Spring Drive Service report
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  1. #1
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    Spring Drive Service report

    Many people seem concerned about spring drive services, so I thought I would post this. I have had various watches serviced over the years: Patek, Rolex, Omega, all locally in Toronto, but I had never had a Seiko serviced, and as I now have several, I was wondering if I would have any problems when they came due. I have two GS spring drives (an SBGC003 and SBGY003), but this post is about my oldest; a SNR013. So not actually a GS. I bought it in 2007 as I had read about the spring drive movement and was interested in giving it a try. My SNR013 has a 5R66 movement (spring drive GMT). I have read here that this movement is identical to the GS 9R66 movement but has a lower standard of finishing.

    The SNR013 has given no problems to date, and has consistently gained 8 sec/mth, which I find entirely satisfactory. As I am in Canada, I contacted the Seiko Canada distributor where I learned that the watch must be posted to them with the on line form filled in and included in the box. So last October I filled in the form, packed my watch and sent it via Canada Post across town to Seiko Canada. I got an email back a few days later to say that watches of this type (she didn't specify spring drive, but presumably that was it) must go to NJ for an estimate and that would cost $100 shipping and needed my approval. I said OK, go ahead. Next day I got another email saying that she had made a mistake and in fact the watch would need to go to Japan for an estimate and that shipping would be $125. Was that OK? I said 'yes'. (She didn't give any reason why NJ was not being used. (Perhaps too busy, or in the dog-house!)

    About three weeks later I got another email saying that the watch would need a full overhaul and that the cost would be $520 (all costs are CDN) plus the quoted freight and tax. I gave the go-ahead.

    On January 1, my visa was deducted the quoted amount and on January 2 my watch arrived at my door. I had visions of it being left at the door in a box as Amazon tends to do, so I was pleasantly surprised when the Canada Post person had me sign and show ID. It had been shipped directly from Japan to my house. In the paperwork it said that the power reserve indicator had had to be replaced but no direct replacement part was available, so a near equivalent was used. I saw that it was different, but I doubt if I would have noticed it they had not pointed it out. In any case it did not change the aesthetics of the watch, so I have no problem. (Seemed an odd thing to need replaced though.)

    On getting it going, everything looked good. I took a look in the back (it has a display back) and was surprised to see an improvement in the movement! It is still my old 5R66, but the two biggest gears which I believe are associated with the main spring and the winding mechanism, and which had a very basic level of finish, were gone! They were replaced with nicely finished gears that look like those I have seen in the 9R66 movements. I don't know the rationale, but either the watch maker decided to take out the parts for aesthetic reasons or (more probably) she thought that these are hard working components, and only had one source (being the better finished ones) of parts to replace them with.

    The other thing the watchmaker did was to regulate the daylights out of my watch. As I said, I was happy with the +8 sec/mth performance, but now, having worn the watch every day since it came back on Jan 2, it has not deviated as much as a second (estimate perhaps half a second). It would be interesting to know how this was done: by adjustment, change of crystal, or...

    Overall verdict: Very happy. I can now consider sending my SBGC003 (Chrono plus GMT) which I bought in 2010 for it's tune up, probably later this year. This took less time and cost less money than many previous services locally. So durability and serviceability concerns can be laid to rest as far as I am concerned. Hope this was useful.

  2. #2
    Member whineboy's Avatar
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    Re: Spring Drive Service report

    Great story, Sir. As a manual Spring Drive owner this is of real value to me, since I was told by a Seiko rep that those can’t be serviced in the US, they must return to Japan.
    Even nicer is to hear how well they regulated your watch.
    Charles Carroll likes this.
    whineboy

  3. #3
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    Re: Spring Drive Service report

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter in the North View Post
    Overall verdict: Very happy. I can now consider sending my SBGC003 (Chrono plus GMT) which I bought in 2010 for it's tune up, probably later this year. This took less time and cost less money than many previous services locally. So durability and serviceability concerns can be laid to rest as far as I am concerned. Hope this was useful.
    Peter - This is the post I have been waiting for. It is extremely useful to me. It confirmed everything I have suspected about what I will do when and if it comes time to service my SBGA211. I cannot thank you enough for this Post.

    Warmest regards,
    Charles
    johnMcKlane likes this.

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  5. #4
    Member Tonhao's Avatar
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    Re: Spring Drive Service report

    Thanks for a valuable report. It must be nice to see that they performed upgrades on your watch and dialed the accuracy in. Kinda surprised that the Seiko person bumbled the service location twice, when this information is fairly available.

  6. #5
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    Re: Spring Drive Service report

    Great write up and glad to hear it all went well for you. This is a nice change from the usual horror stories from people who have gone through servicing.

    I imagine that like food reviews, a person is more likely to write up a bad experience than a good one. So we get some selection bias here.

    Story does make me feel better about servicing though, even though my watch is new and 4-5 years off from that.

  7. #6
    Member BrianBinFL's Avatar
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    Re: Spring Drive Service report

    To the OP, when you're wearing the watch is it mostly in a room temperature environment, or is it mostly outdoors? If mostly outdoors, how hot or cold is it where you are? Also, if you ever take the watch out of rotation for awhile I'd be very interested to know what your seconds per day is with the watch resting in the box at room temperature for an extended period - assuming you keep it wound.

    The Spring Drive geeks reading this know I'm trying to see if they set your watch for +0.2 SPD as they seem to set most Spring Drives, if they set it lower, or if your accuracy is due to excursions that depart significantly from room temperature.

    In any event, thanks for the great write-up on the service you received and congrats and the improved accuracy.
    Grand Seiko SBGA373 & SBGA375, Rolex 116610LN, and lots of comparatively economical watches that "spoke to me" - mostly Seiko.

  8. #7
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    Re: Spring Drive Service report

    Thanks for the report...very useful information!
    Grand Seikos: SBGA 229 Spring Drive; SBGV221 Quartz 9F82-0AF0; Seikos: SPB 103 J1: Green Sumo (3rd gen), SBDC 053: 62 MAS RI, SBDC 063: Mini MM, SBDC 029: Shogun,SNE 499: PADI Pepsi Bezel Tuna Solar, SHC 033: Pepsi Bezel Quartz, Replaced Black Dial 7002-7000; Phoibos: Great Wall PY022B (Blue Dial/Orange & Blue Bezel, ETA 2824-2), Eagle Ray GMT PX023E Quartz (Red to Black Dial), PX002B Quartz (Blue Dial): Casio G Shock GA100L-8A

  9. #8
    Member Emceemon's Avatar
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    Re: Spring Drive Service report

    Thanks for that!!

    Super happy to know this.

    I have a SBBN033 and happy to know that it can be serviced in Japan if I want to. (I am Canadian too)

    Have a good day and enjoy your piece!

    Simon


    Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk

  10. #9
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    Re: Spring Drive Service report

    Thanks for your report.

    Has the service center in New Jersey been servicing Spring Drive watches?

    Given a choice, when its time to have my GS SBGA419 serviced I'd rather pay the few extra dollars for shipping and send it off to Japan.


    Randy63 (formally Mr. Blue)

  11. #10
    Member Tonhao's Avatar
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    Re: Spring Drive Service report

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy63 View Post
    Thanks for your report.

    Has the service center in New Jersey been servicing Spring Drive watches?

    Given a choice, when its time to have my GS SBGA419 serviced I'd rather pay the few extra dollars for shipping and send it off to Japan.

    Randy63 (formally Mr. Blue)
    So last I checked Spring Drives had to be sent to Japan, but if you go to Seiko Service USA website they quote 9R calibers as well. 9R6 is $570, 9R8 is $880. I wonder if they do work on SD or quietly ship them to Japan and back. Given their ongoing global expansion, it wouldn’t be surprising if NJ center can now service all calibers.

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