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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The 7017-6050 Rally Meter, the “Eyeless Rally”

EXACTLY What’s an Auto Rally?
Strictly speaking, a rally (also called time-speed-distance or TSD) is a timed motorsport that mostly takes place on public roads.



Rallys aren’t just about speed. The cars are running against the clock rather than head to head.



Rally racing typically features driving over long distances on ordinary roads, facing hazards such as traffic, pedestrians and farm animals.



While still held today, rally racing was at its height of popularity in the late 1960s and early 70s.



Each driver is accompanied by a navigator who calculates the time and speed. The rally winner is determined by whichever driver adheres closest to the predetermined ideal “journey time”. So keeping track of your speed and distance is paramount.



In order for the navigators to manage to maintain the driver’s speed and rhythm within the “regular” speeds imposed on them, they felt the need for instruments beyond what came installed from the factory. It must be remembered that the 60s’ and 70s was still an analogue world. The only extra instrumentation most rally participants had might have been a stopwatch and clock mounted on the dash



and maybe a dual-display odometer.





If you Google the term “rally meter” today, you will run into a range of digital instruments from smartphone apps, all the way to computers designed to be directly hard-wired into your car’s electrical system.



But the first, purpose built rally meter that there is evidence for is the the Seiko 7017-6050 “Rally Meter” watch, introduced in 1970.

Suwa vs. Daini



During the 1960s’ and 70s’ Seiko’s Suwa Seikosha factory and the Daini Seikosha factory were run as separate entities in order to promote competition and spark innovation within Seiko. Having Suwa and Daini operating as almost separate companies meant that they had their own independent engineering and design departments. Thus each of the two divisions engineered its own unique movements as well cultivated its own styling.


In 1969 Suwa announced a triumph with the introduction of the 6139, the first commercially available automatic chronograph.



Well, if Daini couldn’t beat its rival at being the first out the gate with an automatic chronograph, maybe they could produce the thinnest automatic chronograph movement ever made.



In 1970, Daini introduced the 7017 chronograph movement. With a thickness of just 5.9 mm, the 7017 set a world record for the thinnest chronograph movement.

But to achieve the movement’s record-breaking slimness, the designers at Daini had to leave out all the cool looking sub-dials and registers like the ones found on the 6139 and 6138. What could Daini offer in the place of those attractive sub-dials and registers?



All of Suwa’s 6139 and 6138 chronographs sported a standard (but stationary) tachymeter ring. So one way for Daini to distinguish itself was for their 7019s to feature moveable dial rings that could perform functions unavailable on the 6139.

The 7017-6050 “Rally Meter”



By 1970 tachymeters were nothing special, all chronographs had them since the start of the century. What would differentiate the 7017-6050 was the addition of the internal "Rally Meter" slide rule bezel.



The 7017-6050 Rally Meter has only one logarithmic scale that rotates around the fixed scale on the dial. Its ONLY function is to calculate the speed and distance traveled during a regularity rally.

Most other slide rule bezels have a confusing array of multiple scales for calculating everything from fuel consumption, air speed and distance, sine, cosine and tangent, to how much to tip the waiter.



This spartan markings of the 7017-6050’s slide rule are in strong contrast to the complicated scales found on the majority of slide rule bezels out there.



Directions
I had a very hard time trying to understand the original 7017-6050 Rally Meter instructions before I realized that it wasn’t me. It's just a very awkward 50 year-old Japanese to English translation.

Here's the original:



I carefully read over the brochure, and using my 25 years of experience as a high school and middle school English teacher, came up with what I hope is a more sensible English construction.

This is my reconstruction:



The Bracelet
I usually argue that for the Seiko’s of this era, the bracelet is half the point. And while the bracelet is indeed unique to this watch, I have to confess that there is nothing about it that particularly compliments the case.



The 7017-6050 Rally Meter would look just as good (if not better) on any number of appropriate “rally” straps as it does on its original bracelet.

The Knock Offs
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and within a year of launching the 7017-6050 Rally Meter in 1970, two other competitors released watches with similar slide rule bezels designed only to calculate the speed and distance traveled in an automobile. There was the almost identical Citizen Rally Custom, launched about a year after Seiko's Rally Meter, and Swiss Camy Rally King, which came out two years later in 1972.



“The Eyeless Rally”
Among collectors in Japan the 7017-6950 Rally Meter has earned the nickname of “the Eyeless Rally” (「目なしラリー」) for its lack of sub-dials.



In today’s world of computers and smartphones, few of us really knows, or really wants to know how a slide rule bezel works.


A 1970 7017-6050 beside a 7015-7010 from 1972, which features the same "Rally Timer" slide rule bezel.

Even the workings of the simplified 7017-6050 slide rule bezel will elude most of us, rendering its purpose as largely ornamental. But hey, it still looks pretty cool!

 

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excellent review and well presented material. another beautiful presentation.

Question: where does the -6020 version fit into this? It is also considered a rally meter with the only difference being a slight variance of the tachymeter scale.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
excellent review and well presented material. another beautiful presentation.

Question: where does the -6020 version fit into this? It is also considered a rally meter with the only difference being a slight variance of the tachymeter scale.
I don't know much about the 6020s, but you have sparked my curiosity. I really like the shape of them.

Sent from my LG-US998 using Tapatalk
 

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Great write up and review!
 

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I don't know much about the 6020s, but you have sparked my curiosity. I really like the shape of them.

Sent from my LG-US998 using Tapatalk
Here is a picture of my -6020. The differences with the -6050 are very subtle, the biggest being the outer tachy ring. I haven't taken the time to look up the differences between the two rings - guess? One is for high speed applications and the other is for slow speed maybe ...

Anyhow, great write-up on one of my favorite watches.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My very own 7017-6050 came in the mail today. It has it's original bracelet, and it's long enough to fit comfortably around my wrist.

Usually having the original bracelet, if not a prerequisite, is a bonus. But not this time.



The endpieces are rough, and the links are well worn. Moreover, it doesn't really contribute anything to the styling. The catalogs actually show it on an H-link, which looks at least as good as the one it's on. I think I'll give that a try and put the original away for now.

It's working fine, but i'm still going to have it serviced and put in a new rotating ring that I have coming.

 

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SH - outstanding, and I mean outstanding work. I did some "civilized" TSD (meaning only on paved roads) while at university in the 1980s. One of my big attractions to my turbo Subarus (e.g. the WRX) is that company's long legacy of Ralley competition. It makes for one wicked street car, especially in the northern part of the US (although I would argue that I'm mid-Atlantic). :)

I have copied your revised instruction set - thank you!

Perhaps my second favorite Seiko chrono is the 7017 series. I'm going to try to see if I can work my -6020 in this way. This also explains the need for the flyback function of the 7017s.
 

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I don't own 7015 rally. But upon close inspection of the bezel insert- they are different, the 7015 has dot marking for each number while for 7017-6050 it is a thick line. P.S. the reproduction has even got smaller dot marking than the original.
 

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My watch collecting fever comes on & off. This is copied somewhere years ago. I think it is useful to those 7017 enthusiast:)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Some recent observations:

The internal rotating bezel of the 7017-6050 comes in two variants.

The most common variant is missing the number 10, and has a luminous pip in its place (see first three pictures).

The other less common variant has the number 10 and has no luminous pip (see last picture).



The 7017-6050 dial also comes in two variants.

 

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Eyeless Rally

Excellent thread on a very unique and distinctive Seiko.
I pulled up a photo of mine and was surprised to see that its inner bezel has both the number 10 and the luminous pip!!!

ben



Some recent observations:

The internal rotating bezel of the 7017-6050 comes in two variants.

The most common variant is missing the number 10, and has a luminous pip in its place (see first three pictures).

The other less common variant has the number 10 and has no luminous pip (see last picture).



The 7017-6050 dial also comes in two variants.

 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Excellent thread on a very unique and distinctive Seiko.
I pulled up a photo of mine and was surprised to see that its inner bezel has both the number 10 and the luminous pip!!!

ben

I've seen that as well on line. I wonder if changes correspond to a particular year, or if they correspond to being proof or resist. Which one is an early variation, and which one came later?

I noticed that he dial with the white triangle just has the dot and no 10, while the dial with the orange triangle has the dot below the 10.

 
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