I love Seiko!
Yes, I’ll admit that when I started in watchmaking I was all like “If it ain’t swiss it ain’t nothing!” I am so glad that I’ve come around and seen the huge contribution to watchmaking that Seiko has given. As well as the very cool style offerings and customization that really puts their customers first, instead of some arbitrary ideal.
This funky blue bezel diver came across my bench needing a full service. What was interesting to note is that the movement was virtually dry when I opened the caseback. This is odd because the watch was new when purchased and is only a few years old. I noted that when a movement is this dried out, it is usually because the watch has been sitting in a drawer for 20 years or so. My guess was that it wasn’t properly lubricated and regulated out of the factory! (I guess Seiko isn’t perfect either!)
I gave her a good cleaning and a new mainspring and barrel. I also had to make some tight adjustments to the hairspring as the coil was not round. This is some precision work! The hairspring is the heartbeat and if it isn’t absolutely perfectly flat and round, then we will see some dramatic variations in the rate between positions and possibly many dramatic consequences to the movements overall performance. No pressure right? I love doing hairspring work as it is so satisfying after the fact, when all the sweat and tears I put in, give me back that straight line on the time-grapher and a healthy amplitude. Sometimes you may catch me trying to explain this to a customer, only to receive some very blank and confused stares in return. I guess that’s why this blog is useful for me. You all understand what I’m talking about right? 😉
Sometimes these seiko movements are hit and miss. At first glance we think that Seiko is giving the world great watches for an amazing price. But at what cost really? I’ve seen this same movement in the field watches they offer on Amazon for $150! That’s just nuts! But it is no surprise that these movements may need some TLC after the fact from some independent watchmaker that is willing to take the time (pun intended). That’s where I step in. A full service may cost you more than you originally paid, but with that, comes the knowledge that your watch is working as it should.
The 4R36A movement is a fairly new offering from seiko as it has some worthwhile upgrades. The challenge is finding parts from your regular parts suppliers. These big companies sure don’t make it easy for us little guys, but that won’t stop me anytime soon!