For various reasons, the Daini chronographs are not as recognised as their cousins across over at the Suwa side of the Seiko pond, although they are technically superior in my point of view. Refer to this contribution I made over at W&W.
Being the movement freak that I am, of course I would have chosen a Daini chronograph over a Suwa one anytime. The opportunity arose some months back when I foolishly bid and won a lovely blue gradient dial vintage Seiko chronograph from the Daini side of the Seiko pond.
The above images are taken from the 1974 Seiko Catalogue (which you can find copies from here), and here you can see the entire family of 7015 chronographs offered by Daini Seiko. My personal example is seen in the bottom picture on the left. A sharp-eyed reader might see that my example came with the original Seiko 5 metal bracelet in all its folded metal goodness.
(That Useless) Bezel
Let’s move on to a useless feature of this watch namely the internal fixed bezel, which goes from 0-100.
Yup that’s it. Zero to a Hundred. 0-100.
It is not a tachymeter which would be vaguely useful for timing the speed of a moving vehicle.
It is neither a telemeter which is useful for determining how far an object is based on when you see and hear it.
Nor is it a pulsometer, which you could at least use to determine the heart beat rate.
A GMT bezel it is not, which is a good thing considering that it does not even have a GMT hand.
It is not even a compass bezel, which is probably the most useless bezel one can wish for on a watch with no GMT hands.
It is most definitely not a completely redundant slide rule bezel, which by the way is still the coolest bezel to be found on a watch. Hey at least it looks cool, even if no one can really understand how it works right?
So I was left scratching my head to the purpose of the 0-100 bezel on my latest acquisition which was not helped by hours of googling which left me as much in the dark as when I first tried to discern the hidden purpose of the bezel.
Having given up on trying to understand the purpose of the bezel, I must say that the bezel is a lovely piece of elevated metal with radial brushing and a border of blue on the inner circumference which is a slightly lighter shade than a radiant blue dial itself.
At the 25 marker (3 o’clock) position, the date wheel interrupts the bezel, pushing the blue border outwards towards the outer circumference of the watch. Rather than being a jarring design quirk, I find that it helps to keep the overall design balanced and also allows one to read off the elapsed time should it fall within that particular position.
(That Lovely Blue Gradient) Dial
The 28mm dial sits comfortably within the lug-less 40mm case. As you can see in the photos, it comes in an extraordinarily brilliant sunburst dial with hints of blue and black. The dial is remarkably untouched over the years with no signs of spotting or fading of the printing.
The date and day discs are white text on a black background which helps it to blend in with the blue dial. “Sunday” comes in red, while the alternate language is Japanese for my model.
The bright orange chronograph hand is of a shade brighter than the orange “SpeedTimer” text at the 6 o’clock position. As with all chronographs, the hour and minute hands are baton styled with a strip of lume in the middle.
Before moving on, the attentive reader would have already noted that there are no sub-dials whatsoever on this model. That’s correct. This is a 60 sec chronograph, which makes it either the cleanest chronograph ever or the most useless chronograph ever.
The watch is a fairly thick 12 cm and both push buttons and the crown are completely unadorned of any sort of markings.
The caseback is similarly unadorned except for the usual information detailing the water resistance, movement numbers, etc. From the serial number, my model was produced in ’74.
Otherwise, this watch has probably one of the simplest finishing I’ve handled so far, being polished all over, allowing its beautiful blue dial to stand out!
The original bracelet comes with a single fold over clasp, with the Seiko 5 branding on it. Rather than being simply stamped on to the clasp, there are actually stripes within the engraved wordings.
Given the lug-less design, the bracelet comes with straight end links, but a major peeve I have with this watch is that the lug size is 15mm! So other than having a super small lug size and it is also in an odd number which makes finding an aftermarket strap exceedingly hard to get hold of.
The bracelet comes in squares of three with all parts being made of folded metal. This is of course on par for the era that this watch was introduced in, where even Rolex watches had folded metal bracelets.
The Seiko 701X was introduced by the Daini side of the family and was for a period of time the thinnest column wheel, vertical clutch chronograph ever before the Swiss came along to reclaim the crown in the late 70. It was significantly thinner than its 613X cousins from Suwa and had the additional functionality of a flyback mechanism. It is a automatic movement, beats at 21,600bph and does not hack.
The date change is operated by turning the crown anti-clockwise while in the first click position, and the day is operated by pushing in the crown! Quick-set day operation is not yet available at this point in time.
It might also interest viewers that the popular 4R movements of today, can be traced back to the 7S movements, which in turn can be traced back to the 700X movements, which are themselves from the same family as the 701X chronograph movement found in this very watch.
There are more to vintage Seiko chronographs than the usual Bullheads, Monacos, etc and this model here is a perfect example of it. I’m not quite certain why these models are not more popular given its classic beauty, which is perhaps offset by its limited functionality (only a 60 sec timer) and dressy size (40mm case paired with 15 mm lugs). However, given the latest tendency for watch consumers to look past the obscene case sizes of the past decade and back to the dressy, elegant watches of 40mm and below, perhaps this particular model will have a chance to bask in its own beauty soon.