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SEIKO7A38

My Search For A Grail To Complete Another 7A38 Trilogy

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To many Seiko 7Axx collectors, and probably most 7A38 collectors, I suspect the 7A38-701B 'Vulcan' is something of a grail. :man_in_love:

I guess I've been fortunate in having had two examples pass through my hands, and for selling the first with a decent profit.

This is an oldish photo from December 2009, which I've posted before elsewhere (probably in the 7A38 Vulcan thread):

7A38-701B-StainlessYellow-x27A38-7010-StainlessBlack-Resized.jpg

Whereas I actually prefer wearing the somewhat more subtle 7A38-7010, to the left of those two 'Vulcans'.

Indeed that particular 7A38-7010 has since been supplanted in my collection by a second better example,

and become an occasional daily wearer - and there's currently a third, hopefully better example on the way.

But something that has eluded my grasp for the last couple of years is their 'middle sibling' - the 7A38-701A (SAA003J):

7A38-701x3-Catalogue-1.jpg

Note the Seiko sales codes in these catalogue page illustrations : SAA001J; SAA003J and SAA005J.

Although their case numbers might not be the lowest (by a long way), these would appear the first 7A38's offered on sale.

Indeed, the 38xxxx case-back serial number of my own 7A38-701B dates it to August 1983 - one of the earliest I've seen.

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In fact, the cross-hatched dialed 7A38-701A appears to be nearly as scarce as it's yellow-faced 7A38-701B sibling. :search:

But they're out there. Probably one of the nicest examples belongs to Hung Pham ('Time2Fly' on SCWF).

This is a photo he posted on the old SCWF, way back:

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceOrangeHands-HungPham-SCWF.jpg

Hung was lucky to pick up this very nice example, based on an 'eBay fuzzy photo gamble' in December 2005:

7A38_701A_a.jpg

This watch was listed on Ebay Europe with a very poor photo.

I emailed the seller for the model number, and found a photo of it in an old Seiko catalog.

A forum member helped me bid on it and won at a good price.

The watch looks much better than the catalog photo.

It's in excellent condition and all functions work correctly. This one is a keeper.

More photos here: http://members.cox.net/watches-3/7A38_701A.html

7A38_701A_1.jpg

It may not be in absolutely pristine condition, with a few marks on the bezel insert, but it's still the nicest example I've seen.

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Another belonging to a German collector, Achim, who posts on UhrForum.de as 'Gufi', has started popping up all over.

Here's the first thread he posted it on Uhrforum.de: Seiko 7A38 Teil II - ein recht seltenes Modell (Plenty more photos there).

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-UhrForum-AchimGufi-1.jpg

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-UhrForum-AchimGufi-WristShot-3.jpg

That particular example came up for sale on eBay in Germany in August last year:

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-eBayGermany-August2010.jpg

I had it on my eBay watching page, only to have it 'snaffled' by Achim. :angry:

There are other photos that he's posted elsewhere, where it doesn't look quite so good. :thumbsdown:

Not only is the bezel insert on his badly scratched up, the originally orange hands have faded to a pale yellow:

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-UhrForum-AchimGufi-HeadShot.jpg

.... and like many well-worn 7A38-701x's, the original Seiko p/n Z1118S bracelet appears to be quite badly stretched:

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-UhrForum-AchimGufi-3.jpg

So, in hindsight, I'm moderately pleased that I didn't make the seller an 'off eBay offer', as Achim obviously did. :schmoll:

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Speaking of well-loved 'beaters' ....

Here's the 'lightly modified' 7A38-701A belonging to 'Nonnodiqulia', posted on Orologio & Passioni:

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBraceletFerrariLogo-OrologioPassioni-Nonnodiqulia.jpg

Fitted on an incorrect bracelet (off a 7A28-701A, if I'm not mistaken), faded yellow hands, and a Ferrari decal on the dial !

Here's another 'beater' I found on the other Italian watch forum Orologiando.org in a thread titled Old Forgotten Seiko

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-Orologiandoorg-Blackwatch.jpg

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Here's yet another slightly tired-looking 7A38-701A with faded to yellow hands fitted with the wrong bracelet:

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBracelet-1.jpg

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBracelet-3.jpg

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBracelet-4.jpg

Again, I may be wrong, but the bracelet looks like a Seiko p/n YA16A off a 7A28-7010, but minus it's Speedmaster clasp.

It was posted a couple of times on the old SCWF / SCTP, so I guess it may have changed hands since then. :unsure:

In the newer couple of photos I've saved of this watch, it's also recognisable by the same nick in the bezel insert at '90':

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBracelet-SCWF-Glen-1.jpg

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBracelet-SCWF-Glen-2.jpg

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Sightings of any half-decent looking 7A38-701A's on eBay have been very few and far between over the last couple of years.

Apart from the one Achim snaffled off eBay Germany, best I can remember, there have only been three others (that I've seen).

The first, a really rough example offered by one of the Filipino watch-botchers in June 2009. This one had it all:

Badly scratched bezel; faded to yellow hands, degraded lume and fitted on a totally wrong aftermarket bracelet !

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBracelet-eBay-June2009-6.jpg

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBracelet-eBay-June2009-7.jpg

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBracelet-eBay-June2009-12.jpg

It was bought by one of those 'dealers' like 'swotlab', and re-sold on Yahoo Japan Auctions later the same month:

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBracelet-YahooJapan-June2009-1.jpg

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceYellowHands-WrongBracelet-YahooJapan-June2009-3.jpg

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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The next one came up in August 2009, again offered by one of the Filipino watch-botchers.

For a change, this one's hands weren't too faded, and almost a passable shade of their original orange colour:

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceOrangeHands-WrongBracelet-eBay-August2009-1.jpg

Sadly, the watch had been ruined, by polishing off most of the original anodised silver finish, in true watch-botcher fashion:

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceOrangeHands-WrongBracelet-eBay-August2009-8.jpg

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceOrangeHands-WrongBracelet-eBay-August2009-10.jpg

Although the bracelet looked something like 'correct' it was in fact a cheap after-market, fitted with the original SQ clasp:

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceOrangeHands-WrongBracelet-eBay-August2009-15.jpg

Lastly, there was this barely recognisable piece of junk offered with an equally battered-looking 7A38-6000 in June 2010:

7A38-6000-Divers-Stainless-WhitePandaFace-BeaterInLotwith7A38-701A-eBay-June2010-1.jpg

That was until a couple of weeks ago ....

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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By which time I guess I was getting impatient to fill the gap in my 7A38(-701x) collection. :sadwalk:

Despite all the warnings I've given to other people in the past, about (not) buying 7A38's from the Philippines ....

About poor workmanship standards / working conditions in their 'repair shops' / high humidity (especially this time of year);

their eBay listing descriptions which are either downright misleading, or best case often leave a lot to the imagination.

So what did I do ? :groan:

I bought this one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/360391022541?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649#ht_9117wt_1075

VINTAGE SEIKO QUARTZ CHRONO 7A38-701A RARE

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceOrangeHands-eBay-Sept2011-1.jpg

IMG_9463.jpg

IMG_9460.jpg

7A38-701A-Stainless-BlackFaceOrangeHands-eBay-Sept2011-11.jpg

Heres a HTF Seiko quartz chronograph, 7A38-701A......39.5mm.

DIAL: Original dial in good condition. English/Arabic wheel. All functions work.

CRYSTAL: Original glass.

BEZEL: Chapter ring and bezel in good condition.

CASEBACK: Unpolished case......52....May 1993.

MOVEMENT: Overhauled 1 week ago..... watch keeps time.

BRACELET: Original bracelet, extension clasp placed, fits a 7 inch wrist.

I guess the reasons I fell for it were because it's bezel was in reasonable condition; the hands still an orange-ish colour;

it was still on the original p/n Z1118S bracelet (albeit a tad short), and it didn't look as if it had been too 'messed with'. :hammer:

Besides, the eBay seller was José Sotto a.k.a. 'watchcooking', by far and away, the best of the Filipino watch-botchers. :wink2:

The watch arrived (very quickly) last Friday, but has since turned out to have 'a few issues', which I'll tell you about tomorrow.

Got a whole load of photos to re-size and upload to Photobucket first. :sweatdrop:

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Great story.

I'm thinking 'a few issues' are likely easily remedied by one so expert.

Thanks, James :hi:

Yes, whereas they're relatively simple issues (to me), for a watch that the seller was allegedly claiming to have been:

MOVEMENT: Overhauled 1 week ago.....

I shouldn't really have to be dealing with them at all. :disgust:

One thing I should make clear to everybody (who doesn't already know) is that ....

Second hand watches coming out of the Philippines have generally suffered a hard life.

As José Sotto once told me in an email, they're actually more likely to be 4th or 5th hand.

Think about this 7A38-701A. Why does it have and English / Arabic day wheel - and say not Spanish ?

Another thing is that Filipinos tend to be of smaller stature, and hence have proportionally smaller wrists ....

Meaning that watch bracelets have often been made smaller, and end up totally devoid of any adjustment links.

Anyway, getting back to this watch.

As I wrote, it arrived last Friday, and initially I was pleased with it's overall appearance.

However, on closer inspection, it's actual condition wasn't all that it might have been. :(

I started making notes on a couple of Post-it Notes, and so they're not necessarily in any particular order:

There was no case-back sealing ring gasket fitted, and the case-back was only on finger tight.

The watch was fitted with an under-sized SR927SW (#399) battery, instead of the proper SR936SW (#394).

The crystal may well be the original, but it appears to have been polished, and has a slightly rippled surface.

Although they appeared clean in his listing photos, the pusher wells were full of a horrible tar-like rusty gunge.

As for the bracelet, after an overnight soak in Flash, and 5 minutes in the ultrasonic cleaner, the water was black ! :yucky:

There was strangely no feel to the 'split time' pusher (which re-sets the 30 minute counter) at 10 o'clock.

When I took the dial / movement assembly out I found more gunge / rust around the inside of the pushers.

The watch keeps time (so far), and the day / date flicks over at night, however, it has two faults with the chrono' function:

When you come to re-set it the sweep second hand, it stalls - hesitates around 20-30 minutes so does not re-set, and

the (30) minute counter sticks / does not move - if at all. Both symptoms repeat themselves during the chrono 'self-test'.

Getting back to the bracelet thing, one other little bodge that p*ssed me off was the way the clasp had been extended.

Someone had roughly filed the bracelet's end fixing link tube narrower to fit the clasp extender:

7A38-701A-P1060099-Resized.jpg

Had they used a decent aftermarket extending clasp extender, of this type:

MrSeikoBraceletExtender-1.jpg

.... instead of the cheap and nasty plain channel section used, the need to file the bracelet wouldn't have arisen.

As it happens, I was able to rob a couple of adjustment links, and another end tube off a gash Z1118S bracelet. :hammer:

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As I've written before, I'm not very good at taking W.I.P. photos. Let's face it, guys don't multi-task.

I'm either actually working on the watch :hammer: or taking photos. :photo: Not both at the same time. :no:

So you'll have to take my word for it, that by this stage, I'd already stripped and cleaned the watch-case.

I removed the pushers; cleaned all the rust and gunge, inside and out, re-finished the ends of the pushers and crown,

fitted new pusher seals; greased and re-assembled the pushers into the case, which apart from one small ding, looks good.

Here's the first few photos I took of the dial face / movement (as received) removed from the case:

7A38-701A-P1060100-Resized.jpg

7A38-701A-P1060101-Resized.jpg

Note the 30 minute counter hand stuck at 5, and the badly rusted dial post screw near the one o'clock baton:

7A38-701A-P1060102-Resized.jpg

7A38-701A-P1060103-Resized.jpg

Note the verdigris near the 10 o'clock baton, and something strangely absent from the pusher recess below. :dontgetit:

Remembering this:

MOVEMENT: Overhauled 1 week ago.....
Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Normally, I'd strip a movement down in either a watchmaker's vice or movement holder, with the dial and hands removed.

But because of that rusted dial post screw, it wasn't going to be easy to take the dial off, without risking collateral damage.

So I decided to leave them in place, and strip the movement in the case.

Not really to be recomended, because you're reliant on the crown stem to hold the movement in place.

As it happens, all 7 screws holding the antimagnetic back-plate on were loose. A sign they'd been off before. :fear:

Looks quite good at first impressions - a reasonably clean back-plate (note the under-sized SR927SW battery still fitted):

7A38-701A-P1060104-Resized.jpg

No sign of any leaking battery acid damage to the PCB either:

7A38-701A-P1060105-Resized.jpg

Still looking good, apart from the discolouration of the bushing on the 30 minute chrono' bridge:

7A38-701A-P1060106-Resized.jpg

Uh-Oh. Someone's been in here before me:

7A38-701A-P1060107-Resized.jpg

You can see some of the 'tinkering' slightly better under the hard light of the flash:

7A38-701A-P1060109-Resized.jpg

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Here's a couple more close-ups I took yesterday:

7A38-701A-P1060110-Resized.jpg

These two taken by flash - you can also see the other end of the rusted dial post screw in the main-plate:

7A38-701A-P1060111-Resized.jpg

7A38-701A-P1060112-Resized.jpg

The latter showing the reason for:

There was strangely no feel to the 'split time' pusher (which re-sets the 30 minute counter) at 10 o'clock.

Incidentally there's an excellent tutorial on this subject (but using a 7A28), written by John Bentley on SCWF. :thumbsup:

See: Problems caused by old rubbers !! Better photos than mine, too. :wink2:

SDC14974.jpg

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Great story so far! I've got my fingers crossed for a happy ending...

Also, what a great testament to the 7A series and their ability to be worked back into properation nearly 30 years after they were made.

Edited by bpc

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Now, where was I ? :umnik2:

There was strangely no feel to the 'split time' pusher (which re-sets the 30 minute counter) at 10 o'clock.

When I took the dial / movement assembly out I found more gunge / rust around the inside of the pushers.

The watch keeps time (so far), and the day / date flicks over at night, however, it has two faults with the chrono' function:

When you come to re-set it the sweep second hand, it stalls - hesitates around 20-30 minutes so does not re-set, and

the (30) minute counter sticks / does not move - if at all. Both symptoms repeat themselves during the chrono 'self-test'.

Ah Yes. :)

Well, I had a couple of N.O.S. Pusher actuator levers in my spares stock. Seiko p/n 4450.727 'Switch Lever' they call them:

P1060113-Resized.jpg

But, even at a mere £2.75 + VAT each, I decided I wasn't going to waste either of them on this movement. :schmoll:

So I robbed a couple off this gash (also water-damaged) scrap 7A38 movement in my bits box:

P1060114-Resized.jpg

Those of you who are familiar with the 7A38 movement will notice 'a few' other bits missing. :dontgetit: Of more anon. :whistle:

I cleaned up the area of the (7A38-701A) main-plate, the two (scrap donor) used lever actuators and fitted them.

I'd lent my multimeter to a mate at work, still not returned, and was unable to check the resistance of the coils,

so as an added precaution, I fitted a 'known good' used coil to the (30) minute register as well, for good measure.

Re-assembled the rest of the movement, expecting it all to work again. :sweatdrop:

As I've written before, I'm not very good at taking W.I.P. photos. Let's face it, guys don't multi-task.

I'm either actually working on the watch :hammer: or taking photos. :photo: Not both at the same time. :no:

Sorry - no photos for that bit. :tongue_ss: Then came the acid test - first run of the chrono' functions:

7A38-701A-P1060115-Resized.jpg

Epic fail. :angry: Although both the sweep second hand and the (30) minute register now worked, I still had problems ! :mad:

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Still looking good, apart from the discolouration of the bushing on the 30 minute chrono' bridge:

7A38-701A-P1060106-Resized.jpg

And therein apparently lay the problem(s). Yesterday evening (again, sorry no photos taken) .... I stripped, cleaned and

rebuilt the chrono' sweep second and (30) minute bridges, using more parts that I robbed from that gash movement. :hammer:

P1060114-Resized.jpg

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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So once I'd got the watch sorted, it was just a matter of this little problem:

Getting back to the bracelet thing, one other little bodge that p*ssed me off was the way the clasp had been extended.

Someone had roughly filed the bracelet's end fixing link tube narrower to fit the clasp extender:

7A38-701A-P1060099-Resized.jpg

Had they used a decent aftermarket extending clasp extender, of this type:

MrSeikoBraceletExtender-1.jpg

.... instead of the cheap and nasty plain channel section used, the need to file the bracelet wouldn't have arisen.

As it happens, I was able to rob a couple of adjustment links, and another end tube off a gash Z1118S bracelet. :hammer:

Fortunately, I'd just freed up a 'proper' spring-loaded 16mm clasp extender from my 7A38-7050 'Diver':

7A38-701A-P1060137-WristShot-Resized.jpg

With the two more adjustment links and an un-molested end tube, which I'd robbed from a gash Z1118S bracelet ....

7A38-701A-P1060136-WristShot-Resized.jpg

.... it fitted me perfectly, and I've been wearing it most of this afternoon:

7A38-701A-P1060133-WristShot-Resized.jpg

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Cliffhanger! pleas update as soon as possible.

Done ! :grin:

Have you found your grail watch or have you been turned over by the 'pino's!

To answer your question: I've found a reasonable example of one of my grails - a Seiko 7A38-701A.

It's far from perfect, but will do as a 'place-holder' in my collection, until a better one comes along. :lookaround:

As far as being 'turned over by the 'Pino's', I don't think so. :no:

I could have easily returned the watch to José for repair (by him) or credit.

Instead, I decided to put it right myself - but how might others have fared ? :unsure:

I'm just disappointed in the received condition of the watch, bearing in mind the statements in his eBay listing description:

All functions work.

MOVEMENT: Overhauled 1 week ago.....

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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Congratulations to your 7A37-701A! It looks better as I thought when I saw it on ebay. From all the 7Axx it´s my favourite model; it looks great at the wrist.

The stretch of the bracelet doesn´t bother me too much; it´s still very nice to wear. But a better looking bezel insert would be nice although in reality it doesn´t look so bad as on some photos.

By the way; my model has a black day/date-wheel background. I can´t imagine that it has been changed by the previous owner, so maybe there were models (maybe in Europe) with black wheel. And maybe the yellow chrono hands are not faded orange but original? It doesn´t look like faded colour to me.

Best,

Achim/gufi

PS. Don ´t you think it would be fair to ask me before posting my photos?

Edited by hermann

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Nice, I love reading your threads. I am slowly becoming a 7A38 fan myself. I will need to change my username soon... ;)

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Hi Achim, and :welcome: to :rltb: - the 'Home of all things 7A38'. :grin:

What's with the 'hermann' username, instead of your usual 'Gufi' handle ? :huh:

Was that choice perhaps in comic reference to 'Hermann the German' :dwarf: ? :rofl2:

Congratulations to your 7A38-701A ! It looks better as I thought when I saw it on ebay.

Thanks, Achim. :) Actually, I think it's about the same, no better, as far as it's cosmetic condition goes.

José's photos didn't hide anything. I'm just rather disappointed about it's received mechanical condition. :thumbsdown:

From all the 7Axx it's my favourite model; it looks great at the wrist.

I personally prefer the more subtle 7A38-7010. But I needed a 7A38-701A to complete this sub-set.

I'll reply to the other points you raised about your example in a couple more seperate posts. :wink2:

PS. Don ´t you think it would be fair to ask me before posting my photos?

Yes, I suppose I could have, but when you post photos of your watch all over the Internet (I counted 18) ....

Another belonging to a German collector, Achim, who posts on UhrForum.de as 'Gufi', has started popping up all over.

.... they become 'fair game' - particularly if you host them in Photobucket without any image protection.

I could have been really cheeky and linked them direct from your Photobucket, instead of re-hosting them.

Besides, from what I remember of our last little exchange on UhrForum.de, we weren't on speaking terms. :aggressive:

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