The SEIKO World Time "The WOPR"

Model No. A239-5000, A239-5009, A239-5010, A239-5020 and A239-502A

In 1979 SEIKO introduced a new line of digital World Time watches using dual LCD modules.

In 1979 SEIKO released the A239 World Timer, one of the first wrist watches to use two separate LCD modules. One screen displayed the time and day, the other displayed a map of the world with selectable time zone segments.

As for the origin of the nickname, WOPR (War Operation Plan Response) was the computer that simulated World War 3 in the 1983 movie War Games. Its display was a world map, reminiscent of the one on this watch. The name WOPR (pronounced WHOPPER), has been re-purposed here to stand for Wrist Operated Pilots Reference.

This model does not have a direct predecessor or successor, and is somewhat unique in the line of digital World Time watches from SEIKO.

The Stainless Steel A239 with Black Dial Frame and Black Map LCD
The Stainless Steel A239 with Blue Dial Frame and Green Map LCD
The Gold-tone/Gilt A239 with Brown Dial Frame and Red Map LCD

There are many different versions of this watch to unpack, including:

  • Versions marked WORLD TIME (5020 and 502A) and others marked WORLD TIMER ALARM (5000, 5009 and 5010) on the case, below the dial
  • Dial Frames in blue, black and red
  • Map LCD panels in green, black and red
  • Cases in Stainless Steel and Gold-tone
  • Two different bracelet styles
  • And 5 different sub-model numbers: 5000, 5009, 5010, 5020 and 502A

Table of Contents


Key Statistics



33mm

Watch Case Size w/o Crown


39mm

Lug to Lug Measurement


Common

Rarity Index Among Cataloged Examples is 0.0 out of 10


72

Total Examples Cataloged


37.9%

Percentage of all Cataloged Digital Examples

Top-line Sales Info


  • 33mm case (not including buttons)
  • 39mm lug to lug
  • 19 selectable Time Zones
  • Home time and calendar display: Hour (12 hour indication), minute, second, AM, PM and day of the week. At push of a button, month and date replaces seconds.
  • World time and calendar display: Hour (12 hour indication), minute, AM, PM, time zone indicators and world map. Time and calendar can be displayed for any of the available world times
  • Alarm Display: Hour (12 hour indication), minute, second, AM, PM and home or world time alarm mark. The alarm can be set to ring at any desired hour or minute in either the home time or the selected world time.
  • Alarm Signal: The alarm rings twice every second in the home time and 3 times every second in the world time
  • Time Signal: Can be set to ring every hour, on the hourBuilt-in illumination system
  • +/- 15 seconds per month accuracy (3 minutes per year)
  • Offered in Stainless Steel and Gold-tone versions
  • MSRP: 45,000 YEN / $215 USD in Stainless Steel
  • MSRP: 48,000 YEN / $275 USD in Gold-tone

General Information


The first thing you will notice when you have this watch in hand is just how small it is. Measuring a very narrow 33mm from side to side (excluding buttons), it is about 4mm narrower than the PAN AM (M158-500X). That may not sound like much, but it is very noticeable. Like the other watches in this generation, it has hooded lugs, with a lug to lug measurement of 39mm - that is measuring top to bottom.

Correct, Original setups by Model No


Using Casing Guides from the early 1980's we are able to correctly match model numbers to the case finish, LCD color, dial frame and bracelet. This breaks down as follows:

A239-5000 and A239-5009
  • Case marked WORLD TIMER ALARM
  • Stainless Steel Finish
    • Black Dial Frame
    • Black Map LCD
    • Z330 Bracelet
  • Gold-tone Finish
    • Brown Dial Frame
    • Red Map LCD
    • Z330 Bracelet in Gold-tone
A239-5010
  • Case marked WORLD TIMER ALARM
  • Stainless Steel Finish
    • Blue Dial Frame
    • Green Map LCD
    • Z330 Bracelet
  • No Gold-tone Finish Version for this Model
A239-5020
  • Case marked WORLD TIME
  • Stainless Steel Finish
    • Black Dial Frame
    • Black Map LCD
    • GA950 Bracelet
  • Gold-tone Finish
    • Brown Dial Frame
    • Red Map LCD
    • GA950 Bracelet in Gold-tone
A239-502A
  • Case marked WORLD TIME
  • Stainless Steel Finish
    • Blue Dial Frame
    • Green Map LCD
    • GA950 Bracelet
  • No Gold-tone Finish Version for this Model

It is not rare to find examples for sale that have swapped LCD modules and perhaps have incorrect LCD color and or dial frame for the specific model number.

Dial Features


The world cities are arranged in counter-clockwise order, unlike the other digital world timers produced by SEIKO. This places GMT on the bottom side of the dial frame, instead of the top. The timezone for local and away times is set via the map LCD, and indicated both with a marker next to the selected reference city and with a blinking segment of the world map. The "..." time zone allows you to set another offset if you cannot find what you want with the included list of cities.

Side by side of the three dial frames and map LCD colors. Contast dialed up to try and better show the nuanced color differences between black and blue/green.

The Case


There are two different cases used on these watches. The 5000, 5009 and 5010 use one case design, the 5020 and 502A use an alternate design. The most obvious differences are:

  • WORLD TIME vs WORLD TIMER ALARM under the dial
  • The speaker grill design
  • And the sub-model correct bracelet
  • The case back design, once open
Speaker grill shape on the 502X case. Note the 90-degree corner profile of segments.
Speaker grill shape on the 500X case. Note the 45-degree corner profile of segments.
Left side profile, bottom up. Top of lugs are brushed, case sides are polished. Top-Left button is recessed.
Left side profile, top down.
Right side pofile.

Measurements


Here are approximate measurements.

Case width, excluding buttons is around 33mm
Lug to lug is 39.5mm
Thickness is about 9mm
Lug width is about 20mm
The GA950 bracelet tapers to about 16mm at the buckle
The GA950 bracelet has spring bar tubes 19.5mm wide.
The GA950 bracelet starts about 22mm thick

Dial Frames


Here are the three different dial frames.

The black dial frame, code A239-5000T
The blue dial frame, code A239-500AT
The brown dial frame, code A239-500BT

Original Bracelets


Z330

This bracelet forgoes removable links, instead using a sliding clasp on one side to allow for adjustment. Excess bracelet is tucked against the wrist. This style was produced in both stainless steel and gold-tone finishes.

Top profile of bracelet
Bottom profile of lugs, with bracelet code
Adjustable clasp attachment
The clasp
The clasp, hook side
The adjustable clasp attachment underside, signed SEIKO ALL STAINLESS STEEL JAPAN Z
The GA950 bracelet

The 5020 and 502A sub-models shared the GA950 bracelet, in both stainless steel and gold-tone finishes.

The top-side of the bracelet, link pattern
The underside of the bracelet, link pattern and End Link
The micro adjustment piece that attaches to the clasp
The signed clasp with beveled edges and 5 micro adjustments
Many bracelets still have the original sticker on the clasp
The inside of the clasp marked STAINLESS STEEL / L

Production Numbers


Based on the image data collected to-date, this series was produced from at least November 1978 through at least August 1980. These models use a 6-digit serial number scheme, allowing for up to 9,999 watches per production month/year. Assuming a 22 month production run, this allows for a max production of 219,978 watches, with a minimum production of 56,514 based on current image data.

Resale Value


Please note:

  • This scale is a derivative of the Hagerty Classic Car Condition Rankings, adapted for watches. It is an attempt to keep it simple. They explain it really clearly here (albeit in car terms): Car Conditions: What The Numbers Mean.
  • Almost no one owns or has even seen a condition 1 example of this watch in at least a few decades. Most of what is sold online today are condition 4 and 5 watches - if you think you have a gem, it is most likely a 3.
  • While many enthusiasts spend inordinate amounts of time chasing down the best deal, digging through the dark corners of the internet, local antique shops and estate sales, and are ok fixing things up themselves... a lot of others would like to just know what a clean example is worth from a reputable source - that's what these are. Think of them as the price you would expect to pay if you saw one of these under the glass at your favorite local watch shop.
  • All values assume OEM parts or all original examples. After market dials, mismatched bracelets etc will reduce the value, in some cases substantially. For example a non-original bracelet can reduce the overall value by 10-20%, a non-original dial may reduce resale value by 80% or more.
  • Finally, gold-tone variations (these are not gold plated, but rather gold colored base metal) command a much lower resale value, from 50% to 80% less than equivalent examples in stainless steel.
Rank Description and Value

1

Condition 1
EXCELLENT

A perfect original (NOS) that has been professionally serviced and where all components are functioning as new; also a watch that has been restored to current maximum professional standards of quality in every area, showing no signs of wear; a 95-plus point show piece that isn't worn.
$650+ USD

2

Condition 2
FINE

Well-restored or a combination of superior restoration and excellent original, where any replacement parts are strictly OEM; also, an extremely well-maintained original showing very minimal wear, or NOS that has not been professionally serviced.
$500 USD

3

Condition 3
VERY GOOD

Completely operable original or "older restoration" showing wear; also, a good amateur restoration, all presentable and serviceable inside and out. Plus combinations of well-done restoration and good operable components or a partially restored watch with all parts necessary to complete a restoration and / or valuable NOS parts.
$300 USD

4

Condition 4
GOOD

A wearable watch needing no work to be functional; also, a deteriorated restoration or a poor amateur restoration. All components may need restoration to be "excellent", but the watch is usable "as is".
$200 USD

5

Condition 5
TO RESTORE

Needs complete restoration; may or may not be running, but isn't rusted, wrecked or stripped to the point of being useful only for parts.
$100 USD

6

Condition 6
FOR PARTS

May or may not be running, but is weathered, wrecked and/or stripped to the point of being useful primarily for parts.
$50 USD

Other Resources


The Internet is littered with various documents about this watch. Here is a quick collection to save you some googling around.

Video on how to use the watch


There are a few helpful how-to videos on YouTube. Here's one of them.


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