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I'd like to share my favorite vintage chrono with you: The Seiko 6138-3002.



The main reason, I love this one, is its dial. It is simple but on the other hand interesting and surprising everytime you look at it.



Simplicity:

  • No metal is used, except the Seiko logo. Everything is printed.
    The dial is very big and readable.
    The hands have a military layout. Chrono function hands are yellow.
    The day/date display is integrated very decently into the dial.
    It has no running second.
Surprise:

  • The dial reflects depending on different lightning situations. When it's a cloudy day, the dial color is grey. On a shiny day it is decent marine blue.
    The dial has four layers. Everyone is designed a level deeper into the dial. The first is the small chapter ring. It holds small lume points at the hour markers. After >30 years they vanish and actually stopped luming at night. The second layer displays the hour, minute and second markers. The third level holds the branding ("Seiko Chronograph Automatic") and displays the day/date window. There is a transition to the fourth level. It displays the two chrono registers. These four layers make the dial very vivid.
This ambiguity between simplicity and surprise is what I really enjoy. This watch doesn't cry "look at me". It wants to be detected ...which is not difficult because of it's size. The case is 43mm wide and 16mm high. Because it has no bezel, it is very present.



One reason for it's size is the big caliber, the 6138. It was designed after Seikos first auto caliber, the 6139 (strange numbering!). This caliber features: it can be handwound, it has a hour register, day/date display. Something i like very much is, that it blocks when it`s completely wound. Used permanently it blocks immediatly, because the automatic winding mechanism works perfectly. This feature gives a nice feedback!

Maybe historically this was Seikos top level automatic chrono caliber. I had to regulate it once and it still performes perfect. It has a very big balance wheel and seems to be build like a tank (knock on wood ;-).

When I bought the watch, it still had it's original bracelet. It has a classic fishbone design.




Compared to nowadays standards, it seems ridiculous mounted on a watch with this dimensions. But it had carried the case for +30years! The links of the bracelet are folded. The width tapers down to 16mm at the clasp. Here is a side by side shot with a 20mm super oyster.



Of course I still have the original bracelet. But it's in the drawer now. I'm afraid a link breaks and the watch falls of the wrist during activity. So I replaced it with an solid link oyster style bracelet. The end links are bought from the jmk500-ebay store. They had to be widened a bit to fit with this case.



I also tried leather straps. There are lots of pictures with nice strap combinations in the net. But the case part, which is normally covered by the end links, is visible then. Since it's not grinded, it looks raw and ugly.

The case is similar to the Omega Speedmaster case. I like the case flow. The links an the oyster bracelet integrate very well and emphasize the classic appearance. The case wears very comfortable. It has very soft lines. Here you see different levels as well, which follow special lines. It is a very nice manufactured case.



The glass is an aftermarket loup which focusses the dials details.



But there are drawbacks in owning a vintage watch. As already stated, lume disappears from the chapter ring. When you look closer to the pic you might realize the paint falled of the dial and hands. This is dangerous for the movement.



So I enjoy everyday, this beauty performes. And I praise Seikos craftsmanship! This tank is a proof that Seiko doesn't have to hide behind Swiss brands.

Long may you run!

Thanks for reading!!
 

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Nice review.
Here a picture of two of mine.
One of these watches has propaply an aftermarket dial,see the difference of thikness of the subdialmarkings.
 

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My 6138-3002 repair & Thank you

After searching around for a dream watch for years, I ended up settling on this Seiko and after reading this post I resigned myself to making the very same watch-strap combo.

I bought my 6138-3002 from 'watchcooking', an eBay seller based in the Philippines, whose Seiko/Citizen workshop must be impressive. I would like to know how he finds them all! The watch I bought was a little damaged, with the lume coming off and had no strap, but I took it anyway feeling it was all cosmetic and the strap wasn't an issue as I wanted this super-oyster replacement anyway.

Bought the watch, and then the oyster strap, with no problems.
The end links, between the actual watch and strap were difficult to source and after trying to get lucky with other similar looking cheap straps from eBay I finally contacted jmk500 as eluded to by the original poster.
He agreed to custom make me the end-links!

So after about 3 years of dreaming and scrabbling around with a large number second hand Seiko's - the dream came true.

Big thank you to the original poster for the template,
Thank you to jmk500 for the custom work.
And A big Thank you to my grandfather for spear-heading the project.

Thank you Chaps!

I don't know if I'm lucky with this but It also keeps time really well.
It keeps time for 2 resting days at least.
I did snap the main winder shaft-pin though, I was winding it on in the first week of use and it simply sheared.
My grandfather bought another from Germany and fitted it - all works perfectly! Though I have been cautious not to wind it using the crown ever-since.

Still a really cool watch and I agree with everything the OP says:

Simple, classic design, great size, great looking balance of technical quality, and style.

I'm VERY happy.
 

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Puffinhat. It is a beautiful watch. A good read for you first post and I think with a massive amount of sadness (but also cheer for a good man: jmk500/Jonathan/Swedefreak) that regular scwf members will have when reading this.
 

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Mine says hi:

Sorry about the bad photo. I'll exchange it when I get to a proper camera.
It just arrived today and is in nice condition, chrono returns to exact 12 o'clock. However, the bracelet and endlinks are missing. There is still a seller on ebay for these - "seikosis", are these the same end links?
 

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Mr. Jones

"There is still a seller on ebay for these - "seikosis", are these the same end links?"

A word of caution about replacement parts available on internet auction sites and elsewhere. Replacement parts sold as new or original or whatever, may or may not be just that. Replacement parts sold for vintage Seiko timepieces or any other brand for that matter, often do NOT meet the same manufacturing standards as original NOS (new old stock) parts. I recommend looking for and buying NOS parts when possible or ask the advice of an experienced watch repair person whether a specific part warrants being an NOS part. Some replacement parts can be quite good, such as some replacement Seiko crowns etc. Just beware that some parts can be "new" but also may be substandard in one way or another such as fit, finish etc.. Ask sellers about return policies and guarantees before buying. Have fun and keep your eyes open !
 

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Thanks, Chronomaster!

I'm currently looking into yobokies 6105 end links, as the ones I mentioned above do seem a bit flimsy.

However, I've got another question: When I look at "original" bracelet photos, I noticed that the bracelet (Seiko stelux fishbone, I guess) end was wider than the lug width of the watch. I can't really make out by how much. Probably 20mm? It seems that it picks up on the taper of the lugs. I've currently send all my fishbone bracelets (with attached 6139-6002s) to Tom Hickman, so I can't test this. If these are the same bracelets at all.

The Jumbo lugs are exactly 22mm wide at the "straight" part - would a 22mm bracelet (I'm thinking yobokies "Hammer") look good on this watch? Or would one rather go with 20mm (and loose out at the interchangability with several divers)?

Anyone got a 22mm bracelet and a Jumbo at hand? ;)
 

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Here's mine!
A 6138-3000 with petrol dial.

Yes this series never ceased to amaze me. The size, the design, the performance...every little detail is so well thought of. The design especially doesn't show that this is a 70's watch....love it, love it, love it!
IMG_20200416_093615.jpg
 
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