The Seiko 5 was born in 1963, a sub-brand of accessibly priced mechanical watches created, according to Seiko, to be ‘a watch whose performance would serve the demanding needs of the 1960’s generation’.
The watches were conceived to have 5 key attributes:
- Automatic winding
- Day/date displayed in a single window
- Water resistance
- Recessed crown at the 4 position
- Durable case and bracelet.
The accessibly-priced element might reasonably suggest that compromises had been made in their construction but this is often not at all obvious when handling examples of these watches. The introduction of the ‘5 Sports’ series in 1968, was designed to bring the so-called advantages of the 5 to more up-market watches, with, for example, the 5 Sports branding being used in some of the 6139 automatic chronographs.
The lack of evident compromises achieved in producing an accessibly priced watch for the vigorous ’60’s generation is perhaps no better exemplified than in the example we consider today, a handsome 6119-8083 from October 1971, fitted with a rather dazzling blue dial. I’ve featured a close relation of this watch here before (see here), but the dial on that watch was irretrievably damaged and I elected to give it a new identity. This example though is really rather nice, and deserves a more sympathetic treatment. Here it is in the state received:
Obviously, a great deal of the impression of knackered-ness lies in the condition of the crystal and the sheer quantity of grot plastered over its exterior but experience suggests this one will clean up rather well.
As usual then, we start by removing the case back and taking a look the movement, a C generation 21 jewel 6119 fitted with the quickset day/date.
The movement looks dirty but tidy and importantly, the balance hairspring looks unmolested, retaining a faithful shape that suggests regulating the cleaned movement later on should be straightforward. The crown and stem though are not properly engaged and simply slide out without need to depress the setting lever. With the movement out and the automatic winding mechanism removed, we get a clearer impression of just how badly the movement needs a clean.
Flipping the movement over, and without the opaque crystal obscuring our view, we get an unimpeded impression of what turns out to be a really very striking dial. What you can’t appreciate in this shot is that the radial sunburst finish creates two opposing arcs of turquoise that rotate about the central axis of the dial as you move it about against the light.
The jammed keyless works has left the hands stuck at an inconvenient position for removal and so I have to remove first the seconds hand and then carefully lever off the minute and hour hands separately. With this accomplished and the dial removed, we see evidence of past maintenance conducted by someone unfamiliar with Seiko ways. The snap C-ring that keeps the day wheel in place has been fitted upside down which means that its removal needs particular care to avoid damaging the disk beneath (in fact you can see past damage to the inner ring on the day star around its periphery).
Removing the calendar rings and date dial guard permits investigation of the reason for the inoperative stem and crown:
The end of the yoke should sit against the end of the setting lever but instead it has become lodged beneath, preventing the setting lever from moving and the clutch from engaging with the stem. A better view is provided once the setting lever spring is out of the way
The dismantling of the movement proceeded without incident and so all that remains before swinging into reverse is to separate the case into its constituent parts. The first step is to locate the cutout in the bezel, to aid its removal
before levering it off, prior to pushing the acrylic crystal out from the rear.
I elected to sort out the case before the movement on this occasion because I was waiting for a new mainspring winder to arrive with a drum more appropriately sized for the larger barrel used in the 61 series movements. We’ll get to that shortly but in the meantime, a jolly good clean to the mid case
a fresh Sternkreuz acrylic crystal, correct for this case
followed by a brand new bezel,
to give the case a bit of extra pop.
Turning our attention back to the movement, we start as usual with the freshly cleaned mainplate, installing the diafix and lower balance diashock settings
followed by the keyless works parts, setting and minute wheels.
The centre wheel and centre wheel bridge normally come next but when I inspected the centre wheel following cleaning I discovered the teeth decorated with swarf, generated presumably from wear to the centre wheel from the third wheel pinion:
The swarf was still partially attached to the teeth and rather than attempting to laboriously clear it from each tooth, I elected instead to source a new wheel
which can now assume its position centre stage, secured in position by its bridge:
In the meantime, the new mainspring winder has arrived, and I’m all set to clean the mainspring
Given the fact that Seiko tend to use molybdenum grease in their mainsprings, I prefer to clean the spring and barrel separately from the rest of the movement parts to eliminate the possibility of contamination. Here’s the cleaned barrel and mainspring sitting next to the new mainspring winder
I’ve opted for a number 7 winder, drum and arbor in spite of the fact that the arbor is rather broader of beam than the barrel arbor itself. This is necessarily a compromise because the Bergeon winders are designed for ETA movements and there seems not to be a happy combination of winder/arbor size that sits comfortably with the larger drum but smaller arbor required for the 6119 barrel and mainspring. In the end, my slight concerns about using an arbor larger than the size of the natural curl of the mainspring at that point proves unwarranted. The mainspring winds in happily and the arbor releases afterwards without drama.
The walls of the barrel lubricated with braking grease and the base with 8201 and in pops the mainspring
The reassembly from this point is straightforward, so I’ll not cover ground we’ve been over on numerous occasions before other than to pause at the calendar side to point out the neat design of the day/date quickset mechanism:
The quickset works by pushing in the crown against a sprung load. The operation is two stage, a lighter push sets the date and the full Monty progresses both day and date. The spring loading is provided by the date corrector spring highlighted above whilst the quickset operation works from the interlocking action of the stem > setting lever > date corrector > day-date finger (see above and schematic below):
The date advances as the upper part of the finger finds purchase on one of the inner teeth of the date ring whilst the day advances as the lower arm of the finger [sic!] swings up and acts upon one of the teeth on the day star. All rather slick, particularly given that these movements were being produced at a time when Rolex were still using non-quickset movements in their Datejusts and Submariners.
With that done, we are all set to refit the dial and hands
fit a fresh gasket to the crown, pop the movement into the case
and refit the autowinding mechanism
before closing her up and admiring the completed watch.
A couple of days waiting for a Navy blue NATO to arrive, and we are ready to put this one to bed.
Another beautiful restoration Martin! Could you give me a little more info on the brand of main spring winder your using?
Tom, I’ve been using a Watch-Craft winder for smaller barrels up to now but recently bought a Bergeon handle and two drums for the larger barrels. They are not cheap but it is so much easier than winding them in by hand and means that the barrel lubrication maintains its integrity during the mainspring installation.
Thanks for the info on the main spring winder. I looked them up and there are many to choose from. Do you have part numbers for the Bergeon tools your using on the Seiko 6139 main springs?
The handle was part number BG30082M and the winder drum and arbor BG2729/7. As I said in the post though, this is not a perfect match for the 61 series mainsprings. The arbor is rather too broad of beam although the drum is just about perfect. The smaller BG2729/6 is no better in the arbor width – in fact there is a step in the arbor that makes it very difficult to get the mainspring seated.
Emile Ramlal said:
Love the progress and result during your post.. My 6119 is now being revised by a watchmaker, can you tell me where you got it and what size nato strap you attached?
Thanks Emile. As I recall, the NATO strap came from Ebay seller timebymail and I will have ordered the 18mm strap, preferring slightly under-sized to over.
Joe Moore said:
I have the same watch only gold. Could you give me the crystal part number and any other info for parts?
The crystal part number for your watch is 310T1ANG, assuming it has a gold-plated case. Case back gasket is FH290B, crown gasket DJ0060B. If you need other specific part numbers, then do ask.
Joe Moore said:
Is the correct number 310T10ANG?
Yes, sorry, slip of the finger and I lost a zero: 310T10ANG.
Joe Moore said:
Martin, Thank you for your help. I just need to find a Diafix cap jewel and its ready to go back together. My 6119-8083 was bought in Vietnam by my Brother in Law when he was in the Army. I’m trying to restore it for him as a surprise.
You can still sometimes find Diafix cap jewels in watch materials house inventory but sometimes it is just easier, and perhaps even cheaper, to farm them from a spare scrap movement. Good luck!
Joe Moore said:
Martin, I am now getting ready to put in the crystal, number 2. The first one cracked (hairline crack) right on the edge. I got a copy of the seiko casing manual and it said use a “seiko water proof case tightening tool”???? What did you use or can you give me any tips.
I will just have used a crystal press. If you have the correct armoured crystal, then it should press in with a satisfying click using the press.
Frank A Tranfa said:
Hi Martin, this is a great post. I am doing my first resto on a gold 6119. Can you tell me if there is a gasket for the crystal and the part number if there is one? Thanks so much!
If yours has the same case design as the watch described in this post, then the crystal is a tension ring equipped acrylic and so no gasket. The tension ring will be pre-fitted to the new crystal and you just press it into place using a crystal press.
Jacques Vermooten said:
Awesome restoration! I have exactly the same watch and would like it cleaned and serviced. I am in South Africa and don’t know the watch “community”. Can you perhaps assist me in finding a service centre?
Jacques – I have no knowledge of watchmakers in your part of the world but am happy to recommend a couple of people in the UK with specialist Seiko smarts. These are Richard Askham and Duncan Hewitt. If you do a Google search with their names and Seiko, then you should be able to find their contact details.
The obvious shortcoming in sending your watch overseas is the overall likely cost and the potential complication of navigating customs each way. I would suggest that you see if you can get recommendations from members on the Seiko Citizen Watch Forum (thewatchsite.com) or Wrist Sushi forums (wristsushi.proboards.com) for watchmakers in SA. Good luck!
barry walsh said:
hi martin what is the value of one of these plz
As with anything, that depends on condition. There is not a particularly well defined market for these watches in the same way that there is for the more celebrated pieces and so it boils down to how much someone is prepared to pay for a watch they want. However, for a watch in the condition shown in this post, I would not be surprised if it were to make £120 to £130 or more. If tatty and needing a service, then somewhere between £30 and £50 but honestly, your guess is probably as good as mine!
Congratulations. Looks beautiful. I have a 6119 8083. It’s with me for more than 35 years. It’s the dark grey gradient metallic dial. Working perfectly all those years without being serviced even once. What a great mechanical and horologic job from Seiko. Amazing. I just need to get another crystal. It’s a bit opaque and with small scratches that depending on the light and angle are not visible. Do you have the specifications of the crystal and the bezel and a suggestion where I can find them? Thank you. Daniel Gordon (from Rio, Brazil).
I’m out and about at the minute but will dig out the info you need when I get home.
Nice restore job, Martin. Where can I get that bezel and crystal?
As I recall, the bezel came from a seller on Ebay (the part number is shown in a photo in the post) and the crystal will have come from Cousins, the largest watch materials house in the UK. The crystal part number is 310T10ANS0.
ok thanks man. Will try to search for ’em. 😉
Hi Martin! I´ve been reading your blog for a while now, I would like to add it into my “recommended sites” link in my own blog, I just need your blessing hahaha. I really enjoy our explanations. Thank you for sharing!
Of course, I’d be very happy for you to recommend my blog. Thank you for asking.
Thank you for accepting, I am starting a blog which is kind of similar. I am not a professional atchmaker though. But I would really appreciate that you take a look at it and tell me what you think about it!
DAVID WALL said:
WHAT A FAB WEBSITE- I am keen Seikoholic and this is the best website Ive come across for really useful information… keep it up please.. good pics as well..
Hi, I’ve recently ( accidentally ) gained a 6119C, it was housed inside a 7002 turtle case, with liberal amounts of glue a rigged crown and stem ( matching the movement ) and a crystal that’s actually plastic. So I want to get it back to something similar to what you have achieved but sourcing parts I’m finding tricky. God alone knows where the case is going to come from. Any advice gratefully received.
Feel free to ignore my post Martin, reading further up I be seen your info about Cousins. Although if any ideas about the case …..
You may find the odd scrapper on Ebay that might offer up a salvageable case. I have also sometimes seen old stock cases from time to time but can offer no real steer on that front other than to keep your eyes peeled! Good luck.
Thanks for getting back to me,
Very very good post. Can you share the crystal number? I have SPORTSMATIC Deluxe 7619-9010 25J and need to source new crystal. Thanks.
Hi Alex, the crystal part number for the 6119-8083 is 310T18ANS but this is not the same part as used in your 7619-9010. I don’t have my casing parts catalogue with me now but Jules Borel list two differently sized crystals against the 7619-9010: 325W06AN and 340W06AN but I suspect that it is the first of these that is correct.
I am glad you found the post useful.
Thank you very much! Your work not just useful, it pretty much inspired me to start learning watch repairs. I always had huge love for vintage Seikos but was always put off by the obvious need to fix/service them. My sportsmatic will be the first. Thank you again.
Gary Cargill said:
So much info so much skill im loving it so glad your alive in my timeline.
I have this identical watch, but unfortunatelly I have it in a different case. I have the original case, but I don’t have the stem/crown for it, and the length of the stem I’m using now is too large.
Do you think there’s a way to source the original 6119-8083 tem/crown set?
The crown, part number 35M10NS1, is available on eBay. The stem can be trimmed to fit and this will be needed in any case if you buy a new stem. The only way to buy a pre-sized stem/crown is to buy another watch!
Carlos Garcia said:
Nice work !!! Where you find the manual for this ? (Seiko 6119) Thanks
If you mean operating manual, then I don’t know. If technical manual, then the 6106 is available online (a Google search will find it). The 6106 and 6119 are very closely related.
Muhammad Asif said:
This site is very usefull for watch makers and vintage watch dealers.I also studying this site to learning more about watch repairing.
Thanks Muhammad. I’m glad you find it useful.
Ferry Reagen said:
any advise on choosing the correct bezel for this particular model, i can’t seems to find the exact one with the same reference number, the bezel on mine is cracked, thanks in advance
Hi Ferry, the part number you need is 83369489. I’ve checked on the Jules Borel website and they appear to have stock.
Ferry Reagen said:
thanks for the information Martin, cheers
Ferry Reagen said:
hi again Martin, as for the bezel installation, do I need to use a watch press tool to install it ? or hand pressure might be enough ? thank you
Hi Ferry, you will almost certainly need a press to fit it.
Ferry Reagen said:
thanks Martin, have just ordered the exact bezel from the web and browsing the net for bargain press tool, awesome blog and awesome youtube channel you got here
Thanks Ferry. I hope it all comes together smoothly.
Lol. Should’ve read the comments first.
I have the exact same watch, it was given to me by my uncle when I was a boy 45 years ago. Can I get in touch love to send it to you to restore for me so I can give this back to him. He is now an old man
Hi Peter, I’d really like to be able to help, but I am not a professional watchmaker and simply don’t have the time to take on third party work. You can read more about my motivations in this respect under the About tab.
Richard Maher said:
I’ve commented on your exceptional work in another post on this style of watch. I’ve noticed the Seiko 5 in my collection has the marking 6119 8080R on the grey face and on the rear marking 6119 8083. Are you able to shed any light on this difference? R
The marking on the dial is the dial code whereas that on the caseback the watch model code. There might typically have been a number of dial variations used with a particular model. It is commonly the case that the two are not the same.
Alvaro Jose Pinto said:
Hi there, very good job here. Can you tell the crystal reference for this case?
The crystal part number is 310T18ANS.
Alvaro Jose Pinto said:
Alvaro Jose Pinto said:
Actually, I’m a bit confused here. What’s the diameter of the crystal? I have a Seiko 6119-8083 model, crystal size 34mm.
It should be 31mm. Maybe you have an incorrect caseback on your watch?
Amazing work! Martín, I have the exact same model. Took apart the bezel to polish it but now I can’t put it back on. . Did you used a press? I don’t have one. Is there another life hack for this? Thnk you.
Hi Zamir, I would have used a crystsl press to refit the bezel. You need an even force around circumference of the bezel to seat it easily and that generally would require a press.
Hi Martin, lovely watch. I acquired the same, and am hoping to get it to same as yours.
Could you advise me on size of case gasket and crown stem gasket?
Hi Terry, the case back gasket is FH2980B01 and the crown gasket DJ0060B01.