Seiko Automatic Movement; Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Do you know why most people like Seiko automatic movements?
It is due to the skilled craftsmanship and innovations that guarantee unlimited possibilities in the timepiece industry.
Seiko movement is a renowned Japanese watch movement alongside the Citizen Miyota Movement and Orient Movement. Most of these companies produce either quartz or mechanical movements, in addition to other specific designs.
In this article, I want to explore the Seiko automatic movement. But before I do that, first it is important to appreciate other types of calibers by Seiko too.
Let’s begin by watching this short video uploaded by Satya Rasyid Triabadi. It shows the technology behind the Seiko caliber 4r36, 6r15, and 7s26.
Generally, Seiko offers five different types of watch movements. These include:
- Spring drive
- GPS solar
For the scope of this article, I will give a quick overview of the first four calibers. Thereafter, I will explore the Seiko mechanical caliber in details.
Now, let’s get straight to the main subject here:
1. Seiko Spring Drive
Seiko spring drive is one of the fascinating technologies in the watch industry. You can uniquely identify this caliber with the following key features:
- Guarantee high accuracy of one second per day.
- Unique gliding motion since the caliber does not have escapement. The second hand of Seiko watches with spring drive is constantly in glide-motion.
- Fast winding; it features a Seiko’s “Magic Lever”, which increases efficiency in the watch winding.
- Reserves power for long; Seiko spring drive watches can operate continuously for 72 hours.
Like the name suggests, the main source of energy in the Seiko spring drive caliber is the mainspring. The power from the mainspring reaches the watch hands via the gear train.
The structure of Seiko spring drive
In addition to this, the Seiko spring drive caliber has a Tri-synchro regulator that regulates this transmission of power. That is, it controls the glide wheel speed and hands through electromagnetic braking mechanism.
Therefore, the Tri-synchro regulator performs the following main functions:
- Controlling energy from the mainspring
- Regulate speed of the glide wheel by generating a magnetic force
- Powers spring drive crystal by converting mechanical energy into electric energy
Over the years, Seiko has adopted its unique mainspring called the SPRON 510.
The Seiko spring drive is a common technology in most luxurious watches. The chronograph has the following key features:
- 416 parts
- 50 jewels
- 140 oil points
- 5 different lubricants
In short, this is one of the most accurate and luxurious watch movements available today. It is a perfect choice for those who want to appreciate technological advancements watchmaking industry.
Apart from this, Seiko has yet another caliber:
2. Seiko GPS Solar Movement
This was yet another revolutionary technology from Seiko. In fact, Seiko was the first company to introduce a GPS solar watch.
One fascinating technology with watches that come with this type of movement is the ability to automatically adjust time depending on the geographical location.
That is, it automatically detects the different time zones and adjusts accordingly. As a result, it will always display the exact local time without manually adjusting it.
Seiko GPS Solar watch
Still, it is important to note that this caliber automatically adjusts the time when the dial is exposed to bright light. It is only during this time that it receives the GPS signals.
Before you expose it to such conditions, it will maintain the last time zone.
The good thing about the Seiko GPS Solar caliber is that it can receive the signals irrespective of the hand posture.
More interestingly, it has a flight mode too. That is, once you switch it to flight mode, the GPS function will not work.
Under such circumstances, it will not interfere with the functions of other electronic devices. You can also try the ASTRON GPS SOLAR, watch to enjoy this technology.
Another type of caliber that Seiko offers is the:
3. Seiko Quartz Movement
Seiko has contributed immensely to the development of the quartz technology in timepieces. In fact, Seiko was the pioneer of the quartz technology.
Remember, Seiko Quartz ASTRON was the world first quartz watch. It was released on December 25, 1969.
Seiko quartz watch
Currently, quartz caliber is popular for its high accuracy. In fact, quite a number of the best wood watches in the market use quartz caliber.
With the help of a battery, quartz crystal in watches generates vibrations that are later converted into movements. It is the battery that supplies the voltage to generate vibratory motions in quartz watches.
To make the use of quartz crystal efficient and practical, Seiko developed the following:
- Adopting a quartz crystal in the shape of a tuning fork
- Developing an integrated circuit (IC) board
- Adopting stepper motor, among other parts and components.
Remember, even after developing all these technologies, Seiko did not monopolize the patents. Presently, Seiko’s technology is the world standard when it comes to quartz caliber.
Next, we have the:
4. Seiko Kinetic Technology
Seiko Kinetic Technology can convert kinetic movement into electrical energy. Since Seiko began venturing in this technology back in 1986, it has launched three different versions.
This is basically an embodiment of their emotional technology. With the kinetic drive technology, there are two sources of the watch’s energy – winding the crown and movements of the wearer’s wrist.
It is powered by the kinetic motion of the body with perpetual quartz accuracy. Besides, it also features Seiko’s Kinetic Auto-relay technology.
The GMT function makes it a perfect choice for people who travel frequently. Like the other two, it is the movement of the body that powers the Kinetic GMT caliber.
Seiko Kinetic watches with a blue dial
You can follow this link to learn more about Seiko Kinetic Technology.
Well, with all these in mind, now let me take you back to the main subject of this article – Seiko automatic movement.
Seiko Automatic Movement (Here’s Everything You Should Know)
At this point, I am sure you can appreciate how Seiko ventures in the world of calibers. The company produces efficient, robust, stylish and functional watch movements.
In this section, the main focus will be on Seiko automatic movement.
Basically, this watch features the Seiko’s mechanical technology.
The truth of the matter is:
Automatic calibers are mechanical movements that feature the aspect of the self-winding mechanism. To achieve this, they have a rotor that rotates whenever there is movement, thereby winding the watch.
Like other types of watch movements from Seiko, the automatic caliber features the finest craftsmanship and top-notch innovation in the watch industry.
Some of the main factors to highlight when evaluating Seiko automatic movement include:
· Accuracy of the Automatic Movement
Accuracy has been a major concern for most watch enthusiasts. For instance, accuracy is a key distinguishing factor when comparing mechanical and quartz movements.
Although quartz calibers are more accurate, I can tell you for free that Seiko has improved the accuracy of its automatic calibers.
For example, the Seiko automatic movement 6R20 and 6R15 have an accuracy of -15 to +25 seconds per day.
· Type of Mainspring
In automatic mechanical watches, the mainspring is the engine and the power of the time piece. This is unlike in quartz watches where the tuning fork shaped crystal drives watch mechanism.
The best Seiko automatic movements feature Spron 510 as the mainspring.
Why is Spron 510 unique?
It is a special material that Seiko Instruments Inc. developed for is mechanical watch movements. It is basically a Co-Ni alloy with superior characteristics such as:
- High elasticity
- Better corrosion resistance
- Highly durable
- Superior heat resistance
- High mechanical strength
Composition of Spron 510
Click this link to learn more about Spron 510 material.
Basically, you should expect superior performance when your watch has Seiko automatic movement. With this mainspring, the power reserve for the main Seiko automatic movements are as follows:
- Caliber 6R20 is 45 hours
- Caliber 6R15 is 50 hours
· Number of Watch Hands
It is the design of watch caliber that dictates the number of hands any timepiece will have. In the case of the two popular Seiko automatic movement watches, this what you should expect:
- Seiko caliber 6R20; it features hour, minute, second, day and date hands.
- Seiko caliber 6R15; it has hour, minute and second hand with a calendar.
Of course, the 6R15 has about 168 parts with 23 jewels. On the other hand, the 6R20 has 208 parts and 29 jewels.
Seiko caliber 6R20
I want you to remember one thing here:
All these parts will determine the Seiko watch prices. That is, a sophisticated Seiko watch design with several functionalities will definitely be more expensive.
· Seiko Automatic Movements have 28, 800 beats/hour
Why is this important and does it affect the mechanical watch’s performance?
Well, let me explain.
Normally, mechanical watches with higher beats tend to have a smoother second hand (how the second-hand moves).
Basically, the figure 28,800 beats/hour basically implies 8ticks/second. This feature is common with most high-end watches like those with the Seiko calibers.
But, why were the 36,000 beats/hour common in the 1960s and 1970s?
This period was basically during the experimentation phase. Even though automatic watches with higher beats/hour have a smooth action, they had some setbacks.
Some of these setbacks include:
- Possibility of straining internal components was high
- High friction, thus requires more lubrication
- Parts must be strong and durable
Ideally, achieving such specifications could somehow result in very expensive automatic watches.
· Winding the Seiko Automatic Watch
Seiko mechanical watch depends on the mainspring to power the watch. Therefore, after 45 to 50 hours, you will wind the watch again.
Remember, it is the idea of winding the watch that most watch enthusiasts love. In fact, they view this as a way to appreciate the craftsmanship in the watchmaking industry.
Both the caliber 6R15 and 6R20 have the hand winding capability. That is, after a period of time, you will use the watch’s crown to wind the watch (reenergize the watch).
Turning the crown to wind the watch
Now, the good thing about the Seiko automatic watch is the engraved rotor. Apart from the manual winding, the engraved rotor also powers the mechanical watch.
Depending on the design of the watch caliber, the rotor can rotate through 360°. This implies that, whenever your hand is in motion, it will automatically turn thus energizing the watch.
The rotor is attached to the mainspring via a series of gears. Again, the design is such that once the mainspring is fully wound, a clutch disengages it.
This prevents winding the mainspring beyond a certain threshold.
In short, these are the main things you need to know about Seiko automatic watch movements.
Still, even as you think of Seiko watch movements, it is worth mentioning the following:
- Even though these watches can wind the mainspring automatically, in the absence of any motion they will stop working. That is, after 45 or 50 hours, you will have to manually wind and reset time, date, etc.
- Comparing Seiko automatic caliber to other watches in the same category, it is more accurate. On the other hand, when you compare Seiko automatic movement to quartz, the accuracy is lower.
- Owing to the design and features, they tend to be more expensive than the quartz watches.
- Quite a number of watches with Seiko automatic calibers tend to be heavier and bigger than quartz
While appreciating the craftsmanship and technology in the Seiko automatic watches, always have these in mind.
Honestly, Seiko automatic watch movements still remain to be the treasured and respected movements in the market. This is mainly due to the company’s effort to improve efficiency and performance of their calibers.
Apart from the rubies, the Seiko Instruments Inc. makes and assembles all parts and components of the automatic movements. This makes it easier for the Seiko to maintain and control the quality of their calibers.
In summary, Seiko does not focus only on automatic watch movements but also produces other calibers such as spring drive, GPS solar, Quartz, and Kinetic.
Here at OwoodWatch, we design and make watches from different types of woods. Our wood watches mainly use quartz caliber, known for its high accuracy.