Seiko World Time #3 – three’s a crowd

Following on from the previous World Time diaries, another joined the fold a few weeks prior to the silver-faced ‘64 with the original bracelet.

20190405_110912 (2)This one, an early model from April 1964, also came on the period bracelet – in fact I bought it thinking I might transplant the bracelet onto the first (1967) World Time I had, then flog this watch on. I’m not not sure I could bring myself to separate the watch & the bracelet it’s had for 55 years…

It’s a rare black/grey-dialled World Time; sources reckon only 20% of the watches produced were of this variant, and since they only made the 6217-7000 for 9 months in ‘64 and for 2-3 months in ‘67, they’re pretty unusual anyway.

This particular one is in “honest” rather than amazing condition, but it’s recently been serviced and smartened up by a top-notch watchmaker in Australia, where it came to me from.

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As you can see, the outer bezel that shows the names of major cities and other random places around the world (Midway? Rangoon?) has faded quite a bit in places. In artificial light, the hand that points to the time on the 24hr scale looks a bit yellowy and maybe even discoloured, but in daylight, it’s got a bronzey metallic sheen to it.

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When compared with the silver-faced World Time, with polished silvery hands and a black hour hand, it’s actually much easier to read the time on this grey one as in most light, the contrast between hour & minute hands and dial is easier to pick out, and the hour hand isn’t as distracting – sometimes with the Silver faced one, you need to stare at it for a few seconds to work out what the actual time is.

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Still, who wears a watch to tell the time anyway?

Seiko World Time #2 – the bracelets’ tale

Every since I got my first World Time, I’ve been hankering after getting a correct bracelet for it. For whatever reason, I tend to prefer watches with steel bracelets vs straps, and if the bracelet is the “correct” or even original one that came with the watch, so much the better. Sadly. a lot the Seikos from the mid/late 1960s have lost their bracelets over time.

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The “snake skin” / “mini coffin link” / “diamond back” bracelet I put on this one a couple of years ago suits it pretty well, as it’s got that late 60s/early 70s vibe going on. I’ve always been a bit annoyed about how the end links fit, though – a straight bar when the bracelet meets a curved case does jar a bit, even though that’s how most leather straps look…

I ended up buying a new Seiko bracelet (a B1375S) which fits the watch really well and looks the part reasonably, though it’s got a kind of satin finish which doesn’t quite match the shiny case.

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Fortunately, I managed to find a much better solution when raking through a box of junk at a watch fair; the vendor had a Seiko 7005-8062 watch case & bracelet with no movement or dial inside. That particular reference is often cannibalised for parts so it’s no great surprise to find someone was getting shot of the case and band.

How much? He wanted £30, I offered £15 and got a shake of the head. Later on, I went back and gave him £20 for it…

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The bracelet was a little beaten up (similar to this one) but a bit of surgery and a good clean has it turned up looking very nice.

But not as nice as what arrived in the post a few days later…

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Another World Time 6217-7000, this one from 1964, as generally found (since they were there to celebrate the Tokyo Olympics of that year – I wonder what Seiko will do for 2020?)

The original bracelet it comes on is very rare these days; in years of looking for one, I’ve never seen a bracelet on its own for sale, and I’ve only seen a handful of watches wearing that bracelet hit the market. They tend to go for comparatively big money, especially on the Japanese auction sites.

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Comparing the two case backs of the anomalous June ‘67 watch (the lower of the two in the photo above) and the September ‘64, one shows another notable difference – the earlier watches had a different stamped style case back rather than an engraved design as was on the ‘67.

There is a further differentiation in that the really early World Times (they were initially produced from March 64 to December 64) had an etched case back that is now rare to find in decent condition as it had a tendency to rub off more easily…

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Stamped case back from Sept 64 above, etched from April 64 below. More on the lower of these two watches to follow…

There’s more on the World Time history here.

Seiko World Time

This was a very lucky find at an auction – I’d never even heard of the World Time until I saw this watch online and liked it enough to take a punt. I started reading up about them and decided I really wanted it, and stuck in there well after the auctioneer blew past my absolute, no-holds-barred, top price. Discipline in such situations is hard to muster, but I’m glad I held out – this is a beauty.

Seiko 6217-7000 World Time from 1967

It’s an automatic watch and the inner bezel (with all the city names) rotates around by turning the crown; the idea is that you set the time so the little black arrow hand points to the time on the 24h scale (which I didn’t realise when I took the picture above, hence why it’s pointing at 4:40ish and yet it’s clearly daylight, so 16:40).

If you then rotate the bezel so black arrow points to the place you are in the world at the time, you can then see what time it is everywhere else in the world… so…

Seiko World Time 6217-7000 London time

… If I’m near London and it’s just after 6pm, that means it’s 13:00 in New York and 21:00 in Moscow.

The World Time was released in 1964 to celebrate the Tokyo Olympics, and the case back has a flaming torch etched or stamped on it in reference. There’s a bit more detail on World Times (or World Timers as they’re sometimes known) here, here and here.

This particular watch (reference 6217-7000) was produced in June 1967, evidenced by the first 2 digits of its serial number (the year, and the month within that year). Seikos are good like that – unlike just about every other watch manufacturer, you can date them easily – see here.

Seiko 6217-7000 World Time Olympic case back

There are a few variants on a theme, of a similar age – a black faced World Time, or the 6117- series (some of which had a red GMT hand, which would, frankly, make it easier to see the time as the black one is easy to confuse for the other hands).

The 6217-7010 followed as a later update, and it appears that the 6217-7000 was only produced in 1964 to celebrate the Olympics, however they may have had some leftover stock from ’64, and started turning out Olympic torch-bearing watches 6217-7000s again in mid 1967, to be ready for the ’68 Olympics. So this particular watch is something of an anomaly – it has all the hallmarks of the earliest, 1964 World Times, but a case back that (legitimately) dates it from 1967…

Original World Time bracelets are hard to come by, for some reason – so I managed to salvage a period late 1960s “Diamondback” or “mini-coffin link” bracelet which I had kicking around, and it rather suits the watch.

While on the subject of coffin links, the true coffin bracelet was fitted to other Seikos of the late 1960s / early 1970s – here’s an example of a Bell Matic with coffin link and the World Time with Diamondback.

Seiko Diamond back and coffin link bracelets fitted to 6217-7000 World Time and 4006-6031 Bell Matic