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Our 4 Classic and Legendary SEIKO Chronographs Top Picks

5 min read August 26, 2022


It is fondly said that no collection is complete without a Seiko. I go further to say that no collection is complete without a Seiko chronograph in it. To some, that's a bold claim but for a brand that has made some of the most iconic watches in the industry, that is just about the right encomium to shower on them. Seiko offers a wide array of chronograph watches, with models across their dive, aviation, and dress ranges incorporating great functionality for tracking time and it's just about right they get their flowers.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the most legendary Chronograph watches the Japanese brand has brought to us and also examine what endeared these watches to various watch lovers around the world. It is pertinent to note that while watch geeks have an idea of what a chronograph watch is, newbies and geeks-to-be might not be as familiar with it. Well, not to worry, This earlier article we wrote provides you all the insight that you may need. Without further Ado, let's dive right in.

1. The 1964 Seiko Chronograph Hand Winding Tokyo Olympic

Since we are talking about legendary, how about we kick things from where it all started from - The very beginning. This model which is also known as the Seiko crown happens to be the first ever chronograph watch made by the company. The special edition of this timepiece was created to honor the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and registered as a caliber 5719.

Seiko Crown Chronograph 5719 Tokyo Olympic 1964 Hand-Winding Watch

Seiko Crown Chronograph 5719 Tokyo Olympic 1964 Hand-Winding Watch, the Crown Chronograph was Japan’s first wristwatch with a stopwatch function.

And while there have been variants of the same movement to have come out in the shape of the 5717 and the 5719 with the steel bezel, Seiko decided to release in December 2019, a modern presage model as a limited edition to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the famous Olympics. As there is a 5717 and a 5719, there is also a very rare 5718.

The modern Presage Models, Seiko SARX069 Presage Limited edition

The modern Presage Models, Seiko SARX069 Presage Limited edition

This watch, the 5718, is described as a holy grail of Seiko chronograph watches and was also released in conjunction with the Tokyo Summer Olympics of 1964 but only as a museum watch at the time! Overall, the approximate going price for this vintage watch is around $6,000 to the right collector. That is legendary status indeed.

Seiko 5718-8000 Tokyo Summer Olympic 1964 Chronograph Model

The exceedingly rare Seiko 5718-8000 Tokyo Summer Olympic 1964 Chronograph Model

Seiko 5718-8000 Crown Chronograph from Museum of Japanese Made Watches

Seiko 5718-8000 Crown Chronograph from the 1994 Book 'Museum of Japanese Made Watches"

2. Grand Seiko 9R Spring Drive Chronograph Collection (Limited Edition)

While 2022 marks only 15 years of the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronographs, we have come to see a collection - The Evolution 9 collection - not only Garner legendary status already but stake its claim to be the future of the Grand Seiko brand. You might have expected individual watches to be what constitutes the list but this collection is a worthy exception. From the two -toned limited edition of the SBGC240 released last year to celebrate the 140th anniversary of Seiko down to the new Grand Seiko SBGC249 and SBGC251 Chronograph GMT models  released earlier this year, we have been treated to bold, sporty statement pieces. These set of watches also combine light titanium weight and excellent 9R Spring Drive movements with the usual high level of quality and finishing that we have come to know the Grand Seiko for. They might have come in limited editions but these are gems we have on our hands, watch lovers.

Grand Seiko 9R Spring Drive SBGC249 and SBGC251 Chronograph GMT

Two of the spring dive watches in the new Grand Seiko collection : SBGC249 and SBGC251 Chronograph GMT

3. Seiko 7A28-7090 Yacht Timer

This is simply one of the best-looking chronographs ever made. The Caliber 7A28 was the world’s first analog quartz chronograph and with just about a couple hundred dollars, you were able to buy it for yourself when it was first released. Appearing in catalogs as far back as in 1983, these watches are so beautifully finished that Roger Moore wore them in the 1985 James Bond movie, “A View to Kill”. The Yacht Timer version came out in that 1982 time-frame and was only around for a couple of short years and for that reason, it is highly elusive and not the easiest to get in the current day as you will need to pay nothing less than $1000 in today's world for a model in good condition. It is so aesthetically pleasing and an all-time classic.

Vintage Seiko Yacht Timer quartz chronograph 7A28-7090

The all-time favorite, vintage Seiko Yacht Timer quartz
chronograph 7A28-7090

The Yacht Timer Roger Moore wore in the Bond movie, A View to Kill

The Yacht Timer Roger Moore wore in the Bond movie,
“A View to Kill”

4. The Seiko Speedtimer Re-Issue

Reading the article up to this point, you might think "Just three?". Well, the word legendary isn't a word to be thrown around loosely and these three watches currently tick the various boxes surrounding the context of legendary but how about we take a look at a Speedtimer series that just might be on its way to legendary status.

Two Re-issue Seiko Speedtimer Solar Chronographs,SSC813 and SSC819, Strapcode watch bands

Two Re-issue Seiko Speedtimer Solar Chronographs, the White Dial SSC813 and Black Dial SSC819 models

Let me just say this, there is everything to love about the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph SSC813, SSC815, SSC817, SSC819 models. With features such as a domed sapphire crystal, solar charging, 100m of water resistance, Lumibrite, and a nice stainless steel bracelet , these non-limited solar chronograph models are every bit of special.

The stainless steel case on each of these watches measures a decent 39mm in diameter, 45.5mm lug-to-lug, and thickness is pegged at 13.3mm. They currently retail at €680 and are offered in four dial colors- navy, black, white, and gold. Talking about colors, there is also an excellent watch with a cute ice blue dial that is worth mentioning - The SSC909.

The SEIKO Solar Speedtimer Chronograph Ice Blue SSC909, Strapocode watch bands

The SEIKO Solar Speedtimer Chronograph Ice Blue SSC909 is adding a little extra bling to your wrist.

Known as the Seiko Ice Blue Panda, this limited edition watch with only 10,000 pieces produced as of today was inspired by Seiko's 1969 Speedtimer, the world's first self-winding chronograph. It comes with a 6-Month Power Reserve Once fully charged and a beautiful blue dial with a sunray finish to match. It retails at €703, a little higher than the Prospex Speedtimer models but we can agree that these set of watches give us everything to fawn over.


External References :


Written by Victor, images by Toni and others as noted

1 Response

Ansel Gideon Whatley
Ansel Gideon Whatley

September 06, 2022

I would love to see a beads of rice from Strapcode to my collection of vintage 7006-8007 and 7006-8040 Seikos from the early to mid 70s. They are 36mm cases with 18mm lugs. The OEM Seiko beads of rice bracelets are really hard to find, and structurally inferior to any bracelet I’ve purchased from Strapcode. An example in nice shape with the original Seiko beads of rice bracelet is bring $300-$400 on the vintage market. There have to be thousands of these coming up in estate sales and old watch drawers around the world.

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