Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers



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Forum Home > Parts Info, Tech Tips and Tinkering > How to free up a sticky rotating bezel - the easy / lazy way.

Site Owner
Posts: 14137

As some of you will already be aware, the rotating bezels on most Seiko 7Axx Diver style watches are held on by nothing more than a rubber O-ring which runs in a track machined in the watch case flange. With most models, there is a fingernail slot, above the bezel track, where you can insert a case knife to help lever them off.

So in theory, they should be relatively easy to remove for cleaning. But sometimes they can be very reluctant to budge.

A forum member just sent me a PM asking for help with a sticky rotating bezel. This is a copy and paste of my reply:

Here is what I suggest. 

Remove the bracelet - that makes the job easier. 

Unscrew the case-back and remove the movement (for safety). 

Replace the case-back and the crown / stem so the empty case is water-tight (you don't know how good the seals are).


Put a drop of washing up liquid (not dishwasher liquid - something gentle, like Fairy liquid) in the middle of the crystal. Turn on the tap - just a trickle of warm water. Hold the watch in your left hand and try to turn the bezel gently both ways with your other. The warm water / soapy liquid will run down the gap between the bezel insert and the crystal and gradually flush out the dirt that is trapped between the bezel and the case.


It usually works for me. I only remove rotating bezels when I really need to, rather than risk marking the watch case.

Thoughts, anybody ? :|

January 7, 2014 at 8:03 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sir Alan
Posts: 458

You've had much more experience Paul, so if this works for you then I'm sure it will work for anyone and is good advice.

Personally I've always done a full stripdown which involves:

remove caseback

remove crown

remove movement

remove pushers

remove bezel 

remove crystal

remove tachyring

and then clean crown, pushers, case, caseback and bezel in the ultrasonic cleaner. Then re-grease the rotating bezel gasket (which makes a big difference).

The only time I haven't done the above is when the watch is in such good condition it doesn't need it (4 of my watches!!).

The other watches are not in NOS condition and so already have marks on them etc. They have all usually been very dirty with 20-30 years of accumulated dirt and DNA.

Your tip to me to protect the case from tool marks with tape has really worked and prevented any marks (except when I didn't use it - grrr!!!)

I've always found removing Seiko rotating bezels easy (unlike Citizen bezels which I've found VERY difficult).

January 7, 2014 at 1:33 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 14137

Simon. Yes that's what I would do in most cases.

But here we're talking about a 7A38 'Diver' with an irreplaceable bezel insert ....

Or at least that was what I was giving advice on (by PM) - how to free up a sticky rotating bezel.

Plus you've obviously never had to remove the bezel on a 7A38-6020 yet. :P They don't come off easily. 

January 7, 2014 at 2:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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