Seiko is home to a wide variety of celebrated vintage watches that have made a long-lasting mark on the sphere of horology. Indeed, considering how rich in heritage and innovation Seiko is, it is little surprise that the Japanese watch brand has such an excellent catalog of iconic, legendary classics.
In this article, we will get to know some of the vintage Seiko watches. Let us delve into the best vintage Seiko watches available as we discover how the popular watchmaker has crafted them into such marvelous timepieces.
Best Vintage Seiko Watches
1. Seiko 62MAS
Let us start off with the most iconic dive watch to grace the world of horology: the Seiko 62MAS. Although widely known by this name, it actually comes with the reference number 6217-8000. Launched in 1965, this Seiko Prospex piece paved the way for the watch brand’s roster of dive watches in the years to come. This timepiece is easily one of the most famous vintage Seiko watches ever, so much so that Seiko continues to release modern re-issues of it, with one example being the Seiko SPB149.
The Seiko 62MAS comes in a 37mm stainless steel case and a black rubber strap with a fashionable pyramid stud pattern. Affixed to the top of the watch case is a unidirectional rotating bezel, with a black elapsed time scale insert made of aluminum.
This watch’s dial shows off a handsome gray-green sunray finish. It houses thick rectangular hour indices and broad blunt hands, all of which are coated with soft green lume. As a dive piece, this is an extremely helpful feature. It allows wearers to read the dial clearly at all times, even in dark underwater depths. A date aperture also rests at 3 o’clock.
This legendary timepiece is powered by the in-house Seiko Caliber 6217. This self-winding automatic movement beats at 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5Hz) and has a solid 31-hour power reserve. It is also water-resistant up to depths of 150 meters, making it a great companion for all sorts of water activities like swimming and recreational diving.
As one of the most famous vintage Seiko watches, the price for the Seiko 62MAS starts at around $5,000 USD.
2. Seiko 6159-7000
Three years after the Japanese watchmaker released the Seiko 62MAS, it followed up with another robust dive piece: the Seiko 6159-7001. This watch is presented in a 43mm stainless steel case with a heft of 14mm, coupled with a comfortable black rugged strap. With these dimensions, it is best suited for medium-to-large-sized wrists. Sitting on top of the case is a black ceramic bezel, which bears an elapsed time scale in gold indicators.
This watch’s jet-black dial is adorned with geometric hour indices and broad sword hands, along with a date window at 3 o’clock. All of these components are outlined in gold, giving the watch a very classy look. A screw-down crown is placed at 4 o’clock, which ensures that it does not dig into the wearer’s skin when worn.
Built for professional diving, this timepiece has a water resistance rating of 300 meters. It is also the first Seiko piece ever to run on a Hi-Beat movement: the in-house Seiko Caliber 6159. It beats at a breathtaking rate of 36,000 vibrations per hour (5Hz) and has a solid 45-hour power supply.
The Seiko 6159-7000 can be bought at around $3,000 USD to $6,000 USD.
3. Seiko 6139-6010
Next up, we have the Seiko 6139-6010. This vintage Seiko watch is famous for being the first-ever automatic chronograph piece ever released in the industry. It sports a 39mm stainless steel case with a matching three-link stainless steel bracelet. This Seiko 5 Sports fits perfectly on small-to-average-sized wrists.
Introduced in 1969, this blue dial watch is filled with square hour indices, blunt silver hands, and a day-date display at 3 o’clock which is outlined with steel. On the rim of the dial, you can find an internal tachymeter bezel, also in deep blue. When used alongside the watch’s 30-minute chronograph counter, wearers are able to calculate the speed of a moving object.
This Seiko timepiece is driven by an in-house Seiko Caliber 6139. Fitted by 21 jewels, this automatic movement beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). It also has a substantial power rating of 45 hours. Moreover, this watch has a water resistance capacity of 70 meters. This makes it a great choice if you are looking for a casual beater watch to use on a daily basis.
The Seiko 6139-6010 retails at approximately $800 USD.
4. Seiko Quartz Astron
Seiko revolutionized the watch industry once more through the introduction of a quartz wristwatch in 1969. The Seiko Quartz Astron is the very first watch to have a battery-operated quartz movement. As such, this vintage Seiko timepiece was very easy to maintain and did not need to be wound on a regular basis to keep ticking. Thanks to its innovative quartz movement, this watch also promised an excellent precision rate of +/-5 seconds per month.
This Seiko Astron piece is encased in a well-brushed, cushion-shaped case that curves downwards. This allows it to conform quite nicely to the shape of your wrist. The case is made from luxurious 18K yellow gold and is coupled with a handsome black leather strap that simply exudes old-school charm. The watch’s matching gold dial showcases a minimalist look that reflects the German Bauhaus watch principles. It is decorated with just slim applique hour indices and gold stick hands.
Back in 1969, the Seiko Quartz Astron had a price tag of $1,250 USD. Today, it is near impossible to find this watch, whether it is in the market or online. Nonetheless, it is still one of the most notable vintage Seiko watches, having changed the trajectory of the entire horological industry.
5. Seiko Captain Willard 6105
Popularly known as the Seiko Captain Willard, the Seiko 6105 is another noteworthy dive watch from the Seiko Prospex series. This timepiece is packed in a 44mm cushion-shaped stainless steel case. Thanks to its downward-sloping build, this watch molds perfectly onto the wrist, providing a very comfortable wearing experience.
Protected by a layer of Hardlex crystal, the jet-black dial is furnished with thick rectangular hour indices and blunt silver hands. These components are coated with luminous pigments, so that they glow brightly in low-light environments. A date complication also sits at 3 o’clock. The entire dial is surrounded by a chunky unidirectional rotating bezel. It is fitted with a black elapsed time scale insert made of ceramic, which bears a luminous pip at 12 o’clock.
Ticking inside this watch is the in-house Seiko Caliber 6105B. It beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and has a modest 32-hour power reserve. This timepiece is also water-resistant up to depths of 150 meters.
The Seiko 6105 is priced at around $1,000 USD to $2,000 USD.
6. Seiko Baby Panda 6138-8000
The Seiko 6138-8000 is a 1971 chronograph watch that is popularly referred to as the “Seiko Baby Panda”. This watch utilizes a 40mm stainless steel case with a height of 14mm, which fits wrists that measure small to medium in size. Two stout pushers on the right side of the case are utilized to operate its chronograph functions.
The Seiko Baby Panda’s silver-white dial is ornamented with silver applique hour indices, slender, sweeping sword hands, and a day-date display at 3 o’clock. Since this watch was originally meant to be sold in the Japanese market, its day indicator can be changed to display two different texts, in Japanese katakana or English.
On the rim of the dial lies an internal tachymeter bezel in black. This dial also contains 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph counters in black. Thanks to the placement of the sub-dials, the layout of the Seiko Baby Panda’s dial resembles the face of a panda, hence its catchy nickname.
Underneath this classic watch face is the automatic in-house Seiko Caliber 6138. Held together by 23 jewels, it has a beat frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). It also has a 45-hour power supply and a water resistant capacity of 30 meters.
The Seiko 6138-8000 Baby Panda is a rare find that can be purchased for between $1,400 USD to $2,000 USD.
7. Seiko 0634
Introduced in 1975, the Seiko 0634 was the first multi-function digital watch in the world. Offering superb functionality and convenience, the Seiko 0634 is one of the most ground-breaking vintage Seiko watches ever. It uses a 35mm stainless steel case and a lovely multilink bracelet made from the same material.
As a digital watch, the Seiko 0634 comes with a light gray LCD display. Shown on this LCD screen are some of the watch’s timekeeping functions. These include a digital display of the time and a calendar feature.
Another iconic hallmark of this timepiece is that it is the world’s first digital chronograph watch. As such, it also provides start/stop and lap time functions in a digital format. You can control these using the two pushers located at the base of the watch. The Seiko 0634 is also equipped with a built-in backlight, which illuminates the watch face in the dark.
This digital watch is operated by an in-house Seiko Caliber 0634. This is a battery-operated quartz movement which has an outstanding accuracy rate of +/-10 seconds per month. It also offers a battery life of around one year.
Due to its rarity, the Seiko 0634 is one of the hardest vintage Seiko watches to get your hands on. If you do manage to find one online, it is usually set at a varying price ranging from $100 USD up to $400 USD.
8. Seiko Tuna 6159-7010
The next vintage Seiko watch on this list is the Seiko Tuna 6159-7010. Also known as the “Grandfather Tuna”, this watch is highly respected as the first-ever Seiko Tuna model developed by the brand.
The Seiko Tuna 6159-7010 is built in a chunky 50mm titanium case with a thickness of 16mm. As a result, it fits best on those with medium-to-large-sized wrists. Folks who love oversized watches are sure to enjoy the Grandfather Tuna too. That said, despite its large size, this watch actually weighs quite lightly. This is due to its titanium construction, which is 45% lighter than steel. This allows the Grandfather Tuna to sit comfortably on the wrist, even when worn for long periods of time.
The case of this watch is surrounded by a black rubber shroud, which protects it from any shocks and impacts. This is complemented by a matching, robust black rubber strap. Completing the watch’s all-black style is a simple, matte black dial. It comprises luminous geometric hour indices, thick arrow hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock. A thick screw-down crown can also be seen peeking out from under the shroud at 4 o’clock.
Inside this bulky watch, you can find the Hi-Beat Seiko Caliber 6159 movement. It beats 36,000 vibrations per hour (5Hz) and has a 48-hour power rating. As a professional dive piece, the Seiko Grandfather Tuna also boasts an incredible water resistance capacity of 600 meters.
The legendary Seiko Tuna 6159-7010 costs approximately $6,000 USD.
9. Seiko Ripley 7A28-7000
The Seiko 7A28-7000 is a futuristic-looking chronograph piece that is famously associated with the American actress Sigourney Weaver. The actress wore this watch in the sci-fi film Aliens (1968) while playing the iconic character of Ellen Ripley. As a tribute to Weaver’s role as Ellen Ripley, this timepiece has also garnered the nickname “Seiko Ripley”.
Made in collaboration with Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Seiko Ripley shows off a very distinctive, avant-garde build. It has a 43mm round stainless steel case, along with a rectangular steel panel attached on its right side. This unique feature is equipped with two black pushers, which are placed at the top and the bottom of the steel panel. These pushers are used to operate the watch’s chronograph functions.
This watch also showcases a jet-black dial, which stands out sharply against its all-steel exterior. It is filled with a painted orange minute track and orange blunt hands, which add a touch of bright vibrancy to this watch face. This dial also consists of three sub-dials for the 60-second, 30-minute, and 10-hour chronograph counters.
The back of this watch is sealed shut by a caseback made of solid stainless steel. This caseback bears an engraving of the classic Seiko wave on it. Behind this caseback lies a battery-operated quartz movement. It is notable for being the first-ever analog quartz chronograph movement in the world.
The Seiko Ripley is worth around $800 USD to $1,000 USD.
10. 1960 Grand Seiko
As you can see from all the vintage Seiko watches listed above, the brand has achieved a great many innovative and high-tech feats over the years. For the last watch in this article, we will be looking at yet another of the brand’s iconic milestones. The 1960 Grand Seiko is a legendary timepiece which marks the humble beginnings of Grand Seiko, which is Seiko’s subsidiary brand of luxury dress watches.
The 1960 Grand Seiko uses a 35mm case made of luxurious 14K yellow gold, along with an elegant brown leather strap. Its quintessential combination of exquisite yellow gold and brown leather gives this watch a very classy vibe that is perfect for formal occasions.
The dial of this watch comes in a soft white, which goes well with the warm tones of its exterior. It is adorned with gold baton indices and sharp, well-beveled dauphine hands. Although this dial has a very minimalist design, the 1960 Grand Seiko still exudes an impeccable, suave demeanor.
The 1960 Grand Seiko is powered by an in-house Grand Seiko 3180 movement. Composed of 25 jewels, it beats at 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5Hz). It also has a standard 45-hour power capacity.
Nowadays, obtaining a 1960 Grand Seiko is incredibly difficult. If you do manage to find one, however, it is likely to cost you around $3,500 USD.
After going through this list of vintage Seiko watches, we can say with confidence that the brand never fails to show its best. Be it more than fifty years ago or in the present day, Seiko continues to deliver some of the best, most ground-breaking watch creations imaginable.
Vintage Seiko watches are timeless pieces that have undergone the test of time to showcase the brand’s mastery over the watchmaking craft. Many of these vintage Seiko watches can be difficult to find today. Nevertheless, they are definitely still worth the effort and money, given their robust builds, their rich heritage, and the impact they have had in shaping the watch industry.
Photo credits: Unsplash, Seiko Watches, eBay, and Cristeen Quezon on Flickr.
Now that we’ve mentioned a few impressive dive watches from Seiko, check out our review of one of their affordable and durable dive pieces: the Seiko SRP777!