There’s always room for a watch that simply does what it’s supposed to do and Seiko are one manufacturer that have managed this very well. I refer to the incredibly successful Seiko 5 series of mechanical automatic watches. Not the quartz models they make by the truck load, but the mechanical, tough as old boots, never need a battery models that those in the know buy and collect. I recently bought one for my collection, hence this brief introduction post.
The model name “5” refers to the 5 features that Seiko wanted to highlight in this particular and large range. Or rather this is one of the most accepted explanations for the title. An “unbreakable” mainspring (Diaflex) and an antishock system to rival Incabloc (Diashock). It also had to be a mechanical auto-winding movement, have a day and date function and have a have decent Water Resistance.
The movement is usually from the Singapore made 7s26 or 7s36 series and these are pretty much stalwarts in the Seiko range. Dependable, rugged and with acceptable and adjustable accuracy over the long term. Non hacking, non-hand winding, unidirectional, 21 jewel auto beating @12,600bph, it’s one of those movements that seem to go on forever, regardless of whether serviced or not, looked after well or stuck in a drawer for years. Take it out – move it a bit and it’s off and running!
The only downside with the Seiko 5 series is that there are literally hundreds of fakes out there purporting to be genuine and increasingly difficult to spot, so extreme care should be taken if looking for one today. On the good side as with fakes generally there are often, but not always, tell-tale signs that show us that all is not as it seems. One of the main tell tales on the Seiko 5 is in reference to the date window etc.
For example since 1990 Seiko have used plastic day and date wheels and very often fakes have metal ones. Since the the last metal day/date wheels on Seiko were on much older models, such as the 7006 or 9 series, you’re looking at 25 or 30 years ago for those.
There will be other signs of faking, but to go into all that would I suspect take a pretty large article and unfortunately still not cover all the possibilities.
Suffice to say if looking for a Seiko 5 – it is very much a case of “buyer beware” – which is a real shame as these are really excellent and reasonable cost watches and great for wearing and collecting.
Fake information sheets are available if you Google for them ( the reference for the above “tells” seems to have gone) I am sure there are quite a few.