This week for a change I feature a rather interesting Seiko quartz watch from the ’80’s. The Seiko AGS or Automatic Generating System Model 7M22-6A40 gents dress watch first appeared in 1988 and was an early automatic quartz forerunner of what’s better known now as the “Kinetic” series. It was first pioneered by Seiko in 1986 as AGM and further altered to AGS when this watch came out.
This 1988 April version has a nice white dial with Roman numerals, black coated hour and minute hands with a central gold coloured seconds sweep. A date window – black against white @6 completes the neat easily read dial and a good “Hardlex” crystal to the front. The date features a quick set on the first click of the crown. Finished in satin gold plate with matching gold coloured bracelet it looks very neat indeed. The bracelet which is very smooth to wear can accommodate up to around a 7.75″ wrist.
This particular watch shown here was a brand new Old Stock model which has been in storage lying dormant for over 20 years, so is in absolute pristine as new condition.
So how does it work?
It works using a rotating pendulum rotor in similar fashion to the rotor in a mechanical automatic watch which is inside and attached to a larger gear which meshes with a very small pinion. It operates on the wrist movement of the wearer and rotates via a 1/100 gearing pinion, transferring energy to a power-generator at high speed to produce an electrical current and charges a capacitor (KESU) which in turn feeds the time circuits. Being one of the earliest models with a 3029110 power capacitor the full charge may last about 3 days or 75 hours – the full charge takes about 800 swings of the rotor, so really has to be worn a lot to get the best capacity reserve out of it. Another feature of this early model is that the second hand operates in 2 second jumps if the power reserve capacity drops to around 3 hours. Now as it can takes quite a considerable wear time and wrist movement to build up a sufficient charge, it can sometimes seem as if 2 second jumps are normal!
All is not lost however as in 1990 owing to these older capacitors having faults they were replaced by the newer 302324R capacitor (KESU) module which really improved both the reliability and allowed a whopping 90 days on full charge – much better – so the 2 second warning was not so evident.
This particular model features a 5 jewel all metal 7M22A movement which is actually very good quality and better than many modern quartz watches, which tend to have added plastic parts within them.
The dimension of this watch is very compact for an AGS or Kinetic watch and measures 40mm top to bottom and side to side ( without crown ) just 35mm. Thickness ( crystal to back cover ) is 9.5mm and with a 28mm diameter crystal. Quite neat and unobtrusive as befits a dress watch and I have to say it looks very good on the wrist.
In this image you can see both the rotor and the capacitor (looks like a battery) at the left. The serial number follows the Seiko numbering system with first digit 8 denoting 1998 and the 4 for April. The next 4 digits represent the model number in that month. Quite useful to see such an unusual and Seiko historic movement mechanism and note the cal. number etc. You can also hear the rotor operating though once against the wrist it’s almost inaudible.
So an unusual model and actually quite a milestone in watch terms. This one is in fantastic condition even after just over 20 years since it first came out.
Cons – not really – but -
I suppose if I was honest the full charge capacity is a little low at 3 days or so and the 2 second jump could I suppose appear if you’re one of those that takes the watch off at night, or if you wear your watches in rotation and leave it in the watch display box for a month.
But that said it CAN be changed and upgraded very easily as I already have the newer replacement capacitor ready to fit – but confess I can’t be bothered replacing it – and it works fine anyway ‘cos I wear it 24/7 anyway.
Anyway not withstanding the above – it’s still an intriguing and to my mind a historically significant watch and a great addition to my collection. So I’m very happy with it – it keeps great time and it will be with me for a long time I’m sure.
94 years of age and still going strong – check out “Watch of the week”