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The story actually starts with the 33j 400 caliber produced between July 1963 and February 1965 but does not gather pace until the arrival of the 6206 successor in May 1964. The 6206 is similar to the 400 but was downjewelled to 26j and simplified to make it easier and cheaper to produce. Made until February 1967, the 6206 was one of Seikos most well known and most widely sold movements both within and outside of Japan. The 6206 also represented a significant price cut to JPY 12,500 from the JPY 15,000 of the 400. The 6206 inherited the Weekdater brand of the 400 but this seems to have been dropped from later versions. The 6206 is probably the Seiko watch (together with the Marvel) that has existed in most versions and I will try to describe the most common ones below.

Early 6206 had a snapback case but this was soon replaced by the screwback. The caseback design is usually the well known dolphin but at the end of its life, the 6206 also has the simpler circular Seiko design. As usual, there is both SS and goldplated cases. Early 6206 use the etched caseback more sensitive to wear while the newer ones have the stamped version like the below picture. Cases also come with a number of different outer bezels both plain and more elaborate. All my watches have plain bezels so there are no other examples.

Dials come in four general types, three of them seen below: half size markers with no inner bezel, long markers with minute graded inner bezel and the lego-style blocks on the crosshair dial. The fourth one is a very rare type with square markers at 3, 6, 9 and 12 and a graded dial. Day window is a 6 for types 1, 2 and 4 and at 9 for type 3. Dials exist in both white, black and silver with a number of surface treatments. The day wheel is one langauge only in English or Kanji with a blue Saturday and a red Sunday. Day window exist in both framed and unframed versions, possibly with the framed version only with 6206B calibers. Branding change from the cursive Seikomatic script and the Seikomatic logo to the printed Seikomatic text with the applied Seiko logo.

The 6206 caliber was produced in both A and B variants, with 6206B introduced in August 1965. The main change seems to be better efficiency in the day wheel function. For more details, see the Seikomatic page (www.h4.dion.ne.jp/~smatic/62series/4006206/6206ab.html?SLANG=ja&TLANG=en&XMODE=1&XCHARSET=x-sjis).

I am particularly fond of these watches as they have a classic Seiko design. They were made to be good but affordable watches for the normal salary-man and therefore represent a typical piece of Japanese society during the mid-60s, which to me was one of Seikos best and most representative periods. As they were made in large numbers, it is not hard to find one at an affordable price in good condition. For example, my latest purchase which is the first watch below cost only USD 60.

But let us look at some watches.

This is a 6206-8130 from 1966 in very good condition. Note the stubby hands.



The second one is a July 1965 6206-8990 with the snapback case.



The third one is another May 1965 6206-8980. It has the angular shaped screwback.



The next one is a black dial 6206-8040 from February 1966. The weekdater brand is now gone and it has the modern notched screwin caseback.



The last one is the April 1965 6206-8010 with the 9 oclock day window.



For further information, the Seikomatic pages (in Japanese) are as usual an excellent source.

http://www.h4.dion.ne.jp/~smatic/62series/4006206/4006206.html

/ martin
 

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Great read, thanks Martback - always nice to learn something on a Sunday! I have a very similar looking 1964 Seikomatic Weekdater 6218-8970, do you have any information regarding the relationship between the 6206 weekdaters and the 6618 weekdaters?:


 

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nhoJ said:
Do these predate the use of the 66 and 6602?
The 66 series (as the 254/6601 Sportsmatic caliber) is earlier than the 62 series starting already in 1961 and is sold as a cheaper alternative to the 603 Seikomatic. However, as 6606 and 6619 (both usually Sportsmatic) it is very much contemporary to the 6206 and shares a lot of designs with the 6206 while being more moderately priced and marketed towards a younger audience.

/ martin
 

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Harry said:
Great read, thanks Martback - always nice to learn something on a Sunday! I have a very similar looking 1964 Seikomatic Weekdater 6218-8970, do you have any information regarding the relationship between the 6206 weekdaters and the 6618 weekdaters?:
The 6218 is very much the big brother to the 6206. Seikomatic (see link above) mentions that they are essentially branches of the same development starting with the 400 but one getting less jewels and the other getting more jewels. The 6218 also goes through the same A and B evolution.

/ martin
 

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Hi Martin,
Thanks for this interesting post. I believe the 60's was a most interesting decade for Seiko, with the creation of many different mechanical movements and at the same time the definition of a "Seiko aesthetic style" for the cases, dials and hands.
The watches you have in your collection of 6206's seem to be high-end, serious watches yet relatively affordable. It seems Seiko paid a lot of attention to market segmentation and correct positioning of different models in different market segments, leaving little space for the competition in mechanical watches.
It seems they continued with this strategy well into the 70's, and then continued with the quartz revolution.
Certainly an interesting history.
Cheers,
Andrew
 

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What a great post!! I can't agree more about the quality and value of this movement. It really is about as Seiko as a Seiko could get. What I mean, is that it is very high quality without all the hype. It is a true work horse that contiues to rival many modern watches. I love the clean, understated designs too. Here is mine!!!



 

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Martin, home run. I really admire the depth of knowledge you have amassed and pass on. In particular I appreciate the content reflecting a great period in Seiko's history, defining their appeal by combining quality, reliability, and affordability to produce a type of watch that doesnt get as much airtime as they deserve these days.
 

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martback said:
The 6218 is very much the big brother to the 6206. Seikomatic (see link above) mentions that they are essentially branches of the same development starting with the 400 but one getting less jewels and the other getting more jewels. The 6218 also goes through the same A and B evolution.

/ martin
Hi Martin - thanks for the insight!
 
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