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Thread: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

  1. #1
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    .
    [i]Recently I have been asked to write an article about ‘future watch trends’ so I better get this out of the way and clear the decks. It’s not a review but a file dump, tidied-up a tad here and there. Picture wise, I ‘borrowed’ stuff from all over the place and as I can never match good photographers… some of the best pics of the SD600 are here:
    http://forums.timezone.com/index.php?t= ... id=4425942

    And here: (if these links go dead, I’ll change them)
    viewtopic.php?f=3&t=80777&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

    I had to break it into two parts as there is too much material. Here is Part One - What the eyes see. Part Two - The Movement is on Page 2.
    ================================================== ==

    PART 1



    “It’s a WIS Time Machine. There’s nothing else like it, it oozes quality both in terms of materials and execution and it tells the time. Full stop.” (Martin Landau)

    Ever since being invented, watches have fascinated and there probably isn’t one person on the planet that doesn’t want a nice watch. Some get to look inside the back and some get lost in the wonder of what makes them go. Others go deeper still, but you don’t have to. Because watches can be appreciated, and enjoyed on so many levels without ever having to know how to adjust a fusee, or cogitate in machine logic.

    The SD600 though is the kind of watch in which the deeper you go into, the more it has to offer. So we are going to start from the outside (what the eyes can see) because even when the prime reason behind having such a watch might be the movement … any movement can only be as good as the case which houses it.

    * * *

    THE CASE

    The SD600 is a special watch, being the spring drive’s first outing into the sports/tool watch arena. If a professional diver it was going to be, then Seiko could have (and some say should have) easily slotted the spring drive into a Tuna Can case, instead though, they decided to opt for the Marine Master design from the MM300 …

    … itself based on the 6159 from 1969. The Grand Seiko that never was.
    http://www.50717.com/notissued/seiko-6159-7001.html



    The Marine Master is Seiko’s answer to the Rolex Submariner. If the Oyster case is designed and others are styled, then the Marine Master case is sculpted. Still unmistakably a Seiko diver, it is planned and executed to the nth degree and the ergonomic elements are an art by themselves.

    For the case (and movement-plates) of the spring drive models, Seiko have used their own “nature based” graphic design they call Slant Mono Form …



    Over the last few years Japan has been culturally shaking off the US yoke and re-discovering itself by looking into its own past and
    finding inspiration from a long and exemplary tradition in metallurgy and natural design.





    Slant Mono Form?!



    Don’t go looking in the dictionary. It’s Engrish (Japanese English)



    You don’t need to speak Japanese to understand what is going on:
    http://www.seiko-watch.co.jp/gs/manufac ... ve_03.html
    http://www.seiko.com.tw/gs/about/tech_3 ... =3&s=3&d=3
    You can also see the Slant Mono Form design concept in the new Seiko Ananta range.



    The SD600 reminds me of two historical divers. First, with the “deep-dial” effect, the Aquastar Benthos 500. (The 4th hand of the Benthos is a depth gauge whereas in the Seiko is a 24H indication … and so what?) As far as diving watches are concerned, the Benthos 500 has visually always been one of my core aspirations.

    And in case you are wondering, the actual dial-depth of the Seiko, is the result of the 5mm sapphire.



    And the second reminder, now in terms of overall case geometry and size, the stunning Omega Seamaster 1000m from the 1970s. I have never owned this watch but did (for a while) have the Flightmaster version and that scared me because it was an exceptionally top-heavy watch. But the titanium case plus the chamfered case sides of the SD600 make it a more wrist-friendly beast to live with.

    Even though I’ve had a few, I’ve never been I great lover of titanium watches and thus my final conclusion was that the material should only be used when the saving of weight is the primary consideration … and in the example of the SD600 it is.



    I specifically remember when Tag Heuer brought out the first polished titanium case with the ‘Kirium Ti’ in the early ‘90s. The result to say the least, was slightly pebbly. These days polished titanium can take a harder edge. Still not as sharp as steel, but acceptable enough. To the casual eye the Seiko surface-hardened Buraitochitan (which means shiny Ti) looks and wears very much like stainless steel. As various watchmakers tend to tend to fall-into and out-of love with Ti it still remains an exotic metal, and shiny Ti even more so.

    General info about …

    Surface-hardened titanium material, surface hardening method of titanium material, watchcase decoration …

    The invention provides a method of surface hardening a titanium material wherein titanium-aluminium alloy powders or aluminium oxide powders are brought into contact with the surface of the titanium material, and a heat treatment is applied thereto, causing aluminium containe=THE GLIDING SECONDS HAND=d in the powders to be diffused in the surface of the titanium material so that intermetallic compounds such as Ti3 Al, TiAl, and the like are formed immediately underneath the surface of the titanium material, thereby enhancing surface hardness without causing surface exfoliation. The invention also provides a surface-hardened titanium-base material, and decorative articles and watchcases, composed of the surface-hardened titanium-base material, which are substantially impervious to scratches, and not prone to cause metallic allergy.
    * * *

    Below some measurements, the watch I am comparing against is the Damasko DC66:

    Overall 46mm (Damasko case 42mm)

    Bezel width without the saw teeth 40mm, with the teeth 44mm (Damasko bezel 43.80mm)

    Dial width 32mm (Damasko 33mm)

    Footprint 28mm

    Height 17mm (Damasko 13.70mm)

    * * *

    Some more measurements against other popular quality Seiko divers:

    SBDX001: 300M Diver Automatic is 44mm wide and 14.6mm tall.

    SBDB001: 600M Diver Spring Drive is 46mm wide and 17mm tall.

    SBGA031: Grand Seiko Springdrive Diver is 44.2mm wide and 14.2mm tall.

    SBDD003: SEIKO Prospex 200M Kinetic Direct Drive is 46mm wide and 15.1mm tall.

    * * *



    THE CROWN

    What to say? Just perfect! I love its position and fact that it is just ‘planted’ there, with no guards (just like on the MM300). And I love the beautiful in-relief snake … err … ‘S’ . It couldn’t be improved or better positioned. A quality crown.


    THE BEZEL

    I am not sure if my copy is not set up properly or if there is a way of externally adjusting the tightness, but the bezel is not tight enough. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not loose. It is held on properly and turns with a precision I can only compare to camera controls. But it is too easy to knock out of alignment. If I zero it, after a few hours it will be out of alignment probably through me putting my hand in my pocket or something.

    If you haven’t seen the mysterious bezel fabric … Do it now:

    The Mysterious Fabric (two pages)
    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=82219&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a



    Seiko have began using “the element” between the lugs in other models of their range.

    * * *

    Divers were my first passion ... 8)

    As a teenager, back in the late sixties Cyprus, and with no watch funds whatsoever and wearing a plain old man’s HW hand-me-down … I remember when at a local car dealership, which occasionally also sold watches, these two Citizen divers appeared side by side.



    I cannot recall the exact model (and probably didn’t even know they were Japanese) and going by the date, it must have been a couple of these Citizen 150m. You can imagine what they did to my soul, spending countless sleepless nights pondering on putting a brick through the window display, in the early hours of morning … but of course I did nothing of the sort, and just bought a few pin-pallet look a-likes until some years later when my focus moved onto other styles.

    When I look into the dial of the SD600 I get that same feeling and wonder as I did those years back when looking at those Citizen. Don’t get me wrong, even today, those 150m Citizen are mighty fine lookers … so you can imagine what I was seeing back then. Well, after all these years and after seeing and handling countless good watches, I can categorically state that every time I look at the SD600 I get that … “Damn, this is well made!” … thought, crossing my mind. Due to the brushed Ti hands it is not as blingy as the Marine Master 300m (which has polished steel-edged hands) but it still breathtaking in its execution, balance and depth.


    THE DIAL



    “You don’t walk up to the dial of the SD600. You fall into it.”

    No, this is nothing like the Marathon SAR dials with the deep empty rehaut and all the business taking place as if at the bottom of a well. When you fall into the SD600’s dial you will encounter all sorts of interesting elements to cushion your fall. In general, I don’t like too many hands on the central arbor but in this case the 24H hand doesn’t create too much hand lift and any that there is, is just right to space the hands proportionally in the gap provided between the dial and the crystal.

    The dial is black but not shiny or matt but somewhere in between … more towards matt than shiny. I could say silk, but it isn’t.



    The Seiko green lume looks nowhere nearly as lush as the blue but still one of the best lumes on the market.


    * * *

    DIAL FURNITURE – HANDS, ETC



    I like long tapering seconds. Here the needle-effect is accentuated by the tapering, beginning from the lumed counterbalance. Also of note is the hidden pinion and the fact that the seconds hand is ‘actually’ longer than the dial (riding half way up the inclined reahaut … a hypodermic device delivering pure wiz straight into the bloodstream of a poor WIS … because this is where all the action is.

    =THE GLIDING SECONDS HAND=

    To the lovers of the Accutron, gliding seconds is nothing new but to the uninitiated it is often nothing short of divine revelation. And let’s grant it to Seiko, the very term “gliding seconds” appeared at the same time as the spring drive. Before it had all sorts of inappropriate terms but nothing as right as gliding seconds.

    If you’ve never seen gliding secs … check out some poetry:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKuDgNbBshY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8h0Q4ILmt4&NR=1

    There isn’t much that can (horologically speaking) truly amuse me these days but I absolutely love it when a chap (in his middle twenties) says that he just got himself his first hand wound and he would very much like to know how much to wind it, etc. To us who have spend most of our early years cranking over, alarm clocks at night and wristies in the morning, the fact that somebody doesn’t know what to do with a hand wound is simply … cute.

    Over the last few months I have been experiencing that very same feeling while reading about the wonder some WISes experience upon encountering gliding seconds, for the first time, in a Seiko Spring Drive. Of course us old fish have seen it all before in the Bulova Accutron, the Omega f300, and others in the tuning fork range of chronometers.

    For those not familiar with the Accutron …
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf_fn3IgawY

    This is an excellent video of the working elements (including the sound of the movement)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkNxkhODX6I

    When I first got my spring drive I stated that the main reason for acquiring it was the gliding seconds, something not absolutely true but let’s put it this way, if the spring drive had step-seconds, it would be of no interest to me whatsoever. It might be just icing on a cake but I wouldn’t be interested in any cake without some icing.

    So let’s start at the beginning. Here we are not talking about the mechanical beat versus gliding seconds. The ticking seconds of a mechanical has unquestionable grace. From the relaxed elegance of the 18.000, to the capable beat of the 28.800, to the machine-gun fire of the 36.000, they all contribute a great deal to our enjoyment of the subject. But no, here we are talking about step-seconds (the seconds hand moving in one second increments) versus gliding-seconds.

    The general polloi first became ‘aware’ of seconds hand behaviour (and of step-seconds in particular) at the beginning of the fake craze - when the only way they could tell a real Rolex from a fake one was the step-seconds. I can seriously state that Rolex, single-handed, made more people aware of mechanical watches than all the rest put together.

    The Rolex Sweep Goes Underground (please don’t click on this link, unless you absolutely have to. :(
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOfVBmjdT7U

    From that point on, awareness of mechanicals has widened to the position we are today, where for many, nothing but a mechanical will do. And the dislike of step-seconds is more or less universal amongst people who care about such details.

    Strangely enough even in pre-quartz days, some manufacturers (including Rolex) attempted to offer dead-beat seconds in mechanical models but there was little interest.

    "Doctor's" watch with stepping second hand
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=215054

    Rolex 6556 with dead-beat seconds
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv5HN9tM6TA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhoucs2rMkI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLmgEex2r3c

    Even the name says it, ‘dead-beat’, which is the correct horological term for the tradition. Many might say I am being unfair … and dead-beat seconds became unpopular when quartz watches became cheap … but I never hear anybody complain that their £10K possession ticks like a Seconda or Seiko 5.

    A little known fact is that Seiko themselves (in the early ‘90s) offered perceived gliding seconds by damping down the electric step motor of a traditional quartz module but obviously it wasn’t very successful otherwise you would have known about it.

    This sucker ain’t twitching
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyCfbMEBN1Y

    The Seiko 5S21
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tEAwynNu3Y

    And the heavenly Rolex 5100 using a system similar to the Accuquartz
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2FkD1QUc4w

    I can go as far as to say that the goodness-feeling one derives from watching gliding seconds is juxtapositionally opposite to the evilness of dead-beats. I’ve seen gliding secs described as: Spooky, Mesmerising, and Eerie … and I feel the allure goes beyond them, merely indicating the possibility of something different under the bonnet.



    THE MAIN HANDS

    I first fell in love with this style of sword hands on the Seiko ‘5’ 25th Anniversary in Ti which was a limited model, and I feel shares a general similarity to the SD600.



    And here comes the first big issue of this watch. All the metal elements on the dial (indice surrounds, PR chapter and hand, and the seconds hand) are shiny but the hour and minute hands are brushed titanium.

    Hey Seiko, doh … what the fu..??? The whole purpose of having polished steel edged hands is so they can reflect any and all available light, during low light conditions. In fact polished solid steel hands are best in all conditions apart from total darkness.

    (Clever people like Rolex split or bend their polished hands into different angled facets so you don’t have to be tilting the watch to find the hands.)

    The brushed titanium (hand) edges hardly reflect any light at all and being in one plane, most of the time they are actually invisible so as the observer, you generally rely on the lume-filler to show you the position of the hands.

    … which is where the 24H hand comes into play and being around half way in size between the lumed elements of the other two hands … telling the time at a glance on the 600m is totally out of the question. And I can categorically state that for what is supposed to be a tool watch, this is downright dangerous and dare I say, criminally negligent.
    I wrote the quote above when I first got the watch. It is now over a year later and I no longer see the 24H hand as an issue when I glance for the time. I just learned to blank it out.

    * * *

    SO, WHY SEIKO?

    I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Seiko. I shouldn’t say I hate then but I do. I hate them and deeply because every time I say, I will never buy another Seiko, they go and make something different and desirable and once more (yet again) I am back to square one. I’ve had their first LCD chronograph, and their first analogue quartz chronograph, plus a couple of their early kinetic. So it was only a matter of time before the spring drive came into focus.



    I had this one for about a year (ten years ago) and I actually dived with it. Not too dissimilar to the SD600. Is it now?

    CONCLUSION of PART 1

    It’s a big watch. I would say it is just on the edge of what I would wear. 2mm thinner would have made it 100% more popular and as the new Landmaster Spring Drive is 15.5mm thick, it says everything I need to say on the matter.

    And while you are waiting for the second part, I leave you with this extract below. It is from Seiko’s own history book ‘Journey In Time’ (from towards the end of the book) and I found it extremely insightful.



    END OF PART 1


    The Ouroboros

    PART 2 - The Movement … is on page 2.

    john
    Time moves in one direction, memory in another – William Gibson

  2. #2
    Grand Master Seamaster73's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Absolutely superb post. TZ-UK at its best. Thank you.

  3. #3
    Master SternG's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Second that. Absolutely brilliant :D

    Looking forward to pt.2.

  4. #4
    Journeyman
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Superb review!! Man that marinemaster is a true asskicker!! A little to much $ me... But that is on my wish list!!

  5. #5

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Well John, you've finally published it!


    I've only had time to 'scan' your text, but will be settling down later to read it in detail and to follow the links, meanwhile a big thanks to you for your efforts and I'll be wearing mine when reading the review later.



    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  6. #6
    Craftsman
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Yes! We have been waiting so long for this post John, and it was worth it :) Enjoyed it very much and looking forward to part II.

    Cheers,
    Mabuse

  7. #7

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    :cheers: It's arrived! Great post John and am very much looking forward to the second part. I need to find me a beast of a 600, i think that may satiate my Seiko lust for a little while longer :D

  8. #8

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    :hello1:

  9. #9

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    looks impressive but i'll wait and see if it lasts the test of time like a tuna

  10. #10

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Great review - thanks!

  11. #11
    Master simonsev's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Excellent post thank you, this is what a watch forum is really all about........ 8)

  12. #12
    Master
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Top review John 8) well written informative good pics and links. loved the bricking the window idea :lol: i love the dial and hands on the SBDB001 the best looking on any watch i reckon.
    watches like this are why i love seiko's from mild to wild, they probably take themselves deadly seriously but come across like they are having a bit of fun too doing it and i like that 8)

    looking forward to part 2 :thumbright:

    karl

  13. #13

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Very informative, tahnk you! :-) Been looking into one of these as has a friend of mine, but is the gliding second hand really worth such a price? I don't know, but this article will certainly push us into the abyss... ;-)

  14. #14
    Grand Master
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Now THAT'S a review! Excellent post, should be moved to 'Classics' ..
    /vince ..


  15. #15

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Only seen this today superb John, didn't expect anything less.......looking forward to Part 2.

  16. #16
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Excellent stuff there John. But oh, that "element" twixt the lugs............... :roll: :wink:

  17. #17
    Master
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Excellent stuff - one of the most interesting and informative reviews I've seen. Thanks for taking the time and effort to do this. For reasons of size (thin wrists on my part) I think I'll probably never own or even try one of these, but fascinating nevertheless :thumbup:

  18. #18
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)



    It took me absolutely ages to understand its workings. But after a couple of AHA! moments and when I finally “got it”, I was taken aback by the zen-like simplicity of the mechanism. And it is this simplicity, which not only confirms the “righteousness of the technology” but also the rationale behind Seiko’s decision to peg the spring drive at the top of their range.


    Logia Machina. A 1932 Ingersoll flywheel escapement prototype.

    We all know the effort and insight it requires to simplify any construct. The 600 prototypes prove that there was no magic formula to be plucked from the ether. All the numbers had to be arrived-to by experimentation, trial and error and as an engineer’s son I can enormously appreciate that. Horologically speaking, this movement has everything a person who appreciates watches wants. It has a history and a story to tell. So, let’s start at the beginning …


    The problem (you see) are the hands …

    In an ideal world the perfect watch would have a solid state solar module, with an LCD display and everybody will be happy. But real life doesn’t work like that. People like to see things moving, they also like to see them moving in relation to other things. They like to see depth, perspective, context and emotion. Whichever way I put it, hands are it.

    Being physical objects, in order to move the hands, the primary need is ‘power’ and the nature, application and release of this power, will offer anecdotal insights like no other.

    The spring drive has been described as a fantastical and expensive way to move ‘hands’ and indeed that maybe one way of seeing the subject. To the uninitiated, the spring drive, from the rotor to the glide wheel (escape wheel?) is identical to its mechanical counterpart … from there on, the escapement assembly (the fork and the balance) having been replaced with electronics. But the spring drive is much more clever than that, and as I will indicate further down, any semblance between the spring drive’s mechanism and the traditional mechanical movement is coincidental and principally misunderstood.


    By looking at the list below (and the grouping) of some real and some not-so real expressions …

    Perpetual
    Automatic
    Kinetic

    Spring Drive
    Battery Drive
    Capacitor Drive

    Quartz Watch
    Balance Watch

    … I will now categorise the spring drive as, “the ideal kinetic”.


    The first rotored spring drive was called a KINETIC?

    The spring drive shouldn’t be called ‘spring drive’, it should be called bio-drive, or kinetic, or automatic, or perpetual… Can you see where I am heading? They are all propagating the very same concept but we decided to call them by different names, because we invented them at different periods and (also) because (at the other end of the rotor) they power different technologies. What I am suggesting here is, that the primary (and most important) technology in the ‘spring drive’ is not the spring, or the electronics, but the rotor auto-winder, ‘the interphase’, between man and machine.
    OUR CLOCKWORK FUTURE! An Alpha Barrier? (that moment when an innovation radically speeds up a tech revolution)

    On the bottom line, the spring drive is the best thing that has happened to quartz. Its greatest achievement is the elimination of the battery (and other electricity storage devices). For as long as the instrument is strapped to an organism, the quartz will continue to receive the electricity it requires to function. All who study the spring drive, forget this “human element” in the equation. In the rotored Spring Drive, the system currently called Mechatronics (the union of mechanics and electronics) should be elevated to Bio-Mechatronics. A desktop spring drive, essentially a clock, would be a totally pointless device. So the question is not whether the spring drive is mechanical or quartz but whether it is ‘clockwork’ or not? And that, it very much is.


    [Since I wrote the above … the chaps over at Hour Time (Episode One, 25 mins in) have (also) ‘seen’ something similar and have gone as far as to describe it as a CYBORG !!! (wow!!!) I know what they mean.
    http://hourtimeshow.com/
    A spring has two ends. If for now we take the electronic brake (down the other end) for granted … what do we have left? The ability to make, wind and control a spring (at this end), is mechanical horology’s greatest gift to the spring drive.



    I would give a good kidney to know if Seiko were from the outset intending to add a rotor to the original (first commercial) Cal 7R68 (above) or, if it was an afterthought? Whatever the case, it took them six years to release the automatic … and it wasn’t until the rotor entered the picture that the spring drive stopped from being a mere electric (more of a curiosity) gizmo and became a useful and desirable device in the real world.

    People often like to see the spring drive as a good mechanical, or an average quartz at best, when in fact it is probably “the ideal kinetic” (see above). And AHA! … that’s where it was, when I realised, that “nobody but Seiko could have made the spring drive” because of what “there is” at the other end of the spring and namely, “the generator”.

    But let’s stay with the AGS Kinetic* for a moment. In the Kinetic, the (erratic) spin of the rotor (haphazardly) powers a generator which creates and stores electricity.

    In the Spring Drive, the spring (precisely and with a consistent force) powers a generator which makes electricity at a very precise rate. In fact, it is not allowed to make any more electricity, than the prescribed rate.

    Now let’s backtrack. We have (human) kinetic power (stored in a spring) generating electricity at the exact level required (to run the electronics). To us mechanical watch lovers, familiar with the spring and its auto winder, it might appear a small matter, that the spring is doing a different job at the other end. But to the poor generator, the precise push of the spring, was “evolution time”.

    And herein lies one of the greatest wonders of the spring drive. The spring has transformed the generator from a haphazard ‘electricity generating platform’ into ‘an instrument’ that can be measured and controlled.

    If the Spring Drive was the first incarnation of the quartz technology it would been called a quartz watch. But once you can power a quartz resonator with a spring … going back to batteries or any other form of (electrical) storage device is just as absurd as running a car on petrol after the invention of the water engine. It is good technology which if it was brought to the market in the 1950’s it would have been an ELECTRONIC … in the 1970s it would have been called QUARTZ … and in the 21st century it’s a MECHANICAL. Where else have we seen this technology? Strangely enough in the clockwork radio, here also a (hand wound) spring powers a generator.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clockwork_radio

    Thank you all for your thoughts. I am passing them onto Spring Drive guy, who doesn't have time to read this forum but is finding everyone's views fascinating, as I am (learning a lot here!). He thinks that the SD mechanism is evolutionary and will eventually, but not in his lifetime, prove to have been a watershed type moment in horology.

    2007, 02:41 PM
    aptronym
    Senior Member

    source: http://www.horomundi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=330
    My original post on quartz controlled turntables (just scroll down a tad)
    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=52191&start=30


    * In the traditional ‘kinetic’ (Automatic Generating System), with its recent hand-crank addition and its earlier charger add-ons, means that there was “an issue” being addressed.

    Also, a mainspring powered train is under constant tension whereas when the step-motor impulsed train is (in between impulses), in a relaxed state, it can be stopped by the smallest of foul-ups. During general use this hasn’t manifested as a major issue but the appearance of analogue quartz modules, carrying terms such as “high-torque motor” must say that there is also something afoot.


    * * *


    The rotor and it’s assembly, is the spring drive’s most vulnerable element and the part most liable to wear down and perish. The small detail that it was invented some three hundred years ago is just a by-the-way …

    Automatic Winding - Some Significant Dates
    http://www.timezone.com/library/tlines/ ... 2336317588

    Of note, the Magic Lever rotor system in the spring drive is 30% more efficient than the traditional system, which implies that the module must prefer the spring at the uppermost of its torque curve.

    Mechanically with an auto, there are more things to go wrong but against this is the fact that you don’t have to screw and unscrew the crown on a daily basis and compromising the movement in other ways. And now that we covered the spring-end let’s get into the belly of the beast.


    * * *

    An atavistic resurgence?

    It is not by accident that some of the early discussions on the workings of the spring drive, soon descended (ascended?) into theology …

    How quartzie is a spring drive watch? (towards the bottom of page one, and over)
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=175071
    It is clear to see that the spring drive can be challenging but I am going to trail down a different road and start with a trinity of visions …


    The Ouroboros



    Firstly imagine, the power of the spring as a long snake going down the generator, down the coil, into the IC module, and coming back up the shunt coil, to bite itself in the ass … err tail … err glide wheel. A chronophage indeed.



    The second vision arises when comparing ‘oscillating’ with ‘spinning’ systems (in both organic and mechanical organisations). Seiko are generating some big noise about the glide motion of the hands making it the only watch to reflect the true nature of time. And this (I am sure) is pure advertising babble. Because the way that I view it, the distinction in essence of the modus operandi takes us further and deeper.

    As a side note: Though there is a an oscillator in the system (the quartz crystal oscillator), this resides in the electronic component of the module and not the mechanical assembly. So we can safely conclude that all the mechanical elements are not in any way oscillating and are effectively “in a spin”.
    When we observe the behaviour of systems when they rock … oscillations and vibrations have a destructive and disintegrating effect. We see ‘the rocking’ in caged animals, and crazy people. We find structures shaking apart.

    And spinning? We see laughing children spin, and spinning dervishes. Plus recently, science is telling us that physical spinning promotes brain dendrite growth. If in this life you are ever going to study anything, study high-spin systems. From basic ‘flywheels’ where the rotation provides stability, momentum, inertia and energy storage - to fractally compressed ‘vortexes’.

    On the theocratic level, oscillatory systems may be viewed as ‘dualistic’ whilst rotary systems as ‘singular’ entities.

    At the basic mechanical level of the spring drive, converting the oscillations of a balance wheel, into the spinning of a flywheel, has not only eliminated backlash in the train but has also helped in the reduction of overall friction.



    “The quartz controlled electronic brake is the first successful alternative to the balance wheel and escapement for regulating the rate at which a spring unwinds.” (artec, WUS)

    And the third and final vision arises out of the sheer reality that the mechanism actually works and by doing so, allows us to get a much clearer understanding on how we got here, and perhaps where we can possibly be going next. The spring drive is, The Missing Link. Seiko themselves call it, "The Third Technology", perhaps because it utilises the best elements from the other two technologies, simply by removing their respective fragile elements … this is the mechanical without a balance AND the quartz without a battery … and thus, completing the circle, which started to be drawn a long time ago (back in the ‘50s) … and the first time a man stood over a mechanical watch with a battery between his fingers.


    Hamilton, the first Electric.

    You can actually see the wheels turning inside their collective heads. First they replace the main-spring with a battery - and run the balance as an electric motor … boo. And fifty years later (after finding they were pushing the cat backwards), retain the main-spring and replaced the balance with a flywheel shunted-generator. Simple or what? You know it makes sense! Why didn’t you think of that?



    Most reviewers are erroneously comparing the glide wheel to the balance wheel (and even go as far as to compare their speed rates). From the horologically-mechanical viewpoint, the glide wheel is the escape wheel, ‘it being the wheel that is being acted upon’ (by the electronic brake in one, and the fork in the other).



    And here we encounter one of the main weaknesses of the system. When compared with the mechanical equivalent, the glide wheel spins much faster than an escape wheel and this increased speed (in the whole train) generates many (more) metallic micro-particles, to grind down the movement in the long term.


    Spring drive wheels


    A traditional mechanical’s wheels

    Plus, most of train of the spring drive consists of solid wheels, indicating that the torque of the spring is higher than in the traditional (mechanical) movement and this further increases wear in the components.

    A side note: Isn’t interesting that Seiko chose the path of inventing a new stronger mainspring than go down the known and tested, multi-barrel path?

    * * *

    The Everlasting Timepiece. These are the three words being used by Seiko in their promotional video. Take a few seconds to digest them before we proceed.



    The spring drive is now 10 years old and the current 5R66 (automatic module) has been on the market for only 4 years … so not even Seiko themselves know the answers to many of the questions which arise. What I find totally enthralling is the tri-synchro regulator’s ability and probability of evolving. We have already seen an increase in the power reserve … from the few hours of the early prototypes, to the one-day of the first commercial manual, to the current three-day of the automatic ... in their attempt to create the everlasting timepiece they so desire, Seiko will be identifying the weak points of the system. Perhaps oil-less might be a way to go, or perhaps with different materials for the arbors and holes. Or even some other way of connecting the spring to the generator, instead of the wheels … perhaps a belt drive, or even magnetic coupling.


    A Waterbury Long Wind (USA circa 1890)




    The Waterbury has a very long spring, about nine feet long which coils around the movement, and takes approx one hour to wind (there were jokes being told about this at the time). The watch is known as the Poor Man’s Tourbillion, as the whole movement revolves inside the case. Am I giving you any ideas Seiko? :P 8)

    * * *

    I must say that (at this late point of my life) I feel privileged to be experiencing this movement. Over the last few years, even with the zillions of dollars generated in the mechanical renaissance, we have NOT seen any real-world improvements in the mechanical wristwatch movement … and even the hopeful Girard-Perregaux constant force escapement, requires silicon components … where do mechanics stop and electronics begin?

    Even in the world of ‘quartz watches’, very few manufacturers have been bothering with much new research. Most of the recent work has been revolving around the development of better capacitors and reducing the consumption of IC units.

    [quote]

    The spring drive is ‘High End’ quartz, rather than ‘High End Quartz’.

    Quote Originally Posted by John MS View Post
    .....................

    Actually the SD offers no real improvement in quartz accuracy since a Seiko Perpetual will run circles around it in an accuracy contest. And the SD takes a giant step backward in usability with a drastically shortened power reserve. Can you imagine trying to sell a Timex Ironman quartz watch with a 60 hour power reserve!!!

    My answer: I was comparing the claimed versus the actual performance of the (standard) quartz in the spring drive to (any) other standard quartz. I know that overall the spring drive does not break any records, when compared to offerings such as Superquartz and Thermocompasation … what I was trying to say is that, the excellent performance of the SD when compared with other ‘basic’ quartz is due to the strict timing protocols at the point of manufacture.


    FINAL THOUGHTS

    It is 21st Century technology. It works and it happens to have a spring at one end and a quartz oscillator at the other. It doesn’t actually matter. It might as well have water at one end and air at the other. The tri-synchro regulator (even though has electricity in its system) it is actually a physical construct and operates with machine-logic rather than an electronic programme. So it is a mechanical after all, but in a totally different way. Quartz Lite anyone?

    I'll put down a complere list of references later on. In the meantime here's a few to keep you busy:

    How quartzie is a spring drive watch?
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=175071

    No point spec'ing Springdrive movements with a HEQ crystal
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=136829

    Spring Drive movements... What differences between cal. 5R66 & 9R66?
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=78511

    Thermocompensated Spring Drive?
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=260154

    Structure Evolution
    http://www.mechanikus.hu/_p_cali_princ.htm#Structures

    Shunt-Wound Generators
    http://www.tpub.com/content/neets/14177 ... 177_29.htm

    Seiko Institute of Horology
    http://www.roachman.com/skmuseum/
    http://www.watchtalkforums.info/forums/ ... hp?t=16663

    More on watch madness – the Seiko SBDB001 (great jump-off point - the one in the pic, Duncan's watch, is my actual watch)
    http://fnord.phfactor.net/2005/10/28/mo ... h-madness/



    Though mine looks more like this. The first time I saw this pic … I just had to have it and the rest is history.

    john
    Time moves in one direction, memory in another – William Gibson

  19. #19

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Well done on Pt.II John, I'll be reading through this later.

    :thumbup:

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  20. #20

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    PS.
    Was there any adjustment needed for the Di-Modell strap you have on yours, John?

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  21. #21
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy
    PS.
    Was there any adjustment needed for the Di-Modell strap you have on yours, John?

    R


    No it slips straight on and you can keep the fat spring bars. With other straps I have tried, I had to use thinner ones. The 22mm Chronissimo is actually 24mm but only 22mm at the interphase. I changed the buckle of mine to a black one which I think looks much better. Great strap and very tough.

    john
    Time moves in one direction, memory in another – William Gibson

  22. #22

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Quote Originally Posted by abraxas
    No it slips straight on and you can keep the fat spring bars. With other straps I have tried, I had to use thinner ones. The 22mm Chronissimo is actually 24mm but only 22mm at the interphase. I changed the buckle of mine to a black one which I think looks much better. Great strap and very tough.
    Great straps indeed: as you know they are advertised as waterproof and I can vouch for that claim: this one has done over 100 dives prior to the photograph - and more since - without any evidence of deterioration:


    Thanks for the info, I was thinking of trying a strap on mine and you've helped my decision.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  23. #23
    Master
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Thanks for the excellent reviews.

  24. #24

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Unbelievable I have missed the first part until today. Excellent, and dense! I will have to come back and eat bit bit by bit (today I am a tired non native reader). :)

  25. #25
    Master
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    What a fantastic post and the level of research and detail and attempt to explain the workings of Spring Drive in layman's terms is to your credit. It's people like you and posts like this that make this forum the inescapable place it is!

    This is one of my "grail" watches and one I look forward to acquiring when times (financial) are better. As it is I am content to own the Seiko Marinemaster 300 which, as far as I am concerned, is the best watch I've owned by a long way. And that includes dabbling with the well-known Swiss brands.

    Anthony

  26. #26
    Master
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    superb review John 8) thanks for posting.

    karl

  27. #27
    Master Qatar-wol's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Anamazing post, John - thanks a lot.

  28. #28
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)



    REFERENCES:

    TZ
    The Seiko Spring Drive: A Revolution in Time
    http://www.timezone.com/library/rdnotebook/200509073623

    The Seiko Spring Drive: Innovation and Refinement
    http://www.timezone.com/library/tmachine/200508225148

    EUROPA STAR
    Seiko’s Spring Drive – a human, industrial, technological, and artisanal adventure
    http://www.europastar.com/europastar/ma ... 1003672139

    With the Spring Drive, Seiko launches an offensive ...
    http://www.europastar.com/europastar/se ... 1002116453

    Seiko innovates, launches its Spring Drive, and moves upmarket
    http://www.europastar.com/europastar/ma ... 1000901606

    Chitose Masuda – Watchmaker, Seiko
    http://www.europastar.com/europastar/ma ... 1003923328

    * * *

    Touched by the 'god-hand'
    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2009/11 ... 116347.php

    Kunio Koike: Real Time
    http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-elect ... eal-time/0

    First commercial spring drive
    http://www.geocities.jp/tokeihakase/SD.html

    Seiko spring drive Cal 7R68
    http://www.2jfk.com/springdrive.htm

    Seiko Credor spring drive
    http://ninanet.net/watches/others09/Med ... pring.html

    Seiko’s First Marinemaster
    http://www.gmtplusnine.com/2007/03/26/s ... inemaster/

    Seiko 1881–1949 How it All Began
    http://www.gmtplusnine.com/2009/01/08/s ... all-began/

    A Journey In Time - Seiko History (Chapter 10 on sports watches is excellent)
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/12811123/A-Journey-in-Time

    john
    Time moves in one direction, memory in another – William Gibson

  29. #29

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Possibly the best review I've ever read! And I owned one of these and still learned stuff...

  30. #30

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Can you buy this particular Seiko in the UK, not seen this around before?

  31. #31

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    I believe they are only sold in Japan and via Internet dealers like higuchi and seiya.

  32. #32

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    To the top: one of the best reviews IMHO.

  33. #33

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Fantastic review,the 600 is indeed a fine piece,although my favourite Seiko,the 300 just edges it for me.Prefer the simplicity of the 300's dial but can certainly see why the 600 has such a devoted following :!:

  34. #34
    Journeyman
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Brilliant review John! :D now I'm very much looking forward to the next one--

    James

  35. #35

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Outstanding review, well done!

  36. #36
    Journeyman
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    A tremendous amount of information. Thanks for taking the time.

  37. #37

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    I love Seikos :drunken:

  38. #38
    Master
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    just found this jonh, well worth the wait, cracking review mate 8)

  39. #39
    Journeyman
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Wow-many thanks John!
    Fascinating and thorough review. Lots of fun to read too--

  40. #40
    Journeyman
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    I'm new to the forum (ok, made a comeback after a few years ....)
    Now I know what I missed. Great reviews for instance, and this is certainly one of them :)
    Thanks for the effort, and this Seiko is a beautiful watch.

  41. #41
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)



    To any who might be interested, there 2 good spring drive threads running on WUS, as we speak:

    Seiko Spring Drive 600M / NYC
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=397038

    6 months with the Spring Drive: Has this ever happened to you?
    http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=397078

    john
    Time moves in one direction, memory in another – William Gibson

  42. #42
    Master
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    thats a very good pic John 8) thanks for the links i'l read em properly over the weekend when i get home.

  43. #43

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Yesterday mine had a freak behaviour. The reserve de marche indicator was down, and did not move when winding it. After a few hours, it went up a bit on its own and then I could wind up to the max. I recall someone telling something simmilar. But it´s the second time the watch goes freak, and the second time that self-heals........ :? 8)

  44. #44
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Quote Originally Posted by angeche
    Yesterday mine had a freak behaviour. The reserve de marche indicator was down, and did not move when winding it. After a few hours, it went up a bit on its own and then I could wind up to the max. I recall someone telling something simmilar. But it´s the second time the watch goes freak, and the second time that self-heals........ :? 8)


    It was me. But over the last few of months, as I got a couple of more watches and put it on rotation, it hasn't done it again. Perhaps they do have self healing. My feeling is that it's the indicator that 'slips' (or whateva) rather than the winder refusing to wind. When you look at the diagram, the PR unit seems to be awfully complicated.

    john
    Time moves in one direction, memory in another – William Gibson

  45. #45

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    When you look at the diagram, the PR unit seems to be awfully complicated
    Indeed, john, indeed :shock: .

    Thanks for posting that diagram. I confirm the watch is back to normal status (whatever that means.. 8) )...

  46. #46
    Journeyman
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    so impressed with the reviews i read on here.

    this watch is absolutely stunning. my wishlist just keeps getting bigger...and bigger!

  47. #47

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Top review thanks.

  48. #48
    Journeyman naggge's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    You know it's a great review when it takes three cups of coffee to finish reading it :) Thanks!

  49. #49
    Master yonsson's Avatar
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    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Awesome! I just had a very enriching evening thanks to you! Thanks!

  50. #50

    Re: The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT (SBDB001)

    Great review. Thanks.

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