Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion
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  1. #1
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    Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion

    Something I've noticed in my KS/GS research is that the crystal profile amongst different models can vary greatly, and it influences the overall "look" of the watch significantly. I find flat, flush-with-bezel crystals make the watch look more modern, while a domed or raised crystal is unmistakably vintage. I've developed a taste for the flat ones that look modern, as it makes some vintage Grand Seikos and King Seikos look timeless, like they could have been manufactured yesterday. This difference is particularly evident in comparing models pictured on thegrandseikoguy.com, a great resource.

    For example, observe the utter flatness and flushness on this GS 6155-8040, utterly remarkable for 1974:



    For comparison, here's a King Seiko from 1973 (5246-6010) with much more convexity to the crystal:



    And here's one (6155-8000) somewhat in the middle, still raised, but completely flat and with beveled rather than round edges:



    All this brings me to a couple of questions:

    1) why do vintage watches commonly have a somewhat raised and/or domed crystal? There seems to be a progression in watchmaking toward gradually flatter and more flush-with-bezel crystals, with the domed-crystal-no-bezel evolving to the beveled-crystal-with-bezel (slightly raised), to the modern completely flat and flush. Was Seiko the first manufacture to be doing this? Their watches from the period certainly seem cutting edge, both figuratively and literally. Another reason I <3 them.

    2) This question is for you King Seiko nerds out there. As mentioned, I'm partial to the flat and flush crystals. My personal favorite KS model, the 5626-7040 chronometer, as far as I can tell, has a crystal that is raised above the bezel, but completely flat and nicely beveled at the edges, similar to the "in-between" picture posted above. Like this:



    So my question is this: were there different crystal profiles throughout the model run, because if so I'd prefer the most flat one.

    2a) follow up question: if I wanted to buy a beat up King Seiko 5626-7040 and modify the crystal to be more flat, is that possible?


    Anyway, I love these vintage King and Grand Seikos and look forward to your response.

  2. #2
    Member QuartzCrisis's Avatar
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    Re: Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by c0rbin9 View Post
    2a) follow up question: if I wanted to buy a beat up King Seiko 5626-7040 and modify the crystal to be more flat, is that possible?
    Usually you should buy a crystal original to the watch. If you can't find one then you should find aftermarket crystal that looks as close as possible to the original one.

    But if you intentionally want a different looking crystal then I guess it's ok, it's your watch, but I will call it an abomination

  3. #3
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    Re: Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion

    Yes, it's heresy.

    However, replacing a crystal with aftermarket on a watch so scratched up that it's already unusable harms exactly zero original watches.
    QuartzCrisis likes this.

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  5. #4
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion

    It may also cause your watch not to work. Generally crystals allow clearance for the hand sets. So long as the hands don’t foul the lowered crystal profile and the crystal is the correct profile to fit the case then you should be good to go.
    Chascomm likes this.


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    Re: Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion

    Just to be clear, replacing the crystal was more a theoretical question, just to see if such a thing can be done. My knowledge of watches is very limited, I wasn't even sure that crystals could be replaced or what the considerations were. Mirius, thank you for that important caveat about the crystal interfering with the hands, exactly the kind of info I was looking for.

    I'm pretty new to vintage watches. Hell, I don't even have any of the mentioned models (yet). Definitely on the lookout for one though!
    Mirius likes this.

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    Re: Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion

    Your images are not showing up for me.

    That being said, I agree that you should try to replace the crystal with one that is close to the original. However, when I find a vintage watch, I can't always tell if the crystal on it was the original. So even though I have replacement crystals, I always buff out all the scratches and leave the original crystal on the watch... unless there is a crack... then I replace it. I find that I can buff out the deepest scratches on most crystals.

    I didn't used to do things that way. I used to always replace the crystal. But then I figured, I don't have an endless supply of crystals, so if I take 5-10 minutes to see if the original is salvageable, I don't have to use one of mine.

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    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion

    Images not showing for me again.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

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    Re: Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion

    All Seiko KS and GS watches are pretty nice

    A couple of things regarding the 5626-7040

    The watch is a top loader in which there is a solid case back and the movement comes out of the front.

    The crystal is a mineral crystal that is attached to the bezel. The original Seiko crystal part number is 300V04GNS0 . It is not cheap but is still plentiful.

    This crystal comes attached to the metal bezel in the package leading me to think the crystal might not be just pressure fitted into the bezel but also glued into it. i am sure it is possible to replace the old crystal and reuse the bezel but these bezels are a bit thin so you need to be careful not to bend the bezel or the bezel will not snap back on the watch.

    However the biggest issue with this model is the day/date. Seiko used plastic for the date changer and that plastic was crappy and splits very easy causing the date not to change or be changed. This part is impossible to find.

    You are best served by buying the best 5626-7040 you can find

  10. #9
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    Re: Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion

    I did some extra research (thanks to "smoo" on this forum for the best and most well-written KS guide I've found) and found the answer to the question of whether the crystal profile changed during the production of the 5626-7040/1 chronometer, and the answer is it did not, at least not for the 5626-7040. Other KS models apparently did change somewhat, gradually getting flatter.

    There are lots of KS/GS models, but there are only 2 models with fully graduated dials - the 5626-7040/5626-7041, and the rare 5245-6010 - which makes them somewhat unique.

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    Re: Question About Crystals on Vintage Watches - Also King Seiko/Grand Seiko Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by journeyforce View Post
    All Seiko KS and GS watches are pretty nice

    A couple of things regarding the 5626-7040

    The watch is a top loader in which there is a solid case back and the movement comes out of the front.

    The crystal is a mineral crystal that is attached to the bezel. The original Seiko crystal part number is 300V04GNS0 . It is not cheap but is still plentiful.

    This crystal comes attached to the metal bezel in the package leading me to think the crystal might not be just pressure fitted into the bezel but also glued into it. i am sure it is possible to replace the old crystal and reuse the bezel but these bezels are a bit thin so you need to be careful not to bend the bezel or the bezel will not snap back on the watch.

    However the biggest issue with this model is the day/date. Seiko used plastic for the date changer and that plastic was crappy and splits very easy causing the date not to change or be changed. This part is impossible to find.

    You are best served by buying the best 5626-7040 you can find
    I will most likely not be doing any crystal swaps for the reasons you mention and for originality.

    I've gone back and forth on whether I prefer the day-date versions or the date-only versions. I actually prefer the look of the day-date versions, but if there are troublesome parts availability issues with them, I'd rather have the date-only version. Paperweight vintage Seiko is not as cool. : ) Does the date-only version have the same issue as the day-date?

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