Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers



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Forum Home > 7A38-xxxx Model Specific Area > 7A38-6050 SJS058 - Stainless Large 'Diver' (JDM only - Silver anodised)

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Seiko7A38 at February 8, 2020 at 8:46 AM

This almost NOS 7A38-6050, fitted with its original Seiko p/n GK54A perforated leather strap, was listed on Yahoo Japan earlier today as a 4-day auction with an opening bid price of only 1 Yen and let's say not described in the most glowing terms. It comes supplied with the wrong Japanese instruction leaflet (for a 7A48). But the warranty booklet appears to be correct. The watch may not actually have been purchased until 1998, but as shown by its 54xxxx serial number, it was manufactured in April 1985, the first month of only a 2-month production run.

The above 4-day Yahoo Japan auction for an almost NOS JDM 7A38-6050 ended earlier this morning, about an hour ago; the finishing time having been automatically extended by 5 minutes due to late placed bids. It sold for a strong ¥70,000 Yen after 42 bids, equivalent to approx. $636.70 USD / £490.35 GBP.

February 12, 2020 at 6:33 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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In case readers hadn't already guessed, I should confess - I was the winning bidder of that Yahoo Japan auction for an almost NOS 7A38-6050. No, I really didn't need another one, because I already have a mint example (s/n # 001) in my collection. I wanted this for the sake of the original Seiko p/n GK54A leather strap which was fitted. That aspect of the watch turned out to be something of a disappointment - one I should have anticipated.

It arrived earlier this week. In most respects, it's almost perfectly mint, with only one microscopic mark on the bezel inlay and none of the usual fading of the minute ring marks and bright red dial printing. I fitted a new battery and it immediately sprang into life, with full functionality.

Normally I would announce such a significant new arrival by triumphantly posting a wrist shot in the WRUW thread. Well, there ain't gonna be one this time - not in the watch's current form. One thing I have learned about Yahoo Japan auctions, is that sellers' descriptions are generally very honest, to the point of being brutally critical - hence many otherwise perfectly presentable watches are often described as 'Junk'.

In hindsight, I should have heeded the warning in the seller's description:

The belt needs to be replaced with tatters due to aging.

To describe it as 'in tatters' is something of an exaggeration, but it most certainly is starting to delaminate / disintegrate. When I unscrewed the case-back, to replace the battery, I folded the strap back very carefully. Despite that, there were more cracks opening up and bits of perished leather flaking off.

So I'm in two minds as to how to proceed. Ironically, I still have that Meyhofer 'Veteli' (20mm lug width) silicone strap, sat in my spare strap drawer, which I tried briefly on my previous example, 5 years ago - and rejected, dismissing it as being 'too thin'.

Part of me says keep this one exactly as it is - completely original. But as it's unsafe to wear on the original strap (it's as much as I dare do to even unfold it), means that it's destined to remain a 'safe queen'. :/

February 28, 2020 at 5:00 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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I've had other distractions over the last fortnight, but that disintegrating leather strap was still on my mind - and bugging me. So rather than risk damaging it further, even by careful handling, I decided to remove it and pack it away safely, to preserve it for posterity. Thankfully I managed to remove it without too many more bits flaking off.

So now I needed to find a replacement strap. I searched all the usual watch strap supplier's sites, but couldn't find anything vaguely like the Seiko p/n GK54A. Hence I decided to revisit what had originally been my 'first choice', when I was looking for a strap for my previous 7A38-6050 'head only' 5 years ago. When I wrote this ....


My original 'first choice' of silicone strap - the Meyhofer turned out to be something of a disappointment. :(

Not only was it too thin (4.00mm), but the 'perforations' shown in WatchBandCentre's photo turned out to be dummy indentations.

.... I got a couple of things wrong. :roll: I opined it was 'too thin' (at 4.00mm), because it was slightly thinner than the alternative Hadley Roma silicone strap which I chose to fit instead. In fact, the original Seiko p/n GK54A leather strap is much thinner at slightly under 3.00mm ! As I now know, its perforations are also effectively dummy, with the very thin punched leather glued to a solid core. What I should correctly have written, in dismissing it, at the time, was that it was too narrow.

I guess I'd been conned by the image on WatchBandCentre's website:

That is actually a photo of the 22mm version of the strap - not the narrower 20mm.

Apart from that 2mm difference in width, the narrower version of the strap also has one less row of 'perforations' - hence the real reason for my disappointment in its appearance. Reminds me of that Tetley Teabags advert from 1985. :P The answer of course was to buy the 22mm version of the strap and notch it to fit the 20mm lug width. Problem was, WatchBandCentre were now out of stock. Fortunately I found exactly the same strap in 22mm, being sold by UKWatchStrap as Fluco branded.

Here's the 20mm Meyhofer and 22mm Fluco side-by-side:

March 8, 2020 at 4:43 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Notching that silicone strap, taking 1mm off each side, should have been a 2-minute job. Instead, it turned into a bloodbath. I wanted to get a nice clean cut, so I fitted a new scalpel blade to my Swann Morton modeller's knife, in doing so, fumbled it and stabbed my thumb, making a neat incision in the tip of it, which bled like a stuck pig for over an hour. Hence the delay in between my two posts. :roll:

Anyway, here it is duly notched and fitted. Surprising the difference that extra 2 mm width makes. I'm quite pleased with it - if a little sore.

Here's a different wrist shot to the one I posted in the WRUW thread earlier this morning, showing more of the strap.

March 8, 2020 at 6:54 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Whereas I am quite pleased with this second silicone substitute strap, I've continued searching for an alternative that might closer resemble the original Seiko p/n GK54A perforated leather strap. I think I may have found something at last - a substitute strap fitted by another 7A38-6050 owner.

Stuck at home, self-isolating, in obeyance of the COVID-19 'Lockdown' rules and in moments of boredom, over the last couple of days, I've resorted, in desperation to browsing Instagram. I came across two sets of photos posted on by Instagrammer power90801 - a California based collector named Robert Lambert.

Whereas it's only 20mm wide (same as the lug opening) rather than approx 22.5mm (the width of the watch case) and has black stitching, rather than my preferred red (the original Seiko p/n GK54A has no stitching), this strap more closely follows the ethos of the original Seiko strap. For that reason, I must admit to being rather taken by it. So, much as I dislike abhor Soshul Meedya, I finally relented and signed up to Instagram this afternoon - for one sole purpose: so that I could send a message to @power90801, asking him where he'd got the strap from (or its manufacturer). Robert kindly replied a matter of minutes later. :)

It's an obsolete Hadley Roma strap, their p/n MS845 (assuming it was in the correct original packaging) that he bought off eBay last year.

April 21, 2020 at 11:13 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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