Reference Cities - Changes over the Years

SEIKO World Time watches from 1977 through 1988

A detailed look at all of the changes made to the reference cities and dial frame layouts throughout the years

A Collectible Evolution


SEIKO's digital generation of world time watches saw several intriguing iterations of the reference city usage and notation. In some versions the cities are listed as abbreviations, in others full city names are used. Some versions show time zone offsets, others do not. In most versions the world time cities read clockwise, but with the A239 they read counter-clockwise.

These models provide a portal back in time, to an era when watch technology was perhaps evolving faster than the geo-political landscape.

In all there are at least 7 different dial frames, produced between 1977 and 1988, some in a single color, some in two colors and one in three colors. There are 14 different dial frames in all.

Cities that started on the original bezel but were eventually dropped
Tehran Dropped 1979, Added back in 1984
Wellington Dropped 1979
Rangoon Dropped 1980, Added back in 1984
Singapore Dropped 1980, Added back in 1984
Cities that were added after the original version
Rome Added 1977
Peking Added 1984
Guam Added 1984
Anchorage Added 1984
Montreal Added 1984
Buenos Aires Added 1984

Version 1

The International PAN AM


The inaugural digital world time came in two versions, the M158-5009, intended for the North American market, and this M158-5000, for the rest of the world. This international version dial frame came in only one color, black.

Total Cities: 22 + GMT = 23
Total Markers: 29

Black Dial Frame, M158-5000
Min. production 19,717
Relative rarity across entire series 13.753%
Map of the Cities, 1977 - 1979

Version 2

The North American PAN AM


The M158-5009 dial frame is almost identical in terms of city and time zone counts. There is one change with the reference cities:

  • Rome is added to the Paris city marker, as abbreviation PAR/ROM

The other more obvious differences are that the cities are abbreviated and the time zone markers include hour offset notation.

This version was produced in both black and gold frames.

Total Cities: 23 + GMT = 24
Total Markers: 29

Black Dial Frame, M158-5009
Min. production 20,360
Relative rarity across entire series 14.201%
Gold Dial Frame, M158-5009
Min. production 16,288
Relative rarity across entire series 11.361%
Map of the Cities, 1977 - 1979
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

Version 3

The Alarm


In 1979 SEIKO again updated the cities dial frame for the new A358 series, replacing the M158.

This new series of watches maintained the abbreviated city names used on the M158-5009 with the following changes:

  • Tehran (THR) Removed
  • Wellington (WLG) Removed

Total Cities: 21 + GMT = 22
Total Markers: 28

Black Dial Frame, Stainless Steel A358-500X
JAPAN A358-5000 T
Min. production 15,365
Relative rarity across entire series 10.717%
Black Dial Frame, Gold Plated A358-500X
JAPAN A358-500A T
Min. production 2,364
Relative rarity across entire series 1.649%
White Dial Frame, Stainless Steel A358-5009
JAPAN A358-500B T
Min. production 5,909
Relative rarity across entire series 4.122%
Gray Dial Frame, Stainless Steel A358-5000
JAPAN A358-500C T
Min. production 5,909
Relative rarity across entire series 4.122%
Map of the Cities, April 1979 - 1980
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

Version 4

The WOPR (pronounced WHOPPER)


In 1979 SEIKO released another Digital World Time alongside the A358. This is a unique watch in the Digital Generation, with no direct predecessor or successor.

The dial frame on this watch was re-imagined. Because there was a full map screen on the watch display that handled the selection of time zone, the reference cities around the edge of the dial are less important. GMT/London moved to the bottom of the dial frame, and the time zones are marked around the dial counter-clockwise. This is opposite of all other watches in this series.

Compared to the A358, we see slightly more simplification in the marked reference cities.

  • Rangoon (RGN) Removed
  • Singapore (SIN) Removed

Total Cities: 19 + GMT = 20
Total Markers: 0

Black Dial Frame, A239-50XX
Min. production 18,019
Relative rarity across entire series 12.568%
Blue Dial Frame, A239-50XX
Min. production 25,390
Relative rarity across entire series 17.710%
Brown Dial Frame, A239-50XX
Min. production 12,286
Relative rarity across entire series 8.569%
Map of the Cities, December 1979 - 1980
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

Version 5

The TWA


In 1984 SEIKO started production of the A708, a budget world time option without alarm. This watch was produced through 1988. It is the successor of the A358 and reminiscent of the original M158-5000 in case design and size.

The dial frame on this version returned to full cities names, at least on the 5000 models. There are 5010 models, but no photos have been found as of this writing.

The changes include:

  • Tehran is added back
  • Peking is added for the first time
  • Guam is added
  • Anchorage is added

Total Cities: 23 + GMT = 24
Total Markers: 16

Black Dial Frame, A708-5000 through 1988
Min. production 4,847
Relative rarity across entire series 3.381%
Silver Dial Frame, A358-5000 through 1988
Min. production 4,039
Relative rarity across entire series 2.817%
Map of the Cities, 1984 - 1988
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

Version 6

The Frankenstein


In 1984 SIEKO produced the A718 models as premium alternatives to the A708. These watches are exceedingly hard to come by. Unlike the A708, the dial frame cities are again abbreviated.

This model is referred to as the Frankenstein, in part due to the prominent pushers, reminiscent of the pegs in Frankenstein's monster's head and neck, and in part because this is the first model to include Germany (Frankfurt) as a reference city.

The changes compared to the A708 include:

  • Tehran is added back
  • The Paris/Rome time zone is updated to FRA/PAR/ROM (adding Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Peking is added
  • Anchorage is added
  • The New York time zone is updated to NYC/YUL (New York/Montreal)
  • The Rio de Janeiro time zone is updated to BUE/RIO (Buenos Aires/Rio de Janeiro)

Total Cities: 26 + GMT = 27
Total Markers: 28

Black Dial Frame, A718-5010 from 1984
Min. production 8,629
Relative rarity across entire series 6.019%
Gray/White Dial Frame, A718-5010 from 1984
Min. production 4,315
Relative rarity across entire series 3.009%
Map of the Cities, 1984
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

Version 7

The John Cleese


The A718-5030 is an alternate version of the A718-5010, with a different case, a juggling of the functional indicators, and the removal of the prominent SPORTS 100 label at the bottom of the dial frame.

This version is often referred to as the "John Cleese", after the actor who wore it in the 1986 film Clockwise.

There is just one small change was made to the reference cities:

  • YUL/NYC is flipped to read NYC/YUL (New York/Montreal)

Total Cities: 26 + GMT = 27
Total Markers: 28

Black Dial Frame, A718-5030 from 1984
Min. production 1,333
Relative rarity across entire series 0.929%
Gold Dial Frame, 6117-640X from 1984
Min. production 999
Relative rarity across entire series 0.697%
Map of the Cities, 1984
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

Rarity Index


Based on cataloged production numbers, here is a list of dial frames by production rarity across the series.

NOTE: the rarity of a specific dial frame is based on the following calculation:

(((colorExamples / modelExamples) * modelProduction) / totalProduction) * 100

  • colorExamples = Total Count of this specific Dial Frame Color in data set
  • modelExamples = Total Count of this specific Model in data set
  • modelProduction = Minimum Production for this specific Model
  • totalProduction = Total (minimum) Production of all watches in this generation

% of Total Min. Production Description
1
0.697% 999 Gold Dial, A718-5030
2
0.929% 1,333 Black Dial, A718-5030
3
1.649% 2,364 Black Dial SGP, A358-500X
4
2.817% 4,039 Gold Dial Frame, A708-5000
5
3.009% 4,315 Gray Dial, A718-5010
6
3.381% 4,847 Black Dial Frame, A708-5000
7
4.122% 5,909 Gray Dial SS, A358-5000
8
4.122% 5,909 White Dial SS, A358-5009
9
6.019% 8,629 Black Dial, A718-5010
10
8.569% 12,286 Brown Dial, A239-50XX
11
10.717% 15,365 Black Dial SS, A358-500X
12
11.361% 16,288 Gold Dial Frame, M158-5009
13
12.568% 18,019 Black Dial, A239-50XX
14
13.753% 19,717 Black Dial Frame, Model(s) M158-5000
15
14.201% 20,360 Black Dial Frame, M158-5009
16
17.710% 25,390 Blue Dial, A239-50XX

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