Seiko H557-5160

Seiko H557-5160

Seiko loved their digital-analog watches. They must have, they made a ton of them.

They had models like the H249, H357, H461, H557, H601, H801 and more — and within those they had an enormous range of styles available. If there were at least 50 variations I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

Of all of them though, this rare gem is a definite favourite of mine. You’d be hard-pressed to find many photos of it on the internet (or in any old catalogues for that matter) — it may have been a limited edition — but it’s a great example of 80s styling, maybe even inspired by the Transformers series, or possibly just an extension of Seiko’s other big bezel watches like the G757 or D138.

While there were plenty of digital-analog models produced by Seiko, they weren’t all the same — the H557 had three different time zones able to be displayed (one analog, two digital) in 12/24 hour modes, a chronograph, alarm and hourly chime. There was also a backlight which lit the display from below the LCD (rather than from the side, which was the common method of illumination at the time).

This particular watch I was lucky to get. It appeared on a local auction site in a small lot of dead watches and attracted some (but not a significant amount of) interest. Then, less than an hour before the auction was to finish, it was pulled by the auction administrators. Annoyingly, when this happens, you can’t find out why the auction was pulled and, if the seller doesn’t have any other listings, you can’t get in touch with them either.

Concerned that the seller would possibly just bin the watches instead of relisting them, I found someone who had dealt with the seller in the past, sent them a message, which they generously passed on to the seller who got in touch and we came to an agreement over price.

Whew! It was damaged by battery corrosion, but wasn’t irreparable. I fixed the circuitboard and got the digital section working but nothing from the analog. Closer inspection revealed the coil was damaged and with replacements costing more than I paid for the watch, figured I was better off getting a donor coil from another watch which is what I did.

A final service of the analog section and it’s up and running – and looking awesome!

The addition of an Uncle Seiko GL831 strap and it’s good for another 10-20 years at least. The lume has faded on one of the indicies but that’s the only thing that detracts from it (and it’s a small thing, anyway) — one of these days I’ll relume that and it will all be done. That’s if I can get it off my wrist long enough to do so!

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