My vintage Seiko 5

As I wrote yesterday I’ve just started venturing into the world of watches. I’ve never been someone to wear a watch on a daily basis, but now that I have I’m hooked.

The first watch I purchased was a vintage Seiko 5 I bought off eBay. For those of you not familiar (and that would include me until I did some research) the Seiko 5 was created to be a watch whose performance would serve the demanding needs of the 1960s generation.

The watch gets its name from incorporating five key attributes:

  • Automatic winding
  • Day/date displayed in a single window – rare at the time.
  • Water resistance
  • Recessed crown at the 4 o’clock position
  • Durable steel case and bracelet

I decided on purchasing a vintage Seiko 5 as my first step into watches because older watches are pretty easy to come by – and they’re relatively inexpensive to boot. I also wanted an older watch because many newer watches are pretty large – over 40mm case size – which given my small wrists just wouldn’t look right. One drawback to buying a vintage watch is the prevalence of so-called “frankenwatches,” which are vintage watches that aren’t in original condition or possibly have faked components.

“To me, a Frankenwatch is cobbled together with often real but not necessarily correct parts,” says Nick Pardo, previously a vintage watch expert at Analog/Shift, which specializes in accessibly-priced timepieces. “So you have a dial from one model, hands from another, and it’s built up from random parts.”

Given how new I am to the world of watches, I knew I was likely going to be buying a “frankenwatch” if I ventured down the road of buying a vintage watch, but it was a chance I was willing to take. A quick search on eBay gave me what seemed like a billion options to choose from, but I was able to narrow my search down to this Seiko 5.

The first thing I did after trying my Seiko 5 on was to switch out the band. While the band that came with the watch was serviceable I wanted something a little more stylish and comfortable so I surfed over to Amazon and bought a black & red Barton Elite silicone quick-release watch band (seen in the featured image at the top of this post).

While I’ve read a bunch of horror stories about the quality (or lack thereof) of vintage Seiko 5s (and other brands for that matter) purchased from India on eBay I’ve had this watch for a few weeks now and it’s been great. My Seiko 5 may very well be a “frankenwatch” but I can’t complain – the watch keeps good time and it’s a sharp little watch. Considering I paid less than twenty dollars for the watch I can’t be anything but happy with the end result. That being said a second Seiko 5 I bought from a different seller on eBay turned out to be a dud, so perhaps it’s a matter of finding a good seller and sticking with them if you want to buy more than one vintage watch.

2 thoughts on “My vintage Seiko 5”

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