Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers



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Forum Home > 7A38-xxxx Model Specific Area > 7A38-7060 Gold Tone - Made in Korea version

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GeorgeClarkson at January 9, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Back to subject, it also amazes me your knowledge, and your "detective" skills.

My 'Detective' skills, George ?  In the words of Randy Bachman (of 70's rock band Bachman Turner Overdrive) - You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Indeed, 'back to the subject' - albeit 6 years on from when I started this thread ....

December 3, 2018 at 4:54 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Seiko7A38 at March 8, 2012 at 11:34 AM

So, if and when you see another one of these on eBay, hopefully you'll recognize it for what it is (rather than a fake or franken). ;)

The above is a rather pertinent partial quote from the previous page.

Ever since I was outbid on that Korean-made gold-tone 7A38-7060, back in September 2009, I've been keeping my eyes open for another example. It's extremely unlikely that I'll find one in the same mint boxed condition. There were probably thousands of them made and likely a few could be found by browsing market stalls in the Far East. It's not just the geographic and rarity factors, to be considered, there's the issue of 30 years worth of wear to the gold plating. So you can imagine my surprise when what certainly appears to be one, rocked up on eBay in Canada in the early hours of this morning. Note 'appears to be one'. 

It was a 7-day auction with an opening bid price of $1 (US not Canadian) but that also appears to be something of a red herring. See my comments about the bidding at the bottom of this post.




First 1/10th second quartz Chronograph watch


We can date this to May 1987 from the serial number on the watch back.


​Launched in August 1983, The Seiko 7A38 is a masterpiece. Over engineered for sure, but the fifteen jewel movement built on the success of the worlds fist Quartz chronograph (7A28) by adding a day a date feature.

This watch is in great condition, and comes with a good sized original bracelet that isn’t worn through the gold plate. The day wheel is in Japanese and English


38mm wide including the various pushers and crown, 10mm thick. Takes a 20mm strap. The bracelet will fit a maximum wrist size of 19.5cm

​Day in English and Japanese Kanji (adjusted with crown)

This watch is in excellent condition without any damage

the movement functions precisely

It is original and will become a perfect vintage collectible treasure

Please be advised that by Law Canadian buyers are subject to Tax according to the province of residence

Shipping by secure and fast FEDEX

Happy Bidding!

If you have questions do not hesitate to ask me I am standing by to assist you

Please keep in mind that my objective is your happiness and satisfaction

Please communicate before purchasing and after receiving your watch.

There is no mention in the seller's description that the watch is the Korean built version.* However it has almost all the hallmarks (pun intended) of being one. The dial printing is missing the word JAPAN and the Suwa symbol. If you zoom in, the dial part number is 708M. According to the seller's description it has an English / Kanji day wheel. The bracelet is stamped with the part number AB022 (or is it RB022 ?) instead of G1105. However, there appears to be something important missing. :/

The seller's photos mostly measure 850x650 pixels. That's much smaller than the maximum eBay allows nowadays (1600x1200). But strangely, their photo of the case-back measures only 400x306 pixels. I suspect this was deliberate - to hide the fact that they've either obliterated the KOREA SV case-back stamping (normally found directly under the serial number) - or photoshopped it out.

Indeed, at first glance all the seller's photos give the impression of being heavily photoshopped. The watch looks far too yellow. There's a good reason for that. Although the seller's description claims the watch is 'original', it appears to have been completely re-plated - in the wrong colour gold. They've probably used 18K. Not only that, they have literally completely re-plated it. If you compare this watch with photos of unmolested examples on the previous page, you'll see that the underside and edges of the bracelet should be bare stainless steel. Oops. :roll:

Then there's the bidding. This seller evidently regularly uses shill bidders to boost their auction results. There are two that stand out. One is the current high bidder, which is being used as a 'hare', that has 96% bidding activity with the seller.

The other, which has 100% activity with this seller, was used in the early stages of bidding, to help it along, but I suspect we probably haven't seen the last of him.

*Edit: In fact, in both the listing title and the item specifics, the seller falsely states: 

Seiko 7A38 7060 Chronograph Made in Japan Men's 38mm Rare ....

“Seiko 7A38 7060 Chronograph Made in Japan Men's 38mm Rare 1987 Watch....”

December 3, 2018 at 5:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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I started this topic over 6½ years ago, as something as a light-hearted test of forum members' powers of observation. Due to the subject matter of the thread's first post - an innocuous-looking gold-tone 7A38-7060, advertised for sale on WatchUseek, back in January 2012, I naturally started it the the 'members only' forum section 'Other Watch Forum's Sales Corners', right at the bottom of the forum. It seemed the logical place and right at the time. The original title was:

An otherwise average-looking gold-tone 7A38-7060 - or is it ?

It had languished there, generally unviewed, out of the public eye ever since.

Yesterday, I updated it with the lengthy post above, simply because all the forum's information about this variant already existed there.* I did think about moving the thread to the eBay section, where it might better serve as a Caveat Emptor to potential bidders / buyers, but as it's as close to a (very) model specific thread as I'm likely to start, I've decided to move it here, where it rightfully belongs - and given it a slightly more appropriate title. ;)

*Not strictly true. There was one other 'basket case' example of a Korean made 7A38-7060, that I posted on Page 6 of the Bottom of the 7Axx Barrel thread, back in October 2013. Funnily enough, that was listed by regular Korean eBay seller kwonbax. It sold for a mere $22.50.

December 4, 2018 at 5:02 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Back to the 7A38-7060 currently under discussion. Last night I'd sent a message to the eBay seller, asking if he could send me the photo of the case-back in its original size (or at least 850x650 pixels - the same as all the others). I received a rather disconcerting reply this morning:

Strange that he should be offering a refund, before I'd even said I was interested in buying it. It also made me wonder if he actually has the watch in his possession. Oddly enough, I went back to look at the photos on his listing; right-clicked and saved the photo of the case-back again and this time, it downloaded in a slightly larger size - 500x382 pixels. It's a bit sharper too.

It looks like the case-back has been quite heavily skimmed and the KOREA SV stamping removed in the process. :( The 'AB022' bracelet stampings now look rather more like RB022. I guess we can blame that on Arpad (see page 1). :P

December 4, 2018 at 7:13 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Althought I'd pretty much made up my mind, I continued in my fruitless efforts to persuade the eBay seller to send me a larger version of the case-back photo - without success. This was his most recent reply in that message string. :roll:

It has to be said that the seller's wrist shot doesn't look much like a 72 year old's.

I was clearly getting nowhere and had tired of playing eBay message ping-pong. So I sent the seller another message, using my other eBay ID, asking him the pertinent questions outright. Even then, he tried to skirt around the KOREA SV case-back stamping - but did concede that he couldn't see it.

So there you have it straight from the proverbial horse's mouth, so to speak.

As for the seller's claim: will become a perfect vintage collectible treasure

Erm I don't think so - not with its originality thoughtlessly destroyed in this manner.

Not to this particular collector anyway.

December 5, 2018 at 4:39 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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I awoke this morning, checked my email and found amongst a few other eBay notifications, a Bid Cancellation notice on item # 264070445580. I had placed a single sub-$20 bid on the watch. In the early hours of this morning, the Canadian eBay seller ended the listing as item no longer available, cancelling all bids in the process. It had been bid to $89 at that point.

There don't appear to have been any revisions made to the listing before it was ended. However, in ending the listing, the Canadian seller revealed something I hadn't previously been aware of. When I first saw the listing and took my screen print, it had already been bid to $5.50. But before the first bid was placed, there was an absolutely ridiculous option of a Buy-it-Now price - $1199.00 !!!

Whether the seller plans to re-list it at some point, more accurately and honestly described, remains to be seen. Hopefully they'll have a grasp of reality by then. :roll: Otherwise, with a suitable inscription engraved on the already defaced case-back, which frankly couldn't devalue it any more than the expensive excessive 18K gold re-plating has done, it might actually make a nice retirement gift for Mike ! 

December 6, 2018 at 3:42 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Before I resume this thread, more or less where it left off in December last year, something has since come to light, that I probably should have sussed out myself. Remember the 'Clockwork Orange' 7A38-7020 with the garishly re-painted orange dial, which appeared on eBay in January 2016 ? Apart from our forum's thread, I'd also posted salutary warnings on other forums, including WatchUseek. In February of this year, a first (and only) time poster on WUS added a new reply to that thread.

It starts off with something we already knew:

I realize this post is way old but NEVER buy anything from Vividlily on eBay.

...and continues: The same guy also uses another user name which is: Montre48.

I think he's right. Indeed I'm sure he is. The crazy asking prices, the shill bidding, the style and backgrounds used in their photos are all pretty obvious giveaways.

So now I've resurrected this thread, I guess some of you may be wondering what became of devious Canadian eBay seller Montre48's excessively re-plated (and slightly defaced) Korean made 7A38-7060. Well it's back.

April 12, 2019 at 11:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Not on eBay this time, but listed on Catawiki auctions. I spotted it earlier today:

Needless to say, the photos are identical, just without MONTRE48 watermarks:

Even the case-back photo is slightly smaller than the others (as before on eBay).

It's supposedly a low start 1 Euro no reserve auction. I thought I'd have a little punt at it. As soon as I placed another bid, I found myself being constantly outbid by the same bidder '4229'. I'm pretty sure that's a shill, although it's not as easy to prove on Catawiki as it is on eBay. I stopped bidding @ 30 Euros. Maybe I'll have another look at it in 5 days time. :/

April 12, 2019 at 12:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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I have a confession to make.  Yesterday evening I won the Catawiki auction for the ex-Montre48 ex-Korean re-plated gold-tone 7A38-7060. When I looked at the auction around 7:30pm yesterday, bidding had stalled @ 145 Euros. I was in two minds as to whether I should bother at all. Anyway, with less than 10 seconds of the auction remaining, I tentatively bid the next increment, which was 155 Euros. I half expected to get shilled or lose to another snipe. Nobody else bid. :/ Presumably because I placed my bid so late, the auction finishing time was automatically extended by 2 minutes. I sat there watching it as the 2 minutes counted down, expecting to be outbid. Nobody else bid ! :roll:

My winning bid may have been 155 Euros, but it cost me a little bit more than that. There's Catawiki's 9% commission (13.95 Euros) and a hefty 30 Euros shipping on top - total almost 199 Euros. Still that's rather cheaper than eBay seller Montre48's previous laughable 'pie-in-the-sky' Buy-it-Now price of $1199 ! :lol:

April 18, 2019 at 10:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Once I received the tracking information from PostNL, I'd been following the parcel's progress. Given the cost of shipping, I was half expecting it to be delivered by either Royal Mail, ParcelForce or UKMail. But No. It transpires that PostNL's UK delivery partner is actually Yodel - an economy courier with a very poor reputation. This was supposed to be a signed for delivery. I came home from work late on Wednesday evening (gone 7:00pm) to find a package left on my driveway, 6 feet from my front door, in full view of anybody walking past the house !! :mad:

Luckily it was still there. I was a little surprised how professionally it was packaged, being as the Dutch Catawiki seller Viko1402 appeared to be a private individual (of more anon). It came in a cardboard mailer, which contained a velvet drawstring bag over a hard shell zipper travel case.

April 28, 2019 at 5:30 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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I was also pleasantly surprised (read relieved) by the received condition of the watch, bearing in mind where it had likely come from (India, via Canada).

Although this isn't quite how I received it. If you scroll back up the page and check the original Canadian eBay seller Montre48's photos .....

.... you'll see that all the removable adjustment links were fitted to one side of the bracelet and that it had been reassembled with the SQ clasp the wrong way round.

I was also concerned, as the Catawiki seller had stated the wrist size as '16-18cm', whether it would actually fit my 7½" wrist. I thought I might have to resort to fitting a clasp extender. Fortunately that wasn't the case. After I'd finished redistributing the adjustment links and turned the clasp around the right way, it fitted me a treat, with one pair of clasp adjustment holes in reserve. Interestingly, the removable links are retained by solid notched pins (like these sold by Cousins UK), rather than the flimsy split pins you find in some other 7A38 bracelets.

Everything about the watch works as it should. The bracelet isn't stretched and thus remarkably free of slop beween the links. Apart from being excessive (in incorrectly coating the underside of the bracelet), the 18K gold plating looks like a fairly decent job too, although I'm very concious that I have absolutely no idea of the level of surface preparation nor its adhesion / wear resistance properties. :/

April 28, 2019 at 5:59 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Seiko7A38 at December 4, 2018 at 7:13 AM

Oddly enough, I went back to look at the photos on his listing; right-clicked and saved the photo of the case-back again and this time, it downloaded in a slightly larger size - 500x382 pixels. It's a bit sharper too.

It looks like the case-back has been quite heavily skimmed and the KOREA SV stamping removed in the process. :( The 'AB022' bracelet stampings now look rather more like RB022. I guess we can blame that on Arpad (see page 1). :P

And so to the $64K question: Did whoever refurbished the watch deliberately attempt to obliterate the evidence of its Korean manufacture ? (Bearing in mind the original Canadian eBay seller Montre48 falsely claimed it was 'Made in Japan').

It's hard to say for certain. Here's a couple of unretouched photos of the case-back:

Most of the 'K', part of the 'S' and all of the 'V' of the 'KOREA SV' stamping, which the eBay seller Mike claimed he couldn't see, are still visible. Looking back at some of the photos of unmolested case-backs on the previous page, it appears that the KOREA SV stamping is slightly shallower than the rest, so it may just be the result of it being skimmed. The bracelet part number is definitely RB022 though. ;)

April 28, 2019 at 6:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Here's a couple more slightly different wrist shots to the one I posted earlier this morning in the WRUW thread.

April 28, 2019 at 6:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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So for now, all that remains is to tie up the connection between the Catawiki seller Viko1402, Canadian eBay seller Montre48 - and hence US eBay seller Vividlily. If you click on that link to Catawiki seller Viko1402 I posted earlier, it's pretty obvious from the thumbnail photos of Rolex's and Omega's which he has sold in the past, that he is also part of the same outfit. But just to be certain, I asked the question:

So there you have it - straightforwardly answered. He's 'an associate' of Montre48.

Caveat Emptor, as always, Gentlemen. 

April 28, 2019 at 7:12 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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