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Seiko Bell-Matic, the Classic Mechanical Watch that has an Alarm

3 min read January 17, 2022

Seiko Bell-Matic, the Classic Mechanical Watch that has an Alarm

Before digital watches began beeping at their owner to signal a pre-set time, there existed classic mechanical timepieces that actually had an alarm. The Seiko Bell-Matic was first introduced in the Japanese market in late 1966. The Seiko Bell-Matic alarm watch is one of those vintage Seiko watches that are widely available and can be bought at an incredible price. The earliest models of the Bell-Matic (those released in November 1966) are said to be extremely rare and have a distinctive marking on the case back, a dolphin.

Seiko-BELL-MATIC-DOLPHIN-4006-7000-27-Jewels-1966-Strapcode-watch-bands

Seiko DOLPHIN bell-matic 4006-7000 27Jewels

Seiko Bell-Matic 4006 caliber with 17 jewels by strapcode watch bands

Seiko Bell-Matic 4006 caliber with 17 jewels

Seiko Bell-Matic ref. 4005 or 4006, depending on when the watch was manufactured, was the world's first wristwatch with a rotor automatic alarm movement and remains until today the only Japanese alarm watch of purely Japanese origin. Therefore, if you have an old vintage Seiko watch, and you are not confident about what year the watch was manufactured, you can check the serial number to find out exactly which month and year it was actually manufactured. Seiko watches can be dated to Month/Year by the (in the case of your watch) six-digit serial number on the case back: the first number indicates the year, and the second number indicates the month.

Seiko Bell-matic 4006-6011 Blue Dial Vintage Watch by Strapcode watch bands

19mm Quick Release nubuck leather watch strap best matching with this blue vintage Seiko Bell-Matic


The 4005 movement is slightly rarer than the 4006 since it was only used in 1968 and 1969. It's standard with Seiko movement numbers; a caliber with a number ending in 5 is the date-only variety, while a caliber number ending in 6 is the day/date variety. Other than this difference, the movements are the same, and we generally refer to the Bell-Matic movement as 400x during discussions.

Rare lug width 19mm, Seiko Bell-Matic 4006-6011, by strapcode watch bands

Rare lug width 19mm, Seiko Bell-Matic 4006-6011 were paired with Mesh watch band and Super-JUB II Quick Release watch band


The 27-jewel movement was the first mechanical alarm watch to feature an automatic winding rotor. Because of excessive US import tariffs on watches with more than 17 jewels, the jewel count of the Bell-Matic watches progressively decreased until 1969, when that magic 17 was attained, and Bell-Matic watches began to arrive in the US. There still have Seiko Bell-Matic 4006-701x models keeping full count of 27 jewels but only can be found in Japan's domestic market in the middle of the 70s.

 Seiko Bell-Matic 4006-6011 fits nicely with 19mm Chaffle Navy Blue FKM Rubber watch strap by Strapcode

This Bell-Matic fits nicely with 19mm Chaffle Navy Blue FKM Rubber watch strap


Seiko Bell-Matic controls all four individual functions, time setting, alarm setting, winding the alarm power, and day setting with only one crown. The ringing tone is not like a real bell, not loud, sounds like releasing a metallic string.

Seiko Bellmatic 4006-6011 on 19mm Quick Release Blue Tropical-Style Pro FKM rubber watch strap by Strapcode

19mm Tropical-Style Pro FKM rubber watch strap


All Seiko Bell-Matics share similar features with crown located at 3 o'clock, alarm button set at 2 o'clock; 6 o'clock indicating all these three items: BELL-MATIC name, jewels counts, and a SUWA logo. Day/Date window positioned at 3 o'clock, rare models housed in caliber 4005A only have a single Day window rather than the Day/Date window found in the majority of Bell-Matic in caliber 4006A.

Seiko Bell-Matic 4005 caliber with single day window strapcode watch bands

Seiko Bell-Matic 4005A caliber with single day window


Watch Band Collections

These beautiful vintage Seiko Bell-Matic are mostly come in 19mm or 18mm lug widths. For those Bell-Matic owners looking for a new shoe for your one-of-a-kind vintage watch, check out the below links for quality watch bands that you won't be disappointed with.

 


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