Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers



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Forum Home > Non-Seiko 7Axx Discussion Area (Re-branded mvmt's) > RACER J39 by Orient Watch Co. - The Spanish 7A38 Inquisition

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Please remember one thing, if you add a reply:'t-quote-me


So what am I going to do, in turning over the page - but quote myself. 

But only partially - by copying over the relevant parts from the previous lengthy post I wrote on Friday ! :P


The case-back stampings are pretty much as I'd expected to find on such an Orient J39, apart from the [KW] before J39723-70. Remember the previously described Racer J39024-50 had [DB] stamped there ? So, in the interests of furthering my anorak-level research into these watches, I've just checked the case-backs of all the Orient, Racer and Puma J39's and Y19's in my collection - including these recent additions, now 19 of them. The majority - 12 (all sharing the same basic lozenge-shaped hooded 20mm lug watch case, both Orient and Puma) have a [Y] stamped before the model number (and a suffix CA). 5 more: all 4 of the Orient and Racer J39908-70's and my J39909-80 have [I] stamped before their model numbers (and a suffix CS). Why are these two different ? What is the significance of [DB] and [KW] ? 

Yes, I suppose I could contact the Orient Watch Co. Ltd., and ask them the question. They did ostensibly manufacture the Racer J39's.

But then I can't help remembering this particular sentence from their reply to my first email enquiry, that I received in February 2010:

We had several type of J39 chronograph models until 1990 year, but it is regret to say that we do not have such records in hand now.*

Then again, did Orient Watch Co. Ltd. actually manufacture any of these thinly disguised Seiko 7A38's themselves ? :/


* I would have added this as a footnote to the previous post, but when I tried, the length exceeded the maximum 20,000 characters. :mad:

Bearing in mind that their statement in an email from the Orient Watch Co. Ltd., dated 22nd February 2010:

We had several type of J39 chronograph models until 1990 year, but it is regret to say that we do not have such records in hand now.

was followed by the sentence: Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions. 

I thought I'd take them up on their offer - albeit somewhat belatedly, and ask the meaning of the [DB] and [KW] case-back stampings.

I received a rather less helpful reply this morning, which included a slightly different time-frame:


We have sold chronograph featuring J3920 movement from late 80's to mid of 90's.

Those period was in the first booming of quartz chronograph and we have been selling many quantity mainly to Europe.


followed by:


By the way, as you indicate, there are two alphabet letters enclosed squarely.

Those letters are our internal use for production and no relation to specifications of watch.

Sorry but we do not release its meaning into public.

So there you have it.  Or not, it seems, in this case. 

August 26, 2013 at 8:46 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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I'm not meeting with much success in my efforts to gain any further information about these watches from the Orient Watch Co. Ltd. :(

They are remaining very tight lipped. Typically inscrutable.  The expression 'Trying to get blood out of a stone' springs to mind. :roll:

In my previous email, I had also asked if they could tell me the significance of the suffix CA and CS after J39xxxx-xx on the case-backs.

So I asked the question (about CA and CS) again. This is their first reply I received this morning, which again skirted around the issue:

Thank you for your mail.

As for J39xxx-xx, you know J39 is the reference of movement caliber (J39 of J3920).

xxx after J39 is unique number for each models.

As for xx after - , it is also for our internal use.

However we terminated this coding system, caliber & unique number & -xx, many years ago.

So, I wrote back once again, spelling out my question:

My question was actually what is the meaning of CA and CS after the J39xxx-xx model number. (Not -50 or -70 of J39xxx-xx)

I believe it is related to the construction / material of the watch case, but I would like confirmation of this. Thank you.

Their next reply simply read: Please understand this is everything we can disclose.

So in the absence of any input from Orient Watch Co., Ltd. themselves ....

Here's what I posit (based on observations of Orient and Racer J39's and Puma Y19's, either in my own collection or from photos):

As I wrote in my last email to them: 'I believe it is related to the construction / material of the watch case ....'.

Here's a photo of the case-back of the very first Orient J39 I bought from German collector Kurt - the gunmetal coated J39601-70:

Although the case-back is stamped IPA+GP, which presumably refers to the coatings, it also states the material as STAINLESS STEEL.

Note the case-back is stamped CA after model number J39601-70 - as are all my other similarly cased Orient J39x01-70's, J39725-70 and Puma Y19x01-70's. Here's the case-back of one of my similarly coated Puma Y19's - a Y19201-70:

It may not be stamped ORIENT WATCH CO. LTD, but we already know that 'they' also covertly manufactured these watches for Puma.

The tacit Seiko 7A38 / Orient J3920 / Puma JEPIC Y19 connection has already been proven in another thread, a year ago. 

The first Orient J39 I bought which had something other than CA stamped after the model # on the case-back: CS was this J39909-80.

The fact that it had CS, only GP (Gold-Plated) - no mention of BASE METAL and STAINLESS STEEL BACK didn't register at the time.

It was followed a few months later by the battery-acid-damaged beater J39908-70, with identical stampings (other than the case #).

That photo was taken in pretty much as recieved (disgusting) condition, but after I'd wiped away most of the accumulated muck. 

I wrote about it here in the long-running Orient J39 thread on RLT in November 2011:

The watch-case has suffered some strange sweat-induced  corrosion - nothing quite like I've ever encountered before.

Although the case-back is stamped 'GP' - implying gold plated, I'm not convinced that whatever lies underneath is 'metal'.

Once the worst of the verdigris was cleaned off, under close magnification, it looked more like injection-moulded resin. 

Needless to say, (because they're all using the same watch case) my NOS Orient J39908-70 which I acquired in December last year ....

.... and the two Racer branded Orient J39908-70's shown on the previous page all have the same case-back stampings, including CS.

As does the Puma Y19904-50 owned by 'Steve' posted elsewhere. But obviously being a Puma, it isn't stamped Orient Watch Co. Ltd.

Note that apart from CS after the Y19904-50, like my Racer J39024-50 shown again at the top of this page, his is also stamped [DB].

However, when I incorrectly drew comparisons between them on the previous page, I should have noticed the other differences. 

The Racer 'Panda' is stamped as follows: [DB] J39024-50 CS; WATER RESISTANT; BASE METAL BEZEL; STAINLESS STEEL BACK.

Although it obviously has a gold-plated main watch case body, the GP stamping is completely absent from the case-back. Looking at the topside photo of Steve's Puma Y19904-50 in the other thread, I'd suspect, even though it has a Tachymeter bezel, it's an integral part of the watch case, as are those on the J39908-70 and J39909-80. Whereas on my J39024-50, the enamelled bezel is separate.

The thing these 4 watch case styles have in common is that they're gold plated and have CS stamped after the case-back model #.

From examining my first sweat-corroded 'beater', I already know that the J39908-70 is an injection-moulded resin case, with a very thin metallic coating. I'm not about to start drilling 'test holes' in the other watch cases, but I think it's safe to assume that they're the same construction. Next time I remove their dial / movements, though, I will remember to weigh the empty cases and test them with a magnet.

Injection moulded watch cases are nothing new. Think G-shocks. Or perhaps not. 

Although not widely publicised, the use of metal-coated resin-filled watch cases has been relatively common since the mid 1980's.

Here are a couple of related / relevant patents: - 1971 entitled: GOLD PLATED CASES FOR TIME-KEEPING INSTRUMENTS - published Feb. 5th 1980 - assigned to Citizen Watch Co. Ltd. (quote below). - published April 9th 1985 - assigned to Seiko Instruments & Electronics, Ltd.

A case for a wristwatch, which comprises a shell fabricated from an outer thin metal plate, an annular metallic reinforcing member positioned within said shell, and an inner shell composed of an injection molded synthetic resin, said inner shell lying in intimate contact with an inner ....

So if I'm correct in my assumption, that CS (whatever it actually stands for) means a metal-coated resin case, and CA means steel ....

Why is it still such a big secret as far as the Orient Watch Co. are concerned ?

August 27, 2013 at 5:20 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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So if I'm correct in my assumption, that CS (whatever it actually stands for) means a metal-coated resin case ....

Seems I'm not. :/ Grrrr !!! :mad: My little 'case materials' theory has just gone out the window. :roll:

I happened to look back at this thread:

According to their case-back stampings, both these Orient J38's have stainless steel cases (the uppermost is gold-plated over steel):

But both have CS (rather than CA) after their J38x01-70 model numbers. Perhaps CS stands for 'Custom Seiko'. :P

August 28, 2013 at 2:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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I nearly forgot to mention - reference this from the previous page:

There is something else different, of possible significance on this one, too. All my other Orient / Racer J39's and Puma Y19's have

SI printed somewhere at the bottoms of their dials. SI stands for Seiko Instruments - a tacit admission of their involvement.

This one doesn't have SI anywhere - instead BK is printed between JAPAN and the dial part numbers. So another hereto unanswered question raised by these watches. Yes, I suppose I could contact the Orient Watch Co. Ltd., and ask them the question.

Having already been rebuffed twice, I had a pretty good idea what Orient's answer was likely to be. But I asked the question, anyway.

Dear Sir, This is also our internal information. Best Regards, ORIENT WATCH CO., LTD.

If you google images, this same BK dial marking can be found on current Orient quartz chrongographs. Burger King, perhaps ? :lol:

August 31, 2013 at 6:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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I quickly sent Albert a message through Thankfully, he still had them and is going to post them on to me ....

The 3 missing hang tags from the NOS Racer J39's arrived in this morning's post. :)

They're thin folded cardboard and all identical from the topside (scanned @ 200%):

Albert had kindly emailed me a couple of iPhone photos of the tag belonging to the J39024-50, but here's a scan anyway:

Simple, hand written, inside - not quite what I'd expected. The price shown of 31,995 Spanish Pesetas equates to around 192 Euros.

That of the J389908-70 was very similar (the tag had broken into two pieces along the fold line):

Price of that one in Spanish Pesetas of 34,930 equates to approx. 210 Euros.

But although rather more yellowed with age inside, the tag of the J39723-70 turned out the best surprise:

What appears to be a factory printed label stuck inside. :) More meaningless letters and numbers apart from the obvious (01)J39723.

Based on my recent experience, I shalln't now bother wasting my time asking Orient Watch Co.'s 'support' for their significance ! 

The hand-written codes on all 3 tags: ZHZEI, ZHHEC and (Z missing?)HZDB were presumably their sales product codes.

August 31, 2013 at 8:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Shows that I really don't pay enough attention when I'm looking at 7A28's. I wrote this on the previous page, referring to my hitherto failed efforts at finding some correct-appearing replacement sub-dial hands for my ex-Tickdong Racer J39908-70:

I've been looking at various options, but nothing used on Seiko 7A38's is really close enough. Although they may well be Seiko parts, those hands are unique to Racer and Orient J39's. The sub-dial hands (in different colours) are also used on Puma Y19's.

I've just been studying the sub-dial hands used on a 7A28-6000 Bishop. They may be white, but they're very nearly the correct style.

September 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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My apologies for wittering on about this, but as you may have gathered, I don’t like unanswered questions ....

Particularly when I’ve asked them myself and I’m unable, for whatever reason, to come up with the correct answer. 

The primary reason in this case being the intransigence of Orient Watch Co.. Not just their refusal to provide the information ....

implying it was company proprietory, but that in this statement from one of their emails, they threw me a proverbial ‘curve ball’. 

By the way, as you indicate, there are two alphabet letters enclosed squarely.

Those letters are our internal use for production and no relation to specifications of watch.

Earlier this week, I added a lengthy post to an existing thread in the 7Axx General discussion area.

Hopefully, it explains the meanings of the various [Ax] suffixes stamped on Seiko 7Axx case-backs, after the cal-case model number.

The first two paragraphs of that post read as follows:


Before I go any further, I should state that my renewed interest in this matter was driven not by the quest for the Meaning of Life; The Universe or of Ax …, but a recent hitherto unsuccessful investigation into the case-back stampings I’ve seen on Orient / Racer J39’s in this other thread. Although, unlike their Seiko Ax counterparts, the Orient / Racer letter stampings precede the cal-case model number rather than follow it, because they are also surrounded by a rectangle, it suddenly dawned on me their meaning might be the same – i.e. ‘case construction’.

Also, bearing in mind that these Orient and Racer J39 (and Puma Y19) quartz chronographs, if not actually made for them, by parent company Seiko, they were almost certainly manufactured in conjunction with Seiko, under their direction, following Seiko procedures and construction standards, using some off-the-shelf-parts-bin components - but instead using Orient Watch Co.’s marking scheme.


First of all, don’t click on that link (in italics in the quote). It will take you back to the top of this page ! :lol:


My original train of thought, when I first attempted to decipher the Orient / Racer J39 case-back codes, was that [Y], [I], [DB] and [KW] were possibly vendor codes (hence Orient Watch Co.’s reluctance to divulge their meaning), where [Y] was almost certainly Seiko and [I], [DB] and [KW] were probably other external watch case suppliers (which may possibly still be true). If now, ignoring the fact that they are stamped before the model number, rather than after it, where CA and CS are, based on the exercise I conducted on the Seiko [Ax] case-back stamping suffixes, we now assume that these letters [in almost identical rectangles] stamped on Orient, Puma and Racer case-backs have exactly the same meaning and purpose – i.e. they indicate the ‘case construction’: viz. the method of dismantling and reassembling a particular watch case, rather than any construction materials it's made of, it all begins to fall nicely into place. :)


I’m not going to bother to draft out my own set of Orient / Racer case specifications this time. For one thing, some of the Orient / Racer J39 (and J38) and Puma Y19 models have different characteristics; viz.: resin-filled metal-skinned watch cases and glued in crystals, to name but two. However there are certain very distinct parallels which can be drawn between the Seiko [Ax] stampings and Orient’s - particularly in the way they also appear to have deviated from their own guidelines.


It’s fairly safe to assume that the first ‘7A38’ models ostensibly produced by Orient were the: J39001-70 .... J39601-70 and J39701-70. These are all ‘Divers’ with uni-directional rotating bezels, which are held on in exactly the same manner as Seiko ‘Diver’ bezels – by an internal O-ring. If I’m not mistaken it’s the very same O-ring, Seiko p/n 0Z3404B02 used on the 7A38-7070 / -7080, etc.

They’re all stamped [Y] before their model numbers – directly equivalent to Seiko’s [A0] stamping.


This same basic lozenge-shaped hooded 20mm lug watch case was later used by Orient for their own J39725-70 and 'JEPIC's Puma Y19001-70, Y19201-70 and Y19301-70 models, but instead fitted with a decorative fixed bezel which almost covers the machined track for the rotating bezel. I’ve posted this photo before (on RLT), but not on our forum. It shows the very obvious similarities between them:

Rather than correctly differentiate between the case construction types, in terms of bezel fitted, they then erroneously carried on using the [Y] stamping – just like Seiko did with [A0]. Possibly around the same time (there are no manufacturing-date-related serial numbers on Orient watches to be able to confirm this), Orient's (or Seiko's) design team used the same [Y] stamping on their first ‘7A48’ models – the J38001-70 and J38901-70 (see photos in a previous post). Hence they ended up with a similar jumble of models using different methods of ‘case construction’, but using the same designator, as Seiko themselves did.


However, it seems the Orient (or was it Seiko?) design team got it right, or certainly more correct later on.


[I] clearly signifies integral bezel (or integrated case and bezel)  – usually found on a resin-filled metal-skinned watch case.

As per the Orient and Racer J39908-70’s, Orient J38910-70 (7A48 equivalent), Orient J39909-80 and J38909-80 (7A48 equivalent).


[DB] stands for detachable bezel – as on my recently acquired NOS Racer J39024-50.

Here I likely need to correct an earlier assumption, where I’d commented on another case-back stamped [DB]:

Although it obviously has a gold-plated main watch case body, the GP stamping is completely absent from the case-back. Looking at the topside photo of Steve's Puma Y19904-50 in the other thread, I'd suspect, even though it has a Tachymeter bezel, it's an integral part of the watch case ….

Unfortunately Steve has since sold his Puma Y19904-50, so for the time being, I’m unable to confirm either way.

[KW] stamping is currently unique to my recently acquired NOS Racer J39723-70. I need to dismantle it properly to discover the significance of this marking. I presume it’s something to do with the way the bezel is fitted / aligned.

Before I open it up again, in engineering parlance, I’m already thinking ‘Key Way’.


As far as the CA and CS suffixes stamped after the Orient / Racer J3xxxx-xx and Puma Y19xxx-xx model numbers, it turns out I was definitely barking up the wrong tree earlier. :roll:

So if I'm correct in my assumption, that CS (whatever it actually stands for) means a metal-coated resin case, and CA means steel ....

Seems I'm not. :/ Grrrr !!!  :mad: My little 'case materials' theory has just gone out the window. :roll:

There was actually no requirement for Orient to advertise the fact that some of their watch cases were fabricated using the resin-filled metal-skinned technique. Where such cases are used, their case-back stampings are implicit, in that nothing else (either STAINLESS STEEL nor BASE METAL) follows after GP.

However Cx is still indirectly connected with case construction (in some cases). I’d previously assumed that the ‘C’ stood for case. It doesn’t – it stands for crystal !! Unlike Seiko 7A38’s, which all use ‘tension fit’ crystals with a nylon gasket, a good number of Orient J39’s and related watches use glued in crystals. I’ve checked every Orient / Racer / Puma watch (or closely studied photos of them).

Every one with a CA suffix has a tension fit crystal / nylon gasket. Every one with a CS suffix has a glued-in crystal. Simples ! 8)


September 5, 2013 at 12:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Seiko7A38 at August 15, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Meanwhile, knowing my weakness for obscure non-Seiko branded 7A38's, Lawrence hadn't given up in his efforts to bankrupt me. :P

Late last Sunday evening, he PM'd me a link to yet another Racer J39 which had appeared on earlier in the day.

In fact, I'd already seen it myself; I found it while checking on the status of the three NOS Racer J39's that I was planning to buy.

It's currently still there: (Sold on 10th September).


Reloj de caballero Racer Chronograph Quarz, con 3 esferas. Armis de acero, correa de piel. Buen estado. Funciona correctamente.

   (Seller's photo rotated through 90 degrees).

I will admit that I was tempted initially. It would be another different Racer J39 variant in 'my instant collection'. Perhaps if I hadn't just bought the other 3, NOS with tags for 100 Euros each (or less) I might have gone for it. It also occured to me that I was 'pushing my luck' with Julio's patience and good will, even though this seller is supposedly located in Barcelona. So I've just favourited it for now.

However, I was curious to learn more about it. So I've messaged the seller (twice), asking her what the case-back model number is.

No reply so far. :(

Earlier this evening, I made a somewhat belated correction to the most recent post I'd written in the Orient J38 thread in this section.

It's also connected with something I wrote in that thread back in January this year:

this again demonstrates the Orient Watch Company's use of the same watch case in multiple applications - and as we already knew, the direct interchangeabilty of 7A38 and 7A48 modules. Or in this case, should I more correctly say - of J3820 and J3920 modules.

Those sentences were followed (albeit optimistically) soon after by:

If Orient consistently followed the same model numbering methodology, that they used for the other J38 sharing a J39 case ....

If you hadn't recognized it, this hereto unidentified Racer J39 uses the same two-tone watch case as two similar Orient J38 models.

If the information I've posted is now correct, they were a J38001-70 and a J38911-70. Having already fallen foul of some apparent inconsistencies in Orient's case-back numbering system, I'm not even going to begin trying to guess the Racer J39 model number. 

No need to guess any more. I know what the model number of that Racer J39 is was now (after the fact - it's since been sold). :(

Orient appear to have used exactly the same case-back model number stampings for Orient and Racer J39's (if not for Orient J38's).

So it's a J39002-70, like this once was. If you zoom in on the photo, you can just make out traces of the red Tachymeter scale printing. 

Which, if nothing else, fills in another gap in the Orient case numbering sequence in my little Excel 'knowledge' database. 8)

September 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Seiko7A38 at August 17, 2013 at 6:30 AM

The postman delivered the first of my incoming veritable 'Spanish Armada' of Racer J39 Orients this morning. At first I was pleased. :)

Here's the wrist shot I posted in the WRUW thread this morning, with it still fitted on that horrible cheap NATO strap (as supplied). 

The seller also included a free gift in the package: another leather strap, but only 18mm wide :roll: - not the correct 19mm needed to fit the lug width properly and a spare Renata #394 battery. He was obviously trying to sweeten the deal. He'll have to try a lot harder. 

My first concern was when I checked the watch's functionality. I carefully flicked over the Day / Date wheels, using the quickset, and noticed that the second language was German. Fine perhaps on an Orient J39, but this was a Racer J39 for the Spanish market. :/

Then there were those hands. You'll remember I wrote in an earler post:

The hands, both the main set and sub-dials, appear to be from Seiko's 'parts bin', as used on the 7A38-702A / H and other models.

Yes, I'd noticed that the hour and minute hands' lume was suffering from fungus.

As Lawrence had pointed out earlier, other Racer J39 models appear to have 'Sports' style hands, but both my Orient J39908-70's:

.... and the other incoming NOS Racer J39908-70 all have the same slim non-lume gold-plated hands:

At least the case and crystal were in very nice condition. The gold on black Tachymeter isn't easy to read without lighting it artificially.

The case-back was in nice condition too, with only a few very light scratches, which look a lot worse in this photo than they actually are:

The case-back stampings on this Racer J39 are exactly the same as as on the Orient version, which I already knew from his photos.

If you look again at my wrist shot, you'll see a couple of bits of floating detritus. One on the dial, near the 1 o'clock baton, and another on the Tachymeter ring between 100 and 120. A pretty sure sign that the watch had been taken apart and possibly messed about with.

So it was with some trepidation that I opened the case-back (it only needed a firm twist with a 'sticky ball' to undo it), to find this mess:

A Seiko 7A38(A) movement with a rusty back-plate !! 

What I had been expecting to find, of course, was an Orient J3920 stamped movement, like this one in my NOS Orient J39908-70:

So it's now quite clear that the seller has replaced the movement and all 6 hands, from a donor Seiko 7A38-702A/H, or some such. :mad:

Needless to say, he will be hearing from me in due course ! 

This is where the facility to parse multiple partial quotes would come in handy - a feature lacking in Webs very basic forum software. :roll:

I've been mulling over what to do, to put right my first Racer J39908-70 - the one I purchased from Turkish seller 'Tickdong' - above.

I have actually acquired a full set of what I believe are the correct hands for the watch, by buying an Orient J38 (7A48) fitted with them.

I purchased it with the sole intention of breaking it up for parts - besides the hands, it will also yield a nice condition case and bezel.

But something else had been bugging me about the Tickdong J39, which wasn't consistent with my other Racer / Orient J39908-70's.

That Black Tachymeter ring with the Gold lettering. Not having seen another Racer J39908-70 with the same white dial / gold sub-dials,

I have no way of knowing whether the Tachymeter ring currently fitted is the correct one for the watch. :/ Apart from the colours, which don't match the dial particularly well (say as opposed to a green lettering on white Tachymeter like the other three have), there's the fit of it. It is the perfect outside diameter to fit the case; depth too. The moulded lugs on the underside of it also engage the dial properly - and it doesn't appear to have been modified. It's also slightly different from the (gold on black) Tachymeter used in other Orient J39's and the Seiko 7A38-7180, 7A38-725A etc. - all of which leads me to believe it's a genuine Racer / Orient OEM part. But if you compare this watch to my other three J39908-70's you'll see that the black Tachymeter ring leaves a much wider border (of white) between itself and the dial's minute scale. The gap, which is less than a millimetre, is made more obvious by the contrasting colours. So perhaps this watch is even more of a Franken (besides being fitted with the wrong hands and a grotty Seiko 7A38 movement) than first thought. 

October 6, 2013 at 5:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Those of us who've dabbled in a little bit of 7Axx modding - building Frankens for fun and our own enjoyment, will already have found that many Seiko 7Axx parts (which wouldn't normally be found in the same watch) will happily knit together, without any modification. The same applies to Racer / Orient J38's and J39's. There are also times when one may have to resort to trimming some of those moulded lugs and pips off the bottom of a Tachymeter ring, to get a better fit - or occasionally shaving them off altogether. 

Then you've got the 'professionals' like arch-watch-botcher Filipino Ramoncito Bangit (a.k.a. Badingski on eBay) who will cobble virtually anything together to make a saleable watch - without any regard for originality or 'correctness'. Let's face it, he obviously cares so little, he managed to mix up the case-backs between a stainless 7A38-7000 and a gold-tone 7A38-7289 earlier this year. :roll:

But it's not just the notorious Filipino watch-botchers who are at it. Some absolute horrors are produced by Indian eBay sellers. Thankfully they don't appear to have discovered 7Axx's yet. Then there's Turkey - where my 'Tickdong' J39908-70 came from. 

As you may have gathered, by now, I already had severe doubts about the originality of my 'Tickdong' Racer / Orient J39908-70. 

The rot set in even deeper, earlier today, when I made a couple of new posts in The lower end & bottom of the 7Axx barrel thread:(

I happened to scroll up the page to where Andre had posted links to a couple of beater 7A38-7000's. One was a complete franken:

I wrote about it at the time:

But I hadn't seen that other '7A38' Bitza / Franken - because it was listed as a 7T34-6A0A. Hmmm. Interesting. :/

So it's another very well worn gold tone 7A38-7000 fitted with the 708L dial from a two-tone 7A38-7060 and a 7T34-6A0A case-back.

But can anybody else (besides me) hazard a guess as to the origins of the Tachymeter ring and hands used building this Franken ?

What ?  Nobody going to have a shot at it ? 

The clue is in the green lettering on the Tachymeter scale - which comes from an Orient J39908-70, like this .....

As do almost all of the hands.

The hand fitted to the constant seconds sub-dial is slightly thicker and doesn't have that little tail, so it might be from the 7A38-7060.

Because Andre had posted his link from, it had come out in German, I'd initially assumed the listing was on eBay Germany. :roll:

Right click it and you'll see I originally captioned and uploaded the above photo as: 7A38-Franken-eBay-Germany-April2013.jpg

In fact, the seller of that Franken 7A38-7000 was based in Istanbul, Turkey !!  :o


They may have been listed a few months apart, by two different Turkish eBay sellers, but with hindsight, I have a horrible suspicion that's where the original set of hands and Tachymeter ring from my ex-Tickdong Racer / Orient J39908-70 may well have ended up.

October 6, 2013 at 6:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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I'm pleased to announce that after a couple of months hiatus (and a short delay) I have another Racer J39 variant incoming. :)

But first let me tell you a riddle. Question: When is a 7T32 not a 7T32 ? Answer: When it's a actually a 7A38 ! 

Going back to the first two weeks in August (and the first page), when Lawrence and I were on our virtual 'Voyage of Discovery',

you'll remember the first Racer-branded Orient we (actually Lawrence) stumbled across was a 7T32. In my second post I wrote:


While Lawrence continued to bombard me with an amazing array of distracting off-topic links, I'd been searching long and hard.

Racer's website, which appears to be a 'placeholder', under (re)construction, wasn't difficult to find:

But there was something I saw at the time - on the second screen of Racer's 'placeholder' website, that I didn't mention:

However, in my PM to Lawrence dated 9th August (one of many), I wrote:

No definitive proof yet, but as a high proportion of these various Racer branded Orients seem to turn up on eBay Spain,

perhaps they were an Orient sub-brand for marketing in Spain. Found this website: 

Look at image #2 on the home page. An absolutely gorgeous-looking (7T32-based) rip-off of a Breitling Chronomat. Yummy.

Here's a slightly larger version of the image. Spot the 'deliberate' mistake ? 


The watch on the right may have a 7T32 sub-dial / date layout, but the crown (@ 8 o'clock) and (3) pusher layout is pure 7Axx !! :o

I was going to post it in the 'Rare and unusual 7T32-xxxx variants spotted' thread, but fortunately realized my own mistake soon after sending Lawrence that PM. I felt quite smug when his reply (in the same very long PM string) on 26th August included the sentence:

Remember that Breitling-esque Racer 7T32, well here's an Orient version.

So he apparently hadn't noticed my earlier gaffe. 

November 29, 2013 at 4:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Whereas I hadn't entirely given up on finding any more as yet undiscovered Racer J39 variants, I hadn't had any success either. :(

But the last place I would have thought to search for them was on eBay in Germany. :/

On 12th November, Lawrence added a new PM to our ever lengthening message string. It read:

Just in case your searches somehow miss this...  ;)

Sie bieten hier auf einen hochwertigen Chronographen der Marke Racer, voll funktionsfähig die Batterie sollte gewechselt werden, aber super Zustand nur wenige Gebrauchsspuren. Mit Stoppuhr, Wecker, drehbare Lünette 10 ATM Wasserdicht. Eine schöne Uhr für einen Chrono mit diesen Funktionen sehr dezent, nicht klobig.

Here's the seller's (only) listing photo rotated through 90 degrees:

It may look rather lacklustre, but the case, Breitling-style bezel with quarter markers and strap are all the same as the Racer '7T32'.

In his PM to me dated 13th November, Lawrence wrote:

Knew one of these would turn up eventually as the one on the Racer website had a 7A crown / pusher arrangement (with Photoshopped 7T32 face). Couple of others bidding I see, thought it would go under the radar!

Meanwhile I tried to message the seller, asking if he was prepared to ship 'Ausland', but received no reply. As he didn't accept Paypal as a means of payment (only Bank Transfer) either, as I've done in a couple of similar situations previously, I asked forum member Andre ('Nova') to snipe it for me (and forward it on). Two weeks ago today 'we' won the auction for a very reasonable 41 Euros. :)

November 29, 2013 at 5:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Then it all went quiet. :/ I sent Andre a couple of chasers - nothing received yet. :(

Having 'missed out' on a couple of other non-Seiko 7A38's recently, I was already beginning to feel nervous about this one.

So I went searching on eBay Germany looking for another one - or any other evidence of Racer J39's - and found this !! :o

Same German eBay seller had sold 'another' less than a week earlier - and it had gone for just 1 Euro !! :o

The description was slightly different:

Sie bieten hier auf einen spitzen Chronographen der Marke RACER, der Chronograph ist 10 ATM Wasserdicht und verfügt über alles was ein richtig guter Chronograh braucht, drehbare Lünette, Stoppfunktion, Wecker, Wochentag sowie Datumsanzeige. Die Uhr ist trotzdem elegant, sportlich gehalten.

Batterie und Armband sollten vom Käufer gewechselt werden ansonsten im besten Zustand mit nur leichten Gebrauchs spuren.

The two photographs in this earlier listing were slightly better:

What added to my concern was that on checking the German seller's feedback (left for others), he'd left feedback against this listing for the other previous winning bidder - 3 days after he'd left feedback for Andre !

Anyway, much to my relief, yesterday evening, Andre emailed me, saying:

Hi Paul. Everything is fine. :) I'm only a little bit too busy. Racer received and ready to ship.

It'll be interesting to see which one I've got - or whether they were indeed the same watch, once it arrives.

Incidentally, I asked Andre to check the case-back and the Orient  / Racer model number is J39027-70. Another little 'gap' filled. :D

November 29, 2013 at 6:09 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Same watch!  Look at the spot on the strap next to the top-right lug ;)


I smell shilling the first time around, maybe to drum up interest: "Bid activity (%) with this seller: 100%"

Strange I didn't spot it the first time as I was searching pretty religiously at that point (no longer).

I'm jealous now as it looks great in that final pic... One of the few 7A38's I could say was "my style" 8)


November 29, 2013 at 12:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Not the dreaded Black Spot !! 

It is indeed the same watch (as in both listings), Lawrence. :)

I hadn't noticed that, myself - I was comparing (or trying to compare) the various scratches on the crystal between his three photos. :roll:

The package from Andre arrived yesterday afternoon. First impressions are that it's an attractive design - and it's got great potential.

As Andre eluded in one of his emails: It is the same DNA and non original strap. Have fun with it after a proper cleaning.

There certainly was plenty of DNA to clean off.  Here's a few literally quick and very dirty photos I rattled off yesterday evening. 

The 'black spot' on the strap which Lawrence referred to wasn't something on the strap, it was where the top layer was worn away:

Apart from the very badly scratched crystal, the only other real damage is where the bezel quarter markers have taken a few knocks.

The crystal looks a little strange, because sits well proud of the actual watch case, its surface level with the bezel quarter markers.

The crystal's prominent polished bevel edge made it difficult to capture the dial part numbering, so I cheated by taking it upside down.

Much of the DNA on the case-back was trapped under a thick vinyl self-adhesive protective sticker someone had thoughtfully fitted. 

Which I promptly peeled off and binned. After a couple of passes with a soft cloth soaked in lighter fluid, already looking a lot better. :)

You'll note that in the above photo that the strap is a 20mm, whereas like many of these Orient and Racer J39's the lug width is 19mm.

I'd been under a misapprehension this might have been the original Orient fitment strap, because of it's similarity to that of the '7T32' illustration on the Racer website. Well, they were both tan-coloured 'croco' grain. :P The buckle logo shows it to be a Piero Magli strap.

If I'm not mistaken, it's either this strap or this one (depending how badly it's faded). I already ordered my new 19mm strap (also from WatchBandCenter). I won't be attempting to match the original, as the previous owner did. Au Contraire, it will be very 'Breit-Bling'. 8)

December 4, 2013 at 11:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Here's a few more photos I took this morning during the strip-down and clean operation:

With the years of DNA washed away, you can now see the bezel track / flange more clearly - and the white nylon crystal gasket.

I was still a bit wary as to whether it would be feasible to press the old crystal out without removing the bezel. The points of the quarter markers looked perilously close. In the end I plucked up courage, put in the crystal press - it came out without any problems at all. :)

The crystal measures 31.0mm diameter by 2.55mm thick. It appears to be the same crystal used in the Orient J39x01-70 Divers, the J39725-70 and the the Puma Y19x01-70's - i.e. Orient p/n 16-4578C. Maybe this one has a slightly bigger polished bevelled edge. :/

I was sure I'd seen the original Orient crystals listed on last year, but if I did, they aren't on there any more. :(

Today I found them listed on a Russian watch parts website, but there's the additional hassle of trying to deal with them direct.

I'd previously sussed out a couple of passable substitute crystals - a Seiko mineral glass and the other a Strenkreuz 'XY' plastic.

This time, I'm going to try something a little different. A Seiko 'Arnie' substitute crystal which Arpad sussed out back in February.

The pusher buttons used on the J39027-70 are slightly different to 'the norm' in that their heads are domed rather than bevelled / flat.

Unfortunately, as I've seen previously on a few occasions, with the more usual style Orient gold-plated pushers they're a bit 'flakey'. :(

The dial and hands certainly are a nice colour combination, even though there's rather too much printing and no proper batons ....

..... A little reminiscent of the Orient J39725-70's dial.

Before anybody points out - the tip of the sweep hand on the Racer J39027-70 is bent slightly. It wasn't me. :P Go back and check the previous photos. It was already bent in the seller's and my 'before' photos, before I removed the dial / movement from the watch case.

Lastly for now, a shot of the almost pristine case-back. Should polish up nicely. 8)

December 4, 2013 at 1:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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Nice work.

Without DNA really nice.

Waiting for a wrist shot of your new Breit Bling :D

December 5, 2013 at 2:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Thanks, Andre - and for your invaluable assistance in procuring this watch for my collection. 

However, it may be a 'day or two' before you get to see that wrist shot. Sourcing a suitable replacement crystal is proving problematic.

'On spec' - hoping it might just fit the bill, I ordered one of those 'Arnie substitute' crystals which Arpad had suggested to me, back in February. Indeed Arpad was kind enough to email me nearly a dozen photos of the one he'd just received from Cousins UK. It's Seiko p/n 310P13HN02 (Cousins p/n S15579). Although the overall dimensions are almost exactly the same - 31.0mm Ø x 2.55mm thick, the polished bevelled edge is much more pronounced - nearly as big (read huge) as that on the Sternkreuz XMF310.853 (substitute for Seiko p/n 310W50GN00) which I'd previously tried unsuccessfully in my Orient J39 Divers.

I dropped it into the empty case, first of all - it didn't look so bad (no photo). The bevelled edge certainly clears the quarter markers.

Then I refitted the Tachymeter ring and dial / movement. The crystal isn't quite pressed fully home - there didn't seem much point. :/

When you look at the watch from other angles, this much bigger polished edge creates some unpleasant reflections and refractions:

December 5, 2013 at 8:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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In the meantime, while I search for an alternative crystal solution for my 'Breit Bling' Racer J39 - and wait for my new strap to arrive ....

Strange I didn't spot it the first time as I was searching pretty religiously at that point (no longer).

Unlike, Lawrence - I haven't given up looking. :P Spotted this one listed on this afternoon:

There are three pretty diabolical photos - typical of the sort of thing you'll see on

But, from the case / bezel design, it's not difficult to identify this as a very well-worn example of a J39024-50 (same as my NOS 'Panda') but with an all black dial. According to the seller's description, it 'has the original metal band'. That I doubt very much - it looks like a cheap aftermarket 'Milanese' style mesh bracelet to me.  The seller appears to be a Spanish equivalent of Cash Converters, in Marineda City, A Coruña. Asking price is a mere 30 Euros. Hurry - go grab yourself a bargain ! 

December 7, 2013 at 10:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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Being a former 'parts guy' it frustrates the hell out me that, to date, I've been unable to secure a supply of Orient crystal p/n 16-4578c - nor discover what the equivalent Seiko part number for it might be (presuming one exists). Including the one I've just removed from the Racer J39027-70, I've now got 5 badly scratched crystals that could never be re-used. Lord only knows why I bother to keep them. :roll:

Yes I may have sussed out a couple of suitable alternatives, viz: Seiko p/n 310W76HN01, which I've used in the Orient J39 Divers and the plastic Sternkreuz XY310.353 which I've started using in the Puma Y19's (instead of Cousins 31.0mm Ø x 2.5mm 'cheapie' mineral glass). But neither of those crystals would work in this Racer J39027-70 (because of their particular idiosyncracies). Yes, I could take a genuine 16-4578c crystal out of one of my better Orients or Pumas and fit that with the substitute, to free one up, but to my mind that would be defeating the object.

This parts problem goes back a long way. Back to August 2010, in fact.

So I retraced my steps and looked up my earlier ramblings in the 'Orient J39' thread on RLT. It starts about Post #50 on Page 4

There I wrote:

Here's the scratched Orient J39 crystal, which I removed on the left of this photo. 

In the middle is a Seiko p/n 310W64GN00, as used on the 7A28-7040/-7049 and 7A38-7070/-7080.

It's 31.00mm Ø, but only 2.00mm thick, and has a much smaller ground and polished bevel edge. 

On the right is another 31.00 Ø crystal that came my way, purely by accident - incorrectly fitted in a 7A38.

It's only 1.95mm thick, but has a ground and polished bevel edge, almost as big as the Orient crystal's.

I believe, but am as yet unable to confirm, that it's an 'off-the-shelf' Sternkreuz crystal.

FWIW, here's the original photo from that thread - it's not particularly clear:

I still haven't identified what that crystal on the right is. At the time I thought it might be a Sternkreuz p/n XMF310.848. Now I'm almost certain that it isn't. The last thing I wanted was for this newest incoming Racer J39 to end up as yet another 'awaiting parts' watch in my stack of 'unfinished projects'. I couldn't remember what I'd done with that crystal, but after a couple of hours hunting through various 'bits boxes' I found it again. I tried it in the Racer and it 'worked'. Don't ask me how or why (I do know), because in theory it was 0.6mm too thin, but when fitted to the watch case, it looked almost exactly the same as the original crystal.

So last Sunday - and for the time being at least, I re-assembled it:

All it needed then was a strap.

Had this watch been a conventional 'Panda', I probably would have gone for a well padded black leather strap with white stitching. But it's got those bright red sub-dial hands as well. So I started off looking for a 'racey' style 19mm strap in black leather with red stitching. If I'd been able to find one, this Tissot strap once stocked by would probably have been my first choice:

However, its price of 46.50 Euros (even if they did still have stock) was something of a deterrent. The strap would have cost more than I'd paid for the watch in the first place. Quite honestly, I wasn't sure about the 'holes' either. Maybe the idea was just a tad O.T.T. :P

Besides, WatchBandCenter had a good selection of other 19mm straps and I can't believe how easy it was to find this one. :)

I just searched their site on 19mm+Black+Leather+Breitling:

It arrived in this morning's post and was fitted 5 minutes later:

December 11, 2013 at 5:40 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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