Seiko 5606-5100: the Iron Man from the Seventies

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Seiko 5606-5100

Seiko 5606-5100

A very good friend of mine was so kind to send me as a gift this old malfunctioning Seiko 5606-5100, telling me that the movement had some problems, but he had no time to look at it, since his working table was already full of watches to service.

As soon as it arrived, I was immediately in love with it, even if I had never had experience with automatic watches before, focusing on quartz chronographs for my growing collection.

Well, as the old Italian saying goes, “a caval donato non si guarda in bocca!”, so I gladly accepted it and started immediately looking for info on Google  finding, though, little to no information, if even images. I did find, though, a couple of images of how it should have looked like when it came out of the factory, in the mid Seventies:

Seiko 5606-5100

Seiko 5606-5100

Isn’t it a beauty? Well the watch I received looked quite differently, and even if I didn’t take any pictures of it when it arrived, I still have one photo that my friend sent me:

 

My new Seiko 5606-5100

My new Seiko 5606-5100

The watch, apart from a leather worn out strap, had several problems, among which:

  • The movement was not fixed inside the case at all
  • The stem was not winding the arms, nor was I able to change the date with the “quick set” function
  • It was impossible to manually charge winding it: the stem just rotated freely.

When I opened the case back, this is what greeted me: a fairly clean movement…

 

A fairly clean movement

A fairly clean movement

Rust was barely present, only on the thread of the steel case,  where it made contact with the back cover, and some screws were missing, sign it had been serviced, or at least a service attempt was made long ago. Another picture I took of the opened case shows what the real problem with this movement was:

Related:  How to restore a Poljot 3133 Admiral Chronograph - Part 2

 

The real problem...

The real problem…

The Balance wheel and the coil attached to it where grossly misplaced, causing the unnatural position of the coil itself. This was probably due to the fact that the Balance bridge was not fixed with a screw at all, as it should have been.

I am not a leather strap fan, so I removed it immediately, and started disassembling the watch, piece by piece, following the technical manual I was lucky to find on the internet.

The beautiful metallic green dial is badly damaged on the bottom right side, as we can see in the following picture:

 

Damage on the dial: Water?

Damage on the dial: Water?

Damage on the dial: Water?

Damage on the dial: Water?

Removing the dial exposed the day and date wheels, which showed also some abuse…

 

Day and Date wheels

Day and Date wheels

But once removed the date wheel, the mechanics underneath were pretty much clean:

Clean mechanics

Clean mechanics

Following a series of pictures taken while removing the rest of the components and pieces.

And last, but not least, the real culprit: the balance wheel and malfunctioning coil:

 

Malfunctioning coil and misplaced balance wheel

Malfunctioning coil and misplaced balance wheel

I managed to find on eBay the pieces I need to restore to full functionality this Seiko 5606-5100, hoping I will be able to see it ticking again, soon. Wish me luck!

George Clarkson
George Clarkson

George is a hobby watchmaker/watch repairer focusing on vintage watches from specific brands as Seiko (mainly quartz chronographs from the 80’S and 90’s) and mechanical chronographs with Landeron, Poljot and Valjoux movements.

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