Blog Owner: Here I’m introducing the first article by Mr. Chow, a welcome addition to the team. Always pretentious, politically incorrect and with a known desire to dominate the world of vintage Seikos, I sometimes believe he writes his contributions at 3am, half drunk and probably high on substance. He is a fan of Daini (and as he would say “If you have to ask me what that is, get the fuck off this blog…”) and scours the bowels of eBay and Yahoo Japan for the next cheap hoot. With this inadequate but necessary warning, let’s dive straight in and see what Mr. Chow has to offer us.
All pictures are by Mr. Chow and Jude unless otherwise specified.
Today, I will be writing a short review about my favorite Seiko caliber – 7016. I have grown to love this movement so much that I have allowed myself to purchase it in 4 different case designs, something that doesn’t happen in my collection. I will be sharing my account from first impressions to my purchases. I will lightly grace the topic of technical details to be informative and garner some interest, but staying shy of boredom.
My first impressions
I first fell in love with the 7016-5020 (also called the Tank) due to its angular case shape and its dark dial. Our relationship was very visual as I was strongly attracted to her chronograph registers that were stacked onto a single sub dial. This baby could time up to 12 hours on her chronograph! As I performed hours of internet searches, I realized the 7016 is a really special caliber as there were only Pateks and Omegas that featured the stacked registers. Even then, Patek only launched theirs in the mid 2000’s. This meant that the 7016 is most likely the first chronograph to feature such a counter, and that Seiko was way ahead of its time in watch technology. (JAW DROPPING MOMENT GUYS)
After having done further research, it came to my attention that the 7016 was also a flyback chronograph! (Meaning it could be reset on the go without having to first stop the chronograph, in case you idiots didn’t know). This was the moment when I knew I had to have it, real bad. This is mainly due to the fact that amongst all the vintage Seiko chronographs I knew about, NONE of them had a flyback function. Even though caliber 6138’s chronograph is able to record up to 12 hours, it seemed less attractive than the technologically advanced 7016 caliber. To my knowledge, the only other vintage chronograph capable of a flyback function was the Zenith El Primero.
There was also a slight difference in how the register hands moved between caliber 7016 and 6138/9. Both calibers had a sweeping 12-hour register hand, but only the former had a sweeping 30-minute register hand. The 6138/9 calibers had a minute register hand that changed on the minute. This made caliber 7016 even more intriguing to me as it was a deviation from the ‘norm’, where minute registers jumped.
Like all vintage Seiko chronographs, caliber 7016 featured a bilingual day display as well as a date display. However, there were several differences from the conventional caliber 6138/9 chronographs. Firstly, the day/date window on watches housing the 7016 tended to have a beveled edge date window. This added a nice touch as more work went into the dial. The more important difference was with how the date was changed. To change the day, the crown had to be pushed in (-1 position), with each push setting the day further down the week. The date was changed conventionally with the crown in the first pull. This unique date setting mechanism made me even more intrigued about this movement.
Why isn’t it sought after?
With the caliber being both feature packed and technologically advanced, it became a great wonder as to why it did not seem as sought after as the more common 6138/9 movements. The 7016 had fewer listings on eBay compared to their Suwa counterparts, about a fifth. Perhaps because it didn’t go to the moon? Or perhaps because it didn’t have a bullhead case? But it did have a square case that was similar to the Heuer Monaco, hence the watch with the 5000/5010 case numbers tend to have the nickname of Monaco. Case shape aside, it is surprising that such an advanced movement did not seem to have the cult following it deserves. My guess that it all boils down to the exposure it had.
When comparing with the other chronograph series, it lacked the massive publicity as it was not in the race for the first automatic chronograph as the 7016 was produced only in 1971, 2 years after the launch of the famous 6139 caliber. I think another that made caliber 6139 and its brother so famous is the fact that Col. William Pogue wore it on his space missions, casting caliber 6139 into the spotlight for eternity. Somehow I wish that Monica Lewinsky was wearing a 7016 when she fucked Bill Clinton….oh well.
My goal for this article
The previous section has led me to arrive at the crux of what this article is about – promoting and instilling some interest in this movement. This is not because I want the prices of my favorite caliber to increase, but more of me appraising the caliber, and giving the due recognition it deserves in hope of fellow WIS appreciating it as well. Ultimately, I do hope this article gets shared around as much as those stupid Ice Bucket Challenge videos.
If you haven’t already caught the amazing facts mentioned earlier, here are some quotes by watch blogs pertaining to mind boggling facts about caliber 7016.
The watchspotblog says:
“Size wise, it is 27mm in diameter and at only 6.4mm high, it was the world’s thinnest vertical clutch chronograph until F. Piguet released the 5.5mm high cal. 1185 in 1987.”
watchpage.wordpress.com listed the specs of the Monaco:
Movement: Automatic Cal. 7016A, 17 Jewels, 21’600 bph, Chronograph (60sec / 30min / 12hr) with fly-back, Diashock shock-resistant device, Quickset Day/Date
Case: Stainless steel, gold-platted (width: 37mm w/o crown, lug-to-lug: 42mm, thickness: 13mm, lug-width 19mm)
Crystal: Acrylic, raised (original)
Water Resistance: 30 m (not pressure-tested)
Manufactured: In Japan, early 1970s”
Further technical details and explanations of the chronograph mechanism (with pictures) can be found at http://thewatchspotblog.com/?p=232.
With all this talk about such a complicated and technically interesting movement, you must be wondering what all these watches look like. Hence, I would like to introduce you to the different variants available (from my limited knowledge).
7016-5020/0 – a.k.a. Tank. Angular silver/gold case. Black or brown dial. 22mm lug width.
7016-5000/1 – a.k.a. Monaco. Square case with rounded edges. Silver or green dial. 18mm lug width.
7016-5010/1 – a.k.a. Monaco. Square case with squared edges. Grey or blue/yellow dial. 18mm lug width.
7016-8000/1 – Small round case. White or blue dial. 18mm lug width.
– Large round case. Blue or black dial with matching chapter ring. 18mm lug width.
I would dare say that having these technical specifications and complications make caliber 7016 one of the most interesting and advanced calibers of its time. It has all the makings of a very collectible watch – good looks, flyback chronograph, stacked registers, 12 hour registers, day and date display. It just seems uncanny that such a feature packed chronograph is not as sought after as its less technically complicated brother. I do hope this article will shed some light on what caliber 7016 can do, and a little of its history and in doing so, more people will be able to appreciate caliber 7016 for what it is – a very collectible vintage Seiko.