Hands on Review Seiko's First Chronograph Movement Seiko 5719 [a.k.a. Tokyo Olympic watch]
Tokyo Olympic was scheduled to happen last year, and we have covered the relationship of Seiko with Tokyo Olympic in our article before. If you missed it, here you go. Link below:
SEIKO'S FIRST OLYMPIC WATCH AND FIRST EVER CHRONOGRAPH
Why are we talking about the Tokyo Olympics again? It's because I was lucky enough to source a great example of Seiko 5719-8990 (Seko's first-ever chronograph movement) and added it to my personal collection. Without further ado, let the owner's review begin!
As different from the usual article where we talk mostly about the history of the horological world, we would like to start a new series of articles where we review the watch from an owner's perspective of what its like to own the Seiko 5719 mono-pusher chronograph.
Background of the Seiko 5719 Chronograph (Seiko Crown Chronograph)
The 1964 Tokyo Olympics served as a celebration of Japan’s reemergence onto the world stage as a first-tier world economic power after World War 2. It shows the world how fast Japan can recover from the war and build sufficient traction on its economic development.
Seiko has taken up the role of official timekeeper for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic and is dedicated to catching up to the global standard with no prior experience in sports event timekeeping.
Besides the instrumental timekeeping devices Seiko manufactured for the Olympic, the highlight of Seiko's development is the release of their first-ever chronograph movement 5719 movement housing in Seiko Crown Chronograph, a mono-pusher chronograph Seiko made to celebrate the Tokyo Olympic.
Looks and Detail about Seiko 5719 Chronograph
The Seiko 5719 chronograph I acquired was from 1967, it is in a rather nice condition given it is already 54 years old.
The overall finishing of the watch case is in a polish mirror surface where the design of the lug formed by a join of multi-dimensionally flat surface similar to the first generation 44King Seiko. Not a lot of watch brands have attempted to make a mono-pusher design, it makes the watch special even by today's standard
As a later reference, the case back engraving is not the Tokyo Olympic 1964 Logo that we commonly see on the internet. It was replaced by a seahorse logo that Seiko use in multiple sports model including the sportsmatic during the period. The case back on the Seiko 5719 is not overly polished, still clearly visible together with its watch reference.
The black bezel on the Seiko 5719 surely adds a modern feeling and a panda like feeling to the watch. It is a bakelite bezel used to measure the minute of an event because the watch has no minute subdial like other chronographs.
The bezel looks to be original and the white text has developed some patina over the font.
In many references available in the market, the black bakelite bezel has been replaced by a more durable and hard steel bezel. If you are looking for an original example, get one with a black bakelite bezel.
The Seiko 5719 comes with a silver sunburst dial with a brush finished chapter ring and mirror-finished hour marker. I love how minimal Seiko try to keep the dial by not putting an applied Seiko logo to the watch.
The Seiko 5719 movement is a 12-ligne, hand-wound Caliber 5719. The salient features of this 6.1mm-thick movement included a single button to trigger the chronograph’s functions, horizontal coupling, and a column wheel to control the start, stop and return-to-zero functions. With the chronograph mechanism switched on, the movement would run for 38 hours.
Similar to other vintage chronographs of its era (such as Heuer Carrera, Universal Geneve Compax or Rolex Daytona), the Seiko 5719 with its 37.5mm diameter wear at just the right size for all occasions. Because the movement is hand winding, the watch is also unbelievably thin which makes it sit comfortably on wrist. I have paired it up with our Samurai Vintage Heritage Series Leather Strap, you can wear it on any formal or casual occasions.
The watch crystal is acrylic, so in any case, you have accidentally scratched the watch, it can be easily fixed by a polish using Polywatch.
As a Seiko collector, I think it is essential for me to keep an example of this important part of Seiko''s history in my collection. The Seiko 5719 not only started the technological development of Seiko in chronograph which ultimately brought Seiko in creating the first automatic chronograph 6139 movements in the market. It is also a demonstration of Japan's pace of economic recovery after WW2.
Over the past decade, we have seen Chronograph from a similar era comes out of auctions at skyrocketing prices, I strongly believe the Seiko 5719 is currently under the radar and have a strong potential on doubling or even tripling its current price now. If you want one, my honest opinion is to get it NOW!
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