Chronography 10: Three Excellent Vintage Calibers from Seiko and Citizen
In 1969, Seiko’s 6139 chronograph type was absolutely progressive, consolidating a segment haggle vertical grasp framework. Seiko surely didn’t develop the vertical grasp (students of history accept that honor has a place with Pierce), however it was unquestionably the first to take this specialized accomplishment back to the cutting edge of chronograph innovation. Numerous other watch companies have since followed after accordingly and have fused the vertical grasp framework into their chronographs.
In 1970, Seiko Daini (read our set of experiences clarifying the Suwa/Daini split here ) came out with the 701X group of chronographs, which were for a period the most slender vertical grip chronographs on the planet until F. Piguet delivered the 1185 chronograph in 1987.
And then there’s Citizen, Japan’s other horological force to be reckoned with. Resident was not becoming complacent, and in 1972 the firm delivered a scope of programmed chronographs inside the 81X0 family. Not being the first to showcase, Citizen had three years to enhance what had come previously. The 81X0 is frequently eclipsed by Seiko’s contributions, however I accept that it is the more actually progressed of the group.
In the initial segment of our arrangement taking a gander at Japanese chronograph movements, we’re going to do an essential outline of these three incredible movement families.
I’ll start with the 613x family from Seiko Suwa. There are two essential types: the previous 6139 presented in 1969 (and delivered until around 1977), and the 6138 presented a year later in 1970. The difference between the two movements is that the 6139 just has a 30-minute chronograph register, and the 6138 has an extra 12-hour register. Both come up short on a functioning running seconds and regarding specs, they beat at 21,600bph and have a force save of 45 hours. Both additionally have a day/date pointer. The 6139 has 17 gems, and the 6139 has 21 (and 23 for a portion of the more uncommon Japanese homegrown market variations like the 6138-8000). The two variations need hacking and the 6139 doesn’t hand wind. Regarding size, the 613X is 27mm in measurement and 7.2mm (6139)/7.9mm (6138) tall.
The 613X family has various distinguishing strengths, especially the 6139. Close by Zenith and the Chronomatic organization, Seiko is broadly recognized to be among the first companies (and some may even contend that Seiko was the first) to have a programmed chronograph keep an eye out available. Curiously, this accomplishment was never promoted by Seiko nor given any notice in the authority Seiko history, “A Journey in Time: The Remarkable Story of Seiko.” One certainty that can’t be contended, notwithstanding, was the Seiko was surely the principal Japanese watch company to deliver and deliver a programmed chronograph.
Incidentally, the 6139 is likewise the main programmed chronograph shipped off space, worn on the wrist of US space traveler Willian Reid Pogue during the 1973 Skylab-4 mission. This specific glowing yellow-dialed model has now been nicknamed the “ Pogue .”
The combination of a segment haggle grip framework spearheaded by Seiko in the end saw boundless reception by numerous Swiss companies–e.g. Rolex’s 4130 Daytona movement presented in 2000, about 31 years later—a implicit affirmation of the predominance of this framework. Notwithstanding, a few haute horology brands are as yet utilizing the conventional segment haggle pinion or flat coupling framework in view of the extra space that it permits them to complete their movements. These days the vast majority would relate vintage Seiko chronographs with this specific Seiko movement family.
The 701X arrangement is apparently the more in fact progressed of the two vintage Seiko chronograph movement families. It has an extra flyback usefulness (which permits the client to quickly restart the chronograph without having to initially pause and reset) and a few models highlighting an extraordinary stacked hour and moment chronograph register. This implies that there is one sub-dial for both the hour and moment hands making note of the passed time, versus the individual hour and moment sub-dials of its 6138 cousin. This makes perusing the slipped by time more diligently, however it leaves the dial with a compact and clean plan, one that was absolutely bright at the time.
There are a few prominent variations inside the 701x family. The most renowned is the 7016 with the previously mentioned stacked sub-dial. The 7015 and 7017 both element just a focal chronograph hand with no extra registers for recording passed time. At last, the 7018 was similar as the Suwa 6139 with just a 30-minute register.
As referenced prior, this was likewise the most slender vertical grasp section wheel chronograph for a while, existing from 1970 through ’77. Like its Suwa partner, the 701x beats at 21,600bph, has a focal chronograph hand and comes up short on a functioning seconds hand. It additionally has 17 gems and a day/date complication. The force hold is roughly 42 hours and it can’t be hand wound or hacked. The movement has a distance across of roughly 27mm and is just a bewildering 6.4mm tall, which is fundamentally more slender than the 6139.
Finally, there’s the Citizen 81X0 family. Presented in 1977 and going through 1980, the 81X0 comprises of two types: the 8100 and the 8110. The previous highlights a 30-minute chronograph register and the last has an extra 12-hour register.
As referenced, Citizen had the upside of having the option to expand on what Seiko had already delivered. With that, the 81X0 family comes in at a higher beat pace of 28,800bph and joins a flyback work. Besides, the movement can be hand wound and comes with the section wheel vertical grasp framework presented three years sooner by Seiko. Further specs incorporate 23 gems and a 40-hour power reserve.
The 8110 is 27mm wide and 6.90mm tall. The tallness lies in the middle of its two Seiko rivals, the Daini 7016 and Suwa 6138. The 8100, without an hour counter, comes in at an amazingly slender 5.82mm.
Coupling the phenomenal combination of a vertical grasp and segment wheel framework with flyback usefulness, the Citizen 81X0 chronograph family includes the most awesome aspect the two vintage Seiko chronograph types, and it even figures out how to surpass them by tossing in the higher beat-rate and hand winding capability.
Note that during the 1970s, 28,800bph was ground breaking, and even Seiko arranged their 28,800bph King Seikos and Grand Seikos as high-beat. It was as of late that it turned into the true standard beat pace of mechanical movements. Hell, even the flyback usefulness present in the Citizen isn’t common today in most current chronographs, and be set up to pay much more for it in the event that you do need the complication.
To finish up, the Citizen 81X0 chronograph–given its stable of actually prevalent highlights and sensible asking price–is likely the best vintage Japanese chronograph (and it positions exceptionally even among the vintage Swiss movements). In the following portion of Chronography, we will investigate a Citizen “Challenge Timer” that houses this truly proficient movement.