Seiko SCVK001 – The start of the Seiko 4S family…

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I read Seiya’s post  last year and obtained confirmation that the 4S35 was the very first 4S movement to be produced, before it became detuned to the 4S15 base caliber.

Why detuned one might ask? Simply because the 4S35 is factory adjusted +15/-10 sec a day compared to the base 4S15’s specifications of +25/-15 sec a day. This is equivalent to the 8L movement tolerances (found in the MM300) and only shy of the modern Grand Seiko specifications in the overall picture of Seiko’s modern movement hierarchy.

As Don wrote in his excellent post:

All 4S feature Hi-Beat 28’800 A/h movement, with integrated auto-winding–thinner in profile compared to a modular system, and allows the case to be made thinner. Thermo-compensating balance and hair-spring come standard with the base caliber, while the higher beat rate (for Seiko) allows it to be adjusted to higher tolerance. The movement also hacks and hand-winds. The 4S35 is best compared to the ETA 2892 in Top execution, and if it were Swiss, would likely be considered a Tracteur. Both ETA 2892 and Seiko 4S were not made to be, but rather, born chronometers.

Adding to the rarity of the 4S35 movement is the fact that it was likely only found in 2 watch models, the SCVK001 stainless steel model which I am writing about today and its base metal, gold plated variant, the SCVK002.

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Picture from Antiwatchman. Note the gold colored date disc as well.

These watches were first introduced in 1992/3, and seem to be a mainly export only model according to Kohei in this Timezone reply. Kohei also mentioned that these 2 models appear to be made by Seiko and specifically targeted at the European market. This explains why the dial is much cleaner than the usual Seiko watch, having exhibited just the words “Seiko” and “Automatic”.

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The dial is pearly white, and I have yet to see any indications of aging nor spotting on the dial. This is also true of all pictures of these watch models which I have seen so far on the Internet (which isn’t that many as well). Perhaps the watch is still fairly “new”, having just passed the 20 year mark fairly recently.

The hands are simple batons, polished to a high shine with pointy ends. This do make the time hard to read against the white dial at certain angles, but it certainly adds to the dressiness of this model.

Note that the seconds hand is fully painted black, and would have been lovely if it was heated blued instead. The counter balance for the seconds hand is a crescent, which I believe Seiko has repeated in other models, which  I cannot recall at the moment.

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Reminiscent of the classic GS and KS models, here we also can find the use of multi-faceted hour markers and the “double bar” markers to indicate the 12 o’clock position.Shiny dots lie at regular intervals to represent the minute hashes.  The hour markers and minute hashes look applied, but given the sheer size of the dots, I do not see how this is economically feasible for Seiko. This model retailed at JPY 115,500 when first released.

As with most watches, this model came with a date complication, which is framed nicely at the 3 o’clock position. Based on the texture of the date disc, it is highly likely that the date disc is made of metal rather than simply plastic. This is also inline with what I observed in several of my other Credor watches.

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The case is a modest 36mm in diameter, and sorely lacking in any form of differing finishing. There is but one finishing, polished all around. It does come with a lovely signed crown, and is in relief, as contrasted to the crown found on the Alpinist SARB017, which is engraved.

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This model also comes with a box sapphire crystal as you can see from the angle above. Having a sapphire crystal certainly helps with the scratch resistance given that the crystal sits above the watch, rather than being flush with the case.

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The back of the watch is protected with a sapphire crystal which allows the wearer to admire the movement powering this watch. There is fundamentally nothing different visibly between the 4S35 and its lower spec-ed cousin the 4S15. However make no mistake, this is a souped up 4S and is probably one of the best bang for the buck Seiko movements available today should you be looking for 8L performance but at a more reasonable price.

Being a dress watch, this watch also came with a snap-on case back, which helped to keep it fairly slim.

Also in my previous post on the Seiko 4S family,  I did mention that the Credor only movement, 4S71 appear to somewhat of an enigma to me, since it has the exact same functionality/complications, power reserve and even timing specifications as the 4S35. Well, after I finally obtained my own 4S35, I managed to do some movement shot comparison and comfirmed that they are indeed the same movement, except that the Seiko gilded the 4S71 movement and renamed it in line with the other 4S movements found in the Credor range, having being designated 4S7x.

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4S71 picture from Antiquewatchbar

Notice the distinctive twin capped jewels in the 4S71 and the 4S35?

Conclusion

This particular model and its base metal variant is not too hard to find on Yahoo Japan, but it is indeed hard to find one with the original leather strap/bracelet. Up till today, I have no conclusive evidence what it came with, strap or bracelet. Nevertheless I am glad that I found a good example for a reasonable price and it’s now my daily office beater.

For those looking for the base metal variant, I would advise you to examine the case carefully as I have seen some examples where the plating has worn off and eaten away at the base metal underneath.

This watch is not for everyone given that it is a dress watch and not a Seiko diver which everyone seems to have a liking for. It is also not for all occasions and looks weird if you wear it with jeans on a casual day out. It cannot accompany you to the beach, pool, shower, nor sauna.

Yet this is the first watch in a long while, that made me stop looking for more watches.

This watch should probably have marked the start of my Seiko 4s collection journey since 2012, but rather as fate would have it, it marked the end of it instead. I have not collected all Seiko models with the 4S movement inside (I have yet to obtain a 4S24 and most of the 4S7x), but I have instead collected most of its representative models (SARN001, Seiko Historical KS and Laurel, SAGN Brightz watches, etc).

But I think it is enough for now and it’s time for me to move on.

References

Qualified for Time Travel: SEIKO 4S36 GMT Retrograde SARN001
A way to rebirth of Seiko’s mechanical watches Vol.2

Timezone post 

Antiquewatchbar 4S71 sale posting

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