Seiko Bellmatic
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Seiko Bellmatic

Before quartz watches were the norm, adding new features to a watch was a feat of engineering - a marvel in its own right. Over the years, watch manufacturers of all sizes competed on designing and developing all types of so-called complications as part of their watches. Calendars, chronographs, and GMT complications are all well and good, but there’s something fun and unique (and let’s face it, pretty practical) about a mechanical alarm on your wrist. 

If you like Seiko as much as we do, you know that when they put their minds to something, they don’t mess around. Case in point, the Seiko Bellmatic line. Automatic winding, a mechanical alarm, day-date displays (with quickset!), sharp looks, and exceptional build quality for a price less than the Swiss- then and now.

This beautiful example dates to September 1971 and delivers on the promise of the Bellmatic all around. It features a nicely proportioned stainless-steel cushion case and a beautiful linen-textured dial. The inner rotating bezel is used to set the alarm (with the red marker at 12 o’clock) and also features a rarely seen countdown bezel. This beauty even comes with the original Seiko-signed bracelet, although it shows noticeable stretch from age.

Function

Given the relatively complicated (pun intended) nature of this watch, a short primer is in order. The crown features three positions total- in the normal (pushed in) position, winding the crown will wind the alarm only. This must be wound for the alarm to function. In the 2nd position, rotating the crown moves the inner bezel, which has a countdown scale and sets the alarm time with the red marker. The 3rd position (all the way out), sets the time as normal. There is a 2nd multifunction button at 2 o'clock- in its normal position, the alarm is disabled. Pushing the button in towards the case operates the quickset date. Pulling it out to the 2nd position enables the alarm.

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