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Discussion Starter #1
Do some passionate expert wants to tell me a little of BELL-MATIC's history? O:)
 

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Ok, here is something :)

The Bell-Matic was introduced as 4006-7000 model in November 1966 in Japan and at that time was the world's first alarm wristwatch with a CENTRAL ROTOR automatic.
November 66 specimens are characterized by their 'dolphin' caseback and a notch in the case for the alarm button.

In mid 1967, a special Bell-Matic model was introduced in Seiko's 'Business' watch line, aka the business bell, which was however discontinued again after a few months of production.

Due to import tarrifs in the US, the high jewel count of the original 4006A design (27J) was a drawback for exporting to the US.
Thus a special calibre 4006A variant with 21J was produced in two case variants (7019 and 7029) specifically for the north american market.

A date-only Bell-Matic (calibre 4005A) was introduced in mid 68 and remained in production for approx. 1 year.

In mid 1969, a 17J derivative of calibre 4006A was introduced, which was used in almost all Bell-Matic models produced afterwards, with the main exception of the 7011/7012 models, which were most probably JDMs.

The Bell-Matic line was discontinued altogether in 1978, but it should be noted that in very rare occasions, some cases from 1979 can be found (which however are believed to be 'repair cases' i. e., they did not leave the factory as a complete watch).

Best,
Hermann
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I knew I could count on you Hermann! :great:


Where BELL were produced? For what reasons are two movements: 4005/4006 with three different jewels: 27,21 and 17?


PS. What do it means "JDMs"?
 

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I think you might want to wait for Hermann or some other "Belle" expert to confirm some of the following, but here goes:

JDM = Japan Domestic Market = Watches made specifically to be sold in Japan only. This I know for a fact, and have seen it documented elsewhere.

The 27J - 21J - 17J conundrum: (This you may want to have verified) The first Belles were made with 27 jewels. However, because the US imposed high tarriffs on watches having that many jewels, Seiko decided to lower the jewel count on 4006s being exported to the US down to 21 jewels, which would allow them to export these to the US without the heavy tarriff penalty. The eventual lowering to 17 jewels was probably made as an economizing move. A jewel count of 17 is the minimum at which a watch can be considered fully jeweled. This doubtless came later, probably toward the late 1970s, when mechanical watches were fighting for their life against the onslaught of quartz watches (or so it was seen at the time - and who knows, it might even have been true!).

As for where Belles were produced, I am completely at a loss there. The instinctive answer (which probably means it's wrong!) is Japan. However, by then Seiko had plants in several other countries, and they may indeed have been produced outside Japan. So, on this one, we'll have to wait to hear from Hermann, or someone else who knows their Belles.
 

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Any idea of the actual production run years for each jewel count.
I've been told the the 27J run was up to 1971 - is that correct?

Thanks,, Mike
 

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Based upon casing guides available to me...

I constructed the fact sheets displayed below. They give some idea of availability in a general sense, I think. Also, they do not take into consideration the first three years (1967-1969). As for jewels, basically, the 27J movement (like the 17J) seems to have been available throughout the production run.



Any idea of the actual production run years for each jewel count.
I've been told the the 27J run was up to 1971 - is that correct?

Thanks,, Mike
 

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It was more expensive...

... when the watches were offered, but you can find 27J movements throughout the run. Now, exactly how many did they make each year, compared to the 17J? Who knows? ;)
Hi John,

Just wondering as I notice on the bay that sellers tend to describe the 27J as "much rarer" etc.

Thanks,, Mike
 

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Can anyone clarify regarding the 4006-6020 as to wether it was produced as a 27jewel and 17jewel? as my 6020 is a 27 jewel and my other 6021's are 17 jewel. I have been informed that they are called 6020/6021 because the large or small stem tube is this correct or does the 6020 relate to the 27j and the 6021 relate to the 17 j?

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Can anyone clarify regarding the 4006-6020 as to wether it was produced as a 27jewel and 17jewel? as my 6020 is a 27 jewel and my other 6021's are 17 jewel. I have been informed that they are called 6020/6021 because the large or small stem tube is this correct or does the 6020 relate to the 27j and the 6021 relate to the 17 j?

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I have a 4006-6020 27 Jewels from January 1970





I have also seen a couple of 6020 in a 17 Jewel model,an example from April 1971




The dial on the 27 Jewel model has -6030T ,17 Jewel model has -6040 T. 6020/6021 are the case model numbers, the last number represents the region they were sold,0 sold in Japan JDM (Japanese Domestic Market), 1 I believe is North America.

Apologise if any of the information is incorrect. Would be interested to learn more from the experts.
 

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My collection this is my lot 2x 4005 and 1x 27j and 2x 17j 6021 one of which I have swapped out the original black enamel bezel for the blue, just something different


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My collection this is my lot 2x 4005 and 1x 27j and 2x 17j 6021 one of which I have swapped out the original black enamel bezel for the blue, just something different
Beautiful collection,would love one of the rare models like your 4005.

Last month I was so close to bidding on this on Yahoo Auctions [Link]




A Bell-Matic 4006-7000 from December 1966,second month of production after they were introduced in November 1966.The month before had the Holy Grail "Dolphin Caseback" which changed to the Horseshoe in December 1966


Early dial with"Diashock" on it only seen for a couple of months, another early feature where the button for the alarm has a notch in the case,instead of the cut out later on. Not sure what i was thinking even considering bidding on it as the condition was really bad,even the red marker for the alarm has worn off,it did not even have a crown!

Still would of loved to save it,also really would love to own a Business Bell
 

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I just bought the grey faced 4005 and about 1 month ago that has completed the ones, I personally Iiked I know there are lots, I love the appeal of the mechanical alarm, I'm not a heavy sleeper and they work just fine for me

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Oddly enough, I saw another december 66 diashock for sale just recently on the usual place. Its in a bit better condition but no bargain at USD1000. I'm not sure the owner knew how rare it is, it was just listed as seiko 4006 7000.
452301
 

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Oddly enough, I saw another december 66 diashock for sale just recently on the usual place. Its in a bit better condition but no bargain at USD1000. I'm not sure the owner knew how rare it is, it was just listed as seiko 4006 7000.
Yes actually saw that one myself,Including the two already mentioned above I have seen four Diashock this year. Both had also no mention of Diashock.

The first was from August 1967 [Link] , actually put in a bid for this one at the last minute and it was mine for two minutes before going higher,chickened out 😟




The second was from January 1967 [Link]



Need to stay away from auction sites,dangerous place 😄. Really hope they went to someone who knew what they are as that is what stopped me bidding in case it was someone on here who has more experience and the means to fix them up then I have.
 

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Chance is a funny thing, it doesn't make sense. I've seen more dolphin back bellmatics than I had the later diashock ones, until now. 35 years ago, I started to collect LED watched from the 70's. The original digital watches, which had red LED numbers. I remember being at school and wanting one. They were made from about 1974 in small numbers up to 1977 when they became much more available. They were quite unreliable and used up batteries very fast. For about 5 years (25 years ago), you could find loads on ebay, but towards the end, they dried up as they went into collections. Now all you see is the occasional very expnsive one, or some broken ones. I get the impression from watching bellmatics for years now, that we are going through a phase where people are surprised what they are becoming worth, and we are seeing non-collectors unloading them. There are a lot of trashy ones now, plus expensive "restored" ones with people hoping to cash in. There were less LED watches made, but its possible we will see the same effect, and if so, it will only be another few years before they dry up. Thats when they might beging to increase in value, although it is surprising if you look back at what is actually selling now. There are a lot about $70~200 but also a surprising number at $500~800. I find it really odd that the expensive ones sell for what they do. The power of BS speak, which the sellers usually come up with, is obviously effective. I've yet to figure out how its possible to machine a case back to factory specs for instance. The cases were very precision items, and somehow removing metal brings them back to factory spec? I have a particualr hatred of marketing and BS talkers, but I have to give them credit for effectively taking advantage of people.
 

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Not sure if this is a relevant bit of history

While doing research on my Bell-Matic,one of the many forum posts i looked through was "Famous Seiko Wearers" on Watchuseek [Link].Really cool Thread,some interesting people mentioned wearing Seiko.
Going through the Thread,found mention of a Bell-Matic that was worn by former
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon [Link],unfortunately the picture is broken. Had searched through many pictures of him to see if i could find a picture of him wearing it.

Finally found the picture



Taken June 1977,Ariel Sharon on the right with Prime Minister Menachem Begin on the left.I believe he is wearing a 4006-6027 Bell-Matic



Ariel Sharon was a general in the Israeli Army,later went into politics and Prime Minister from 2001-2006.He died in 2014.Here is a Wikipedia page for more information on his background [Link]

Looks like he was into watches,another picture later in life showing wearing a Breitling Aerospace

 
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