Mechanical Timeline, 1964 through 1976
This is a graphical representation of the major milestones in the mechanical SEIKO World Time watch series releases.
Mechanical SEIKO World Time, Major Milestones
The Tokyo Olympics World Timer
A Special Edition and Series 1
SEIKO's first World Time watch was produced as part of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics celebration. This watch was powered by the 6217A movement, a 17 jewel automatic movement. It was waterproof to 30 meters and included 2-way Diashock® protection.
It was offered in stainless steel with both silver and black dial variations, at an MSRP of ¥12,000 or about $60 USD.
Produced from March through November 1964
The Dolphin Case Back
A Special Edition
A special edition Dolphin case back replaced the Olympic torch in December 1964. It appears this watch was only produced for one month.
Produced in December 1964
The Asian Games World Timer
A Special Edition
SEIKO produced no World Time watches in 1965 and 1966, except this special edition (for a single month) in August 1966. It was made to commemorate the 1966 Asian Games in Bangkok.
SEIKO made some meaningful tweaks to the original watch, giving this one a new and larger case, longer lugs and a new crown. It also got a new commemorative case back.
All cataloged examples of this watch have silver dials, suggesting there was no black dial option of this watch.
Produced August 1966
The First Standard World Time
In 1967 SEIKO continued production of the new case design introduced with the Asian Games special edition. For the first time a standard horseshoe case back was used, perhaps indicating SEIKO's intention of making the World Time a standard offering in their product line.
While this watch shared the 6217-7010 model number with the Asian Games watch, it was further differentiated by a new lumed dial and hand set.
Produced on and off in 1967
Olympic Torch Redux
Another Round of the Series 1
In 1967, SEIKO also re-manufactured the original 6217-7000 watch for several months. This time they replaced the etched caseback (which was easily worn off) with a more durable engraved version - again bearing the Olympic torch.
Based on available data, it appears this run was limited to perhaps as few as 5,000 total watches. Perhaps this was remnant inventory that SEIKO wanted to clear out before moving on?
Produced on and off in 1967
A Transitional Model
In early in 1968 SEIKO started production of its Series 3 World Time watch. This model was manufactured from February 1968 through November 1969. That was the longest production run to date for the World Time.
SEIKO produced this series under two sub-model numbers, of otherwise identical watches. The 6117-6019 was intended for the North American Markets. The 6117-6010 was intended for the the Japanese Domestic Market and all other International Markets.
This watch received an updated movement (the 6117A), a new dial and handset, including new GMT hand, and an updated inner bezel. GMT is marked on the cities ring for the first time and Chicago is replaced with Mexico City as the Central Time Zone marker. This likely aligns with the 1968 Olympics, held in Mexico City, though no commemorative case back was produced.
Produced from February 1968 through Nov 1969
GMT Added to the Bezel
London implements BST (GMT+1)
For the first couple of months of production the new 6117-601X models retained the cities bezel from 1968. Then in April the bezel was updated, showing GMT for the first time, and correctly placing London at GMT +1, as England elects to implement BST (British Summer Time) - effective through 1971.
From April 1968 through Nov 1969
The Standard-bearer World Time
This was the 4th and final series of mechanical world time to be produced by SEIKO in this generation. It was also the longest running, produced for 7 years with only minor revisions. Production started in December 1969 and ran through December of 1976.
This model offered a larger and more modern case design, an updated dial, hands and bracelet.
As with the 6117-601X, SEIKO again produced two sub-models of otherwise identical watches. The 6117-6409 was intended for the North American Markets. The 6117-6400 was intended for the local, Japanese Domestic Market and all other International Markets.
Produced from December 1969 - December 1976
All Case Backs Now Read
Water Resistance wording is Standardized
Prior to this series, all World Time watches in this series were marked WATER PROOF. When production started on the 4th series in November 1969, the designation was split between model numbers.
Through September 1970 case backs from the 6117-6409 model (sold outside of Japan) were marked WATER RESIST. Case backs for the 6117-6400 (sold in Japan) retained the WATER PROOF notation from prior watches in this series.
Then, in October 1970 all watches were standardized to read WATER RESISTANT.
From October 1970 through December 1976
WORLD TIME at 12-o'clock
The wording on the dial is standardized
With the introduction of the 3rd series 6117-601X models, WORLD TIME was moved from its previous position at 12-o'clock to 6-o'clock on the dial. This change continued in some early 6117-6400 and 6117-6409 models (the 4th series).
By the end of 1970 it appears that these were phased out and standardized, putting WORLD TIME back at 12-o'clock on all dials.
From January 1971 through December 1976
London returns to GMT
The Cities Bezel is updated for the last time
In 1972, following the cancellation of BST (British Summer Time), the cities bezel was updated for the last time, this time stacking London and GMT at the same position.
From January 1972 through December 1976
A Gold Watch for Globetrotters
A Special Edition
Perhaps a gold watch was the only thing SEIKO had not done with the World Time at this point?
Whatever the reasoning, in 1972 SEIKO decided to fancy things up a bit, with another special edition, this time in gold. Well kind of. Not actual real gold. But it looked the part, and everything from the case and bracelet to the dial, hands and bezel had a golden hue.
Produced from February - August 1972
The End of an Era
Mechanical World Time Production Ends
The last known serial numbers for the 6117-6400 are in December of 1976.
A Digital LCD Rebirth
The Next Chapter
By the late 1970's quartz watches had become the new standard, a future SEIKO embraced early and completely. In 1977 SEIKO replaced the then aging and outdated mechanical World Times with the all new M158-500X. Referred to as the "PAN AM", this watch became synonymous with airline pilots of the day. It was one of the first digital watches to include a world time complication, and certainly the most sophisticated.
Produced from 1977 through 1979