The Seiko company was founded in 1881, when Kintarō Hattori opened a watch and jewelry shop in Tokyo. Eleven years later, in 1892, he founded the company Seikosha Co, where initially wall clocks were produced. Soon they were followed by pocket watches and watches with an alarm function. In 1913 Seiko (which means ‘precision’ in Japanese) manufactured its first wristwatch, and today the brand is well known for its inventions over the years.
Already in 1958 Seiko started with the developement of quartz movements, which let to the first commercial quartz wristwatch of the world in 1969, the Seiko Quartz Astron. The brand’s tradition in sports timing started at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where they served as Official Timekeeper. Ever since Seiko has been involved in many sports events, eg athletics, football and sailing.
Early 1980’s Seiko developed the caliber 7A28, the world’s first analog quartz chronograph. This fully adjustable quartz movement has no plastic parts in the gear train and can be sericed and adjusted like a mechanical watch. In the years to follow the caliber 7A28 was used in a great number of different models. The 7A28-7020, for example, was worn by Roger Moore in the 1985 James Bond movie ‘A View To A Kill’.
Seiko Yacht Timer Quartz 7A28-7090, ref. SAY080.
The 7A28-7090 regatta variant debuted in 1982 as the first real Seiko Yacht Timer, and appeared in catalogs as of 1983. It immediately stood out for its design. With the two big pushers at 10 and 2 o’clock it looked similar to a bullhead chronograph. The 9 o’clock minutes sub register features a 30-minutes counter, devided in 6 x 5 minutes in alternately light and royal blue, and a distinct yellow hand. On the outer ring of the dial there’s the yachting countdown scale for the seconds, running backwards from 60 to zero. After 1985 the Seiko Yacht Timer Quartz 7A28-7090 disappeared from the catalogs and the production ceased.
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Second half of the 1980’s Seiko developed a new four jewel quartz chronograph, the caliber 8M. Besides setting the time, it also uses the crown as a selection tool by which you can choose the mode of the watch, as shown in one of the registers. It has a countdown (timer) function, what makes it highly suitable for a yachting watch. In timer-mode the movement runs actualy counterclockwise! The countdown timer can be set by one-minute intervals between 1and 30 minutes, or you can choose between one of the preset timers for 5, 10 or 15 minutes.
From early 1990 Seiko produced two series of yacht timer watches, the 8M35 and the 8M37 models. Compared to the 8M35 models, the 8M37 models have the movement mounted ‘up-side-down’. That automatically means the crown and pushers are placed on opposite sides.
Cal. 8M35-6000 with leather strap, two-tone case and bracelet (ref. SEQ008J) and full gold (ref. SEQ010J). Note the three different collorscemes of the inner compass.
In time-mode, when the watch shows the actual time, the hour hand seems a bit odd. More like a seconds hand actually. But when you switch to timer mode, you understand why. This hand then becomes the second hand for an accurate countdown. And as I said before, the movement runs counterclockwise in timer mode. In a short period of years, from 1990 upto 1993, several yachttimer models were released by Seiko.
Cal. 8M35-6010, the more rare silver version, cal. 8M35-8000/8009 (ref. SEQ001P) and 8M35-800A (ref. SEQ003P) with a plastic blue or black turnable bezel.
Both cal. 8M37-6000, either with a silver case and dial (ref. SBBH005) or with a black case and dial (ref. SBBH007). Originally with a black rubber strap.
Both cal. 8M37-7000, ref. SBBH009. Note the different selection tools.
Finally the cal. 6M37-8000, ref. SBBH013, and the 6M37-8019, ref. SGX006. The last one was released for the 1992 USA Olympic games.
Page from a Japanese magazine showing some of the cal. 8M37 models.
Seiko add for the U.S.A. Olympic Yacht Timer Sports 150 8M37-8019, ref. SGX006, 1992.
Radiant Yacht Timer, in silver case ref. TUH996PM, or two-tone case ref. YUH999PM. Obviously both with a Seiko 8M37 movement.
Yema America’s Cup, with a Seiko 8M35 movement, white or black dial. More info in the Yema section.
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In 1993 Seiko changed the design of their Yacht Timers radically. Again the brand developed a new quartz regatta movement, the caliber 6M37, this time inspired by the old mechanical movements that used the 5-dot countdown system (first used by Aquastar in the 1960’s).
The first model that was released, is the cal. 6M37-6000.
1995 Seiko introduced the Yacht Timer Sports 200 models, as part of The Great Blue series. Inspired by the older mechanical movements, Seiko developed their quartz movement with the 5-dot countdown system, caliber 6M37-6010.
Seiko Yacht Timer Sports 200 with steel case and blue dial, ref. SKB003P, and two-tone case and silver dial, ref. SKB004P.
Model: Seiko Yacht Timer Sports 200.
- Reference: SKB003P steel case and rotating bezel, blue dial
- and blue leather strap.
- SKB004P steel case with golden rotating bezel,
- silver dial and blue leather strap.
- Caliber: Seiko 6M37 quartz yachttimer movement.
- Case size: Ø 42 mm / H 12 mm.
- Year: mid 1990’s.
In the operating manual you can read how the countdown system works, click here to download the English version.
At Baselworld 2007, Seiko launched a new marine collection, the Velatura. The collection included two new calibers, one of them the Yachting Timer caliber 7T84. Obviously Seiko stepped away from the 5-dot countdown system again.
Seiko Velatura Yachting Timer, SPC005P1 and SPC007P1.
Seiko Velatura Yachting Timer, SPC041P1 and SPC049P1.
Model: Seiko Velatura Yachting Timer.
- Reference: SPC005P1 silver dial with steel bracelet.
- SPC007P1 black dial with black rubber strap.
- SPC041P1 black dial with Brown leather strap.
- SPC049P1 titanium case with leather/nylon strap.
- Caliber: Seiko analogue quartz 7T84 movement.
- Case size: Ø 44 mm / H 12 mm.
- Year: since 2008 upto 2012(?).
You can download the instruction manual of caliber 7T84 here, and learn how the regatta countdown system works.
With the launch of the Velatura series in 2007, Seiko rose to the challenge to build watches that perform on the open ocean, with a collection characterized by robustness, high functionality and durability. Also in 2007, Seiko was selected as the Watch Partner of the International 49er Class Association.
To mark the fourth year of their partnership, Seiko launced a new model in the Velatura collection, a standard chronograph housing with the caliber 7T62 Alarm movement. Not with a special countdown function, but with a coloured 5-10-15 minutes subdial.
The watch is available with either a stainless steel case with black hard coating and a polyurethane strap (ref. SNAE17) or a stainless steel case with blue hard coating and a stainless steel bracelet with three-fold slasp (ref. SNAE19).
2014 update, new versions in the Velatura Yachting Timer series:
Seiko Velatura Yachting Timer: SPC143P1, SPC145P1, SPC147P1 and SPC149P1.
Model: Seiko Velatura Yachting Timer.
- SPC143P1 brushed and polished stainless steel case and bracelet – fixed blue bezel – blue dial.
- SPC145P1 brushed and polished stainless steel case and bracelet with rubber centre links – fixed black bezel – silver dial.
- SPC147P1 brushed and polished stainless steel case and bracelet with rubber centre links – fixed black bezel – black dial.
- SPC149P1 brushed and polished ion black stainless steel case with black silicone rubber strap – fixed black bezel – black textured dial.
- Caliber: Analogue quartz 7T84 movement.
- Case size: Ø 44 mm / H 11 mm.
- Year: 2014.
- many thanks to Robert Mahoney for the English version of the caliber 6M37 operating manual.
- many thanks to Yorkshire Watches (http://www.yorkshirewatches.co.uk/) for using your pictures.
- http://www.seikousa.com/index.php with Press Releases.