The 5606 is one popular automatic caliber launched in the late '60s, when mechanical watches were still the mainstream in the market. You can pick either an automatic winding watch or manual winding watch. Most people at the time will pick the auto for its convenience and manufacturers brought out mostly auto as well.
However, even the auto is so convenience that it will do the self-winding when the external motion caused the rotor inside to swing and wind, if the watch had been put aside for a long while, most probably it had stopped and the time and date setting won't be correct. User usually have to shake the watch for a while to wake it up and to provide enough winding to start and keep time. The 5606, doesn't need that. User can manual wind it like a manual winding watch, to give it enough to full wind, without the awkward shaking action.
This feature was at first only available on higher end models like Grand Seiko 61xx. The feature made the 5606 desirable, cause it was at a lower cost to the public comparing to the GS, and with a lot more choices in case and dial design.
Here's something fun to play with. Two watches from the same era, one is quartz, the other one is automatic, both are really nice even today. They have different movements and casing designs. They are just two very different divers, period.
Despite of the facts above, something can be done to give them a new look. This is by swapping the movements. Doing so on the 7548 and 6309, is very easy and straight forward, just open the case, have the crown out, swap the movement (with dial and hands attached), put the correct crown stem back in, and close the case. Done in 5 minutes max!
There you see, a 7548 movement in a classic 6309 turtle casing. Comparing with the standard 7548, it is now wider and heavier. Note this is not an official model, even the model code, was put together by myself, with the first half being the movement code, and the second half is the case code.
Will leave it like that for the time being, and both watches will back to their original states, when I feel like to do so. It's fun! The two watches below, are their real identities.
Here's another non-running digital watch I picked up recently. It really caught my eyes for two reasons, first it wasn't that dirty, second it bears a name which is very nineties, and lastly it is a melody alarm.
After a basic cleaning on the exterior, I opened it up. A button cell was inside, and surprisingly it wasn't leaking! That's a very good sign. Then I popped in a new battery, too bad, it's still not showing anything. As picked it up at the cost of less than a can of soda, there's nothing to lose to take it further apart. After completely disassembled the whole thing, I used alcohol to clean the board and all contacts as suggested by the pro, and making sure the zebra stripe was clean and tidy. After drying every parts completely with the help of the hair blower at normal temperature, I started to put everything back by reversing the procedure. The moment of truth with the battery inserted, voila, it fired up!!
The first thing I tried, is the alarm. It does play the Westminster tune, that's good, everything works now. An easy save in fact, and happy to bring this typical 'Made in Hong Kong', sort of no-name watch, back to life. It definitely deserves a space in my collection.
Introduced in a special issue of the Dealer's Catalog in 1978 December, the name ALBA was mentioned along with a bunch of digital watches, which in design, were very different from what Seiko had been offering.
Among the five models shown on the catalog page, three of them are offered with a round face, in three different colors. It's offers time keeping, stop watch and chronograph function, no alarm. Priced aggressively to tackle the young people's market. These were the first batch of ALBA watched released in 1979, the official year of ALBA hitting the market in Japan.
Bracelet comes with this sample, is the original, all functions are working including the tiny light bulb. Hopefully, I could find the other two color variants down the road.
The King Seiko is one of the popular dress watch series they have in the sixties, all the way to mid seventies. The line just below their top series, Grand Seiko, the KS also offered some high end pieces sharing the same movement with the GS.
One of the best movement they had in the time, the 45 series. A manual winding caliber, having a beat rate at 36000vph, made by the Daini factory. It was among the most expensive models in the KS series in the year 1970. Originally mounted with black flat leather straps, with a KS signed buckle. Now mounted with an original Seiko mesh style bracelet from the same era. Lugs width is 18mm, which is typical width of most dress watches of that time.
I have another GS using the same caliber. Looks almost the same, except you can find the one in GS is more polished up, and with Grand Seiko marked on the movement. Very nicely made, and the value of the 45 series had gone up a lot over the years. A very good investment indeed.
Today I feeling like wearing what we called 'Nerd Watch' from the old days.
These were the state of the art electronics timepieces of that time. The UC-2000 was the world's first computer watch, offered by Seiko in the early '80s. Other than telling time, the user can program the watches to run some programs written in Microsoft BASIC. By attaching the watch to a specific terminal which was sold separately with supporting cartridges, user can type directly on the QWERTY keyboard to do the programming. Typical programs such as games and specific calculation utilities, can be loaded to the built-in memory of the watch.
The UC-3000 was an upgraded model with a different set of built-in features, based on the same watch design shown in the above photos. Instead of having the standard programs, calculator and stop watch, which was on the UC-2000, the UC-3000 replaces those features with a memo taker and scheduler. Which gears more towards to the needs of the business world.
Both were great gadgets of the day, and later on I will have more details written separately for these two models, along with showing the keyboards, and some vintage advertisements on these watches collected.
In the '70s, Seiko had put a lot of focus in developing the emerging market of quartz watches. However, they still put a lot of effort in pushing their lines on automatic watches forward. Instead of working on new movements, they did a lot on the case and dial design.
This 7005 carries one of the many typical designs they brought out in the 70's. Based on a typical 7000 case, they have a cut of the metal near the lugs, to give it a staggered look. The dial on the other hand, still carried forward a lot of the design ingredients from the '60s, such as the big cross on the dial, and the square applied markers. These design were slowly replaced by the longer line-shape markers in the '70s.
It is fun to see and study how the designs (not limited to Seiko) evolved, from decade to decade.
When I had decided to put my hands on movement other than just collecting, the one that was introduced to me by a local watchmaking class, was this one. The Chinese made standard movement SZ-1 7120.
This movement has a long history, launched in China in the mid '60s, it is still being manufactured nowadays, as of 2019. A standard movement, that means that the movement design is shared among the major movement manufacturers in the country, that they share the same parts which are interchangeable. This saved them a lot on research and development and minimized manufacturing cost.
The movement design is said to be a copy of an early Enicar 1010, which I had checked out a photo of it, it looks so similar to the SZ-1. This is the first movement that I had taken apart and put together successfully, after numerous trial and error, and learned a lot by mistakes. Great simple movement for me to learn all the basis on how a watch works. The best thing is, since it is still widely available at a low cost, I can get replacement parts easily and cheaply. Perfect for anyone to start the watchmaking journey.
Well, it's not really a solid gold nugget, but the design of the dial. This Twin Quartz Grand Quartz was one of top models they offered in the late '70s.
According to their dealers' catalog in 1979, the retail price of this timepiece was 150,000 yen. That's a lot of money for a watch. With a HGP case (hard gold plated) and the bracelet stamped with the GQ abbreviation, this is really stunning. The external focus goes to the dial. A very beautiful so called 'gold nugget' dial it has, gives the watch a prestige look. You can check out the photo below of this textured dial, it's definitely on of their best.
Powered by a twin quartz movement, the 9943 is rated +/-10 seconds per year accuracy. This is exceptional even with today standard. And this 40 years old watch still beats close to the rated accuracy, as checked after running 2 months, it lost about 3 seconds. A proper service will definitely bring it back to its rated accuracy.
The twin quartz movement didn't last in the market for long, only for about 5 years then they are gone, and was replaced by dual mode quartz models. This had been widely discussed that it might be the reason of high cost in making these movements.
My first Casio Ana-Digi, was actually given by a friend, who was about to toss it to the garbage bin after putting it away for ages and found it while clearing the cabinet. As seen on photo, it is in a very beaten condition, crown was mushy, the two buttons are completely stuck, bracelet is lugs are filled with dirt fossil, and the worst part was... he told me the battery was still inside most probably!!!
Well, there's nothing to lose. Picked it up from the trash bin and took it home. Man, the dirt outside the case was nasty. Just got rid of those hardened dirt and popped open the caseback. Ewww.... the area around the two pushers were filled with rust. Okay, that I can manage. Yes, the battery was there, and I took it out carefully and prepare for the worst underneath. Hey! Not bad at all, surprisingly, there was no leak!! Thanks to a Japanese made battery, probably that's why. Then the whole cleaning works started and it took about two hours to do it casually with a coffee next to me.
So, the result was, it's back to life. Everything back to it's working order as specified. Told my friend and about to give it back to him when seeing next time. He told me, 'Keep it, I had abandoned it and did throw it away. You saved it, then it should be yours.' Okay, then now it is the latest member of my Casio box, sitting right next to s bunch of others, some were also saved abandoned, vintage, and modern ones as new as the Protrek smartie. The model of it, is AQ-350W and according to the serial decoder, it belongs to the 1992 batch, with the module 305 inside. Welcome to my den.