. bernardwatch, About ETA Valjoux 7750 Watches, Article
  10. tz-uk user feilersen, IWC 3705 Ceramic Flieger, Forum post 2011
  11. timezone user DC_Timekeeper,  FS: IWC 3705 Ceramic Fliegerchronograph Full Set, Forum post 2014
  12. thewatchquote, PILOT’S WATCH EDITION TOP GUN, Article 2007
  13. iwc forum user SPORTMICHAEL, I HOPE IWC CAN ADDRESS MY PROBLEM WITH A 3705 SERVICE/REPAIR.., Forum post 2014
  14. DC_Timekeeper, mywatchmart listing, FS: IWC 3705 Ceramic Fliegerchronograph Full Set, Aug 26, 2014 listing

Enicar Sherpa Collectors Guide Part 1 (Single Crown models)

This article covers the Enicar Seapearl transition to the Enicar Sherpa and the development of other early single crown Enicar Sherpa models.  It will be followed by other articles covering two and three crown Enicar Sherpa models.

ENICAR SHERPA HISTORY: THE STORY BEHIND THE SHERPA NAME

Enicar Sherpa Single Crown timeline

After World War II, under the leadership of Ariste Racine, Jr., Enicar modernized and expanded production to a new factory in 1953.  The company then boasted that their movements were cleaned in a laboratory during manufacture, leading to the Ultrasonic brand found on many watches in the 1950s and 1960s.  This eliminated the need for regular oiling.  The company had begun producing their own movements by then, with as many as 70,000 produced annually in the early 1950s. Their movements were quite accurate as well, with Calibre 1010 winning chronometer certification by the NeuchâtelObservatory for the first time in 1954.  Enicar also helped develop a water-resistant case with an unusual bayonet back, introducing it as the Seapearl in 1955.

 

1957 advertisement featuring Sherpas and Ultrasonic.    The watch is a turtle lugged Seapearl.

diamond painting is het plaatsen van geslepen steentjes of diamantjes op canvas.

Enicar’s own automatic movement, Calibre 1125, appeared in 1959. The company also used movements from other manufacturers, including Valjoux,  Adolph Schild (AS), and Lemania.

In the late 1950’s Enicar began supplying watches to mountain climbers and other sportsmen and adventurers as a marketing exercise.  Enicar Seapearl watches accompanied the Swiss expedition to the top of Lhotse and Everest in the Himalayas in May 1956.   The Swiss team led by Albert Eggler consisted of Wolfgang Diehl, Hans Grimm, Hansrudolf von Gunten, Eduard Leuthold, Fritz Luchsinher, Jürg Marmet, Fritz Müller, Ernest Reiss, Dolf Reist, Adolf Reist and Ernst Schmied and twenty-two Sherpas.

Albert Eggler's The Everest-Lhotse Adventure

Albert Eggler’s book mentions Enicar automatic watches, some of them fitted with a thermometer. Current consensus is that the expedition used automatic Seapearl watches, but this is not conclusive.

On May 18, 1956, a Swiss expedition reached the summit of the Himalayan Lhotse Mountains (8516m) and the bordering summit of Mount Everest (8848m) on May 23, 1956. This was only the second time the summit of Everest was reached.  Perhaps some expedition members were wearing Enicar Seapearl automatic watches.

Below is a photo of the 1956 Swiss expedition member Ernst Reiss, with his black faced, turtle lugged Enicar.

IMG_5681.JPG 
http://www.alpinfo.ch/rueckblick/en/expeditions/bilder56.html

One key to the success of the Enicar Seapearl model was the use of the Swiss patent #98243 Bayonet type closure compressor case made by the Ervin Piquerez SA (EPSA) company.  The earliest known Seapearl marked (back and/or dial) model watch with the bayonet type compressor case with EPSA STOP marking is dated 10-55.   The automatic movement was perhaps either an Elsa Bidynator HM1560 movement or an AR1034 (AS1361N) used in other Enicar watches of the period.    A black dialled automatic Enicar with the Dauphine hands of the period is shown lower below.

A turtle lugged Enicar Thermograph of 1955 is shown below, and this feature was used on some watches used by the party.

1955 Enicar Thermograph

Enicar seized on this publicity by registering the word Sherpa on 6 November 1956 and branding their “explorer” watches Sherpas or Sherpa later that year. Within a year or two, the word Sherpas was dropped, particularly from the dials of watches.  It persisted longer on the case engraving.  Over 100 different Enicar Sherpa watches were introduced in the following decade, becoming their most famous brand. Enicar also proved the watertight capacity of their watches by attaching an Ocean Pearl to the keel of the sailing ship Mayflower II as it crossed the Atlantic in 1957.  The watertight case led to the creation of a family of Sherpa Dive watches from the Seapearl line.

Old Enicar Sherpa Ad

The initial 1957 advertising referred to the word Sherpas above and below and Everest, see below :

1957 Enicar Sherpa ad with actual Sherpa models

The photo above right features the Seapearl 600 (but this is a 1957 model) thought to be the model used in the Everest expedition together with post Everest watches, one being a turtle lugged Sherpa as advertised above left, and the other being a Healthways dive watch. Healthways was an early Scuba manufacturer in the USA.

Enicar Sherpa Seapearl

In the photo upper right is an April 1956 Seapearl with a white dial as in the 1956 advertisement above left but without the turtle shouldered lugs. The watch has Dauphine hands and a date complication. (’56 Seapearl watch images by watchuseek user: Reich)

Below is a turtle lugged Seapearl dating pre-Everest with Dauphine hands similar to the above model.

Enicar Sherpa turtle lug model

Image by watchuseek forum user: Crazyfist

Enicar Seapearl dial, caseback, and movement

This Seapearl has a Supertest movement and February 1956 EPSA STOP back. This could have been the Everest model as it predates the expedition and the Supertest model was checked in house by Enicar to be accurate within 5 sec in 24 hours. (Image by watchuseek user: KK)

One of the first Sherpas watches from January 1956 featured Sherpas on the dial and interestingly predates the Everest expedition.  The movement is the 21 jewel Incabloc manual wind AR1010 and the case is an EPSA Stop marked 1-56.     Enicar made a decision to drop Sherpas, and use Sherpa in late 1956.

Late 1956 Enicar Sherpa

1957 advertisement featuring Sherpas, and the turtle backed lugs of the 1956 model.

1957 Enicar Sherpa ad

A similar turtle lugged model with an EPSA STOP case dated October 1956 and AR1034 movement.      The split index at 12 is a feature of early Enicar models.

Image by Omega Forums user TexOmega

Another similar turtle lugged model with an EPSA STOP case (Brevet + 98243).

Enicar Sherpa with EPSA STOP case

Images by uhrforum user: Hr.Lose

The watch above has both Sherpas and Seapearl on the dial, as part of the transition from Seapearl, to Sherpas, and then to Sherpa. The watch below is a black dialled version of this watch, with different index markers, and numerals at 3,6,9 and 12 with an open 6 and open 9 as in the earlier 1956 watch.

Enicar Sherpa Seapearl

Transition branding with dual Sherpas and Seapearl. Image by watchuseek forum user: Randal Womack

Another two everyday turtle lugged Sherpas.  The 1957 model on the right is branded Sherpa and has a supercompressor case.

Turtle lugged Enicar Sherpas

The above introduction refers to the transition from waterproof Seapearl to the first Sherpa and Sherpa divers watch. The Seapearl and Sherpa divers watches made a transition from white faced watches with Dauphine hands to a black face, with large trapezoidal hour indices at 3,6,9 and 12, triangular indices elsewhere, broad baton hands, and a unique second hand with a lollipop heart tip. Later versions had a pencil strip of lume on the second hand.

Seapearl models with no reference to Sherpa continued in production, but we will not discuss them in this article.

Various Sherpa dress watches continued in production, for example, the models below, but these will not be further included in this article either.  Some typical Enicar design features can be seen in these models, which are featured in other models, including the baton hands and thin red triangle second hand.

Enicar Sherpa Dress Watch

Image by klocksnack forum user: Ariste

Early Enicar Sherpa with baton hands

Image by klocksnack forum user: Empa

THE EARLY SHERPA DIVE WATCHES

A black faced September 1955 Enicar ultrasonic watch with turtle lugs, and the unique second hand seen in Enicar dive watches is shown below.   It had an EPSA STOP case model 100/61 as in the image below.

The light faced watch above has the same caseback and model number, and features large trapezoidal indices which were to feature in later models.

An early (January 1956) turtle lugged dive watch style chronometer with a 30 jewel movement shows the accuracy of the AR1034 calibre.  This watch is not marked Seapearl and has an EPSA STOP case.

Enicar Chronometer AR1034

The chronometer movement is marked 2581

ENICAR CHRONOMETER

Case marked 2581 and model 100/76

enicar 1034 chronometer

Above 3 images courtesy Omega forum user Bill Sohne.

A later model August 1956  chronometer, now features Sherpas on the dial.  The chronometer movement is numbered 3166 and the case back is marked 3166 and Seapearl.

Sherpas Chronometer AR1034

Image courtesy Uhrforum user: Travelodge Tiger

The  6 May 1957 edition of Life Magazine featured the Seapearl 600 dive watch. The watch dial sometimes features the words Seapearl 600 in a rectangular box. This has turtle shouldered lugs.

Enicar Seapearl 600 Life Magazine ad

The May 1957 edition of Life Magazine featuring the Enicar Seapearl 600

The 1957  Seapearl 600 does not have a Sherpa back.

1957 Enicar Sherpa Seapearl 600

Image courtesy of vintagewatchclassics.com

The back of the model above has no Sherpa indication and is an EPSA STOP case model number 100/61-10.

1957 Enicar Sherpa Seapearl 600 back

Image courtesy of vintagewatchclassics.com

Below is another Seapearl 600 and a model just branded Enicar. Both feature turtle lugs, baton hands, and the unique Enicar second hand, unfortunately without lume remaining.

Enicar Watches

Image from klocksnack forum user: Ariste

In July 1958 the US Navy Experimental Diving Unit reported on the performance of the Seapearl 600 watch as several of its members were already using this model.  It compared the Seapearl 600 to the Blancpain 50 Fathoms Milspec 1 and the Rolex. The Seapearl 600 was favourably recommended for situations where no rotating bezel was required.   The broad second hand was considered of value.  It was also considered so cheap that it could be used for a year and replaced anew, rather than being serviced.

The description of the model was:

Model description of Early Sherpa dive watches

Model description of Early Sherpa dive watches

Enicar Sherpa case back

Images by watchuseek forum users: MMMD (left image) and dougiedude (right image)

The later 1957 Seapearl did not have turtle shouldered lugs and had Sherpas engraved on the casing.   The movement in most cases was the AR1010 (Ariste Racine 1010 caliber).  This used an EPSA supercompressor Brevet # 314962 back. EPSA compressor housings were used by over 100 manufacturers, and both 36mm and 41mm casings were used by Enicar.

Turtle shouldered lugs featured heavily in Sherpas of this era, and below is a post-Everest 1957 Seapearl (September 1957) and Healthways 100 which are almost identical except for branding. This model Seapearl 600 had Seapearl and Sherpas engraved on the back as shown above. The Seapearl 600 on the top left has Sherpa written on the dial. A later straight lugged Seapearl 600 is on the top right.

Enicar Sherpa Seapearl 600 and Sherpa Healthways

The identical Seapearl 600 and Sherpa Healthways (images by watchuseek forum user: MMMD)

1955 Healthways case back

1955 Healthways back was EPSA STOP (image by watchuseek forum user: MMMD)

The very early Seapearl and Healthways watches had Dauphine hands, but later models are most often found with baton hands with a unique second hand.

Early Sherpa and Later Sherpa Seapealr and Healthways models

Earlier Seapearl and Healthways Sherpas had dauphine hands while later models are with baton hands (image on the right courtesy of uhrforum user Käfer)

In America, this watch was marketed as the Enicar Healthways from 1955 to 1958, variously labelled 100 Fathom, 100 Fathoms and just 100.  Healthways was an early American scuba equipment manufacturer.

Enicar Healthways ad

healthways 100 fathom case

The model below is almost identical to the model in the advertisement above, with broad baton hands and turtle lugs, but is not branded Healthways 100 Fathoms, but Sherpas instead.    This is a September 1957 model.   AR1010 movement.

Enicar Seapearl Special

Image by montresmecaniques forum user: corsaire75

Early Sherpas

From left to right: A turtle lugged Sherpa Automatic, Sherpa Healthways 100 Fathom, and a straight lugged Sherpa Seapearl (image by watchuseek forum user: Taswell)

The Sherpa 600 dive watch appeared later with Seapearl 600 on the dial. This is the straight lugged version. The watch on the left has the later Enicar below Saturn logo.  The Seapearl watches of late 1957, and early 1958, with Enicar embedded in Saturn, were engraved Sherpas on the case back.

Enicar Sherpa Dive watch

The Enicar Sherpa 600 Dive watch (image on the right courtesy of farfo.com)

The Seapearl brand of dive watch continued, as shown below with a post-1964 model, Cal AR1140, but the similar Sherpa brand of dive watch which appeared briefly as discussed above was transferred to other single and two crown models and will be covered in another article.

The model below with rectangular T lumed hands and lollipop dot second hand has a Seapearl oyster case engraved Sherpa and model 148/013

1964 Enicar Sherpa Seapearl

 

Sherpa caseback, model 148/013

CALIBERS

 

COMPRESSOR CASES

The early success of a bayonet-type closure compressor case made by the case manufacturer Ervin Piquerez S.A. (EPSA) was based on brevet (patent) # 98243 which is the EPSA Stop case, a forerunner of the supercompressor cases.   EPSA then developed brevet #314962 which is a bayonet supercompressor used only by Enicar for both 36mm and 41mm cases, and this formed the ongoing basis of the 600 diver series.

Super Compressor is a trademarked name for specific case designs made by the case manufacturer Ervin Piquerez S.A. (EPSA). They designed a patented case sealing method that actually became more water tight the deeper the watch went. The deeper you went, the more pressure was applied to the case-back, pressing it against the O-ring gasket.

Enicar was perhaps the most prolific and imaginative brand when it came to Super Compressors. They made many different versions of both case sizes, from simple single crown divers to small and large dual crown divers, and GMT divers. Two models, the Ultra Dive and the Sherpa OPS had unique crown guards built on to the case in between the crowns.

SHERPA DIVE WATCHES

Later Sherpa dive watches added a rotating bezel and sometimes carried Sherpa on the dial, and these will be dealt with next in this article.

SHERPA DIVER 600

The US Navy evaluated two Sherpa dive watches in 1958, The Sherpa Seapearl 600, and the Sherpa Diver 600, which had a rotating bezel first introduced in dive watches by Blancpain in 1953. It did not include the Sherpa Seapearl 600 in final consideration as it did not have a rotating bezel. The version tested was automatic.

U.S. Navy diving unit evaluation document for diver watches

Enicar Diver 600 ad and photos of actual watch (front and back)

This is a 1958 model Diver 600 which is 36mm diameter and has a Caliber AR1034 movement. The 0/60 marker on the bezel is narrow, and there are large dots at 15,30,45 and 60 (two dots) on the bezel. The hands have a broad lume applied as in the advertisements on the left. This and other early models did not have the red rotating ring between the crystal and bezel, which was added later.

1959 Enicar Sherpa Diver

This 1959 Diver 600 does not have the word automatic on the dial, although some models did. It has an AR1034 movement. The red ring between the crystal and the rotating bezel is still not present. The bezel has a broader red marker at the 0/60 point, and the large dots have been removed. The lumes on the hands are now narrower, perhaps in reaction to the liberal use of radium in the earlier model. Diver models do not have 30 marked on the rotating bezel. (Image on the right courtesy of uhrforum user uptool, left images from watchuseek forum user MMMD)

Late 50s Enicar Sherpa Diver

The late 1950’s version now with a red rotating ring inside the bezel (image by uhrforum user: Helmet)

Diver 600

A white dial model was also available.     The model below has Enicar beneath Saturn, but has the same style hands with thin lumes, but features Automatic on the dial.   This is a January 1961 model and still has the original rice grain pattern Enicar band.

Diver 600 Sherpa

Image courtesy Omega Forum user: Brench

Late 1950’s Diver 600 with a later 1960’s Diver 600

This photograph shows a late 1950’s Diver 600 with the next model 1960’s Diver 600 above right. Note that the 5-minute indexes on the dial, and the baton hands, bear no resemblance to any earlier Enicar diver model, but are similar to the later model Sherpa Divette models below. The word Enicar on the dial is below Saturn, a design change made in the early 1960s.

Below is this early 60’s Diver 600 with a moisture indicator fitted.

Image courtesy MWR forum user: Hurley

Below is the later model with an AR1145 movement. This has baton hands with T lumes, and a thin second hand.

Enicar Sherpa Diver with AR1145 movement

Diver 600 with tritium lumes and red lollipop-dotted second hand

A later Diver 600 T. The T is for tritium which replaced radium in the lumes. The second hand has a red lollipop dot.

The early Diver 600 watches had trapezoidal hour indices, and the broad baton hour hands, and unique second hand mimicking the design style of the earlier Seapearl and Seapearl/Sherpa models.  The word Enicar was within Saturn on the logo.  Later Diver 600 watches changed the baton hands, and the second-hand style became more conventional.  Later Diver 600 models exist without reference to Sherpa and are not discussed here.

In 1965 Enicar started using the word Star in their model types, and Star Diver models succeeded the Sherpa models, but the engraving Sherpa continued to be used on the supercompressor case backs.

ENICAR AQUA-LUNG 1000FT

U.S. Divers was the largest and best known of the five original U.S.A. SCUBA/skin diving manufacturers including Heathways, Dacor, Voit and Swimaster.

In 1967 their catalogue featured an image of the Enicar Super Dive, with an aqua-lung script, but no know models of this exist.

However, a few models of an Enicar automatic aqua-lung do exist, marked either “aqua-lung 1000 ft” or “aqua-lung 1000 feet”. The watch appears to be a different dial version of the Sherpa Diver 600 dating to about 1967.

It is probable that this model did not have the red rotating ring with a triangular pointer.  Model 100/216.

Enicar aqua-lung 1000ft

Image courtesy of Ed LaRochelle

This watch features a mid-size stainless steel supercompressor case measuring 36mm wide without the crown, 39mm wide with the crown, 44mm lug end to lug end and takes an 18mm wide band. The original dial face is black having the new style steel with white down the middle hour markers with a square of radium on the outside marker end at 6, 9 and 12 and a dot of radium inside the marker end at 1,2,4,5,7,8, 10 and 11. The hour/minute hands are rectangular with a slit at the end meeting with the radium spot providing an inverted T for luminescence. There is a dot of radium at the end of the lollipop second hand. The dates in the window at the 3 position are red.

The original movement in this watch was the high-grade gold gilt automatic AR 1145 with date feature. It had the rare OBA Swiss watch movement USA export code and was marked unadjusted.

SHERPA DIVE

Below is a very early Sherpas diver style watch with a rotating bezel.  It is 40mm diameter, with an AR1034 automatic movement but is labelled Sherpas and not Sherpa Dive.   The use of the word Sherpas probably dates this to pre – 1958.    While the features of the dial are repeated in other Sherpa watches, the bezel is unique and maybe a replacement.  The red rotating ring is also missing.

Enicar Sherpa Dive

A January 1960 model, just labelled Sherpa is shown below.  This has no bezel and maybe a cross over to the sports watch models.  AR1034 calibre.

Perhaps slightly earlier in about 1959, a similar model 100/120 diver labelled Sherpa on the dial and Seapearl and Sherpas on the clover back case.   AR1034 with rotor labelled 17 jewels.

Sherpa Dive 1958 EnicarEnicar sherpa dive 1958

The hour and minute hands on the diver watches changed from broad single lumed baton hands to hands with 2 broad lume rectangles on the hour hand and 3 broad lume rectangles on the minute hand.

Sherpa dive advert

Early Dive models had the large dot on the bezel, as in the earlier Diver 600.  Below is one such model with skeleton hands, the lume having become lost.

Dive Sherpa enicar

One of the earliest known Dive models is a March 1958 model which belonged originally to Captain Bo Cassel (1920-2004).  In April 1961 after massive effort the magnificent Swedish warship Vasa was brought to the surface after being submerged for 333 years.  Bo Cassel played a significant part as master of the submarine rescue ship HMS Belos, and this is his watch below.

Capt. Bo Cassel's Sherpa Dive 1958

The watch is 40mm diameter, with an AR1034 calibre movement, and has Sherpas engraved on the back.  The baton hands have 2 broad lume rectangles on the hour hand and 3 broad lume rectangles on the minute hand.  The case is a supercompressor case brevet # 314962.
Below is another March 1958 model.   This has 30 jewels.   The bezel is marked with dots to 20 minutes.  Seapearl, and Sherpas model 100/124 engraved on the caseback.
AR1124 Star Jewels movement.
Sherpa dive March 1958

Below is a November 1958 model, 40mm diameter, with an AR1034 calibre movement. This watch is one of the earlier Dive models but unfortunately does not have the original second hand. Note that Sherpas is engraved on the back as well as the model number 100/124.   The caseback later changed to 100/224.  The supercompressor case brevet # 314962 is used.

Enicar Sherpa Dive dial and caseback

Image by uhrforum user: SR-71

Below is a late 1958 model with a bezel with line markers, rather than dots, and smaller numerals at the 5-minute markers on the bezel.

Sherpa dive Enicar

 

 

1959 advertisement scan for the Sherpa used by diver and explorer Dr. Hans Hass

The diver and explorer Dr Hans Hass used later dive models and featured in Enicar advertising.

The advertisement above is from 1959. This watch had better sealing and a modified outer bezel than the earlier model. The lumes in the hands were narrower, with the hour hand having an arrow lume as well.

Sherpa Dive

The bezel on this model has no marking at 30 as in the advertisement above.

1958 special model used for the 1958 Brussels exposition

The model on the left is a 1958 special model made for the 1958 Brussels exposition with broad lumes and no 30 marker on the bezel, and the other two models have 30 on the bezel. The Dive now has a rotating red pointer ring, and the logo has changed to Enicar below Saturn.

And later, more variations were developed including a Rubyrotor version. The correct original unique second hand with lollipop heart shaped tip lume is shown below. Some early Dive models had 30 marked on the rotating bezel, which was only subdivided with minute marker dots from 0 to 20 minutes. (Images by uhrforum user: Helmet)

dive 30 enicardive 30

A later rubyrotor version shown below without the 30 marker on the bezel.

Rubyrotor 30 Enicar dive

Above is a Dive 30 model with markings around the bezel.   No model number on case back.    Below a Dive 33 model with markings around the bezel.

Dive 33 Enicar Sherpa

 

A September 1964 model with baton hands with inverted T lumes and a lollipop dot second hand.   T on the dial signifies the use of tritium.  The date window featured red numerals.

Sherpa dive

 

A later 33 jewel version with baton hands and thin second hand. This now has trapezoidal indices with dot lumes.

Enicar Sherpa Dive 33

A later version Sherpa Dive 33

Image credit: exoticwatches.net

Above is a Rubyrotor version from about 1962, which had a Seapearl supercompressor case.

An earlier model light dial Rubyrotor model with the Enicar in Saturn logo is shown below. The lumes in the hands are narrow, with the hour hand having an arrow lume as well.

 

SHERPA MINI DIVE

The Mini Dive dates to about 1958 and the early models featured a white dial with Dauphine hands, but this quickly changed to baton hands, and Enicar below Saturn on the dial. The rotating bezel had no 30 mark, and featured dot markers.

Sherpa Mini DiveSherpa Mini Dive

The Mini Dive features a Sherpa 300 supercompressor back case and is much smaller at 27mm diameter as shown in the advertisement below, again with a bezel with dot markers.  Model number 765-02-02.

French ad for the Sherpa Mini-Dive and Sherpa Ultradive

The rotating bezel in the next model featured lines rather than dots, and also has 30 engraved when compared with other Sherpa divers. Some white-faced models exist (one features on the Enicar.com website). The calendar is black with white numbers, but later models reversed this. The hands are baton style with a lozenge lume in the hour hand and a thin second hand. The AR765 movement can be wound using both manual wind and automatic modes. The model below is from November 1968.

A rare Enicar Sherpa Mini Dive from 1968

A NOS model with original 14mm wide strap is shown below, and the calendar is white with black numbers.

 

More modern Mini Dives are shown below with baton hands using a lozenge lume on the hour hand, and thin triangular second hand which are unique to Enicar.

Enicar Sherpa Mini Dive

Images by uhrforum user: kfranzk

A later Mini-dive and a ladies Sherpa 600.
Image by uhrforum user beetle
The next model still featured a Sherpa 300 caseback, but was a pillowcase style and was still based on the AR 765 movement.
The outer rotating bezel was marked at 15, 30 and 45 only, and had red highlights from 0 to 15.
Image  courtesy Joseph Watches

SHERPA DIVETTE

Enicar Super Divette with white dial

Image by orologi forum user: PanTigra

This early Divette model is reminiscent of earlier Seapearl models, with Dauphine hands, and fluted indexes, and maybe a forerunner of the more common black-faced model. The bezel does not have a 30-minute inscription.

The Divette was intermediate in size between the 27mm diameter Mini Dive and the 40mm Dive models at 36mm. It was an AR1034 caliber model and often was found with baton hands and the unique second hand as used in companion models. Broad lumes were used on the hands.

The February 1958 case back still read Sherpas.

Super DIvette 1959 model with black dial

This is a December 1959 dated Enicar Sherpa Divette Automatic model with EPSA Swiss Patent # 314962 Enicar bayonet-type closure supercompressor case.  The outside of the case back has the Enicar 4 leaf clover grid design, marked Enicar inside with Sherpa above and Seapearl below.
The black dial has the early Enicar within the Saturn logo and reads Ultrasonic, Sherpa Divette, Automatic, Swiss Made. The trapezoidal hour markers have radium on the outside marker end at 3,6,9 and 12 and on the inside of the other indices.
The stainless steel case measures 36mm wide without the crown, 44mm lug end to lug end and takes an 18mm wide band. The AR 1034 automatic movement is marked Seventeen 17 Jewels Enicar Watch Co. Swiss Unadjusted EZR.
Movements intended for the US market were stamped with the EZR Swiss Export Code.
Earlier Enicar Sherpa 1958 model AR1035
An earlier August 1958 model AR1035 (image courtesy of senzatempo.info)
The broad baton hands then became thinner, initially with 3 lumes on the minute hand, and 2 lumes on the hour hand, and then one lume and an arrow on the hour hand.
Divette sherpa 30 jewel
Above the 30 Jewel no date model, and below the date version.
Later-version Enicar Super Divette non automatic with narrower hand lumes
A later non-auto version, with narrower lumes on the hands and an arrow at the tip of the hour hand.  This model has a date complication. AR1145. Image by uhrforum user: momo
Enicar Sherpa Divette Rubyrotor
An Enicar Sherpa Divette Rubyrotor model which featured pointed baton hands and the early unique diver second hand.   Rubyrotor calibers were introduced in 1962. Caliber AR1125 30 jewels, Model 100/216 (Credits to todocoleccion.net).
Image credit S.Wong
The next version of the Divette had the image of Saturn above Enicar and progressed to models with rectangular baton hands as used on other models, as shown below.  The index markers were now raised and a complex double trapezium in shape.  The second hand was a lollipop dot. This dial is marked T SWISS MADE T.  AR1145 movement.
A model with Divette T SWISS on the dial is shown below.   This looks very similar to the aqua-lung 1000 feet above.
Later models did not have the split (tuning fork) minute hand, which was just notched at the end like the hour hand.   The models had DIVETTE T  or T SWISS MADE T at 6 o’clock and second hands with or without a lollipop dot.
Divette enicar sherpa
divette sherpa enicar
Image left courtesy chronocentric forum user: DavidS
The Divette then moved to different baton hands with the hour hand having a lozenge lume at the tip, and the minute hand a thin pencil stripe lume, common in many Sherpa models of the era, and progressed to a Sherpa 600 back.  This model has a lollipop dot second hand. Model number 144-37-01 started being used.

Enicar Sherpa Divette in white dial

Image by uhrforum user: Helmet

The Sherpa 600 back on this model corresponds to the Sherpa 300 back introduced in the Graph line, see the other article on Sherpa Graph models. This model also has a thin triangular second hand.

Enicar Sherpa Divette with the Saturn logo above Enicar

This next version of the Divette had the image of Saturn above Enicar, and the baton hands and a triangular second hand seen frequently on the two crown Sherpa models of the same era.  Sherpa 600 supercompressor back. (Image from Jam Batavia at /bataviajam.blogspot.com.au)

SHERPA DIVETTE 33

The early Sherpa Divette 33 was also model number 100/216 and featured the pointed baton hands and unique second hand of other early diver models.

The Divette 33 had a 33 jewel AR1124N movement.   The model below has indices corresponding to the model with the rectangular baton hands above, and a lollipop dot second hand.   The rotating bezel on this Divette 33 was anodised, and usually fades with time.

This model has different ridged rectangular indices to those in the Divette model with baton hands above. It also has broader indices at 3,6,9 and 12 o’clock (this time inverted T indices) as in other Sherpa 33 jewel models, and rectangular baton hands with T lumes at the tip.   The second hand is a thin pointer.   This model also has the tuning fork minute hand.

Enicar Sherpa Divette 33 Enicar Sherpa Divette 33  AR 1124 (images by uhrforum user pearl.harbour [left] and Flickr user Bidle [right])

SHERPA STAR DIVER

The Sherpa Star Diver was introduced in the late 1960s with an asymmetrical cushion or pillowcase supercompressor case, 42mm in diameter. It came in stainless steel or PVD. Caliber AR 167D. Model numbers 147 – 05 – 01 and 147 – 05 – 02.

The dial was generally black and does not have the Enicar Saturn logo, but this is engraved on the case back. The case back has the Seapearl oyster and is marked Sherpa Star Diver. The dial is dished and has applied indexes, with the day at 6 o’clock and the date at 12 o’clock.   The hands are short arrowhead in style with painted tips, and the second hand is a white lollipop.

The bezel is bidirectional with a chapter ring broken into alternating 15-minute sections.

Sherpa Star Diver Black PVD

Enicar Sherpa Star Diver Orange Dial and Stainless Steel Case version

Sherpa Star Divers in Stainless Steel case
Images by: watcholdtimes.de (Star Diver in orange dial) and uhrforum user helmet (black dial Star Diver)

SHERPA GMT

The Sherpa GMT was another single crown model produced at this time. This featured Dauphine hands and fluted lumes similar to the early Divette model above.

The rotating bezel on the Sherpa dive models was easily adapted to become the Sherpa GMT. The bezel initially was marked 1 to 24 hours, but later models featured cities instead. The 24-hour pointer was a red arrow. The movement was the AR1126 caliber.

Sherpa GMT catalog

The advertisement has ENICAR embedded in Saturn, similar to the ricegrain strap model on the left below.   Automatic, 30 jewels, Incabloc, calendar, waterproof stainless steel.

Enicar Sherpa GMT

The Enicar Sherpa GMT in various dial colours (images from marga-watches.blogspot.com)

Enicar Sherpa GMT Rubyrotor hands

A close up of the dial showing the Dauphine hands and the red arrow GMT pointer.

This model below is later and has Saturn above ENICAR, also a 30 jewel Rubyrotor calibre.

Enicar Sherpa GMT Rubyrotor

Image courtesy of www.cjbalm.com

Another dial variation, with 30 (jewels) below ENICAR, and ROTOR AUTOMATIC above Sherpa.

Enicar GMT sherpa

Image courtesy Uhrforum user: Street party

A rare cities bezel model is thought to exist.

A later GMT model is shown below at the top of the advertisement, but this two crown model emerged as the Sherpa Guide, with an internal rotating 24-hour ring and the crescent moon 24-hour pointer as shown.

Enicar Sherpa GMT ad

SHERPA TIME

The forerunner of the Sherpa World Time was the Sherpa Time, and the model shown below is dated May 1959. This is the only known version of the watch in the advertisement and has the caliber AR1034, and a supercompressor case. There is no date complication as for the World Time model, which followed.

The Dauphine hands and cream dial are complemented by a silver rotating bezel, engraved with world cities. There is a 24-hour chapter ring outside the index markers. The dial has Enicar embedded in Saturn with ultrasonic and automatic beneath.  The red pointer ring was added to later models as in the advertisement which does not have ultrasonic and automatic beneath the Enicar logo.

Enicar Sherpa Time

Sherpa Time, May 1959

Below is a 23 jewel model with a black cities bezel, and the movement beneath.

Sherpa time

 

sherpa time movement

This dial below does not have 23 Jewels marked.

Image courtesy: watchuseek forum user Itamaraty

SHERPA WORLD TIME

Using a world cities bezel rather than just hours as in the GMT above, the World Time model was produced.   This was model number 100/216.

Following on from the Time model, below is a September 1959 World Time model, with the AR1035 caliber.   This used the supercompressor case and featured a 24-hour chapter ring, as well as a rotating cities bezel, and a red pointer ring.

1969 model, AR1035 calibre

1959 model, AR1035 calibre (images from uhrforum user: Uptool)

Enicar Sherpa GMT

A Sherpa GMT Worldtime 30 jewels in white dial

Early 1960’s model with Enicar embedded in saturn, and Dauphine hands

An early 1960’s model with Enicar embedded in Saturn, and Dauphine hands. Image from uhrfrom user: EnabranTain

Rubyrotor 30 jewel model with gold dial (Image credit: Istvan Zitas)

Enicar Sherpa Worldtime Post 1964 model

Post-1960’s model with Enicar below Saturn and different indices. (Image by uhrforum user: Paracanthurus)

SHERPA DATE

Enicar Sherpa Date models were produced from early 1958.   These watches featured a date complication, and although this was found in other models, Enicar chose to focus on this feature in 1958.

Enicar Sherpa Date 1958

The Sherpa Date was created as a date complication of the Sherpa

Ken Rosewall, the Australian tennis player featured in the advertising, continuing the theme of Enicar using famous sportsmen in their advertising material.

Enicar Sherpa Date ad

Australian tennis player Ken Rosewall endorses the Sherpa Date

A Sherpa Date similar to that the advertisement above, with folded indexes, Dauphine hands and the date complication. The Word Ultrasonic does not feature below the Enicar in Saturn logo. (Image from klocksnack forum user: Ariste)

A no date version of the watch above, with the same index markers, is shown below, dated January 1958. This has Dauphine hands and is one of the earliest Sherpa (not Sherpas) light faced sports style watches known.  It has a supercompressor case.

Enicar Sherpa Date 1958

A 1958 Sherpa Date 17 jewels

The date complication version from March 1958 is shown below.  Again with Dauphine hands and a supercompressor case,  but with slightly different index markers than those in the Rosewall advertisement.  This may be the earliest Sherpa Date model known.

Enicar Sherpa Date March 1958 version

The Sherpa Date March 1958 version AR1009 movement

Below is a February 1960 model, which is very similar to the Seapearl of the same era.

Enicar Sherpa Date 1960

Image by uhrforum user: feuerzeuger

The model below has the Dauphine hands seen in other Sherpa models of this era and features Sherpas on the case back.    Model number 100/116

Enicar Sherpa Date front and caseback shots

Images by watchuseek forum user: HammyFan

Below is an unusual later model Sherpa Date with baton hands and a thin red triangular second hand similar to the same era Divette with a supercompressor 600 back.

Enicar Sherpa Date with baton hands

Images by watchuseek forum user: DaBaeker

More modern Sherpa Date models came in a variety of styles including 33 jewel models and a rectangular case with the date at 6 o’clock below.

Modern Enicar Sherpa Date watches

Modern Sherpa Date models (image credits from watchuseek forum users Merl [first image] and o.v.e [second image])

Enicar Sherpa Date rectangular case

A Sherpa Date with a rectangular case and date window at 6 o’clock (Image by uhrforum user: Käfer)

Enicar ceased offering the Date model and commenced offering the Sherpa D (Date) and Sherpa DD (Day/Date) models, and these more modern Sherpa models will not be covered in this article.

SHERPA STEWARD

The Steward and Stewardess models were introduced in 1960, again with a rotating bezel, but in this case the bezel is reversed and counts down in hours after setting. The supercompressor case was utilised.

Enicar Sherpa with caliber AR 1125 Rubyrotor installed (Supertest, pink gilt, 30 stones)

This model had caliber AR 1125 Rubyrotor installed (Supertest, pink gilt, 30 jewels) and was released in 1962. The ‘Rubyrotor’ name was introduced by Enicar in the same year.

Enicar Steward and Stewardess catalog

Some information on the Enicar Steward watch

Later versions of the Steward had a cities bezel and came as either 24 or 30 Jewels.

Enicar Steward

sherpa steward

SHERPA ELECTRIC

 

Finally, Enicar produced a supercompressor case with a battery compartment.  The 1961 Electric featured a Landeron 4750 movement and cost about the same as Sherpa Valjoux 72 Graph models at the time. Some models have no numerals on the dial, only symbols, while others feature the numerals 6 and 12.   Model number 100/167.

Enicar Sherpa Electric

The Enicar Sherpa Electric’s case was an EPSA bayonet with a “coin” slot to assist in opening the battery compartment. (Image by uhrforum user: EnabranTain)

 

The advertisements show ENICAR below Saturn, but the models in the pictures above have  ENICAR in Saturn.

 

Landeron 4750 calibre

Landeron 4750 calibre used for the Sherpa Electric

RECOMMENDATIONS

There is a broad range of versions for the Enicar Sherpa single crown watch that a collector may choose to purchase. You may choose to go for the pieces that were included in its serial production, which are relatively easy to acquire. You can also go for the versions with a limited production but bear in mind that these are seldom found and would have a heftier price tag. Here are some recommendations to help you get started with your search.

Everest ad campaign for the Sherpa

PLACE TO START

A place to start is where the Sherpa series started before eventually evolving into some 100 models.  Perhaps you can help answer the question, which Enicar, Seapearl model was carried to the summit of Everest?  Which model led to the Sherpa name?  We know the calibre was automatic, but what was the movement?   We know the crucial waterproof back was the EPSA STOP introduced in late 1955. Did the case have turtle backed lugs?  Was the dial white, or black?

THE BEATER

Sherpa Single Crown Divette 33

The single crown Diver and Divette models are hard to find. Many more two crown Super Divette models exist than the single crown Divette. For a few hundred dollars, this can be a good place to start.

THE HIGH END

Sherpa Single Crown High End

Image by uhrforum user: EnabranTain

Very rare single crown Sherpas are those which are similar to the two crown models in the Graph series.  These include the GMT, the World Time, the Pilote, the Steward and the Stewardess which are particularly difficult to find.

THE GRAIL

US Navy Diver 600

US Navy Diver 600: the grail of Single Crown Sherpas. Watch is with its original Tropic band. (Image by watchuseek forum user: Dogen)

US Navy Diver 600 models were limited to about 1000 units of production.  Testing in 1958 carried out by the US Navy indicated better performance than the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and Rolex competitors at the time. Their possible use during the Vietnam war has made these very hard to find.

From The Spring Bar Store:

 

References:

  1. watchwiki, Enicar
  2. omegaforums user douggiedude, SOLD ’57 Enicar Sherpa SeaPearl 600 nice Black-Bronze Dial, Forum post 2016
  3. uhrforum user Käfer, Enicar Watches, Forum post 2007
  4. vintagepaperandsalvage, Enicar Watch Company Seapearl Vintage 1956 Swiss Ad Suisse Advert Horology
  5. watchuseek user Reich, Re: The Joy of Collecting Vintage Enicar Watches, Forum post 2014
  6. uhrforum user EnabranTain, Short presentation: Enicar Sherpa 600 / Star Jewels with AR 1140, Forum post 2014
  7. vitnagewatchclassics, VINTAGE ENICAR SEAPEARL 600, Online retailer
  8. omegaforums user MMMD, Rolex Sub 6538 Vs. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Milspec1… Vs. Enicar Seapearl 600?, Forum post
  9. woundandwound, A Guide to Super Compressors, Article 2014
  10. watchuseek user MMMD, Re: The Joy of Collecting Vintage Enicar Watches, Forum post 2013
  11. forumamontres user corsair75,  Histoire d’ENICAR : les racines d’une passion. Forum post
  12. watchuseek user Taswell, Enicar Seapearl 600, Forum post 2012
  13. watchuseek user 50kopek, Enicar Watches, Forum post 2007
  14. watchuseek user malus65, Re: The Joy of Collecting Vintage Enicar Watches, Forum post 2012
  15. uhrforum user tiga, Enicar Watches, Forum post 2009
  16. uhrforum user uptool, Enicar Watches, Forum post 2011
  17. uhrforum user helmet, What vintage are you doing today? – Part 2 –, Forum post 2011
  18. uhrforum user SR-71, Enicar Sherpa Dive 120/124 BaANXS (Part 1), Forum post 2011
  19. yahooauctions, Enicar Rare Antique Watch, Online auctions
  20. astronomy-pictures, 1959 ENICAR SHERPA DIVETTE AUTOMATIC 17 JEWELS AR1034 EZR MOVEMENT DIVE WATCH: $590
  21. senzatempo, Sherpa Divette, Online retailer
  22. uhrforum user momo, Enicar Ultrasonic Sherpa Divette, Forum post 2015
  23. Batavia Jam, ENICAR SHERPA DIVETTE SOLD, Blog post 2015
  24. watchuseek user Stigmata, The Joy of Collecting Vintage Enicar Watches, Forum post 2015
  25. watchuseek user merl, FS: Enicar Sherpa 600 Date, Forum post 2013
  26. omegaforums user MMMD, Rolex Sub 6538 Vs. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Milspec1… Vs. Enicar Seapearl 600?, Forum post 2013
  27. svetsatova forum user skydrummer, Enicar-Kada je Šerpa bila sat, Forum post 2011

Enicar Sherpa Diver (2 Crown Models)

INTRODUCTION

Enicar Sherpa 2 Crown Diver Collage

An earlier article covered the single crown Enicar Sherpa diver models.

In 1964 Enicar announced a new two crown dive watch, and this article moves to the two crown models based on the automatic AR1145 calibre movement.

Two crown Enicar Sherpa diver watches had been rarely seen before.  Below is a model with Enicar in Saturn and 4 hands with a rotating bezel, and arrow pointer.   This was possibly a GMT watch.

 

Dr Hans Hass was a well-known researcher who featured in advertising using the single crown Enicar diver models. Since the Divette was their single crown brand, Enicar used the brand Super Divette for the two crown model. And, Dr Hans Hass also featured in the advertising.

Introductory Ad for the Enicar Sherpa Diver
A 1964 advertisement released as an introduction to the 2 Crown Enicar Sherpa Diver

 

The watch below is an Enicar Sherpa diver watch but does not carry the Super Divette model name, rather it has no model name. It appears identical to the illustration in the above advertisement, but the watch has an extra GMT hand as in the model above. The hands are baton-shaped, with broad inverted T lumes at the ends. The outer bezel is identical with that in the advertisement, with a split trapezium at the 60-minute marker, and dot minute markers from 20 to 60.  All the 2 crown Sherpa dive watches have supercompressor Seapearl bayonet cases, discussed in an earlier article, and these will not be discussed here.

Early Enicar Sherpa Diver

ENICAR SHERPA SUPER DIVETTE

An early Super Divette model with the divided 60 marker on the bezel is shown below. As in the advertisement above it has lines for the markers from 0 to 20 minutes, and dots for the markers from 20 minutes to 60 minutes. The dial reads 17 JEWELS beneath ENICAR at 12 o’clock. Seapearl oyster caseback, numbered 125/005.

Image courtesy  of Jonathan at Crown & Caliber

 

Another early Super Divette model with the divided 60 marker on the bezel is shown below. This model has the markers on the bezel as uniform in height, while the advertisement above has dots for the markers from 20 minutes to 60 minutes.

This is a 33 jewel model, with calibre AR1145, and has automatic under the Enicar logo. The early divided 60 marker models are numbered 125/004 but the more general model number is either 145/003 or 144-35-01.   A Sherpa 600 supercompressor case was used on the model below, with a thin second hand.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette
Image courtesy of chronocentric user Marcel

 

This model below has a second hand with a lollipop dot.   Original bracelet, Serial no. 665137, Case no. 126/002 125/004.

Image courtesy: Kaplans Auktioner

 

This model also has the split trapezium marker at 60 on the bezel, but this also has uniform markers.  Again an automatic 33 jewel model.   Seapearl case engraved 126/002 and 125/004 beneath.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette 33

The model is 36mm diameter without crowns. The crowns were usually 3mm, but some replace these with 4mm crowns.

The lumes on the baton hands are broad inverted T lumes as in the advertisement above.

The bezel ceased to have the split trapezium at 60 at about this time, and the markers from 0 to 20 are longer than the other markers on the bezel. The second hand is a dot lollipop.

The model is Super Divette “T”, meaning that Tritium has been used for the lumes.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette
Image credits: thewatchforum.co.uk user DaveE (left), chronocentric user Shane (right)

 

Below is a 33 jewel model, without automatic on the dial and marked T < 25 mc (25 milli Curies).

Tritium was used for lumes from the 1960s until the late 1990s. Like radium which it replaced in 1960, it is also radio-active.

The half-life is approximately 12.3 years and after that, Tritium (in most cases) will not glow anymore.

There were two types of Tritium employed at the time:

  1. a) dials emitting radio-activity of less than 25 mC. Dials were often marked “SWISS T < 25”
  2. b) and more commonly, dials emitting radio-activity of less than 7.5 mC. Dials often marked “T SWISS T” or “T SWISS MADE T”.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette 33 black dial

This model below has a thin pencil lume added to the minute hand.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette
Image by watchuseek forum user: 3pointross

 

A cream dial model above, and below a gold dial model was less common, but tropic dials also exist.

Enicar Sherpa Super Divette Gold and Tropic
Images by chronocentric user: Massimiliano

 

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette Close up
Image by forumamontres forum user: lepacha91

 

 

Above is a Divette 33 model with T < 25mc on the dial

 

Mark III Sherpa Guide type hands also existed as below, with a thin pencil line down the minute hand and a lozenge lume on the hour hand. Triangular second hands fitted in with this hand change.

 

Image by uhrforum user: Helmet

 

Lollipop second hand

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette with lollipop hands
Image by forumamontres forum user: lepacha91

 

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette
Image by uhrforum user: Tiga

 

The next model change was to provide a bezel which had markers of the same size but was coloured to 45 minutes. Some models had a red triangle second hand, as in the Mark III Sherpa Guide.

The bezel had markers of the same size but was coloured to 45 minutes, and featured a triangle at 60 minutes.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Divette with coloured rotating ring
The crowns on this model are not cross hatched. Images by uhrforum user: Tiga

 

Below is a NOS Super Divette, model 144-35-01, with a red triangle second hand.

 

 

super divette
But lollipop second hands persisted.

 

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette yellow and white inner bezel
Image by uhrforum user: helmet

 

Model 144-35-01 with later hand style and lollipop dot second hand and crosshatched crowns and a Seapearl case.

Image by uhrforum user: doc-rudi

 

SUPER DIVETTE MKII

The Mark II model has the pillowcase or short lug style, and a late 1960’s model is shown below model 165-35-05.  The Saturn logo now has 2 rings and a dot on the bezel at 60 which is coloured to 45 minutes.

Movement: Enicar Cal 165 or rarely Enicar 1147 BD automatic, the latter being day/date.

Case without crown: 38mm, and lug to lug: 42mm

Sherpa Diver: Super Divette Mark II
Images by chronocentric user: Mark Houten

 

A yellow bezel model.

super divette 165-35-05

There was also a black (PVD) anodised version as shown below.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette Mark II pillow cushion case
Sherpa Super Divettes on different cases (Image by uhrforum user Käfer)

 

A rare yellow black anodised model.   Image : Leroy Kaman

 

ENICA SHERPA 600 LADY DIVER

In the late 1960s Enicar released the Sherpa 600 Lady Diver.

It was a small watch based on the AR765 movement, in an oval case without lugs. The dial was so small that it could not accommodate the Saturn logo. The watch was 26mm inside crowns, and 29mm long, and was 12mm between lugs.

It featured a bezel coloured red from 0 to 15, similar to the Super Divette above, with red markers at the 5-minute markers. The indices were narrow and partly coated with lume.

Enicar Sherpa Lady Diver
Images by uhrforum user: manrooster

 

SUPER DIVE

SUPER DIVE MARK I MODEL

The Super Dive at 42mm is larger than the Super Divette.

This is Enicar model number was originally model 125/006 with the AR1125 movement, and then 145/006 (but this changed to 144-35-02) and dates from early 1965, with the AR 1145 movement.  The 125/006 model had thinner crowns, “T SWISS MADE T” on the dial and a Seapearl caseback.  The 145/006 models had thick crowns.  Later 144-35-02 models had Sherpa 600 case backs.

Shown on the left in the image below left is a rare dauphine hand model and on the above right the most frequent model with baton hands.

All markers on the bezel are the same height from 0 to 60 minutes, with a trapezium at the 60-minute mark.

Enicar Sherpa DIver: Super Dive Mark I
Images by watchuseek forum user: Dogen

 

 

 

Dauphine hand model above and baton hand models below, with Sherpa 600 case back. The watch on the left is one of the last models of the series and has a triangular tapered second hand, and hour hand with lozenge lume.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Dive Mark I variants
Image credits: watchuseek forum user Dogen, 1st photo, forumamontres user charlp3

 

Below are images from a September 1966 model, 144-35-02.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Dive Mark I variants
Images courtesy of kaplans.se

 

Three Super Dive models are shown on the left of the photo below for comparison.

Enicar Sherpa DIver: Super Dive models
Image by uhrforum user: Tiga

 

The Super Dive went through similar model changes to the Super Divette. Firstly the 125/006 with a split marker on the bezel at 12, larger markers from 0 to 20, and square baton hands.  This is similar to the Divette advertisement at the start of the article.

Champagne dial: Image credit: watchuseek forum user KP-99

 

Then a revised bezel and a thin pencil lume in the minute hand from about June 1965.   This is sometimes called the tuning fork hand.  This model was 145/006 in a Seapearl caseback.  The more rare dauphine hand models were from the same period.

The dauphine hand model had a Sherpa 600 caseback marked 148-35-01.

 

Enicar sherpa super dive 148-35-01
Image courtesy: Watcholdtimes

Enicar superdive 148-35-01

 

Then the Enicar Sherpa Diver model gained more rounded tipped baton hands.  Black versions also exist. The second hand is sometimes just a thin pointer.

Image on left courtesy Vintagewatchclassics.com

 

SUPER DIVE MARK I POLISH NAVY

The Polish Navy (Marynarka Wojenna Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej) issued this model to their divers. These were engraved on side and rear of case for security. The rear case was not engraved as much at the Enicar factory as were normal production models. Both dauphine hands and baton hands were used in the production run.

Enicar Sherpa Polish Navy Mark I Super Dive
Super Dive Polish Navy models engraved MW66xx: 1966 models

MW6650 polish navy enicar

 

SUPER DIVE 33 MARK I

The models below are Enicar model number 125/006 and 145/006.

The earliest Super Dive 33 model has a split marker at 12 and bigger markers on the bezel to 20, similar to the early Super Divette. The hand are baton with inverted T lumes. Second hands are mostly thin pointer style.

Image courtesy Uhrforum user Pete at left and WatchOldTimes right

super dive 33 enicar sherpa

 

Another early Enica Sherpa Diver model, this time all black with lollipop dot second hand.  The hour and minute hands have inverted T lumes.    T < 25mc on the dial at 6 o’clock.
Image courtesy Watchuseek forum user: brettwas

 

Below is a later 125/006 model with a solid marker at 12, and uniform minute markers around the bezel.   The index markers at 6, 9, and 12 are fluted as in other Enicar 33 models.   33 jewel AR1125 movement.   Seapearl case back.

Image courtesy Uhrforum user Nuki
A black faced model.

SUPER DIVE MARK II MODEL

This is Enicar Sherpa Diver model 167.08.02. It is a 43mm diameter cushion, pillowcase or short lug style, with a change to the 2 ring Saturn in the logo was produced in 1967.  It features a day/date AR167 caliber with day/date at 6 o’clock.

The bezel is red/orange from 0 to 15 and dark blue for the remainder. There is a red chapter ring at the minute markers.  The case was a Sherpa 600 supercompressor.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Dive Mark II
Images 1st and 2nd by uhrforum user: EnabranTain

 

Below is a pillowcase version of the 144-35-02 model in a black anodised finish.  Sherpa case back and  model number 165-35-05, similar to the Sherpa Guide 165-35-05.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Super Divette Mark II black anodised version
Image by chronocentric user: Fabrizio Caso

 

SHERPA ULTRADIVE

The Ultradive at 40 mm is the same size as the Super Dive. It has an crown protection infill between the crowns to help minimise snagging.

It features the AR1144 calibre movement.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Ultradive
Image by watchuseek forum user: Dogen

 

Enicar Sherpa Ultradive ad
An old advertisement for the Sherpa Ultradive model 145.35.03

 

The early models can be seen in the advertisements above. The bezel is evenly divided. The hands are baton with a broad inverted T lume on the hour hand. The minute hand has a continuous pencil stripe, and the hour hand a pencil stripe at the tip, as in earlier Dive and Divette models. Some models have 2 dots on the second hand. The bezel is variously coloured, commonly white, yellow, or black.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Ultradive models
Image credits, from L to R: uhrforum user Tiga, watchuseek forum user i20rider, watchuseek forum user primabaleron

 

The model below has a single dot lollipop second hand.   Seapearl supercompressor case back.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Ultradive with white inner bezel
Image by chronocentric user: Michael Klan

 

Here is a later model with revised Mark III Sherpa Guide type hour and minute hands, but with a two dot second hand.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Ultradive with white inner bezel
Image by malasiawatchforum user: Rainbowfix

 

And this model also has the red tapered triangular second hand.

Later the bezel changed in style, with a broader triangle lume at 60 and an outer coloured chapter ring between 0 and 40 minutes and a black chapter ring for the remainder between 40 and 60 minutes.   These have a Sherpa 600 oyster case back, engraved Sherpa 144-35-03.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Ultradive orange inner ring
Image courtesy of Matthew Bain at www.matthewbaininc.com (2nd image)

 

Ultradive 2 dot second hand sherpa
This version has the 2 dot second hand.

 

Later models have the 2 ring Saturn Enicar logo.    The model had a 2 dot lollipop second hand, or a red tapered triangle second hand.

Enicar Sherpa Divers catalogue
An Enicar catalogue showing the similarity between the OPS and the Ultradive design

 

Enicar Sherpa Ultradive
Images by uhrforum user: Ebby

 

Red triangle second hand.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Ultradive
Images by uhrforum user: Helmet

 

Enicar Sherpa Ultradive
Enicar Sherpa Ultradive variants: with a two-dot second hand, and with a red triangle second hand. Image by uhrforum user: Käfer

SHERPA OPS

MARK I OPS

The OPS model also went through various versions. The photo below shows the Mark I OPS with baton hands and a 2 dot lollipop second hand, and a black date.  This had a Sherpa 600 case back.

The index markers and lumes are much broader than used on the Ultradive dial.

It had a 40mm Seapearl or Sherpa 600 Super Compressor case like all the preceding models and was Cal AR1145B. The case was black anodised stainless steel, with a crown protector between crowns as in the Ultradive.   Model number 144-35-03.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: OPS
Images by flickr/watchuseek forum user: Dogen

 

Triangular second hand below.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: OPS on black strap
Image by mwrforum user: JohnnyB

 

Chronosport 1969 catalogue below.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: OPS catalogue scan

Enicar Sherpa Diver: OPS catalogue scan

The model below has the same bezel as the advertisement, but a tapered triangular second hand, and Mark III Sherpa Guide hands.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: OPS
Image on left courtesy of omegaforums user styggpyggeno1

 

A white bezel version.

 

 

Non PVD version.

 

MARK II OPS

Enicar Sherpa Diver: OPS Mark II
Image by uhrforum user: Ebby

 

The model above has similar hands to those in the advertisement and as in the Mark III Sherpa Guide, but the bezel has highlights to the 15 minute mark. The 1/59 marker on the bezel is an orange trapezium, and the 60 marker is a silver triangle.  The model number is 144/35/03A.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: OPS Mark II 2
Images by Rainbowfix on photobucket

 

MARK III OPS

This model has raised index markers and a 2 ring Saturn logo. The lumes are reversed in position when compared with the previous model, and those at 6, 9 and 12 are trapezoidal in shape. These are very similar to the Ultradive of the same era.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: OPS Mark III
Images by Rainbowfix on malaysiawatchforum

 

The Mark III Sherpa OPS is similar to the Ultradive in size and in dial layout as can be seen below. The case is black anodised stainless steel.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: Ultradive and OPS
Image by Rainbowfix on malaysiawatchforum

 

ENICAR SHERPA DIVER CALIBRES

AR1145
Enicar Sherpa Diver AR1145
AR 1145B
Enicar Sherpa Diver AR1145B
AR1147
Enicar Sherpa Diver AR1147
AAR 167
Enicar Sherpa Diver AAR 167

RECOMMENDATIONS

ENTRY

The entry model is likely to be the most recent models of the Super Divette or Super Dive releases. Expect to pay $1000 plus for good models.

Enicar Sherpa Super Divette PVD
Image by uhrforum user: Helmet

 

THE KEEPER

A rare model is the Polish Navy model which is a Super Dive with scratchy hand engraving. The Navy obviously were not seeking to enhance retail value when the made sure others could see even from the side that the watch belonged to them. If you can find one of these you are likely to find you have to keep it. Because of the rarity a price of $4000 is likely.

Enicar Sherpa Diver watch: Super Dive Polish Navy

THE GRAIL

The grail would be a Sherpa OPS with the black anodised aluminium case. Expect to pay $3000 plus for a good model.

Enicar Sherpa Diver: OPS

 

From The Spring Bar Store:

Seiko 7A28 Collector’s Guide

INTRODUCTION

Seiko 7A28 is a series of watches that introduced the first analogue display quartz chronograph movement to the world. Seiko launched the series in the early 1980s, and the movement went on to appear in many notable watches.

It consists of 42 variations, including models issued to the military and those used in movies.[1] Certain variations of the Seiko 7A28 watches were issued to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the South African Air Force (SAAF). Two models from the 7A28 family were also featured in the 1986 sci-fi flick “Aliens” and another one was used in the James Bond film “A View to a Kill” starring Roger Moore.

HISTORY/STORY

WORLD’S FIRST ANALOG DISPLAY QUARTZ CHRONOGRAPH MOVEMENT

The Seiko 7A28 entered the market during the height of the LCD technology of the 1980s. This was the time when watches featured features such as built-in television, calculator, thermometer, translator, and so on. Seiko joined the LCD bandwagon with its Seiko TV Watch,[2] but for the 7A28 family, the Japanese watchmaker sought a different direction.

That direction would place the watchmaker and its Seiko 7A28 movement on history books as the world’s first analog quartz movement. Unlike a digital watch, analog watches use hour and minute hands to tell the time, and for this particular watch family, a quartz crystal works together with a power cell, circuit board, and a small stepping motor to move these hands.[3] In addition to timekeeping, the quartz crystals also indicated the power reserve or battery life of the watch.  As the battery ran out of power, the second hand in the 7A28 movement changed to moving at 2 second intervals, thus alerting the wearer.[4]

Seiko banked on this “first” and advertised the 7A28 series as “Watch history being made.” The company marketed the watches to high-end consumers and featured the watch propped against the dashboards of luxury vehicles such as the Porsche 911 and Audi Ur Quattros.[5] The initial “Watch history being made” advertisement.

Seiko, on their own website, have selected from their vast array of successes, the 7A28 analog quartz chronograph as one of their featured milestone achievements.

Seiko 7A28 history

The 7A28 movement featured 15 jewels, contained no plastic parts, and can be regulated, and repaired, so older models can be kept in service.  With this movement, Seiko boasted 10 seconds per month accuracy.

Seiko 7A28 Movement

The Seiko 7A28 movement and its parts
Image credits: mwrforum user SteveG (left image), SCWF user ItauAs described[5] “Seiko planned to take on the Swiss at their own game.  So rather than a modular, disposable plastic movement, the 7a series had a proper, quasi-decorated 15 jewel metal movement that could be regulated, disassembled and repaired.  It even has a very traditional finger damper spring on the centre seconds pinion.  Seiko really threw investment, thinking and effort into this one.  This explains why, despite often impressive abuse, so many survive.  Notice those little rectangular plates over parts of the movement?  Each of those protects a tiny stepper motor – one for each of the chronograph functions. And that’s what this watch is all about.”

The movement allowed 3 sub-registers, and although the position of these varied depending on the model, they all operated in the same way.

The sweep second-hand remains stationary at 12 o’clock during normal operation, while the middle subregister dial displays seconds. One pusher allows the chronometer to start. The sweep second hand then ticks off seconds. There is a 5/100th second dial and this moves in 1/20th-second intervals. A third dial counts minutes as the sweep second-hand moves. The other two pusher buttons are for reset and split time on the chronometer.[4]

The technical guide contains much more detail.[6]

The 7A28 movement can be found in Yema N7 watches, branded Shimauchi Ltd. V905(A).  Seiko also manufactured 7A38 series movements which were a day/date complication, and 7A48 movements which were a moon phase complication, but these are not explored in this article.[7]

APPEARANCE IN A JAMES BOND “A VIEW TO A KILL”, AND “ALIENS”

Seiko further cemented its place in popular culture when some 7A28 variations appeared in two talked about movies of the decade, “A View to a Kill” and “Aliens.”

The 1985 James Bond film “A View to a Kill” featured a 7A28-7020 model SPR007, one of three Seiko watches included in the movie. The other two were the quartz two-tone analog 6923-8080 model SPD094 and Seiko caliber H558-5000 model SPW001.

Although Agent 007 used all three Seiko Bond watches in “A View to a Kill,” most scenes saw Moore sporting the 7A28-7020 model SPR007, a stainless steel watch that had a white dial and four step motors.[8]

“A View to a Kill” was the 14th installment of the spy movie series and Moore’s last appraisal of the MI6 agent’s role.  As a result of this particular stint, the Seiko 7A28-7020 variant is now known among watch collectors and enthusiasts as “James Bond.”

A year after “A View to Kill” hit theaters, 20th Century Fox and Brandywine Productions released the sequel to 1979’s “Alien.” The 1986 sci-fi action horror film directed by James Cameron featured two watches from the Seiko 7A28 family. One variant, the silver and black 7A28-7000,[9] was worn by actress Sigourney Weaver who plays the role of former warrant officer and alien attack survivor Ellen Ripley9. The other, 7A28-6000, can be seen in the film as being worn by actor Lance Henriksen who plays the android named Bishop.  As a result, the watches became known as “Ripley” and “Bishop,” respectively, thanks to their time in the limelight.[10] These two watches were chosen for their futuristic design that aligned with Cameron’s vision for the film.

MILITARY ISSUES

Seiko has been supplying military-grade watches to the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) for more than three decades, and this relationship started with the 7A28 movement. In the mid-1980s, the watchmaker released its Seiko 7A28-7120 variant with reference number SPR047 and NATO Stock Number (NSN) 6645-99-768-3056 to be used by the ministry’s Royal Air Force (RAF). Gen. 1 RAF-issued Seiko watches were on the wrists of British Air Force pilots and navigators from October 1984 until November 1990. The 7A28 movement was replaced by the Seiko 7T27 caliber in 1993.[11]

Other than the MoD, Seiko also supplied the South African Air Force (SAAF) with its 7A28 movement (7A28-7040 / 7A38-7070) between 1985 to 1986.[12,13] It replaced the Swiss automatic chronograph Lemania 5012 which the SAAF procured in 1980.

PRODUCTION

Seiko started production of its caliber 7A28 in 1980 and went on to release watches with this movement to the consumer market as well as supplied them to the military. It is believed Seiko supplied a total of 11,307 pieces of the 7A28 watches to the RAF[11], while it provided the SAAF with 850 Seiko 7A28 units.[12]

diamond painting kits there are lots of products.

The company produced the 7A28 for roughly a decade or so before the series was phased out in the 1990s. Production run finally ended around 1992. Seiko replaced the 7A28 movement with the less expensive 7T12 movement.

LIMITED EDITION RE-ISSUES

Seiko did not launch any limited editions for the 7A28 series. However, it released re-issues of the “Aliens” watches, the 7A28-6000 Bishop and the 7A28-7000 Ripley, as limited editions in recent years thanks to their burgeoning popularity and collectibility. The limited-edition watches were available to the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) only.[10]

In 2013, the company introduced the Seiko X Giugiaro Spirit Smart Watch series to commemorate the 30-year partnership between the Japanese watchmaker and the Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. The series is based on the 7A28-6000 Bishop but features the newer 7T12 quartz movement. Design-wise, it stayed mostly true the iconic black-and-red original version (SCED003), with minor changes and more color options (SCED005, SCED007, SCED001, SCED011, and SCED009).[14]

After a couple of years, Seiko followed up the resurgence of the “Aliens” watches with another limited edition, this time based on the 7A28-7000 Ripley. The new Seiko X Giugiaro Design watches, which came in grey (SCED035) and black (SCED037) color variants, looked similar to the original but without the crown and extra button on the left side. Like the re-issued Seiko Bishop 7A28-6000, the SCED035 and SCED037 were both run by the Seiko 7T12 quartz movement.[9,14,15]

DESIGN

SEIKO 7A28 SPEEDMASTER BY GIUGIARO

The Seiko 7A28 marked the company’s first collaboration with independent industrial designers, the first of which was Giorgetto Giugiaro.[16] The Italian is famous for designing cars, although his portfolio includes other products like motorcycles, cameras, computer prototypes, guns, and even a pasta shape called “Marille.”[16] He worked with the likes of Alfa Romero, Audi, BMW, Bugatti, Volkswagen, and Nikon, among others. In 1999 he was nominated the Car Designer of the Century.[15,17]

Giugiaro’s work with Seiko started with the Speedmaster series of 1983.[17] The series includes a number of watches using the 7A28 movement, including 7A28-5000 ref. SBBJ001, 7A28-500A ref. SBBJ003, 7A28-7A00 ref. SBBJ005 and SBBJ007, 7A28-6000 ref. SSAY048, 7A28-7000 ref. SSAY058, and 7A28-7001 ref. SSAY068.[18]

The collection targeted young motorcyclists and motorists so the design was based on ergonomics. This meant Giugiaro had to ensure the watches were highly functional and enhanced user experience but at the same time embodied what futuristic design looked like back in the 1980s.[15]

These unique features include, for instance, an adjustable strap that allowed the watch to be fitted on bicycle handlebars or steering wheel spokes. In this way, the watch became a professional instrument to measure speed or distance. Casing offsets and an angled face provided users a hassle-free and convenient timepiece, one that did not get tangled with shirts or jacket cuffs and one that could be read without turning the wrist. The designs incorporated large pushers so that they could be operated easily while wearing gloves.

Overall, the watches in the Seiko Speedmaster series featured some very interesting style features described as very “European,” “modern,” “frightening” but at the same time “exciting”.[9] Their characteristic asymmetrical shapes and tilted dials proved to be a challenge for Seiko which managed to pull it off despite technological limitations at the time.

“We have to say that the first venture with Giugiaro was a shock. I really don’t think that we would ever get something like that from an in-house designer,” said Products Division senior manager Yoshio Hirabayashi regarding the designer’s first sketch.[17] “This really provided a stimulus to our designers and developers. It set them thinking, ‘Now we’re really going to have to develop a very special mechanism for this. In that sense, we reaped some extremely rich benefits.”

Seiko’s initial expectation when it tapped Giugiaro was to have a new design for its Speedmaster series. However, it got more than that. John Goodall in his “A Journey In Time: The Remarkable Story of Seiko” says the company not only received a watch with unique styling but also a design that other watch manufacturers weren’t able to copy or match.[17] As a result, Giugiaro designed Seiko watches become in demand and a collector’s item.

The collaboration was so successful that the two partnered once more to release the Macchina Sportiva collection of 1996. This series was inspired by motorsports and also proved successful.

VARIATIONS

Seiko released a total of more than 40 variations of watch with the 7A28 movement, with more than 100 reference numbers.

The Seiko Oceania database provides a useful list of cross-references, including the part numbers for the original bracelets.[19]

The watches can be broadly categorized based on their design: Classic, Giugiaro, and the Sports 100 collection.

In this article the watches will be listed numerically, starting with the Giugario 7A28 – 5000 series, but first there is a theme which runs throughout the series of models, as explained below using the wording on the dial of the outwardly similar 7A28-7100 and 7A28-703A models.

Seiko 7A28 models 7100 and 703A
A Seiko 7A28-7100 (left) and a 7A28-703A. Thank you to the contributors of the seiko7A38 forum for the second image (www.seiko7a38.com)

 

The 7A28 series of watches have many different dials, and these will be catalogued in the article below. However, the two “Pepsi” models above illustrate a common thread throughout all the models. The 7A28-7100 above is a JDM model, and all JDM models of the series feature “SEIKO CHRONOGRAPH QUARTZ” on the dial. The export 7A28-703A model above by comparison has  “SEIKO QUARTZ Chronograph” on the dial. Some of these “SEIKO QUARTZ Chronograph” models are also labelled “SPORTS 100”. In addition to the cursive Chronograph the export model generally has MIN. on the chronograph minute sub-register and 1/10s on the 1/20 second sub-register.

The JDM model clasps are generally marked “SPEEDMASTER” with a helmet logo, and the export models “SEIKO” with the SQ logo.

Worn and Wound has a good description of the operation of the 7A28[5]:

Press the button at 2 o’clock and the chrono starts. Instead of a blizzard of flickering digits, the centre seconds ticks off the seconds one at a time while the 1/10ths dial zips round. In fact, it’s moving at 1/20th second intervals. The minutes total up over at the 9 o’clock subdial and there’s a running seconds at 6 o’clock.

Today, that’s all pretty unremarkable. But back in the early 1980s, when most watches had little grey, digital screens, this was serious stuff. And it got better. Hit the button at 10 o’clock and the chrono keeps running, but the hands stop. So not only do you have a chrono, you have a split timer.

If you enjoy fiddling, you’ll discover something else about the 7A series… if you push and hold the 4 o’clock pusher, the two chrono subdials and centre seconds whizz round and reset themselves. And all this for around $250 back in the early ‘80s – that’s a blinding amount of watch technology for a mere $650 in today’s money.

SEIKO 7A28 WATCHES BY GIUGIARO

A photographic compilation of 4 Giugario watches is shown below with others from the 7A28 series. The six models were the 5000 (and 500A), 6000 and 7000 (and 7A00 and 7001) series. However, all 7A28 models are discussed numerically in this article below, starting with the 7A28-5000 series.

Seiko 7A28 watches
Image courtesy of flickr user: Døgen

 

7A28-5000

The “Steering Wheel”

SBBJ001, SBBJ0011

This model in the Speedmaster series featured an integrated strap which allowed the watch to be positioned on the handlebar of a bike.

The black model was the 7A28-5000 (SBBJ001) and the dark green variation the 7A28 – 500A (SBBJ003).

Seiko 7A28-5000 Speedmaster ad

Model numbers SBBJ001 and SBBJ003 referenced in the advertisement above. Listed price 50,000 yen.

The Seiko 7A28-5000 is an easily identifiable watch, thanks to its distinct steering wheel-shaped casing. It is this shape that earned it the nickname “Steering Wheel” in collectors circles. The casing and the links in its rubber bracelet were in black chrome (PVD).

Seiko 7A28-5000

The black dial features “SEIKO” in white and “CHRONOGRAPH” in red at the 9 o’clock mark. Hour and minute markers are big and small dots, respectively. The hour, minute and sub-dial hands are white, while the chronometer second hand is red.

The watch features three sub-dials at the 12, 3, and 6 o’clock positions, but in other models this “vertical” arrangement becomes a more normal “horizontal” layout.

Press the button at 11 o’clock and the chronometer starts and stops. Reset is at 2 o’clock. The centre second hand ticks off seconds, while in normal operation the second hand is the subregister at 3 o’clock. The 5/100th second dial is at 12 o’clock and this moves in 1/20th-second intervals. The 3 o’clock dial shows seconds during normal operation, and the 6 o’clock dial counts minutes as the center second hand completes a rotation. The chronometer function is by the upper left corner button, and the split function is at 7 o’clock.

This watch is part of Seiko Speedmaster collection designed by Giugiaro. The 7A28-5000 can be identified through two reference numbers: SBBJ001 and SBBJ0011.[1]

Below is a model on a replacement Seiko strap, and collectors should try and obtain models with the original strap as this makes them more authentic. The original clasp has no inscription.

Seiko 7A28-5000

The watch is quite bulky to wear sitting high off the wrist.

The Speedmaster case back features 10 bar water-resistant protection and has the corresponding 2 wave insignia. The model number 7A28-5000 is engraved on the case back and is more commonly referred to than the series number SBBJ001. The Case back reads: ST. STEEL + PLASTICS + BASE METAL ST. STEEL BACK.

7A28-500A

SBBJ003, SBBJ0031

Seiko 7A28-500A
First image by flickr user: Døgen

 

The Seiko 7A28-500A is essentially the 7A28-5000 but in a dark green color for the dial and strap or bracelet. The word “CHRONOGRAPH,” indicators and hands are all in yellow. The variant can be identified through reference numbers SBBJ003 and SBBJ0031.[1]

7A28-6000

The “Bishop”

SSAY048, SSAY0481 SSAY038, SSAY0381
SPR039, SPR039J0, SPR039J1, SPR039J8, SPR039J9

The 7A28 – 6000 features in the advertisement, below right, and the design feature is a casing offset to the right to enable easy access to the pushers on the right.  Another benefit of the offset casing in relation to the strap to ensure it does not interfere with shirt or jacket cuffs.

The other striking feature is the cockpit-style of the design, with the 3 sub-registers sitting in a motoring style cockpit, now with a more conventional “horizontal” style.  This model is the JDM model with “SEIKO CHRONOGRAPH QUARTZ” on the dial.

The Seiko Giugiaro collection

In the above advertisement SSAY048 is listed as the model number, and the advertised price 50,000 yen.

Seiko 7A28-6000 JDM

This is the JDM model and features the crown and a pusher on the left and 2 pushers on the right (while the 2013 reissued model SCED series only features a crown and 2 buttons on the right), and a bidirectional rotating bezel.

The JDM model is marked BCRP or black chrome plating (PVD) and featured a clasp with a helmet and Speedmaster inscription.

Seiko 7A28 Speedmaster clasp

No Sports 100 inscription on the JDM  model.

Seiko 7A28-6000 JDM

 

This is the export model with “SEIKO QUARTZ Chronograph SPORTS 100” on the dial. The Speedmaster Sports 100 series as Seiko named them, were a huge boost for the imago of Seiko. The clasp featured Seiko and the SQ logo.

This is the export model with “SEIKO QUARTZ Chronograph SPORTS 100” on the dial. The Speedmaster Sports 100 series as Seiko named them, were a huge boost for the imago of Seiko. The clasp featured Seiko and the SQ logo.

Seiko 7A28-6000 Export case back

Case back reads “WATER RESIST” and “BCRP ST. STEEL BACK”. BCRP is Black Chromium Plating, and it is very easily scratched.

The sports 100 model is SSAY048, SSAY0481

Seiko 7A28-6000 Sports 100
Image courtesy of kaplans.se

 

Seiko 7A28 ad
A Seiko 7A28 Bishop ad highlighting the watch’s 0.05 sec accuracy

 

7A28-6009

SPR049J, SPR049J1, SPR049J8, SPR049J9

Seiko 7A28-6009
Black PVD coated stainless steel model, for the USA market – rare compared with the 7A28-6000 model. Images by timezone forum user: Rolex Enthusiast

The case back differs from the prior model and reads “WATER RESISTANT 10 BAR” and “BASE METAL ST. STEEL BACK”, making no mention of the BCRP coating.

GIUGIARO LIMITED EDITION RE-RELEASE MODELS

For the 30th anniversary of the Giugiaro collaboration in 2013 Seiko re-released the Bishop watch like the Seiko Spirit SCEDXXX in 6 colour combinations. The new versions have two pushers and one crown, all on the right.  They used the 7T12 movement which did not allow a split time pusher on the chronograph.

There were 500 models of each of the 4 models on the left and only 200 of the 2 models on the right, sold in TIC TAC stores.[9,10,14,15]

Seiko 7A28-6000 color variation
In 2014 another 2500 models of each of the 5 watches below were released.

 

Seiko 7A28-6000 ad

7A28-60X0

The 7A28 – 60×0 series of watches is the classic chronometer collection and all models are round cased classic watches with knurled bezels.   One style uses propeller hands and the other thin baton hands with a central stripe.   These are not Giugiaro collection watches.

7A28-6010

SCAY980, SCAY9801

Seiko 7A28-6010
Top image by flickr user Wai Phyo. First image below is taken from a Seiko 1983 catalogue.

 

Seiko 7A28-6010, with reference nos. SCAY980 and SCAY9801, features a round case, an outer dial for chronograph elapsed seconds, and a silver dial with the “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” and a cursive “Chronograph” displayed at the 12 o’clock mark. It also has three sub dials at the “horizontal” 3, 6, 9 o’clock positions and uses compressed Roman numeral hour indicators.   The sweep second hand has a ring on the reverse end, and the chronometer bezel has faint red second markings.   The model came with a leather band.

The watch came with an ostrich style leather band and cost 40,000 yen when new.

7A28-6020

SCAY990, SCAY9901

Seiko 7A28-6020
Another round-cased, silver-dialed watch in the classic series.

 

The Seiko 7A28-6020 can be identified through reference nos. SCAY990 and SCAY9901. On the dial are the markings “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” and a cursive “Chronograph” and three sub dials at the “horizontal” 3, 6, and 9 o’clock marks. It has a Breguet-style numbered white dial. It also features a classic style outer bezel chronometer elapsed time index. It has the same leather strap as the 7A28-6010.

7A28-6030

SPR042J0, SPR042J1, SPR042J4, SPR042J8, SPR042J9

Seiko 7A28-6030

This is a classic gold model with thin pencil fluted hands. Thin index markers are used to indicate the hours, rather than numerals.

The strap above is an ill fitting replacement for the original strap.

7A28-6040

This is a black PVD coating version of the 7A28-6030, with red chronometer related hands, (second, and subdials 1/10s, and minutes).

Seiko 7A28-6040
Original leather straps are often replaced.

 

7A28-6050

SPR046J0, SPR046J1, SPR046J4, SPR046J8, SPR046J9

Seiko 7A28-6050
Gold version of the 7A28-6020 Breguet-style numbered white dial with propellor hands. Possibly on the original strap (image on left).

 

7A28-7A00

SBBJ005, SBBJ0051, SBBJ007, SBBJ0071

This is another Giugario designed watch, with a cockpit style for the sub-registers. The dial is rotated slightly to make it readable with the wearers hands resting on the handlebars of a bike, with distinctive white watch hands, and the strap is unmarked. A small step runs from the watch case across the first 3 links of the strap.

Seiko 7A28-7A00 ad

Like other Giugiaro-designed watches, the Seiko 7A28-7A00 sports a unique look. It comes with an offset dial with red or yellow ring surrounding the crystal and plastic buttons or Chrono pushers and a titanium case resin bracelet. On the gray dial rests three sub dials located at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock marks. Hours and minutes are indicated by red markers and white hands. “SEIKO” and “CHRONOGRAPH” can be seen at the 12 o’clock position.

Seiko 7A28-7A00
Top images courtesy of www.seiko7a38.com contributors

 

The 7A28-7A00 can be identified through reference numbers SBBJ005, and SBBJ0051, (both the red models) and SBBJ007, and SBBJ0071 (both the yellow models).[1,18]

Detail of the yellow model SBBJ007.

Seiko 7A28-7A00 SBBJ007

7A28-7000

SPR019J0, SPR019J1, SPR019J8, SPR019J9

SSAY058, SSAY0581, SSAY068, SSAY0681

The Seiko Giugiaro 7A28-7000 series watch is probably the most famous of all Seiko Giugiaro watches not only because of its unique design but also because James Cameron (or someone on the crew of Aliens) decided that it should be on the wrist of the main protagonist Ellen Ripley, played by actress Sigourney Weaver.[9,10,14,15]

In this design, the vertical stopwatch pushers are located inside the asymmetrical case extension and this is the feature that makes this watch totally unique.  In reality, the pushers have turned out to fatigue and become brittle, and good models are hard to come by.

Seiko 7A28-7000

The design is fantastic, and Seiko, along with Giugiaro, did an excellent job of fully encapsulating the futuristic theme of the era that was industrial, blocky, and verging on dystopian. It feels like an evolution in ergonomics and functionality meant for a stylized industrial environment versus anything else. The design was probably closely connected to the idea in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the then-popular science fiction that many people believed the future meant living on massive spacecraft or space stations far away from earth, and that most people’s jobs would be in maintaining or running such engineering feats.

Weaver’s Ripley character lives in just such a fantasy science fiction world with the added military component, so this watch gets a macho as well as utilitarian side to its personality.

The watch has orange hour and minute hands with a central red stripe, a yellow chronometer second hand and white hands on the sub-registers.  JDM Speedmaster clasp with helmet.

7A28-7001 RIPLEY

SSAY0681, SSAY068
SPR019J0, SPR019J1, SPR019J8, SPR019J9

The original Seiko 7A28-7000 watch went by a few names in addition to its reference number. On the watch is written “Speedmaster,” which perhaps today Omega would have an issue with.  Sometimes, the watch was also labelled and known as the Seiko Chronograph Sport 100, as explained below. The caseback has a small waves logo which looks like Seiko dive watch logo, even though the Seiko 7A28-7000 was clearly not a diver. On the wrist, the matte light gray aluminum and steel case is cool-looking but, of course, highly avant-garde. It feels large for a period timepiece but isn’t too large at all by today’s standards. Of course, you have the unique “up-down” chronograph pusher and an additional pusher, as well as the crown for the watch on its left-side.

Seiko 7A28-7001

The Speedmaster Sports 100 series as Seiko named them, was a huge boost for the image of Seiko. They managed to combine the traditional appeal of the analogue watch with the dynamism of the digital-era counterpart. Giugiaro’s aesthetic and design sensibilities were particularly well suited to mass and popular culture.   They were designs highly functional, unusual and groundbreaking and that reflected the 1980’s era, however, they are still classically futuristic even after 33 years.

Seiko 7A28 in Aliens
The Seiko 7A28 Ripley as seen in the movie ‘Aliens’.

 

The 7A28-7000 series had an unparalleled configuration of function buttons (start/reset/stop) which were always accessible despite the angle of the watch in relation to the wrist and easily operated even when wearing motorcycle gloves.

The only similarly styled watch was designed by Roger Tallon in 1974 (Mach 2000 by Lip).

Mach 2000
A similar Mach 2000 model by Lip

 

7A28-7008

SPR031J, SPR031J1, SPR031J8, SPR031J9

Seiko 7A28-7008

Sports 100 model of 7A28-7000. Markings on the dial include “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” cursive “Chronograph” and “SPORTS 100.”

Apart from the dial markings, and the higher water resistance, although who would take this watch diving, the main difference with the earlier model was the embossing of  Seiko and the Seiko Quartz (SQ) logo on the clasp.

Seiko 7A28-7008 ad in the 80s
Canadian advertisement “Chronograph: the watchword for the Eighties

 

7A28-7009

SPR031J, SPR031J1, SPR031J8, SPR031J9

Seiko 7A28-7009

Seiko 7A28-7009 is another Sports 100 watch, similar to the  JDM version above, but with red pushers. Its futuristic design is reminiscent of the popular “Aliens” watches. It features orange hands, stick hour indicators, and sub dials at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock marks. Markings on the dial include “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” cursive “Chronograph”  and “SPORTS 100.”

GIUGIARO RE-RELEASE

In 2014 and 2015 5 replica Giugiaro models based on the 7T12  movement were released, made in limited numbers of 300014. Shown below is the SCED035. The other models are the SCED037, SCED039, SCED041 and SCED043.

Seiko Guigiaro Reissue
First image taken from the Seiko website[14]

The cockpit theme was still used in advertising.

7A28-701A

SSAY018, SSAY0181

Seiko 7A28-701A catalogue

From the 1983 Seiko Catalogue

The original advertisement for Seiko Speedmaster 7A28 – 701A and 7A28 – 7010 models, 7A28 – 701A black dial and 7A28 – 7010 white dial. The watches in this series are considered by many to look like the classic Omega Speedmaster, and indeed the clasp is stamped Speedmaster. The dial reads SEIKO CHRONOGRAPH QUARTZ. The 7A28 – 7010 on an original bracelet is shown below. This model has thin sword hour and minute hands,and a pillowcase shaped case, with a blasted stainless steel case surface, but not the edges of the case.

Seiko 7A28-701A

It had the Speedmaster clasp with helmet logo.

7A28-7010

SSAY010, SSAY0101

The 7A28-7010 white faced model is shown below. This has been referred to by some as 7A28-701L as this is written on the dial.

Seiko 7A28-7010

The original price for this model was 30,000 yen. Again, this used the Speedmaster clasp with helmet logo.

7A28-702A

SPR007, SPR009, SPR010

Seiko 7A28-702A

The next model in the series was the 702x series, and as for the 701x series, the black dial is 702A and the white dial 7020.  Seiko 7A28-702A came with reference no. SPR009. It is a stainless steel round-cased, black-dialed variant of the 701x model with lugs. The most significant dial changes are the word Chronograph in cursive text, and the use of applied stick indexes.  The markings “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” and a cursive “Chronograph”are located at the 12 o’clock position, while three sub-registers lie in the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock marks. The minute sub-register is labelled MIN. and the 1/20th second sub-register is labelled 1/10s. It also includes an outer flange tachymeter.   The clasp is embossed Seiko and has the SQ logo.

7A28-7020 JAMES BOND

Seiko 7A28-7020 James Bond

The Seiko 7A28-7020 with reference no. SPR007 is the famous James Bond watch8from “A View to a Kill.” It’s a stainless steel, white dial variant with stick markers and three sub dials at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock marks. The minute sub-register is labelled MIN. and the 1/20th second sub-register is labelled 1/10s. Meanwhile, at the at 12 o’clock position, “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” and a cursive “Chronograph” markings are displayed.

Seiko 7A28-7020 James Bond magazine feature

The other Seiko 7A28-7020 variant is reference no. SPR010 which comes in dual tones and a dark-colored (but not black) dial. It features gold-plated details in its bracelet, stick index markers, and hands. Like the SPR007, it also includes three sub dials and markings at the same positions. The minute sub-register is labelled MIN. and the 1/20th second sub-register is labelled 1/10s. Both feature an outer flange tachymeter. A French advertisement for this watch is shown below.

Seiko 7A28-7020 French ad

The 7A28 – 7020 is shown on the right, and the 7A28 – 7040 on the left.

Seiko 7A28-7020 dark dial
Image courtesy of www.seiko7A38.com contributors

 

7A28-7029

In an 1983 advertisement, Seiko introduced the 7A28-7029 as “Watch history being made.”

Seiko 7A28-7029 ad

The variant with ref. nos. SPR014J0, SPR014J1, SPR014J8, and SPR014J9 features an all-gold theme from the dial to the bracelet and pushers. Aside from that, it comes with the typical attributes of this series: three sub dials at the 3, 6, and 9 positions; markings “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” and a cursive “Chronograph” at the 12 o’clock mark; stick hour indicators; the minute sub-register is labelled MIN. and the 1/20th second sub-register is labelled 1/10s., and an outer flange tachymeter.

Seiko 7A28-7029
The first image above shows it sells for a pre-discounted price of $250.

 

7A28-703A

“Pepsi” Chronograph

SPR001, SPR001J0, SPR001J1, SPR001J8, SPR001J9

Seiko 7A28-703A
Image by SCWF’s TheTigerUK

 

The Seiko 703x series of watches have a more angular pillowcase style case and an outer bezel.

The Seiko 7A28-703A, can be easily distinguished by its dark blue and red tachymeter bezel which earned it the nickname “Pepsi.” The movement is housed in a stainless steel water-resistant case.[22] This variant sports a blue dial[19] on which is written “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” and a cursive “Chronograph” at the 12 o’clock mark. Hours are indicated by broad stick markers and three sub dials appear on the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The chronometer hands, the second hand and sub-registers can be either red or yellow. The minute sub-register is labelled MIN. and the 1/20th second sub-register is labelled 1/10s.

Seiko 7A28-703A

This has the original strap with Seiko and the SQ logo on the clasp

Seiko 7A28-703A yellow hands
Yellow hands version.Image by watchuseek forum user: yankeexpress

 

See also the JDM version 7A28 – 7100 later in the article.

7A28-703B

SPR005

Seiko 7A28-703B ad

Seiko marketed the 7A28-703B with reference no. SPR005 as “The world’s first Analogue Quartz Chronograph.”  The watch is featured on the dashboard of a Porsche 911 in the advertisement above.

The variant features a black tachymeter bezel. A matching black dial includes three sub dials at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions with the markings “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” and a cursive “Chronograph” displayed at 12 o’clock. The minute sub-register is labelled MIN. and the 1/20th second sub-register is labelled 1/10s. The countdown 10 minutes on the bezel feature a more yellow colour on a black bezel, whereas on the 7A28-703A model they are shown against a red background.

Seiko 7A28-703B black face

Here is the model shown with a contemporary 1983 National Geographic advertisement.

Seiko 7A28-703B 1983
Image courtesy of bktime.blogspot.com.au

 

7A28-7030 POGUE

Colonel William Pogue wore a Seiko 6139 – 6002 on his Skylab 4 mission on 16 November 1973. This watch is similar to that watch, hence its nickname.

William Pogue's Seiko 6139
Image by watchuseek forum user: niklasd

 

7A28-7030 a Gold dialled version of 7A28 – 703A. It has a black second hand on the middle sub-register.

Seiko 7A28 Pogue
Image by SCWF user: greensv426

 

7A28-7039

Seiko 7A28-7039

This panda dialled Seiko 7A28-7039 looks very similar to 7A28-703B (SPR005). The 9 designation means it was for the American market.  It sports the same silver/gray and black color theme. It features a black dial with a matching black tachymeter bezel and silver/gray strap and sub dials at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock marks. On the dial appear the markings “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” and a cursive “Chronograph” at the 12 o’clock mark.[21] The variant is identified through ref. nos. SPR015J, SPR015J1, SPR015J8, and SPR015J9.

Seiko 7a28-7039
Image by SCWF user: LuvWatch

 

This watch has a clasp marked Seiko with the SQ logo, and the caseback does not feature the Seiko tsunami wave.

Seiko 7A28-7039

7A28-7040

SPR013, SSAY028, SSAY0281.

One of the most commonly seen JDM 7A28’s on Yahoo Japan is the 7A28-7040 Diver. They differ from the ‘normal’ export version in lacking ‘SPORTS 100’ on their dials and having CHRONOGRAPH printed above QUARTZ – as opposed to Chronograph beneath it.

They also have the Speedmaster and the helmet logo stamped on the bracelet clasp, instead of SEIKO SQ (the bracelet has a different AA number).

Seiko 7A28-7040

The JDM Version below is missing MIN on the 9 o’clock subdial and 1/10s on the 3 o’clock subdial.

Seiko 7A28-7040
First image is from a 1983 Seiko Catalogue listing it at 35,000 yen

 

7A28-7040 SAAF

The Seiko 7A28-7040 was one of the movements supplied to the South African Air Force (SAAF). Between 1985 and 1986,  850 of these were procured by the SAAF, and were engraved AFxxxxx. A poster featuring the watch is shown below.

Seiko 7A28-7040 SAAF ad
Image courtesy of Rikus Basson of rbasson.wix.com

 

The model was the Sports 100 version. It can be identified through reference nos. SPR013, SSAY028, and SSAY0281.

First image courtesy of Rikus Basson of rbasson.wix.om
The caseback is marked AF12971. First image courtesy of Rikus Basson of rbasson.wix.com

 

7A28-7049

SPR017J, SPR017J1, SPR017J8, SPR017J9

Seiko 7A28-7049
Image credit (image on right): contributors from www.seiko7A38.com

 

The Seiko 7A28-7049 is a 7A28-7040 lookalike that belongs to the Sports 100 collection. This is indicated by the “Sports 100” mark on the dial below the cursive “Chronograph”. The 9 designation means it was for the American market.

7A28-7050

The watch can rotate 360 degrees on bracelet. Speedmaster bracelet with helmet. Not a Guigiaro design.

Seiko 7A28-7050
The Seiko 7A28-7050

 

Seiko 7A28-7050 box
Image from kts911.exblog.jp

 

7A28-7060

SPR025J1

Seiko 7A28-7060

Very rare watch with titanium  and stainless strap.

7A28-7069

SPR035J,  SPR035J1, SPR035J7, SPR035J8, SPR035J9

Black PVD and gold accents on titanium.

Seiko 7A28-7069

7A28-7070

SPR029

Seiko 7A28-7070 SPR029
Image by SCWF forum user: gufi

 

Seiko 7A28-7070 with ref. no. SPR029 is part of the Sports 100 collection. As such, it displays “SPORTS 100” in its black dial below “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” and a cursive “Chronograph”. Three sub dials are at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock marks. Time is indicated through stick markers. It also features an outer flange tachymeter.

A pillowcase model very similar to the 7A28 – 701A model but indexes inside a chapter ring with a squarer case at the lugs, and as a Sports 100 model, with a Seiko QS clasp. The chronometer subdials are marked MIN. and 1/10s.

7A28-707A

SPR027

Seiko 7A28-707A SPR027

Seiko 7A28-707A with ref. no. SPR027 is an all silver/gray entry to the Sports 100 collection. It features an outer flange tachymeter, stick hour indicators, three sub dials, and the markings “SEIKO,” “QUARTZ,” a cursive “Chronograph”,  and “SPORTS 100.”

Similar to the 7A28 – 7010 model, without a contrasting chapter ring, and a case as in the 7070 model above. Sports 100 model, with a Seiko QS clasp. The chronometer subdials are marked MIN. and 1/10s.

7A28-7079

SPR037J9

Seiko 7A28-7079
Image on right by uhrforum user: ketap

 

7A28-7080 TITANIUM

SPR023, SPR023J0, SPR023J1, SPR023J8, and SPR023J9

Seiko 7A28-7080 Titanium
Image by uhrforum user: gufi

 

Another Sports 100 timepiece, the Seiko 7A28-7080 uses titanium and an integrated bracelet with unique horizontal design. The black dial is features the markings “SEIKO” in gold, “QUARTZ,” cursive “Chronograph”, “TITANIUM” in gold, and “SPORTS 100” below 12 o’clock. The stick hour indicators and the hour and minute hands are white while the second hand is yellow. Three sub dials located at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The 7A28-7080 also features an outer flange tachymeter. [20]

Similar to the PVD titanium 7A28-7060 and 7A28-7069.

7A28-7090

The Yacht Timer has more of a Bull head look with two pusher buttons at 2 and 10 o’clock.  The elapsed minutes on the chronograph are shown in 5 minute marine coloured blocks.

Seiko 7A28-7090
The Seiko 7A28 Yacht Timer

 

7A28-7100

SSAY091, SSAY0911, SSAY080, SSAY0801, SSAY08P, SSAY08P1

Seiko 7A28-7100

JDM version of the 7A28-703A, not Sports 100, with panda dials, and comes with Speedmaster and helmet clasp on the band.    Different from the 7A28-703A in that this dial does not read SEIKO QUARTZ Chronograph,  and the subdials at 9 and 3 do not have MIN and 1/10s written on them as the 7A28-703A model does.

7A28-710A

SSAY097, SSAY0971

Seiko 7A28-710A

Taken from the 1983 Seiko Catalogue
Seiko 7A28-710A box
Image by user ginny from www.seiko7A38.com

7A28-7110

SSAY078, SSAY0781

Seiko 7A28-7110
JDM Version. Middle image courtesy of www.seiko7A38.com

 

7A28-7120 GEN. 1 RAF

SPR047J, SPR047J0, SPR047J1

Seiko 7A28-7120 Gen. 1 RAF
Second image on courtesy of klocksnack.se user mace

 

In the mid-1980s, the watchmaker released its Seiko 7A28-7120 variant with reference number SPR047 and NATO Stock Number (NSN) 6645-99-768-3056 to be used by the ministry’s Royal Air Force (RAF).

The MoD bought and issued a total of 11,307 Gen 1’s, which makes it one of the most popular issued military chronographs to date.

It has a matte, blasted finish, an integrated, unmarked bezel, and fixed strap bars. The dial features a “circle P” to indicate that the Lume is Promethium 147.

The correct strap is shown below.

Seiko 7A28-7120 RAF
Image courtesy of Ned Frederick of earthlink.net

 

7A28-7130

SCAY018, SCAY0181

Seiko 7A28-7130

Seiko 7A28-7130 can be identified by reference nos. SCAY018 and SCAY0181, both of which feature a black dial and BCRP case.

“SEIKO” and “QUARTZ” can be seen on the dial at the 12 o’clock mark. The 7A28-7130 also sports three sub dials at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The time can be read through gold stick hour indicators and matching gold hands.

Similar to the 6030, but without the knurled ring and the inner bezel.

Seiko 7A28-7130
First image taken from the 1983 Seiko Catalogue listing it at 30,000 yen

 

7A28-7140 BRIDGESTONE MOTORSPORT

SSAY08S, SSAY08S1

A special edition model for Bridgestone, built using the Yatchtimer casing (7A28-7090) with Bull head style pushers, but in black chrome BCRP.    A rare model as only 240 were produced.   The seconds sub-register is white, while the chronometer functions, the center sweep, and the elapsed 1/20s and minute sub-registers are red.

Seiko 7A28-7140
First image by timezone forum user The Bigwatch Guy

 

Rare model with yellow elapsed 1/20s and minute sub-registers, with red hands.

7A28-7160 HONDA

The 7A28-7160 is thought to have been issued in 1988 to commemorate Honda engine’s return to F1 auto racing.   The dial has a corrugated chapter ring to indicate elapsed seconds from 0 to 15, and the seconds register is white faced, while the elapsed 1/20s and minute sub-registers are black.

Seiko 7A28-7160 Honda

7A28-7170 HONDA

This model is thought to be part of a limited edition commemorating the 10th anniversary of Honda’s return to F1 as an engine supplier.   Issued in 1992 the case backs date to 1988.  The dial has Honda and the Honda logo on a light coloured background, with 1992 on the grey part of the cockpit style dial.   All the sub-registers are white, while elapsed 1/20s and minute sub-registers have red hands, together with the sweep second hand.

Limited edition Seiko 7A28-7170

This September 1988 model is a limited edition piece no. 203 and with the 10th Anniversary case engraving, Marked A728-7170.

RECOMMENDATIONS

BUDGET POINT

Any mint or original condition 7A28 model which has a style which you like, would be best.  Check to see that there are no signs of corrosion from leaking batteries if the watch has been sitting around. Also check that the chronometer elements are working and that the sweep second hand is not sticking.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Any of the three models featured in the movies add a point of difference. The 7A28-7000 worn by Ellen Ripley and the 7A28-6000 worn by the android Bishop in “Alien” are Giudiaro watches and have early 80’s style. The 7A28-7020 in the James Bond movie “A View to Kill” is more classical in style, and much more of a watch to be worn every day.

THE GRAIL

The Gen 1 RAF model 7A28-7120 commands high prices trending to $1000 for an excellent model, and is considered by many to be the grail watch.   To find one on the original leather strap would be the goal for many collectors.   But, on a grey NATO strap it will please most people.  The SAAF model 7A28-7040 is much more rare for military enthusiasts.

Seiko 7A28-7120 Gen 1 RAF

From The Spring Bar Store:

 

References:

1    quadsoftware, Seiko 7A28 Movement models

2    John F., HighTechies, The Seiko TV Watch, blog post Jun 2014

3    hammerandgem, An Overview of Watches: Quartz (Analog & Digital) & Mechanical (Automatic & Hand-Winding), blog post

4    jamesbondwatchesblog, Seiko Quartz 7A28 Instruction Manual, scanned manual

5    M. McArthur-Christie, Seiko 7A28 PT 2: The Quiet Beauty, blog post, Feb 2014

6    Seiko website, Seiko Quartz Cal. 7A28A Parts Catalogue, online catalogue

7    Seiko forum, Seiko 7A38 – by the numbers, forum

8    Dell Deaton, James Bond Watches Blog, “Secret History: The Seiko Watches of 007”, Revolution, part 6 of 6, blog post

9    Ariel Adams, A Blog to Watch, Seiko Giugiaro, ‘Aliens Ripley’ Watch Hands-On New Limited Edition Reissue, blog post, November 2015

10  S. Foskett, Grail Watch, Seiko SCED: A Modern Reissue of the 1980’s “Aliens” Chronographs, blog post, December 2015

11    Ned Frederick, Earthlink, Seiko Chronographs Issued via Ministry of Defence – UK, online article

12  R. Basson, Rbasson, Seiko 7A28/38 & 7T42

13    Seiko 7A38 – by the numbers, SAAF Chrono’s 7A28-7040 & 7a38-7070, forum thread, April 2013

14    Seiko Japan, Seiko X Giugiaro, website catalogue

15    I. Giannopoulos, monochrome watches, Giugiaro’s Legacy: A Watch And A Car – A Different Perspective On the Reissue Of an Iconic Quartz Chronograph by Seiko, online article Jan 2016

16    Wikipedia, Giorgetto Giugiaro

17    Seiko Watch Corp, A Journey in Time: The Remarkable Story of Seiko, e-book 2003

18  my.reset.jp, Seiko Sports Giugiaro Collection Catalogue, online catalogue

19    Seiko Au, Seiko Service Website

20   Itau, thewatchsite.com, Seiko 7A28-7080 Titanium, forum post March 2015

21    thewatchsite.com, 7A28-7039…The most beautiful Seiko EVER………., forum thread January 2012

22    thewatchforum.co.uk, Thoughts On My 7A28-703A, forum thread September 2011

The History of the NATO Watch Strap – Nato Straps in the Great War (WWI) era

HISTORY INTRODUCTION OF NATO WATCH STRAP

Some would argue that the NATO watch strap history did not exist in WWI, but in fact, their grandfather straps were in existence prior to, and after, WWI.   The DNA for NATO wrist straps was well developed by the end of WWI.

The development and history of NATO watch strap are part of the evolution of the military watch. Watches were a critical requirement for military manoeuvres and the wristwatch was essentially spawned, and became prevalent, in WWI.

We take the availability of the correct time for granted, but in 1914 things were very different. A 1000 man battalion of the British Expeditionary Force in WWI would have had only eight GS (General Service) pocket watches issued. One to the Signalling Sergeant and the others to be shared among 16 Signallers.  Officers were not equipped with pocket watches by the Army but were required to provide these themselves, and often they chose watches with wristlets. Coordinating operations in these circumstances would have been difficult.

The H. Williamson watch below was one GS issue. These watches were retrospectively designated GS watches in July 1929 when the GS MkII watch was introduced, and they were declared obsolete. Few, if any, were engraved GS; rather they carried the pheon and an inventory number.

Williamson: NATO Watch Strap History

Because of the lack of what proved to be an essential item in the trenches, contemporary advertisements urged family and friends at home to send a watch or wristlet watch to the front, as in the advertisement below for Waltham wristlets in silver cases, which says “So send me the very best you can buy…”

Waltham
Image credit MWR forum user: bobbee

The first consistent use of the word wristwatch in newspapers was in 1915, and prior to that the word wristlet was more commonly used to distinguish wristlets from pocket watches and to describe leather pocket watch straps.

In the 1916 book entitled “Knowledge for War,” the recommended Officer’s Kit commenced with a luminous wrist watch with unbreakable glass.

 

This article traces the roots of the military development of the NATO watch strap history from the leather wristlet.

PRE WWI

Below is a 1901 advertisement for wristlets “For the Tourist, the Bicyclist, the Soldier”. The use of wristlets had developed in the late 1880’s, and these and bracelets were more common for ladies watches, but to tell the time on a bicycle with a pocket watch would have been difficult. This led to the use of wristlets for pocket watches, to be used by men and women when on a bicycle.

The 1893 advertisement from Henry Wood and Co in London shows that the habit of clipping a pocket watch to the bicycle was fraught with danger.     Cycle racing required accurate stop watches.

Woods,1893 ad

Image courtesy MWR forum user: bobbee

The 1890’s development of the bicycle into a safe form of transport led to a bicycle craze in America which peaked in 1896 and was then exported to Europe.  In this era before motor vehicles, the New York Tribune in 1895 asserted that the bicycle was “of more importance to mankind than all the victories and defeats of Napoleon, with the First and Second Punic Wars . . . thrown in.”

Wristlets

Wristlets could be bought in a variety of leather types, as in the 1901 advertisement above.   The pocket watch strap above is a Garstin type strap.

The Elfina advertisement from 1896 below shows a ladies bicycling watch in a looped pouch, in effect a leather lugged watch.    For extra security, this style of strap only required one lug at the base of the pocket watch.

Elfina

An Omega advertisement from 1911 shows a wire lugged watch with a leather pull-through strap.  Some of the early bracelet watches had the crown at 9 o’clock as shown in the advertisement.   Outdoor activities and the army were targets of the advertisement.

omega 1911: NATO Watch Strap History

Omega 1910: NATO Watch Strap History

A 1910 Omega with the crown at 9 o’clock, marked depose 9846 is shown below the advertisement.  Dimier Frères & Cie patented watches with handles on 29 July 1903.  It was deposed (patent number) CH9846.   The patent showed a strap identical to that in the advertisement.

The advertisement below shows a leather pull-through strap on a watch with lugs.

The New "Territorial" Wrist Watch: NATO Watch Strap History

THE GARSTIN AND OTHER WRISTLETS

The wristlet shown in the 1901 advertisement history above is similar to the current NATO watch strap. However, a further refinement by Garstin increased the likeness.

The leather goods retailer Arthur Garstin registered the design below with the British Board of Trade. The date of registration of this wristlet design RD 217622 was 2 September 1893, but the wristlet would have been in production prior to this.   The strap B passed through the eyelet A to hold the pocket watch in place by lifting up the backing strap.

 

Whether the design stemmed from the development of the safety bicycle, or from use by the British Empire forces in India or on the Northwest Frontier between 1885 and 1887 is unclear.

 

Gartskin

The case inside was embossed REG 217622, sometimes with GARSTIN ENGLAND as well.
Garstin Strap: NATO Watch Strap History
The strap came in various sizes, depending on the watch size, and a large 3 and a half-inch model is shown below.
Garstin strap: NATO Watch Strap History
A side elevation of the Garstin strap is shown below.

Gartsin: NATO Watch Strap History

This model does not contain a compass as in the RD 217622 drawing above, and the centre of the strap of the watch holder is embossed AG in the centre.   The case is 1 and 7/8 inches across and the strap 8 and 1/2 inches long, with the buckle at 6 o’clock.
Gartsin: NATO Watch Strap History
Garstin strap: NATO Watch Strap History
The compass model is referred to as Registered No. 94794 in the advertisement below together with a smaller ladies wristlet RD 70068.
Gartsin

The new tennis scorer was also registered 20058 on 2 October 1893, but obviously proved unpopular, and has disappeared without a trace.

The ladies wristlet, RD 70068 bottom left in the advertisement above, is shown below.  In this design, the strap has a pouch which holds the watch to a backing strap.

GARSTIN: NATO Watch Strap History

 

Below is an 1893 advertisement for the “Skirmisher” by Mappin Brothers.  It features a Garstin type wristlet with a wider strap.   The backing leather extends from where the pouch is sewn on, to the buckle.   After the first Boer War, the watch was no longer necessary for officers to time troop movements, so it could be used for hunting, yachting, and cycling,……

Mappin Garstin wristlet

The second Boer war (1899-1902) contributed to pocket watches being used in a leather pouch worn on the wrist.

The 1901 Mappin and Webb’s advertisement for the ‘Campaign’ watch followed on from the Skirmisher advertisement.  Mounted in a Garstin type wristlet, the advertisement below urged family and friends at home to send a solid leather wristlet watch to the front.  It read “Delivered at the front duty and postage free for an additional 1 s. (shilling) each.”

 

Mappin & Webb's: NATO Watch Strap History

1901 Mappin and Webb’s advertisement in the “Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News” 7 September 1901.  “Reliable timekeeper under the roughest conditions”.

Below is an Omega advertisement for a military safety watch with a leather strap which will “hold and protect the watch during the roughest riding and most violent exercise.” The watch was in a pouch held by a press stud so that the watch could be removed from the wrist without removing the strap.  Omega used the term wrist watch, but this did not fall into common use. The  “6” size wristlet was for men, and the “O” size wristlet was for ladies.

Omega boer: NATO Watch Strap History

 

Following on from the Boer War, leading into WWI other manufacturers also produced leather wristlets.

Nurses and automobiling were additional to cycling and general use as wristlet targets.

eatons garstin

Image courtesy of Watchuseek user : AbslomRob

Above is an advertisement by the Canadian department store Eaton from 1908.  At the turn of the century they often used Waltham watch movements as their in house brand. The wristlet was aimed at “nurses, automobiling, cycling and general use”, not the military.   The design was an adaption of the Garstin design with a wider strap passing through a slot, holding down the pouch, and the buckle at 6 o’clock. Wristlets were available in hide for 25 cents, pig skin 35 cents, seal or morocco leather 50 cents, or alligator or walrus for 75 cents.

THE DIMIER STRAP

There has been much debate and controversy about the date and make of the first wrist watch. Certainly in 1890 in Switzerland wrist watches were themselves causing debate. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade Division, wrote to the authorities for assay of articles of gold and silver concerning wrist watches:

“Berne, January 10, 1890.

Gentlemen,
The question we were asked was whether and on what conditions wrist-watches may be subject to hallmarking; this question requires detailed study due to the fact that objects of this kind are at different times categorised as objects of jewellery and as objects of watchmaking, and that these two categories of objects are, regarding hallmarking, subject to different requirements.

We have the matter under review; at such time as it is completed we will let you know the decisions we have taken to address the issue. In the meantime, we have asked the control authorities to cease hallmarking (this applies to both at the present time):
a. watch cases destined to be mounted in bracelets;
b. bracelets which it would be possible to attach to watch cases after their passage through control.”

However, whether hallmarked or not, it is certain that a wristwatch design with wire lugs was patented by Dimier Frères & Cie (called watches with handles) on 29 July 1903.  It was deposed (patent number) CH9846.  At the same time, they illustrated a leather strap with a circular midsection to fit behind the watch.    The crown of the watch in the illustration is at 12 o’clock.

Dimier strap
Image courtesy: David Boettcher of Vintage Watch Straps

This design required the buckle to be sewn into the strap after fitting to the watch. To avoid this, a special buckle, which they later registered in 1907, had to be fitted to the strap after it was threaded in each direction through the wire lugs of the watch.

Depolier: NATO Watch Strap History

Below is a depose 9846 enamel dial wire lug watch, hallmarked history dated to 1905, with the movement marked DF&C (Dimier Freres et Cie), with the crown at 9 o’clock and an open-ended leather NATO watch strap.

dimier 1905: NATO Watch Strap History

The Elgin wrist watch (heading) or strap watch (text) advertisement from 1913 shows a Dimier strap and buckle on an Elgin watch, designed for active men.

Elgin Disbrow
The Dimier RD 499803 buckle can be fitted to any strap after the strap is threaded through the wire lugs of a watch.
Dimier buckle
Image courtesy: David Boettcher of Vintage Watch Straps
Below is a Dimier buckle on a Rolex ladies watch of 1915.
Dimier strap Rolex ladies watch: NATO Watch Strap History
The Dimier strap and buckle are also featured in this 1913 Omega advertisement with a fixed wire lug watch.

omega Dimier: NATO Watch Strap History

In this 1917 Omega advertisement, the widening of the Dimier strap behind the watch can be seen.  The watches are encased in a hermetic box (still labelled depose 9846) for protection and feature a radium option for an extra 12 to 15 francs.

Omega 1917Omega 1917 advert: NATO Watch Strap History

 

Below is the watch in the advertisement above, case stamped depose 9846.

Omega depose 9846: NATO Watch Strap History
Image courtesy Omega forum member: Tire-comedon

By the time of WWI, there were patents for both wristlets, and wire lugs (watches with handles), and the history of the seed had been sown for the future NATO watch strap, but the use of watches on the wrist, although popularised by the 1990’s bicycle craze was not common, especially among men.

Below is an extract from the Swiss Federation Horlogere bulletin No. 103 of 31 December 1924 which shows that in the first 11 months of 1913, the year before WWI, 11.27 million pocket watches were exported from Switzerland, and in addition 210,404 wrist watches (montres bracelets) were exported.    Watches with wrist bands were only 1.6% of the Swiss export production.

This small percentage of the finished watch market ignores the fact that another 2.18 million watch cases were also exported, for other manufacturers to add movements.

Swiss watch exports 1913

WWI led to the more prevalent use of watches on the wrist.

WWI ERA POCKET WATCH STRAPS

At the time of WWI, wrist watches were de rigueur street wear in London if the Macy’s wristlet watch advertisement of 1912 is to be believed.   They were soon to be required in great numbers for a monumental outdoor activity, but in truth, virtually only pocket watches existed at the time of WWI.

Macy's 1912 advert: NATO Watch Strap History

THE LEATHER WRISTLET

Below is a Garstin pouch, which was typical of the way in which pocket watches were used in WWI.   The 579D specification below is virtually identical.

Garstin pouch: NATO Watch Strap History

Some pocket watches were issued to troops, and in recognition of the need for these to be worn on the wrist, in 1916 a military specification was developed based on the Garstin strap, for what became history by the end of the war as a watch strap.  Made of pig skin 11 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, tan in colour, with a hinged brass circular holder 1 and a half inches diameter, with sheepskin inside, and pigskin glued on the outside, with a black oxidised brass buckle.  The buckle was at 6 o’clock.

The Official Specification for Movements, Cases and Straps, General Specification 579D, of 24 October 1916 read :

“6 Wristlet – A wristlet shall be furnished with each watch.  This wristlet shall be made of single-ply genuine pigskin and shall be of the dimensions and made up as shown upon drawing.”

The first version in the history of the NATO watch strap had been specified by the US military.

Wristlet drawing

Image credit MWR forum user: bobbee

Below is a pouch strap which had a shrapnel guard to protect the watch face, and a leather pouch to help hold the watch and guard in place.  The pouch is removable, and together with its contents is effectively a leather lugged pocket watch, as seen in the 1896 cycling advertisement above.

Kitchener with shrapnel guardShrapnel guard

Image courtesy Vintage Watch Forums user: Findingtime

western leather pouch

Above is a leather lugged pocket watch converter made by the Western Leather Manufacturing Co. of San Francisco.

THE DAPTABEL

The Daptabel, patent 22449/10 by John Smith for an “expanding watch wristlet”, was a conversion device to allow pocket watches to be worn on the wrist.  While various concertina type devices existed prior to the patent in 1910, this was a simple two-part strap which allowed 2 metal hooks to slide and grip a pocket watch as the strap was buckled up.   The strap was 21cm long, and the buckle was at 6 o’clock. Daptabel was stamped on the cross member in either capitals or script, and patent 22449/10 was stamped on the tongue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a similar sprung conversion device, perhaps a variant of the Daptabel.

Daptabel
Image courtesy: Chris Balm

 

THE ALLEN

Charles Allen on 18 September 1918 patented a watch holder for pocket watches.  The watch strap is shown schematically in the history patent below.

Charles Allen converter

THE ROSENTHAL

The Rosenthal watch wristlet clip was a later US patent, from 6 November 1917, similar to the Daptabel clip.   As wrist watches developed, this patent was not too late to be of commercial value, for as can be seen from the table at the start of this article, even in 1924, the Swiss export statistics for finished watches, showed wrist watches had only climbed to 37% of the market.

Rosenthal

 

 

OTHER CONVERTERS

In 1909 Blacklock registered a bakelite converter which fitted over a pocket watch. A similar metal converter is shown below, allowing a strap to be passed through the lugs.

Metal pocket watch converter

Other unknown brand converters existed, a spring loaded clamp being shown below.

Clamp converter

 

THE WIRE LUG WATCH

Dimier Frères & Cie patented watches with handles on 29 July 1903 in depose (patent number) CH9846.  The subsequent Omega wire lugged watch with the crown at 9 o’clock (in section “Pre WWI” above), and the Waltham advertisement below which shows a wire lug watch with a two-part webbing strap riveted into place, and the crown of the watch at 3 o’clock, indicating that wire lugs were not a design afterthought by about 1910.

Waltham
Image courtesy MWR forum user: ScoutMedic

 

Ingersoll had the capacity to manufacture large numbers of wrist watches and advertised these from 1909 onwards.  Their name wrist watch did not catch on immediately.  The advertisement below in 1913 is targeted for “outdoor folks” and “husky sportsmen”. Also, they state “Uncle Sam endorses and recommends the wrist watch for his army and navy.”

ingersoll

A typical officer’s pocket watch was the Mappin and Webb’s Campaign watch as seen already above.   Now, in 1914, it was a trench watch, which was essentially a pocket watch with wire lugs, but with the crown at 3 o’clock, and was still sold to the public with delivery to the front available for an extra shilling.   The dial is signed MAPPIN and “CAMPAIGN”.

NATO watch strap history
Image courtesy: the-saleroom.com
Mappin and Webb
The advertisement refers to the desert reliability of the watch following the Battle of Omdurman (2 September 1898), where an army commanded by General Sir Herbert Kitchener defeated the army of Abdullah al-Taashi, and also similar reliability in the trying conditions of the last (second) Boer War.
Wire lug watches could be used with straight one-piece leather pull-through straps, or open-ended two-piece straps clipped or riveted on, but the lugs were often quite narrow at about 12mm, and the watch tended to twist easily on the wrist.   Some straps were flared from the wire lug to provide a more stable width.    Another solution was to rivet a narrow strap through the lugs to a wider strap, as seen below on this 1915 Stockwell watch with shrapnel protector.
Stockwell
Image courtesy: goldsmithworks.com
Other solutions were sought to supplement the leather pull-through strap, and to make quick fitting two-piece straps.  The folded metal clip for an open strap was common, below seen on an A.L.D. Dennison watch.
ALD Dennison
.
leather
Image courtesy watchuseek forum user: sigcollector
Open-ended two-piece leather straps were often riveted into place or held with fold-over leather tabs as shown above so that they could be easily replaced on the wire lugs.  The bottom NATO watch strap above became known in history as the Kitchener style, adding a backing which provided width to the pull-through strap, and protection to the watch case.
Goldsmiths - NATO watch strap history
Image courtesy: Goldsmithworks.com
One of the most elegant solutions to the open-ended two-piece leather strap is the silver clip shown above on a silver hunter cover Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Ltd watch with a dust cover and glass protector.
Marvin SA
Another solution was the screw in retainer as on this 1914 George Stockwell cased Marvin SA watch.
However, these clips were not robust, and leather was not the best material for straps in the terrible sodden and frozen conditions of trench warfare, and many military solutions focussed on waterproofed webbing for straps.

WWI ONE PIECE STRAPS

A variety of designs were produced for one-piece leather and webbing straps suitable for trench warfare.   These are discussed below, with most webbing straps focussing on a patent sliding clasp of some sort. Eyelet holes were difficult to position in webbing.

THE PERSHING STRAP

The Pershing strap was the simplest design. It was a 9/16 inch wide olive drab waterproof webbing pull-through strap which had a crimped metal tip and a patented buckle.  This buckle made the strap infinitely adjustable, without the need for eyelets in the webbing.

Pershing
The detail of the sliding patented buckle is shown below.

Pershing

THE STEVEL WRISTLET

Many Zenith wristwatches were sold during WWI by Birch & Gaydon under their brand name “Land & Water”. The black dial watch below was “built to stand the jars and jolts inseparable from the conditions of modern warfare” and had a screw-in case for dust and waterproofing.     A Stevel Wristlet was fitted, which “Fits all wrists – slender or stout. No straps buckles or other inconveniences.  Enables the watch to be slipped up the arm at wash time, or turned face downwards thus doing away with face protectors.”  Again the watch was called a wrist watch.
Birch and Glaydon
While twisting is seen as a virtue above, this was on an elasticised nickel strap, and generally, accidental twisting was an inconvenience.  The so-called Kitchener strap prevented this twisting with a leather backing piece.  Because of the vulnerability of the elasticised strap, no known examples of this strap exist today.
Nickel expansion straps were more common in the postwar period as the lug width of watches increased.

THE KITCHENER STRAP

The Kitchener strap provided a wide backing to the 12mm pull-through strap, and this was a very popular solution to prevent both sliding and twisting and to provide some isolation for the watch.   Below is a Hirsch advertisement which shows the styles.

Kitchener

Below is an Illinois Kitchener watch advertisement from 1917.

Kitchener

Leather Kitchener (and Bund) style watches were common throughout WWI, continuing to the present, and could be easily produced by any saddler.

Although not the subject of this article, this style was also the grandfather of the NATO Bund strap NSN 6645-12-145-6415.

ONE PIECE INFINITELY ADJUSTABLE STRAPS

In America, WWI led to a number of patented one-piece straps for wire lug watches.   The strap was looped over one wire lug, passed through the other lug, and then tightened and clipped into place.   This allowed an infinite range of adjustment.  The “D-D” No Fuss Strap is discussed first, as it is the most widely advertised model.

THE ‘NO FUSS’ STRAP

Depollier produced a “D-D” Khaki Watch, with a Waltham movement, and a “No Fuss” Ordinance Department webbing strap in mid-1917.  D-D stood for C.L. Depollier and E. C. Duncuff.  The watch strap could be adjusted to any size as it had a patented clamp (July 25, 1916).    The clamp was removable and could be engraved as shown in the advertisement below. In history by 1918, the NATO watch strap width had increased to 3/4 inch, which both reduced twisting, and also allowed more room for engraving on a wider clasp.

Khaki

The perceived benefits of the “No Fuss” strap are explained below.   These would apply to any similar looped strap.  (The B-Uhr watch issued in WWII had a looped leather strap to prevent accidentally dropping the watch).

no fuss

The strap also came in leather and silk.
DepolierDepolier
More commonly, it was used on webbing, and below is a Waltham version of the watch.
Depollier khaki: NATO Watch Strap History
Image courtesy MWR forum user: Mr.D
no fuss: NATO Watch Strap History no fuss: NATO Watch Strap History

The “No Fuss” clasp is shown above.  It was removable as seen in the top advertisement, and fitted into the loop of a replacement strap.     The strap was Cravenette treated (a waterproof process invented by the Bradford Dyers Association) webbing and cost 35 cents to replace, the same price as a leather strap.

 

The Khaki Strap: NATO Watch Strap History

 

Depollier watch advertisement with a Khaki strap.

THE SIMPLEX STRAP

The Simplex strap was quite simple, an S-shaped clasp made it the only military strap with a one-piece buckle.  Pulled tight and clipped on, it allowed the strap to fit any wrist.

Simplex: NATO Watch Strap History

THE LIBERTY STRAP

The Liberty Khaki quick action strap came on Gruen military watches.  The thin slider could be passed through the wire lugs and once the webbing strap was looped on one wire lug, it could be pulled tight and used to make any watch fit tightly.

Liberty: NATO Watch Strap HistoryLiberty Khaki Strap: NATO Watch Strap History

THE J.F. STURDY STRAP

The US fastener by J.F. Sturdy and Sons is shown below left, probably having survived the war because of the gold plating.  This watch strap could be fitted to any watch, and the US tab fitted into the horns of the slider, providing infinite adjustment.

JF Sturdy: NATO Watch Strap History

JF Sturdy: NATO Watch Strap History

 

Left-hand Image courtesy Vintage Watch Forum user: Literustyfan, Right-hand image courtesy : Stricklandvintagewatches.com

Below is a 1918 Patria watch in a Fahys shrapnel case, with a J.F. Sturdy and Sons strap.

 

US slider strap: NATO Watch Strap HistoryJF Sturdy strap: NATO Watch Strap History

Images courtesy: Stricklandvintagewatches.com

Depollier watch on U.S. strap

THE VICTOR SENCE STRAP

Patent 8 October 1918 no US1280877 for a wrist watch fastening by Victor Simon Sence states :

My invention relates to fastening means for the loops or bands used to secure wrist watches upon the person of the wearer and presents a simple, readily detachable and adjustable device for holding the free end of the band which is usually looped around the wearers-wrist, passed through an ear upon the watch case and then doubled back for attachment to an intermediate portion of said band.

A device of this character must be easily and quickly attachable and detachable by the free hand of the wearer, and easily-adjustable to wrists of different sizes. It should also be simple and free from moving parts which would be apt to break or get out of adjustment under conditions existing on a battle front. My present invention attains these objects and certain, advantages hereinafter to be set out.

Sence

 

This had a cam like action to clamp the strap end to the slider, to provide infinite adjustment.

THE STRONGHOLD STRAP

The Stronghold strap, a July 16 1918 patent, was able to be attached instantly without fuss or bother, as the clasp had 2 hooks for attaching it to the watch strap,  and is another variation of the press-fit strap.

Bugbee and niles patent

 

The press fit clasp is shown below and presses onto 2 horns mounted on a slider.

Stronghold
Stronghold clasp: NATO Watch Strap HistoryStronghold strap: NATO Watch Strap History

Image courtesy Stan Czubernat: LRFAntiqueWatches.com

THE WALTHAM BRACELET

The Waltham bracelet is shown below on a Waltham Cadet watch which had punched stainless lugs.

This NATO watch strap could be looped through one lug, and the clasp hooked onto a slider.  The advertisement dates to 1922, so this bracelet may never have featured in WWI.   Again, it is but a slight variation on the J.F. Sturdy strap.

Waltham

NATO Watch Strap HistoryWaltham: NATO Watch Strap History

Image courtesy Watchuseek user: Literustyfan

THE PERSON STRAP

A. Person patented a buckle on 20 November 1917 for a hinged clasp on a sliding strap.

Person patent
The Fahey integrated shrapnel protection watch case came with a Person strap buckle which clipped over lugs protruding from the sides of the slider.

faheysFaheys

 

Image courtesy: Stricklandvintagewatches.com

Waltham

A Waltham with a shrapnel protector on a Person buckle strap.

Hamilton 981
A 1919 advertisement for a Hamilton 981 watch on a Person Khaki strap.

 

A SLIDING CLIP

This clip slid over two horns locking it into place.

WWi strap
Image courtesy: Stricklandvintagewatches.com

 

Another sliding clip is shown below on a woven strap fitted to an early watch with handles, still with the crown at 12 o’clock.

sliding clipsliding clip

 

THE CLIMAX/VICTOR STRAP

E.J. Pearson and Sons became the largest strap maker in England.  The registered design number 529337 with the British Board of Trade on 27 August 1908.  The design is below.  A range of names in history, Simplex, Climax, Victor, and Premier were used for various versions of the NATO watch strap.

Victor

Image courtesy: David Boettcher of Vintage Watch Straps
Simplex strap
The design was a simpler version of the Dimier strap, with a pocket watch size back flap (a) and a pull through strap (b) holding the watch in place.
Below is a 1913 advertisement for Monnin, Rebetez watch on a Pearson strap with the watch having swinging lugs.
monnin: NATO watch strap history
Image courtesy MWR forum user: bobbee
This type of strap was simple and popular and is shown below on a  Jean Finger hermetic case of about 1922.  The Jean Finger patent of 1921 and the earlier Gruen patent of 1918 were essentially a means of putting a pocket watch into a sealed screw down lugged case on a strap to protect it from dust and moisture. The Omega advertisement from 1917 above also shows a hermetic case.
Pearson strapJean Finger case
The patented Simplex strap is shown below. This strap has “Reg No” stamped in the middle of the back of the flared section, with “SIMPLEX” in a curve above and the number 529337 in a curve below.
SIMPLEX 529337
An example in the British Museum is strapped to a wire lugged Ingersoll Midget, which still has the crown at 12 o’clock.
Simplex 529337
Courtesy  BM collection, item number: 1983,1012.153.
The back of a Climax strap is shown below.  It is similar to the Simplex, but is cut leather, without stitching, and is shown on an original black dial Ingersoll Midget with shrapnel guard.
Climax strap: NATO Watch Strap HistoryClimax strapVictor
This strap has “Reg No” stamped in the middle of the back of the flared section, with “CLIMAX” in a curve above and the number 529337 in a curve below, together with MADE IN ENGLAND.
Below is a Climax strap being fitted with an Army Wrist Watch Protector, in a 1916 advertisement.   The back flared section held part of the protector in place.
On the same day as for the above registration, E.J. Pearson and Sons also registered the earlier design number 529336 for a Victor strap, which had the back flap (a) the same width as the strap.    Straps read “Reg No” or “Rd No” 529336 “VICTOR” sometimes with MADE IN ENGLAND.
victor strap: NATO Watch Strap History
Victor: NATO Watch Strap History
Victor strap 529336
The most common surviving E.J. Pearson and Sons strap is the Victor strap, shown in full length below.  The similarity to the current NATO nylon strap is obvious.
Victor: NATO Watch Strap History

 

Victor strap with a sprung Daptabel adaptor holding a pocket watch
Victor strap with a sprung Daptabel adaptor holding a pocket watch.

 

Pearson sterling silver buckle: NATO Watch Strap History
Pearson sterling silver buckle.

At the end of WWI, the term wristwatch was in common use, but the wrist watch, particularly in America was not commonly used by men, even by returning servicemen.

It was only in the late 1920s that wrist watches gained popularity in America.

THE SPRING BAR IN WWI

In the search for a workable strap for wire lug watches, C.L. Depollier and E. C. Duncuff, had earlier in 1916 patented history the “No Fuss” NATO watch strap and clasp. However, the market still was focussed on pocket watches.  They sought to dispense with the wire lug on a pocket watch and patented fold-away lugs for a pocket watch (Figure 4) and the spring bar as shown below in Figure 8, on 15 August 1916.

 

D&D springbar

The patent showed fold away fingers or lugs on a pocket watch.

The patent read:

The fingers f are adapted to receive between them and to engage a bar to which the ribbon, either sautoir or wrist, or, it may be, a chain or bracelet, is connected. Preferably such bar g is made as a compression bar, comprising two telescoping members g1 and g2 with an interposed spring g3 tending to extend the bar and with a pin and slot connection g4 to limit such movement. Each outer end of the bar is provided with a projecting pin g5 to enter a corresponding recess f3 formed in the inner face of the corresponding finger f, as clearly shown in Fig. 4. The ribbon c may be connected to the bar by looping and stitching in an ordinary manner, as indicated in Figs. 1, 2 and 3, or the bar may be provided with a loop or eye g6, as shown in Figs. 6 and 7, for engagement with a snap ring or hook.

It will be obvious that when the watch is to be worn as a wrist-watch, on a ribbon, the opposite pairs of opposed fingers are extended and engaged with the wrist ribbon.

Still convinced of the popularity of the pocket watch, Depollier also patented detachable lugs for pocket watches in 1917.  This allowed a thinner case than the prior patent, with hinged adapters Fig 5 and 7, which fitted over small lugs c.  One adapter was a looped lug, and the other a hinged spring bar (Fig. 6)

depollier and Duncuff patent

By the time of the end of WWII watches with lugs were common,  and spring bars were patented,  but pocket watches were still worn by men.  As the Swiss export table in the earlier section shows, even in 1924, the swiss watch industry was exporting nearly 2 pocket watches or movement cases, to every wrist watch. But in 1930 the Swiss pocket watch and wrist watch export numbers were 6.2 million each.

HISTORY CONCLUSION OF NATO WATCH STRAP

By the end of WWI, the future use of spring bars had just been patented, but not implemented.   Watch straps were still focussed on fixed lugs and wristlets on pocket watches.

Forebears of the NATO “Straps, Wrist, Instrument” category, both the NATO Bund strap NSN 6645-12-145-6415, and the NATO nylon strap NSN 6645-99-124-2986 had been inactive military use.

The Tulsa World proclaimed on April 23, 1919 that the wrist-watch was here to stay.

“The war has made the world safe for men who wear wrist-watches. A red-blooded masculine person today can appear on the streets, wearing a wrist-watch without the danger of incurring a sneer or a brick. Before the war, the wrist-watch was a badge of effeminacy. The man who affected one was looked on as a fop, a simp or a sissy.”

The only question now was, what strap to wear it on.

THE GRAIL

The Spring bar articles include a grail watch at the end.  This article is on WWI era NATO strap history, and so the grail strap has to be the  E.J.Pearson and Sons Victor, the granddaddy of the NATO strap.

The Victor Reg. No. 529336 provides all the necessary DNA to the NATO Nylon strap NSN 6645-99-124-2986.

The grail strap, a NOS Victor model 529336 below is 205cm long and 9mm wide.

Victor 529336: NATO Watch Strap History

 

Victor 529336: NATO Watch Strap History

Here it is on a silver watch with shrapnel guard.

Victor 529336: NATO Watch Strap History

Image courtesy: Auckland War Memorial Museum

CREDIT

Credit for the featured image is HOROLOGIST007.   He and two other users of Watchuseek, bobbee and Literustyfan have a wealth of knowledge on this subject which I have tried to draw together from the history and perspective of the NATO watch strap.   David Boettcher of Vintage Watch Straps also has considerable expertise. If I have failed to give them specific credit for their images which are in the public domain, I apologise, but I could not have written this article as quickly without their enthusiasm for the watches of the period, if not the straps.

SEIKO SilverWave Diver’s Watches

INTRODUCTION

After WWII as the popularity of diving moved beyond military and commercial diving, and the cost of Scuba gear reduced, watchmakers moved towards providing equipment for recreational diving where the SEIKO SilverWave emerged.

Seiko introduced its first diver’s watch in 1961.

 Silver wave J12082

Seiko’s first range of truly submersible sports watches came in the form of the Seikomatic 50m SilverWave (1961) with (internal) rotating countdown bezels.  The model number was J12082.

The introduction of the Seikomatic 50m SilverWave diver’s watch in 1961 marked a number of firsts for Seiko: it represented their first diver’s watch; it was their first watch with an inner rotating bezel; it was their first use of the tsunami wave symbol; and it was their first automatic watch with a screw-down case back.

While not a diver’s watch in the true sense, these sports diver’s watches were the immediate precursors to Seiko (and Japan’s) first diver’s watch with 150m depth capability, good legibility and an external rotating bezel, the 62MAS(1965).

Other brands made similar transitions at about the same time.  The Enicar Sherpa articles in this series cover the transition of the dress watch to a sports watch and diver’s watch, and Enicar achieved this by using a waterproof EPSA case made by a specialist company to their specification.

The article on the Seiko Tuna covers the development of Seiko’s diver’s watches into those for a serious professional diver.

WATERPROOFING THE SEIKO WATCHES

One obvious attribute for a diver’s watch is waterproof capacity, which is also required to a lesser degree by outdoor sportsmen and climbers.

The Seiko two-part screw-down case back was a design exercise to obtain a waterproof case, first used on the manual Seiko Cronos Sea Horse of 1960, model J13032, which used a Seikosha 21 jewel Diashock calibre movement.

Seiko was proud of the fact that this watch was capable of resisting 50m of water pressure and marketed it as a diver’s watch, initially without any luminosity, as it had steel applied indices and steel dauphine hands.

The dial reads Seiko Chronos in script at 12 o’clock and features WATER 50 PROOF and Diashock 21 Jewels at 6 o’clock.

Below is the watch with WATER 50 PROOF the most prominent feature on the dial, and an image showing the 2 part case back.  

 J13032 chronos

Seiko chronos open
Images above courtesy of antiquewatchat.blogspot.com

The advertising for the J13032 at the time featured a Scuba diver, and the case back and advertising a Seahorse logo.   This later model below had luminous inserts in the dauphine hands and lume outside the applied indices.  So, in reality, was this the first Seiko diver’s watch?

Seiko silverwave
Image courtesy  SCWF user :  martback

Below is a clearer image showing the luminous dauphine hands and lume dots outside the applied indices.   The hands are almost identical to those in the sunburst SilverWave J12082 below.

Seiko chronos seahorse
Image courtesy antiquewatchat.blogspot.com

The same screw-down case back was also initially used in the SilverWave J12082 to provide 50m waterproof capacity.

SILVERWAVE J12082

The 20 jewel automatic 603 calibre fitted to the J12082 diver’s watch was essentially the same as the 6201 caliber. It was run by a 603 (6201B) caliber automatic movement (62SW series) [62SelfWinder] with 20 jewels.

feature of this first 50m version of the SilverWave, produced under the Seikomatic line, was the screw-down case back (in fact a two-part system, with a separate retaining ring screwing down over a press-fit back with a rubber gasket), which meant the watch was waterproof to 50 meters.

Importantly, the dial was the first Seiko design with a bi-directional rotating inner bezel. It also had highly luminous dauphine hands and lume dots at the indices.

The crown was at 4 o’clock and was oversized so it could easily be used with a gloved hand.  But the crown was not screw-down and the seals could be damaged by impact.

Silver wave seiko

Above is the 2 part screw-down waterproofing system on the J12082.

The watches were produced from 1961 to 1964.

The watches had a variety of dial combinations, with the early models having an unique silver starburst dial, reading Seikomatic at 12 o’clock and SilverWave Diashock 20 jewels at 6 o’clock.   There is a spinning top symbol above Seikomatic which may be the precursor to the Suwa “swirl” symbol, and the 8 pointed Diashock star is above SilverWave.

Dial combinations were silver (with or without a sunburst), with either a silver or a black plastic inner rotating bezel.

Silverwave seiko
Photo credit: http://www.h4.dion.ne.jp/~smatic/

This sunburst dial above has lines on the inner bevel of the chapter ring of the bezel, while other models had dots.

Below is another sunburst model, but the inner rotating bezel bevel in this watch is marked with dots.

Seiko silverwave
Image courtesy  SCWF user: ghwatch

The model below has the contrasting black rotating bezel with dots on the chapter ring, still in the original packaging.

Silverwave
Image courtesy Kronos forum member : jeffrey69

And finally a combination with a black rotating bezel with lines on the chapter ring.

Seiko silverwave
Image courtesy SCWF user : reckness

The case back of the J12082 featured the diver’s watch tsunami wave  (the first for Seiko), and read  WATERPROOF STAINLESSSTEEL SEIKOMATIC with the Seikomatic spinning top symbol and with J12082 inset into an outer ring.

Seiko silverwave case back

To emphasise the 50m waterproof capacity, another model was released in parallel with the above model with a changed dial. Diashock 20 Jewels was shifted to beneath  Seikomatic at 12 o’clock, and WATER 50 PROOF added to SilverWave at 6 o’clock, and the sunburst was removed from the dial. The rotating bezel had only a dot chapter ring.

This model is described on pages 22, 67 of the book “Japan Domestic Watch Vol.5 – SEIKO Automatic watch”.

Seikomatic silver wave

Below is a silver dial, silver rotating bezel combination of the non sunburst version of the J12082.   The lume in the hour and minute hands is squared off at the ends.

 Silverwave seikomatic

A black (faded) bezel and silver dial combination are shown below.   All the J12082 rotating bezels show elapsed time.

 Seiko silverwave

Seikomatic silver wave 6201B movement

Above is the 20 jewel movement, the 6201B, which with a date complication added was later used in the 6217 movement series, including the World Time and the 62MAS.

SILVERWAVE 69799

In 1964 the Sportsmatic 30m SilverWave was introduced.   This was based on the 6601-8930 Sportsmatic model series (below) which had a hidden crown at 4 o’clock.

Seiko sportsmatic 6601
This version of the Seiko Sportsmatic 6601 model clearly resembles the SilverWave.

The 50m Seikomatic SilverWave diver’s watch was discontinued when the lower-priced version of the SilverWave was introduced. This watch had a lower price because the movement was changed to the 6601 movement {nearly identical to the automatic caliber 2451 movement} (66SW)[66SelfWinder] with 17 jewels operating at 18,000 bph.

Silver wave 2451/6601 movement

The budget version was marketed as the Sportsmatic SilverWave, with model number 69799, superficially identical in appearance but featuring the slightly more workmanlike 17 jewel automatic 2451/6601 movement with a date complication (above).  By virtue of its press-fit case back, the water resistance was reduced to only 30m.  This lowered it’s appeal to divers.  This watch was produced until early 1966.  Later in the production run the model became the 6601-7990.

It was still marketed to divers.

The 50m SilverWave, as introduced in 1962, was the initial Seiko to exhibit the “tsunami” motif on the case back. The 69799 continued the trend and this motif is still seen today on the case back on all of Seiko’s diver’s watches.  The case back reads 67999 WATERPROOF 30 S.S. and now shows the Seiko issue number, and the case inside reads   SS 679990  Japan  A.

The case back below is from an April 1964 model.

Silver wave 1964

Below is the dial of the Seiko Sportsmatic 69799  model.

Seiko Sportsmatic 69799

The dial was similar to the J12082 with a revised spinning top logo, Seiko Sportsmatic and SilverWave at 12 o’clock and WATER 30 PROOF and Diashock 17 jewels at 6 o’clock.  The hands were still dauphine style with squared-off lumes, and lume dots were again added to the indices.   The AD symbol indicated applied lettering.

The significant difference for the 69799 from the J12082 was that the bezel was now a count down bezel.

69799 seikomatic silver wave

Seiko sportsmatic

Above, a comparison between the Sportsmatic 6601 with a hidden crown at 4 o’clock, and the Sportsmatic SilverWave 30m shows the shared pedigree with the hidden crown in the 6601 emphasising the fact that it is automatic.

The SEIKO SilverWave 30m came in two versions, a silver dial and a black dial, both with a black inner rotating bezel. However, the bezel on the 30m model is a count down bezel, rather than the elapsed time on the 50m model.  The bezel markers are on the flat of the bezel for this model. The symmetrical no-date dial has a radial brushed finish and applied steel baton markers with lume dots at the inner edge of the markers. The steel dauphine hands have large lume filled centers. The lume Seiko used on these models and on the later 62MAS was a light mint green colour.

Below is a comparison between the bezel markings for the 50m and 30m waterproof diver’s watches.

Seiko silverwave
Image courtesy: www.network54.com

Due to the type of plastic used, the black bezels tend to fade easily in the sun. Most examples found today have faded to varying shades of grey.

The black dial version is shown below.

Silverwave

For a diver, perhaps the silver faced dial is more appealing.

This first Seiko diver’s watch is highly sought after.   Later SEIKO SilverWave models produced by Seiko were dress watches and are not discussed in this article.

PURCHASING SEIKO SILVERWAVE

The 50m and 30m models do not have screw-down crowns, and over time leak during service, leading to corrosion and water staining.  The screw-down case back has 4 interfaces for corrosion. The plastic bezel warps with time and exposure.  With these design, deficiencies models are rarely found in good condition.

The importance in Seiko history and the rarity of good examples makes the watch very desirable, and the starburst models are somewhat rarer.

Currently, a buyer would expect to pay $500 to $1000+ for a good example.

THE GRAIL

A new old stock silverwave in case
Image courtesy imgrum @ bertnet69

The grail watch would be the NOS J12082 as in the original case above, or with the original stainless bracelet below.  A lovely, non-faded (boxed) watch of 37mm, which would adorn any wrist.

Silverwave 1963
Image courtesy: Martin in Adventures in Amateur Watch Fettling

The SEIKO SilverWave, with the tsunami logo on the case back represented the first of a long line of Seiko diver’s watches.

Below is the two part caseback, J12082 which started the line.

J12082 two part caseback.

And the 69799 which was the last model.

Sliverwave 69799 case back