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Is Seiko 5 as good as it used to be?


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I've owned several Seiko 5s. The first lasted maybe 25 years. The second about 5 years, then it stopped and sounded like it had a bunch of tiny nails inside. My latest still works but it's just got the same sound. Only about 4 yrs old. I don't do anything outrageous with them; I work in an office, not with a jackhammer. I like the look & feel of these, but are they as well made as they used to be?

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9 hours ago, cooperplace said:

I've owned several Seiko 5s. The first lasted maybe 25 years. The second about 5 years, then it stopped and sounded like it had a bunch of tiny nails inside. My latest still works but it's just got the same sound. Only about 4 yrs old. I don't do anything outrageous with them; I work in an office, not with a jackhammer. I like the look & feel of these, but are they as well made as they used to be?

First obvious question has to be , are you 100% sure your latest one(s) is genuine ? Assuming yes then you may have been unlucky with a bit of seiko history. They loosely outsourced some production [ since bought back under control ] to a couple of Asian counties, Malaysia I seem to remember was one, where QC went out of the window and the products produced more liable to faults etc etc. The production was not dedicated solely to a single model at that factory , so the same watch was being made in two places, one with QC tight , and one not so. Its possible you have bought into that piece of history.

Seiko today have considerable tightened up their brand and output on the lower price point offerings.

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I just checked my Ebay records and the current one that failed is only 2 years old. It came from an Ebay seller in Hong Kong who has 40,000 feedback items and virtually zero negative. The watch itself looks very well made. I just spend 30 minutes looking at both failed watches with my magnifier. If they are fakes, they are v good, IMO. Someone once gave me a $10 Cartier, it was screamingly obvious. I don't think they are fakes, BUT: it doesn't say Japan anywhere on the face, so maybe it's Chinese made?

 

I just checked for the 6-digit serial number. Not there, so I think both are fakes.

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Seiko is now a bit hit and miss regarding QC.

One main issue is lubrication, some movements are not lubricated correctly at the factory, it seems like it anyway.

over oiled or under oiled in some places, it looks like they don't really care anymore.

First thing I do now is check a movement on the timing machine, that usually gives me an indication at least.

Noise on the graph is not a good sign.

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2 hours ago, cooperplace said:

I just checked my Ebay records and the current one that failed is only 2 years old. It came from an Ebay seller in Hong Kong 

I just checked for the 6-digit serial number. Not there, so I think both are fakes.

Yes, it appears you may have Chinese counterfeit Seiko watches. :(

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I had a Seiko 5 for over 15 years with no issues.  Bought another in 2004 and within 2 years it had stopped working.   I got it repaired independently and it runs about 15 secs slow each day but at least it works. 

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23 hours ago, JonnyOldBoy said:

Yes, it appears you may have Chinese counterfeit Seiko watches. :(

Where should I look for the serial number? I've got a v old Seiko 5 I got from a reputable dealer in Chicago some decades ago. On its glass back the 6-digit derail number is 180 degrees from the Seiko stamp on the glass. On my two ?fakes, I cannot see a serial number on either of their glass backs. But they are really good fakes. I wonder if they come from the same factory as the real Chinese Seikos. Both claim to be 7S26.

Until this experience I've had a v good run from Seiko 5s.

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8 minutes ago, cooperplace said:

Where should I look for the serial number? I've got a v old Seiko 5 I got from a reputable dealer in Chicago some decades ago. On its glass back the 6-digit derail number is 180 degrees from the Seiko stamp on the glass. On my two ?fakes, I cannot see a serial number on either of their glass backs. But they are really good fakes. I wonder if they come from the same factory as the real Chinese Seikos. Both claim to be 7S26.

Until this experience I've had a v good run from Seiko 5s.

You have potentially hit on another issue with Chinese production in the last decade. A bud of mine is an entrepreneur [ currently not a very successful one mind ] and 3 or 4 years ago he went to China to try and sew up a manufacturing deal for shock proof phone cases... it all fell through and never got anywhere, but the details of his trip were fascinating. He went to several factories to "inspect" the facilities etc etc and in a couple there were curious red lines painted on the floor and he was told he was "not allowed to see the areas of the factory past those red lines and that only certain workers were permitted in that area. Curious as there was no security barrier, screens or anything else, just the painted lines on the floor. It transpired that past those red lines was where the "surplus" production on "parallel" contracts was taking place. In other words where the counterfeiting and bogus production  was going on. It was one of the reasons he pulled out seeing as he had just secured a lucrative patent and in the end he tried [ unsuccessfully ] to get production off the ground in Thailand but the margins were not there. Abercrombie and Fitch also pulled production from a huge Chinese plant after a "red lines" issue and moved production to Vietnam. From what I hear Seiko have shut the door on some of those previously exposed operations so the "good fakes" are probably less common these days , but Seiko is the most counterfeited watch brand on earth, curiously. I am sure someone on here will know about being able to locate serial number, Seiko5 is a watch line I am familiar with at close quarters.

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I've been having a conversation with the vendor. He's adamant it's not a fake, and he told me where the find the serial number, on the sloping edge of the rear case, the metal part. And it's there. He's asked me to send it back to him and he'll ask Seiko to honor its warranty, which it's slightly out of. So I think he's genuine. But I'd prefer it hadn't failed so soon.

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