1971 SEIKO 7006-7020 REVIEW
Here is a review of a very special little piece that I picked up for a song several years ago and have very rarely worn. The Watch is a very rare French market 7006-7020 from October 1971. What makes this extra special is that it not only was this variant of this watch made solely for French markets (more on that later), but my particular example was acquired with very little wear, in it's original packaging and with all it's original paperwork. Here is a picture of this special little watch:
First let's start by saying that this watch does not have any nicknames. The design is a dress/casual design that very much reflects the elaborate styling sensitivities of the time. The watch is relatively flat and wide, measuring roughly around 40mm in diameter, which makes it rather large for watches of this type and this time. It is mounted on its original bracelet which remains in excellent condition and has a very rare French Only day wheel (no alternate language). As far as I know this watch was available in my charcoal dialed version, a silver dialed version and this Gold dial version:
I got the watch as part of one of those oddly advertised eBay auctions and lucked out that hardly anyone bid on it. The cool part is that it came in its original package with its original instruction booklet. The coolest part is that inside the instruction booklet is the signed and stamped original warranty and sales receipt showing that it was purchased on February 19, 1973, at Roger Albert Jewelers, in Fort De France, Martinique. Talk about cool!!! Here are some pics:
Box watch and original Manual:
Original Insurance Card:
The movement on this is a vintage 21 jewel, Seiko 7006A. The movement is interesting in that it has a quickset date wheel (second position), but no quickset on the day wheel (remind anyone of a certain family of Orient movements?). To set the day of the week, you have to cycle the hours back and forth between 2200 and 0200, until you reach the day prior. You then set the date to yesterday and then cycle normally until you reach the correct day and date for today (I guess now we know why orient added a pusher for the day when they borrowed this movement family). Of special interest is that this movement, as used on this watch seems to have a single language on the day wheel (no alternate and no blank section either). The language on this one happens to be French, which is in keeping with the provenance of this watch, which was a French speaking country. Attached is a technical Manual for this movement in case anyone is interested in seeing it:
7006A.pdf (243.2 KB)
The dial is a three part design composed of three iridescent charcoal gray sections. The sections are all the same color, but if you look closely you will see that the top and bottom sections are textured with tiny vertical straight lines, while the center section has the same treatment but with a horizontal texture. This causes the top and bottom section to reflect light differently from the center section causing the center section to stand out from the others, or blend in to them, depending on how the light hits it. It is a really neat effect and in many ways reminiscent of the styling of the time.
The markers are applied polished chrome monument style markers. The markers themselves are not lumed, but if you look closely you can see a tiny lume dot applied directly on the dial outboard of each marker, directly into the dial's chapter ring. The day/date window is framed in a recessed metal frame that is made to fit exactly into the width of the dial's center section.
The case is a solid, one piece stainless steel design with a six-notched screw-type caseback. The caseback follows the standard Seiko practice of including the movement-case number, the serial number, water resistance marking and metal composition (Stainless Steel), and has a large Daini Lightning logo engraved in the center.
The case design is very interesting in that it is made up of multiple sloping curved facets of alternating finish (satin and polished). What makes this case really special are the two very large satin finished facets at either side. These are large curved wide and downward slopping. The end effect is almost like a pair of wings jutting out at either side of the dial. The machining marks on the satin finish of these facets point outward and contrast against the polished top of the case, enhancing the visual effect of size.
The crown is a standard straight knurl design with no decoration. It is fitted into a deep recess on the 0300 side of the case and once at zero position, does not protrude at all.
The crystal is domed acrylic crystal held in place by a tension ring and uses no bezel. The crystal projects prominently above the surface of the case, as you can see in the picture below:
As you can see in the catalog picture of the golden variant above, at least one version was offered on a leather strap. Mine came on a folded 5-part metal bracelet versions of which were used in other seiko models of the time. The bracelet consists of three parallel flat sections, connected in the center by two polished grooved folded links. The overall effect is very funky and the construction is surprisingly delicate. I'm surprised this bracelet has survived in this condition (not stretched at all).
The bracelet is adjustable on the first few links at either side of the clasp, and is held together there by leaf-style flat pins:
The clasp is a traditional three part folding clasp with 5 micro adjustment holes. It is satin finished, with polished facets at both side, and the Seiko brand stamped in raised polished letters:
The more interesting part of this bracelet is that it has custom end caps made to connect only to this bracelet and to this case. The end caps follow the odd shape and thickness of the case:
CLOSING OPINIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Overall I really love this watch. It is one of those pieces that proudly shows its period styling and makes no apologies for it. I love how it is large by Seiko standards of the day, as well as its surprising use of large distinct case facets. I have to admit though that since I got this watch in this condition and with all this paperwork, it rarely gets worn. It's a bit of a shame, but I much prefer as it screams to be worn more regularly. If I could give anyone any advice when sourcing one of these is to find the absolute best case you can before you buy. The facets are very prominent and every time I see these, the fine edges get rounded off by people who don't know what they are doing. I would also strongly advice you not to get hung up on sourcing the bracelet. It is funky and delicate and most did not age well (if at all). Source a nice strap and wear it like that. The watch is thick so it will look good on a thicker modern strap, plus the strap will outline the "wings" of the case, giving it an even more unique look. If you plan on having one of these restored, I highly advice you to have someone who is very good at metal work, like Swedefreak do the metal work for you.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the review. If you have any questions, please let me know.