Many thanks for this detailed analysis. Learning something new every day on this board.
I didn't think I was a huge Seiko fan boy.
But I now I recall that I have an old 1970's Seiko 5 (given to me as a gift from brother), a slightly faded 1996 SKX009, an SKX173, a NIB SKX007 for just in case, a PADI Turtle, Blue Lagoon Turtle, Astron chronograph, and a Grand Seiko SBGX115 diver. If you had told me that I had 8 Seiko watches here I would have said you were nuts, before having time to think.
Seikos have held a special place in my heart. First quartz chronograph gifted to me, first automatic watch I bought, first automatic chronograph I bought, first automatic diver's watch I bought, first wrist alarm I bought, first flyback chronograph I bought, first single pusher chronograph I bought...
Well hopefully people have had some time to absorb the timing information - again if you have questions on the specifics, please let me know...
So what’s left now? Cracking it open to take a look inside...
And here is the movement:
The finishing is quite industrial in nature, and although there are Côtes de Genève (or Côtes de Japon I suppose) on the rotor they are certainly not the finest I’ve seen by a long shot. There’s some straight grain applied to the upper most bridge but nothing else is – not unexpected to be honest. The screw heads are not polished, and I see the slots are slightly flared so these maybe quite soft screws – again something I’ve encountered before in these watches. Note that I see a fair bit of debris inside this watch also:
I was a bit surprised to see that the balance uses the ETACHRON system that is very common on ETA movements, and movements derived from ETA calibers (for example the Omega 1120, which is based on the ETA 2892). In that 2011 tech guide they even say the regulating system is ETACHRON, so not sure if they license this from Swatch group in order to use it on their movements:
This system makes adjusting the concentricity and centering of the mainspring much easier, and also makes the adjustment of the regulator pin spacing a breeze, so it's definitely a good system to use.
Popping this under the microscope, I see debris (fiber) on this pivot:
The cap jewel is lubricated, but the amount is on the small side. Also you can see the drop under the cap jewel is not round – this is a classic example where the jewel is not clean, and whatever residue is under the jewel is causing the oil to get pulled off center:
Asian watches of this level tend to be known for spotty lubrication amongst watchmakers, so although it’s difficult to see here, the arrow coming up from below points to a spot where the angle of the escape wheel tooth changes, and there is a drop of oil stretched across the angled part. Oil in this location doesn’t do anything to lubricate the escapement – note the other arrow points to more debris:
This is another escape wheel tooth that doesn’t have oil in that spot, but again has debris on it:
Quick shot inside the case back – I don’t think Seiko makes too many watches in Japan any longer, and clearly this case (at least) is Chinese made:
While I had it open, I corrected the beat error, and regulated the rate to be slightly positive:
After regulating it, I decided to follow through with the same testing I do after every watch that I service. So I tested the watch for 24 hours each in all of the 6 positions I test on the timing machine, and also have the watch on my final test winder for 24 hours:
Faz had confirmed that the watch ran slow on his wrist, so now hopefully that will be better and it averaged about +0.7 seconds per day over my 7 days of testing.
After being on the winder I let the watch run down to check the power reserve. Seiko states that this watch will run for 50 hours, and in my testing it ran around 57 hours, so no complaints there.
Is it safe to assume that you never came across the sloppiness seen in this movement in newer Omegas (Swiss brands)? Can you comment on the overall quality of the movement say compared to a generic ETA 2892?
And again, a huge thanks for taking the time to do this valuable exercise. As the owner of this watch, there are a few dispppointments but no real surprises. From an enthusiast point of view, I still think this is an excellent value at this price point. I hope it won't deter other Seiko enthusiasts from enjoying their watches.
PS: And a huge thanks as well for the regulation!!
Great post Al, very informative.
I should send one of my watches to Al for his assessment
As always, excellent post by Al!
Thanks @Archer the best post I seen in ages.
I have an off the wall question but your analysis reminded me to ask it. In your testing, do watches w/ multiple barrels really reduce isochronism as they are claimed to do? I've never heard a watchmaker comment either way on the real world success of this engineering strategy. I know there is a definite benefit when it comes to reserve power but accuracy?
I believe some of Seiko watches are assembled in Malaysia and Thailand. I've handled a few and on the box/papers it wrote Assembled in Malaysia/Thailand IIRC.
Another issue that I know of, that are very notorious with Seikos is the misaligned chapter ring... like it happens to 8 / 10 SKX007s
Well, I see plenty of bad work come into the shop - cleanliness and lubrication issues tend to be the most common problems on watches I see coming to me from other watchmakers.
But since this is a new watch, I don't expect to see such things in higher quality watches. I do make a point of servicing every new movement (all Swiss) I use in my own watches, and occasionally you will see defects such as the odd cracked jewel, maybe one pivot that was missed in lubrication, but seeing the problems this one has spread across the movement is certainly not normal or expected.
Part of determining "quality" to me is looking at how quickly things wear over normal use, if there are obvious weak spots in the movement, and how difficult those weak spots are to fix during a routine service. This kind of judgement can only come from servicing a number of watches that have been used for a good amount of time, and I don't have that experience with this movement to compare to a 2892.
Not a problem - least I could do for you giving up the watch for a while.
Just moving this thread, damn its a really good read. I think the perfect follow up to this would be for someone to send Al a brand new Grand Seiko for comparison too.
Well I don't know how I missed this first time around, but it's just taken 15 minutes out of my life.
But 15 minutes of worthwhile time spent, unlike most of the general crap on the internet.
Must bookmark this.
I’m making it a sticky for now, it might not be a perfect endorsement of the brand but its a very detailed, analytical and unbiased assessment backed up with evidence. I think considering the price point the watch still is well worth the money but its a $600 watch, not a JLC
And I think Al was spot on with his critique and technical observations.
Just came across this thread in its new home. Wonderful read, I own that model bought right here in the forum a couple of years ago so was extra interested.
Thanks for the education Al it is greatly appreciated.
So, what were the amplitudes and rates after cleaning? Apologies if I missed it.
Great thread! One of the most informative I have seen on a watch forum I realize it is aging now, but I still wanted to say thanks!
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