The Seiko crown chronograph, first designed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games context, has been declined in two models, the Seiko Crown 5717 (date) and the Seiko Crown 5719 (no date) and multiple configurations. The main design variations concerns:
- the dial color (white or black);
- the presence or not of luminescents dots, square or round, next to the indexs;
- the hands shape (sword, dauphine “solid steel”, dauphine “luminescent)
- the bezel (black plastic, steel with black aluminum insert, solid steel)
- the steel clipped caseback inscriptions and logo.
I’m not the first watch collector who felt in love with the Seiko Crown. As I did not find it while searching for more informations about this watch, I considered as a funny challenge to establish an as exhaustive as possible inventory of the Seiko Crown chronograph different configurations. And there have been some surprises. Here is the result.
Keep away wife, husband, children, cat, dog, and also snake, rat, ferret, or any other strange pet you might have: you need to stay focused for what is following.
Advice: not a bad idea to read first
The Seiko Crown chronograph | An olympic icon
Without any certainty I believe the above picture is an extract of the Japanese Domestic Watch series, Volume one, published in May, 1996, by Dragonfly Publishing. It presents three different versions of the 5719 reference (left page) and three versions again concerning the 5717 (right page.
If you spend a little time watching this picture, you will have quickly a good synthesis of the main specific characteristics, which means…
Seiko Crown 5717
- 2 colors, black and white
- Mn graduation printed on a rehaut.
- Short or long index
- No plots
- Solid steel hands only
- Solid steel or steel with black insert bezel
- Elegant Seahorse logo on the caseback
- 5717A caliber – Date
Seiko Crown 5719
- 2 colors, black and white
- Mn graduations printed on the dial.
- Short or long index
- Luminous plots… or not
- Lumed/solid steel hands
- plastic or steel with black insert bezel
- Seiko olympic flame logo on the caseback
- 5719A caliber – No date
but… As you know, watchmaking is a mater of tiny details. One of the reason why you and I are here, in front of this page. Otherwise we would be watching a good “anysport” match or having fun with one of our favorite pet (above mentioned…). All right. Now, let’s talk seriously.
To establish the above Seiko Crown inventory, I started with a very good job already done very good job publish in 2013 by Henry, on his personal blog, Harry’s Vintage Seiko blog. I added details to build my own table.
As often, an illustrated demonstration is more efficient than a long and as boring as laborious explanation… or an unreadable Excel table.
Each model reference is codified with 3 letters (F – Face ; B – Bezel ; C – Caseback) and figures for the under category (Exemple Dial: White F1, White original F2, Black F3. And so on.) As far as possible, I have mentioned the origine of each picture. You recognize a picture of yours without the legitimate copyright ? Please tell me. I will update.
Here we go !
The SEIKO Crown 5717
1964 |Seiko Crown 5717 8990
Produced in August 1964, this Seiko Crown 5717 is the oldest of my survey. According to the Seiko Branding dictionary on Watchuseek, The “SS” inscription, that you will see on a lot of casebacks, could mean “Second Settings”. My hypothesis is that it could refer to the more common, “Stop Second” understanding. Technically speaking, this means that he second hands stops when you pull the crown to set the hour. This allows a perfect synchronisation with the minutes hand.
Same watch than above. Only one différence: the black tachymeter hand. The unique model of this kind I’ve found. It seems to me quite authentic but might have this hand been replaced ?
Produced three months later. Caseback design with a Seahorse.
Despite the fact that this watch has been produced one month later than the previous one, the Asian games logo seems more logical and legitimate. Remember the 1964 Olympic games took place from 10th to 24th november. Question: why did Seiko produced a watch with this case back in december rather than in november ?
Second configuration for this SEIKO Crown, also produced in December 1964. Its caseback has no logo, only the watch reference. Might it be the result of successive polishing operations ?
Same watch again ? NO ! The applied indexs are not the same than the previous watches. These ones are long 2 faces indexs ;-). Th caseback reference tells us this watch has also been produced in december 1964
No surprise on this Seiko Crown 5717 8990 Black dial. At this step, you know this chronograph as well as me !
During my search, I found this unusual Caseback of a 5717 8990 SEIKO Crown, with the “Chronograph” text engraved. Unfortunately, there was no picture of the dial.
1965 | Seiko Crown 5717 8990
The only difference with the above exemple is the caseback, engraved with the Asian game logo. And a new mystery : why an asian game logo in 1965 ?
1966 | Seiko Crown 5717 8970
You can read the very interesting restoration review of this watch by TC123456 on The Watch Site
Surprising configuration, very different from those we have seen until now. Look at the hands with lume and, also, at the lume dots next to the indexs! If it there was not the date window, we could think this chronograph is a 5719. The caseback is engraved with the Asian games logo. Same question. Why an asian game logo ? The 1964 Tokyo olympic games are over now ! As the peripheric text is not readable, the production period of this watch date remains a mystery…
Otherwise, I would not be surprised that both the crown and the push button have been changed.
This watch is obviously the black version of the former. But the caseback gives us a new information about the production year: 1966. Which means the white dial watch just above could have been produced during the same period. This is a new clue in order to explain the asian games logo on the other chronograph caseback: did any olympic games take place in 1966 ?
And the answer is… YES ! Bangkok Asian games from December 9 to 20, 1966, in Bangkok, Thailand, organized by the Olympic concil of Asia. This means that after the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games Seiko probably produced other versions of the One push chronograph with specific caseback to celebrate each asian games event 😉 Probably obvious deduction for Olympics games fans but a challenge for me !
1968 |SEIKO Crown 5717 8990 – 1968
Despite its plastic bezel, the very simple caseback of this chronograph, with just the Seiko mention and the engraved reference, leads to the deduction that we have here a late 1968 watch.
To see more and very qualitative pictures of the SEIKO Crown 5717, go to the #5717 thread on Instagram !
The SEIKO Crown 5719
Back on stage after this little break time; and happy that you did’nt run away ! First I have to apologize, because the photos, of the following part are not as good as the preceding ones. I will update my article as I find pictures of a better quality.
1964 | SEIKO Crown 5719 45899
White dial “star”. The Tokyo Olympic games official chronograph
This dial is very specific, with the internal circle linking the indexs all together. If we just take in account what is shown on the SEIKO official website, but also on collectors pictures during their visit at the Seiko Museum, this is probably the real Tokyo 1964 Olympic games Seiko crown chronograph.
I draw your attention on what seems to be a little point in the vertical axis of the dial, interposed between the text “diashock 21 jewels” and the 6 o’clock index. In fact it’s a little pictogram made of a triangle and of a three branches star. Visit the sand.sti thread on Instagram to see the most beautiful Seiko Crown 5719 45889 I have ever seen. I would be very curious to know what this pictogram means.
You can notice that the caseback is partly “colored” (selective brushing treatment ? I would be happy to hold such a model to know. Do not hesitate to tell me in case you owns one) . This “color” is often erased on many models.
Because of the little pictogram that can be seen on the dial at 06:00, I suppose this chronograph is also from the 1964 year, despite the fact there is no “circle line” linking the indexs.
White dial “simple”
Obviously one of the first configuration, with a plastic black bezel. I qualified it “simple” in comparison with what I think is the real Olympic games dial.
The black dial version of the Seiko 5719. I’m pretty sure that the plastic bezel has never had these painted marks. Probably an “artistic” later add on. Color on the caseback is ersased.
Same one ? No ! Look at the little text in the bottom of the dial. Here, it is just above the mn graduations. On the previous pictures, the text is below the graduations.
1964 | SEIKO Crown 5719 8980
Probably my favorite configuration of the Seiko Crown 5719. So elegant ! Sharp solid steel hands + super readable black tachymeter hand + long indexs + bezel with black aluminum insert. And, cherry on the cake, the funny Seahorse logo.
1968 | SEIKO Crown 5719 8992
This Seiko Crown is in the original configuration, with the black plastic bezel. The reference (and consequently the information regarding the production period) is not readable, But the absence of logo makes me think of a late edition (circa 68), just as the watch bellow.
This is my watch ! On this late 1968 edition, you will notice that the index lume dots are magnified by a peripheric black line (easier to see on the review).
To see more and very qualitative pictures of the SEIKO Crown 5719, go to the #5719 thread on Instagram !
My little inventory of this historical chronograph is finished. I have learnt a lot while writing it. I just hope you learnt a little too !
Most of all: I apologize for the headhache you have now ! As far as I’m concerned, I’m going to bed…
See You soon.