This was a very lucky find at an auction – I’d never even heard of the World Time until I saw this watch online and liked it enough to take a punt. I started reading up about them and decided I really wanted it, and stuck in there well after the auctioneer blew past my absolute, no-holds-barred, top price. Discipline in such situations is hard to muster, but I’m glad I held out – this is a beauty.
It’s an automatic watch and the inner bezel (with all the city names) rotates around by turning the crown; the idea is that you set the time so the little black arrow hand points to the time on the 24h scale (which I didn’t realise when I took the picture above, hence why it’s pointing at 4:40ish and yet it’s clearly daylight, so 16:40).
If you then rotate the bezel so black arrow points to the place you are in the world at the time, you can then see what time it is everywhere else in the world… so…
… If I’m near London and it’s just after 6pm, that means it’s 13:00 in New York and 21:00 in Moscow.
The World Time was released in 1964 to celebrate the Tokyo Olympics, and the case back has a flaming torch etched or stamped on it in reference. There’s a bit more detail on World Times (or World Timers as they’re sometimes known) here, here and here.
This particular watch (reference 6217-7000) was produced in June 1967, evidenced by the first 2 digits of its serial number (the year, and the month within that year). Seikos are good like that – unlike just about every other watch manufacturer, you can date them easily – see here.
There are a few variants on a theme, of a similar age – a black faced World Time, or the 6117- series (some of which had a red GMT hand, which would, frankly, make it easier to see the time as the black one is easy to confuse for the other hands).
The 6217-7010 followed as a later update, and it appears that the 6217-7000 was only produced in 1964 to celebrate the Olympics, however they may have had some leftover stock from ’64, and started turning out Olympic torch-bearing watches 6217-7000s again in mid 1967, to be ready for the ’68 Olympics. So this particular watch is something of an anomaly – it has all the hallmarks of the earliest, 1964 World Times, but a case back that (legitimately) dates it from 1967…
Original World Time bracelets are hard to come by, for some reason – so I managed to salvage a period late 1960s “Diamondback” or “mini-coffin link” bracelet which I had kicking around, and it rather suits the watch.
While on the subject of coffin links, the true coffin bracelet was fitted to other Seikos of the late 1960s / early 1970s – here’s an example of a Bell Matic with coffin link and the World Time with Diamondback.
It was very common for soldiers in the Vietnam war era to have Seikos as they were sold through “ Part Exchange ” outlets, so the part in Apocalypse Now seems well researched – servicemen at the time might have been drawn to the hard wearing reputation of the Seiko dive watch.
Actually “Post Exchange” or “Base Exchange” depending on branch of service. I bought mine, a 6117-6400 with the black face, red 24 hour hand and orange 24 hour ring, at the Base Exchange on a USAF base in Thailand in 1971. On my first day on base I had won $40 on a slot machine at the Airman’s Club, went directly to the Base Exchange and bought the watch for $42.00.
I managed to crack the crystal and took it to a jewelry shop “downtown” for repair. A few days later the building next door blew up, either from a gas leak, or as the shop owner claimed, “VC!”, as he handed me my watch back. Cost was 100 Bhat, or $5.00. I was happy to pay pretty much what ever he wanted because I figured the watch was gone forever.
Wore it enough to wear the clasp out on the band. Found a attractive looking genuine Seiko band a few years back. It was hard to find a band that was the right width at the watch as it seems this watch case is different than most.
Dug it out today to “wake” it back up and take to shop to see if they can get me another new crystal. Hoping there are no more explosions. 😉
Mine was purchased in Singapore in 1966 and worn continually until selfwinding weight came unsoldered in 1974. Was repaired and worn until it became loose again in mid eighties. Been stored in drawer since. Any value? I assumed repair cost would be higher than worth. Anyone know who might perform evaluation of value and/or repair?
hi Terry – yes, they can be worth a bit depending on condition of the dial etc. Check out https://www.watchrecon.com/?query=seiko+6217-7000&last_days=0 – you’d probably expect £600 / $800 to be a fair price if it’s working. You’d expect to pay £250 / $350 to a decent watchmaker to fix it and give it a full service at the same time. Who is best to do that will probably depend on where you are – you might want to check out SCWF on http://www.thewatchsite.com and share some more details there, and get some recommendations.
I swear that’s the watch I bought for approximately $120 from an op-shop in Adelaide in the mid/late 90s. I put a black leather band on it. I loved that watch, but constantly asked by a regular at the club I worked in to sell it to him. He was from Manchester living in Adelaide, South Australia. He offered me $300. I kept saying no, and he would raise the price. In the end I sold it because I needed the money. I wish I never had. To me it epitomises Seiko and the world-class watchmaking they were a lot of the time underrated for. I have panic attacks when thinking about it (I laugh, but it’s true). One day I’ll buy it back. Absolutely beautiful watch.
This 1967 World Time, I got from an auction in the UK about 5 years ago. I did buy a dark-grey dialled World Time from a guy in Brisbane a couple of years later, though, so it’s possible…