The SEIKO M158 "PAN AM"
Copies and Counterfeits
As the saying goes, imitation is the highest form of flattery. And the SEIKO M158 had quite a few admirers.
With a list price of $215 USD, the SEIKO PAN AM (as it is often called) was not a cheap watch. Adjusted for inflation that is about $925 USD (in 2022 money). The gold-tone version sold for even more, with a list price of $275 USD, or an adjusted price of about $1,180 USD.
Because of its popularity, and relatively high price point, it is no wonder that other watch manufacturers wanted in on the concept. It is shocking however to see just how close to "identical" many other watches are. Ironically most of these do not even have a functioning world time complication, just a digital watch with a world time dial frame!
I suppose this offers strong evidence of the popularity of the PAN AM model, both in terms of sell-ability as well as desirability - or wanting to be seen wearing one (even it is a fake when seen up close).
Here is a break down of the known SEIKO PAN AM M158 counterfeits, copies and/or knock-offs.
Index of Manufacturers
- Juwel (a Junghans brand)
- Alba (a SEIKO brand)
Not much is known about this brand, but is generally agreed that they sold entry-level copies and derivatives of popular LCD watches in the 1980's.
They are stamped MADE IN HONG KONG.
Whether the name is a play on Piranhas or Pirates - you have to love it. Probably Piranhas given the logo.
They had several goes at copying the M158, some direct copies, others more derivatives. One even has a SWISS MADE digital module!
Piratron - Unidentified Model
This unlabeled model adds a chronograph (maybe) to the P-053C.
This model is perhaps a play at mixing the aesthetic of the M158 with the later A239.
This model is more of a derivative than a copy, but pretty obvious PAN AM look:
Supersonic - Unidentified Model
No information yet found on this brand. This model appears to be a nearly identical copy of the M158-5009. Except it doesn't look like it actually has the world time complication at all, just the dial frame.
MBO - 0751
MBO was a German-based company that also entered the PAN AM copies fray - with their Model 0751. One of the better looking copies, this model also sports an alarm and a chronograph complication.
Beltime LED watches were produced by the Belair Electronics company in Zürich/Switzerland in the late 1970's. Watch parts were imported from Hong Kong, not Swiss-made. They produced at least a couple M158 knock-offs.
Beltime - Unidentified Model
Meister-Anker was a registered trademark of Quelle - a East German mail-order company from the 1960's.
Watches under this brand were manufactured by many different companies, and were commonly sold in department stores at low prices.
Their PAN AM knock-offs look fairly well executed, and the documentation seems to suggest the world time feature was included with these models.
Sekonda is a British watch company, established in 1966. Their watches were originally produced in the Soviet Union, at the First Moscow Watch Factory in Moscow and the Petrodvorets Watch Factory in Leningrad. Many Soviet-era Sekonda watches exported to the West were re-badged Poljot and Raketa watches.
They appear to have not only some period-specific copies of the M158, but also a couple modern interpretations that you can still buy today. Here are the vintage models:
Sekonda - Unidentified Model
Sekonda - Unidentified Model
Sekonda - 1817 and 1816 Classic
These modern versions maintain the same time zone markings, city selections and abbreviations and the general look of the M158.
Perhaps the most recognizable name on this list, Yamaha did produce watches at one point, and it looks like they got into the World Time business with a watch that you could say was heavily inspired by the PAN AM, though just different enough to perhaps avoid being label a direct "copy".
Yamaha - Unidentified Model
No information has been found about this brand, but it is clear they made several other watches, likely in the 1980's and 1990's.
Lotus - Unidentified Model
Very little information is available online about this watch brand. It appears they manufactured digital quartz watches in the 1970's and 1980's.
Cresta - Unidentified Model
This interpretation of the PAN AM seems to include a solar panel. It is doubtful the world time complication was included with the LCD module.
It is possible this is an ISASWISS watch.
ISASWISS was founded in Switzerland in the 1950's, and originally called "d'Ebauches de Sonceboz". The company produced 7 main watch lines, one of which was called the "ISATRON".
Isatron - Unidentified Model
Another blatant rip-off, this time from the company that also brought us the very popular Commodore-64.
Commodore - Unidentified Model
Another unknown brand, perhaps Kawaski was meant to sound like Kawasaki?
Kawaski - Unidentified Model
Not much information is available online about this brand. It appears they made cheap quartz watches in the 1970's and 1980's. Thank you to http://www.liquidcrystal.co.nz providing these images and an interesting write-up here.
The Omni - World Time
Juwel is/was perhaps part of the Junghans AG watch group, absorbed many years ago.
Juwel - Unidentified Model
This is a true SEIKO watch, meant to look similar to the M158 or A358, but targeted at a younger generation and priced accordingly.
Do you own or know of another copy / fake SEIKO PAN AM? If so, drop me a line - either in one of the forum threads below or via PM and I will be sure to add it!
- WristSushi.com - Seiko World Time - Vintage DIGITAL Models
- TheWatchSite.com - Vintage Digital / LCD - Seiko World Times - Collectors & Owners thread
- WatchUSeek.com - Vintage Digital / LCD - Seiko World Times - Collectors & Owners thread
Counterfeits and Copies of The Seiko A239
As the saying goes, imitation is the highest form of flattery. And the SEIKO A239 had quite a few admirers.
The Seiko World Time M158-500X - PAN AM
All about the 1st series of digital LCD world time watch from SEIKO, produced in 1977
Old Ad Scans: Seiko World Time M158-500X
A small collection of ad and catalog scans of the SEIKO World Time M158-500X
Authenticating The Seiko World Time M158-500X
Tips on confirming the originality of your Seiko World Time M158-5000 and M158-5009
The Seiko World Time A239-50XX - The WOPR
All about the 3rd series of digital LCD world time watch from SEIKO, produced in 1979
Old Ad Scans: Seiko World Time A239-50XX
A small collection of ad and catalog scans of the SEIKO World Time A239-50XX
The Seiko World Time A358-500X - The Alarm
All about the 2nd series of digital LCD world time watch from SEIKO, produced in 1979
The Seiko World Time A708-5000 - The TWA
All about the 4th series of digital LCD world time watch from SEIKO, produced from 1984 through 1988
The Seiko World Time A718-5010 - The Frankenstein
All about the A718-5010 digital LCD world time watch from SEIKO, produced in 1984
The Seiko World Time A718-5030 - The John Cleese
All about the A718-5030 digital LCD world time watch from SEIKO, produced in 1984
Reference Cities - Changes over the Years
A history of changes to the Cities Dial Frames on SEIKO World Time digital watches from 1977 through 1988