Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers



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Forum Home > Bend it, Mend it - Mods & Wreckers > Failed Strap Experiment # 99

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Most Seiko 7Axx's came on bracelets, but there were a few models which also came fitted as standard, or with optional leather straps.

Many of the Yema N8's (also the Jaz and Kamtaz 7A38's made by C.G.H.) and a few of the Orient J39's also came on leather straps.

So, if the watch's original leather strap is worn out, or is often the case, has been replaced by something inappropriate (read cheap and nasty), it allows the opportunity to experiment. I enjoy the challenge of trying to match straps to dial face colours, and such-like.

The right choice of an aesthetically pleasing / correct-looking leather strap can make or break a watch. I've had a few successes. :)

Some of them have been down-right outlandish gambles, but have still worked amazingly well .... or at least to my eyes. 8)

September 7, 2012 at 7:20 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Some have been rather more subtle ....

For example this Grey lizard strap (which turned out to be much darker):

Some folks may disagree, but I personally think it looks better than the original plainer factory-fitted black calf-grained strap:

The Tobacco coloured version of the same lizard strap (intended for ladies watches) also works brilliantly on the gold-tone 7A38-7260:

September 7, 2012 at 7:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Occasionally there are those 'classic' perfect matches, like the (extremely) dark blue TSS WatchWorx Aerosport Mk2 on a 7A38-706A:

It's such a perfect dark shade of blue, that like the watch dial, it can almost look black in some light:

September 7, 2012 at 8:01 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Then, sometimes, it all goes Pete Tong. :(

I will admit to having purchased both these 'Frog' grained straps, with the best of intentions. 

That first one has never even been tried on anything yet. It is even more revolting in the flesh ! 

The second one was going to be fitted on my gold-tone 7A38-706A, in an attempt to match the wabi'd look of the watch head:

Belated Edit: In fact these two straps did end up getting fitted (albeit temporarily), almost a year later to my two gold-tone 7A38-706A's:

As I wrote in on 7th July, 2013: What's more, I think I'm gradually coming around to these Faux Frog grain straps. 

September 7, 2012 at 8:02 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Then you get the really oddball ones, which will really have you scratching your head. Like the 7A38-6060. 

The watch originally came on a perforated leather strap, Seiko p/n ZPA22D which is obsolete and 'unobtainium':

If you look at (nearly all) the photos in the relevant 7A38 model thread, they are mostly 'watch head only' shots.

There's probably a very good reason for this. 

Although the lugs are conventional (but hooded), the lug strap width is only 18mm - whereas the lug ends of the watch are 23mm wide.

So the obvious answer would be a 23mm wide strap (leather or possibly silicone) notched to fit the 18mm width. You try finding one.

The 'beater' 7A38-6060 that I purchased on eBay a couple of months ago, came on a very poorly (lop-sided) notched 20mm strap:

Needless to say that got slung out straight away.

I have selection of straps that I've bought 'on spec' over the years, including a couple of these vintage 18mm blue ribbed Yema straps:

I actually bought them for the 18mm Yema buckles, with no idea what I was actually going to use the straps on. As I'd already robbed the buckle off one of them (to go on a Spationaute III), I put a Titanium buckle on that and fitted it to the 7A38-6060, as a 'stop gap'.

As a means to an end - getting it on my wrist, it works fine. Like most original Yema ribbed straps, it extremely supple and comfortable.

It just doesn't look right - the disproportionately large 42.5mm diameter watch head on a relatively skinny 18mm strap is all at odds. :(

So I've kept looking for something else - ideally a 18mm lug dark blue strap with white stitching or detailing, which might work better. 

September 7, 2012 at 8:14 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Always remember - things you write on the Internet can and will come back and bite you in the A$$.

The JDM 7A38-6050 has a very similar design watch case to the export 7A38-6060. I thought for a while they used the same case. :roll:

In fact, it's a slightly smaller 41mm diameter, and oddly (being smaller) has a 20mm lug width, compared to the 7A38-6060's 18mm.

Those of you who've read the thread in the 7A38-xxxx model section may remember I wrote this, about one particular 7A38-6050:

It was also fitted with one of those horrendous 'bund' leather straps. Why do people do that ?

Is it in the vain hope that it will draw attention away from what is basically a tatty watch head ?

Having gone and written that damning indictment ....

I later started coming round to the idea of a bund type strap, in an effort to disguise the 7A38-6060's 18mm / 23mm lug width disparity.

Watch Band Centre have quite a few in 18mm to choose from:

Of course I had that Dark Blue with White stitching idea in mind, as well. So what did I go an order last weekend ? One of these ....

The dimensions of the strap and pad are almost perfect for the watch head: 

total length of watch band without buckle approx. 19,5 cm
piece with holes 12 cm; piece with buckle 7,5 cm
measurements of leather pad:
- length approx. 9 cm
- width approx. 4,5 cm (The 7A38-6060 is 42.5mm diameter, excluding crown and pushers)
- thickness ca. 3 mm
distance of lug ends for fixation of watch is adjustable, max. 4,8 cm (Watch head measures 46mm over lug ends)

Pity about the rest. :/

September 7, 2012 at 8:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Hi Folks,

did anybody tried a fishbone on an 7Axx ?

January 25, 2013 at 4:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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I've not tried it personally, Andre. I've certainly seen plenty of fake repro' 20mm 'Fishbone' bracelets on eBay lately. I briefly considered trying one, but dismissed the idea, because they don't appear to be wide enough at the shoulder. Two years ago, I fitted a two-tone Orient pseudo-Fishbone bracelet to one of my J39001-70 beaters, as a stop-gap. I wouldn't count it as a success, aesthetically. :(

January 25, 2013 at 5:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 41

I can now add the (mixed) results of my weekend strap experiments. There's nothing wrong with my original bracelet but I wanted to try a Nato and rubber/clasp replacements... Working a keyboard and mouse all day my wrists are constantly rubbing the desk and I hate scuffing up the bracelets of my Seiko and Rolex. Fitting cheap straps to my "posh" watches means I'll wear them far more :)


Given the divers styling of my 7A28-7040 I thought a rubber Oyster-style bracelet (Cousins S34602) might suit. Well it didn't look as good a I hoped but fitment is a far bigger problem...

There's so little space around the spring bars that straps thicker than 3mm are a nightmare to fit. I ended up having to butcher the ends and try drilling new spring bar holes. The rubber is so soft and thin the strap could now easily tear apart, besides after all my hacking the strap it's now too short and painfully tight! :roll: Oh well, a useful learning exercise that only cost me ~£3.

Plan B: Black Nato with matt grey fittings (Cousins S33610) which is more subtle. Even getting this on is a struggle. Pictures below are only a test fit with some spare thin but too-short spring bars. To loop a Nato through these hooded lugs really needs 1.2mm spring bars, the common 1.7+mm size are far too big.

Worth the effort though, I'm loving the comfort of Nato's, especially in this hot weather 8) Looks a bit thin and weedy above but fine at an angle on the wrist. I doubt any aftermarket option will look 100% right on these but this seems a very servicable alternative.

July 9, 2013 at 3:06 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Hi, Lawrence.

Yes you'll find that most of the hooded lug ends, that are used on a good many Seiko 7Axx's are fairly restrictive in the size of strap loops you can fit in their boxed recesses. The reason being that they were, almost without exception, designed to take a stainless steel bracelet, with relatively thin wall fixing tubes. I got lucky with the Cousins silicone strap (S35712) that I subsequently used (notched to fit the 18mm lug width) on my newer 7A38-6060, but it was a tight squeeze:

July 9, 2013 at 3:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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nova at January 25, 2013 at 4:26 AM

Hi Folks,

did anybody tried a fishbone on an 7Axx ?

Andre's original post probably better belonged in the Feiko after-market bracelets and other spares parts thread ....

but seeing as he asked the question here, and it's not easy for me to move posts between threads, I'll reply belatedly here.

Just spotted this 7A28-7049 fitted with an after-market repro' Fishbone bracelet listed on eBay in the States this afternoon:

Quote from the seller's description:

It comes on a replacement stainless steel bracelet that brings out the original look of this rare chronograph!

I dunno about 'original look' - it's nothing like the original Seiko B1075S bracelet. :roll: Amusingly, what makes this somebody else's 'Failed Strap Experiment' is the fact that these (both repro' and original) Fishbone bracelets were designed to be used on a Seiko 6138 'Bullhead' which has an asymmetric watch case; it's wider at the top than the bottom. Hence although the lug with fitting on both ends may be 20mm, the bracelet end links taper is much narrower on one side - as can clearly be seen in the seller's photos. Fail ! :lol:

May 26, 2014 at 1:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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