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Authored by sharpie

1984 SEIKO H556-5029 Sports 100 "Pre-Arnie" Alarm Chronograph review

Hello to all

I am happy to contribute another review to the vintage japanese watch review section with my Seiko H556-5029 Sports 100 Alarm Chronograph.

Here we go:

OVERVIEW

This Seiko Chronograph is often called the "Pre-Arnie" or "Baby-Arnold" - cause it is the predecessor of the famous big Seiko "Arnie-Diver" which everyone reading in this forum should know.




BRACELET

I still have the original stainless steel bracelet of the watch, but since a few years I wear the watch only with a Nato-strap. This is comfortable and I think it looks just too cool

The original bracelet has folded stainless steel links. The middle links are black colored - the black parts on my bracelet here are partially faded.
Bracelet is marked on the clasp with: Seiko SQ, and on the inside with: All Stainless Steel Japan Z.
End links are marked with: Z474. Lug size: 20mm.

[img]http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/5904/seiko03.jpg



CASE

The case of the watch is made out of solid stainless steel with nice little design details.

I like the asymmetrical placement of the crown and pushers a lot.

The screwdown crown is safely covered by the case - the diameter of the crown is just right to easily unscrew it for setting the hands, alarm-time etc.

Pushers on the left side are nicely bordered.

Case diameter (which sounds a bit small nowadays) is a little bit over 37mm without pushers and crown, and 37 mm from lug tu lug. Height is 9mm.

But believe me, once this watch is on the wrist - especially with a Nato-strap, the size doesn´t matter anymore.

The screwback is marked with: Water Resist Stainless Steel H556-5029 A0 43xxxx, the Suwa-symbol and the nice Seiko typical wave-symbol.

[img]
[img]
[img]


BEZEL + CRYSTAL

The bezel is a bi-directional turning bezel. Non-clicking, without a "click-ball"
It is a press-on/snap-on fit on the case and is hold in place by a bezel gasket.

I really try hard to get the crystal more scratched, cause i like the look of used watches - but it still looks nice [img] - this is a benefit of the bezel cause it is slightly raised and this helps to prevent scratches on the crystal.

The crystal is a mineral(?)-glass with flattened edges.

I really like it that it looks like it is placed totally flat over the hands. From some angles it seems like the hands are nearly touching the glass. So the glass allows to see the hands nearly from every angle - which is great.

[img]


DIAL AND HANDS

Dial is marked in white lettering with: Seiko Quartz Sports 100 Alarm Chronograph Japan H556-506L T and the Suwa symbol.

The middle part of the dial is a matte black. The tachymeter scale around the dial is in a matte black-grey.

The hour markers are made of lume squares which are still glowing pretty good for their age.

The minute- hour- and seconds-hand are white colored. Hour- and minute-hand are filled with lume which is also still glowing nicely.

You can easily read the time on that dial - it has a good clean and functional design.

The position of the digital display at 12 o´clock is a good design choice too. Every function that is displayed there, is always clearly visible with the analogue time too.

[img]http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/3941/seiko09.jpg


MOVEMENT

The watch is equipped with the Seiko H556 quartz analog/digital chronograph movement.

Parts and function of this movement are identical to the Seiko H557 caliber and and some of the movement parts are interchangeable with the Seiko caliber H558 too.

If someone here can tell when the H556 movement was first introduced by Seiko -please post it here, cause I don´t know the first year it was released.

The Caliber H556 has a 3 jeweled step motor, its quartz crystal oscilator does 32,768 hz/cycles per second.
It can be regulated/fine-adjusted with its rotary step switch.
This is a very well made and functional movement.

Apologies for not showing pictures of the movement of my watch - I just had it pressure tested 4 month ago and I don´t want to open the watch. If someone has a picture of this movement and would ad it to that post that would be cool.

Movement functions:

- tri-time function: hometime and local time display are in the digital function and the time display in the analog function.

- analogue three-hand display (hour, minute and second)

- the digital times can be displayed in 12-hour or 24-hour indication

- digital date

- hourly time signal

- digital stopwatch (the stopwatch can measure minute, second and 1/100 second up to 60 minutes)

- illuminating light (illuminates the digital display)

- alarm

- battery life indicator (if the battery needs to be replaced all the digits in the digital display start flashing)

An interesting feature of the movement is that you set the alarm, date or the digital time by turning the crown after unscrewing it and setting it to the right position.

Once you get used to it, I think it is an handy function. Setting the alarm time does not last longer than for example with my casio DW-5600, it is just different.

This watch got a nice alarm-sound, kind of two different tones one after another.

Ah yes, I like watches with an alarm function. I always miss this function when I wear one of my mechanical watches. Traveling without an alarm-watch or going to sleep without one by my side would not be possible for me. How should I wake up in the morning? hahaha.





CLOSING OPINIONS

Ana-digis, especially the ones from the 80ies, are some of my favorite watches.
I have a few ana-digis, but the one of them i always wear and trust is this Seiko.

I have this watch for a long time now and I really like the military-/tool-look of it. But the best thing is that it is absolutely reliable.
A lot of my other watches, especially the mechanical ones don´t give me that feeling from time to time.

Okay, maybe the most reliable and toughest watch I own is my digital G-Shock GW-5600J Wave Ceptor Tough Solar with no moving parts which could fall off etc. But this old Seiko here can take a rough beating too and is still spot on for a long time now. I only had the watchmaker changing the battery from time to time and letting it pressure checked every year. The movement with every function never failed in all those years I own the watch.This is real quality!

And it is a great replacement for one of my super-grail watches: A Seiko SAD048 Field Master/Sports 100 Ana-Digi with the H558 caliber - which I am hunting for quite some years now.

Thanks for reading. I hope you all enjoyed this review. If someone has any questions or corrections to my review, please let me know.

All the best.

sharpie
 

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Thanks very much for your description...enlightening...I am about to order some parts from Jule Borel and Co., but haven't a clue about crystal size and type to order or a bezel ring insert...also have probs wiith digital readout but ebay supplied sub for those interior parts...would you have or refer me to any sizes I would need? any info would help and I hope you get this...I am not good repairing watches, frankly, haven't a clue nor am I good at forums...
Hope to hear from you,
thanks
[email protected]
 

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Sorry for refloting this one, but i need help: got one baby arnold working, but in need of the crown gaskets to be able to stand water again. Any ideas will be really welcome. Regards
 

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Seiko Arnie

Great post.

Anyone know which watch version was actually worn by Mr Schwarzenegger?

H601, H556 and H558 are all touted as being "Arnies"??

Thanks!
 

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H558

Great post.

Anyone know which watch version was actually worn by Mr Schwarzenegger?

H601, H556 and H558 are all touted as being "Arnies"??

Thanks!
It was a H558, but being it a H558-5000 or H558-5009 this is another good forum question.

If you would like to see more H558 then check out them all here, and some photos of Arnie wearing it.

https://www.facebook.com/kintaro.hattori.h558/photos_albums

Kind regards
Wayne
 
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