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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Seiko 5606 Lordmatics are the middle ground watches, of the sixties and seventies, neither kingly nor pedestrian they offer solid performance in a good range of design options. (The following is partly knicked from Thewatchsite). Overall, there were probably hundreds of LM variants manufactured, in approx. 100 different case variants, some of them very unique, some of them very 'classy', reminiscent of some of Seiko's most expensive offerings.

Basically, there are two different movements used in the LM:

The 56 LM, available as time-only (calibre 5601), with date display (calibre 5605) and day/date display (calibre 5606). These calibres are all accuracy grade C.
At the end of production, Seiko also manufactured the 56 LM Deluxe (calibre 5626), featuring the movement of the 56KS, which is accuracy grade A. All 56 LM calibres apart from the 5601 however do have the plastic component prone to wear in the QS mechanism, which is often inoperable.
Then there were also the much lesser common LM Special models, powered either by the day/date, high-beat (28.8K) 5206 or its successor, the 5216 movement.

Here is (my text again) a nice example to kick off on these stomping grounds, a new old stock Daini Special with the caliber 5606 grade A! It just goes to show that there are always some unicorns around (more background following the pics).

A new old stock (NOS) Seiko Lordmatic Special, Daini division edition - a double whammy (!) as Daini division was always pushing the design frontier, until its demise in the early eighties. This Daini Special Lordmatic then is a self-winding 23 jewels 5606-5050 from september 1972. It has the King Seiko base movement, an automatic that was thinner then all other auto’s of the time. Notice the mention of A at the end of the caliber inscription on the back, it refers to the accuracy grade A, as these Daini specials were with higher quality and accuracy specs.

At the beginning of their roughly ten year production run, during the late 1960's till 1970's, the Lordmatics were a one piece design (as this one is) that you could only remove the movement from the front, thereby increasing the water-proofing. For maintenance of the watch, it is opened through and by removing the acrylic glass. It is remarkable to still have a "full kit" with NOS original box and LM manual, even included is the outer Seiko box made of black paper. This is a unicorn indeed.

This Special JDM edition has been undisturbed, stored for many years, but still moving flawlessly after a Seiko shake with only a day difference of 30 seconds. The wow factor is very much present with this one.

On the inside this high beat 28.8K watch is no less impressive in this day and age. The calendar feed changes accurately in 24 hours and the crown works fine adjusting the day of the week or time. Of course, this Lordmatic has a quickset day-date (QS) and can be hand-wound, and is with hacking function. However, all 56 LM calibres apart from the 5601 do have the plastic component prone to wear in the QS mechanism, which is often inoperable. Here no problems naturally, just make sure to always adjust the day at the end of the day.

The day disc is a dual language one; English and Kanji (Japanese), as is the manual.

Finally the flawless original stainless steel band, it adjusts to roughly 19cm maximum. It even has the original Japanese paper sticker inside telling the customer or watchmaker how to adjust the watchband! No folded watch band links here. It is all solid...

Because of its age (45!) this watch should probably receive a movement overhaul, even though it runs like only a Seiko can after decades have passed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Article written by Randall Benson

According to The Seiko Book, commercial production of the cal. 5606, based on the 56 caliber stream, started in 1968.
The 5606 had a 21600 beat rate, offered quick set day and date, hand winding from the crown, and the ability to precisely set the seconds though a hacking lever.

The 56 stream seams to have been developed between two other caliber streams, the 51(starting in 1967), and the 52 (starting in 1970). When the 51 was developed, it had a thickness of 4.9mm. The Cal. 56 steam had a reduced thickness of 4.3mm, and the 52 stream further reduced the movements thickness to 3.9mm.

In this continuing effort to reduce the thickness of its mid to high grade movements, many novel design elements were incorporated into the 5606. The following essay is designed to highlight some of these features and design elements, and to allow the reader to appreciate what Seiko was doing at the time.

Below, we see the top plate, or back of the movement, as it is after being decased from a one piece case.



In the photo above, we can see a high degree of consideration in the movement. From the colimaconnage on the winding weight, crown, and ratchet wheels. The high polished angles on the plates. The cap jewels on the escape and third wheels, to the micro regulator used on the balance cock, this movement is no slouch in the visual appreciation department.

With the winding weight (commonly referred to as the rotor) removed, we can see the major deciding design factor in the reduction of thickness in these three movements (51,56,52). Placing (integrating) the autowinding train wheels at the same level of the time keeping train was the key to reducing the thickness of the automatic watch. With the autowinding and time trains under the same bridge, valuable real-estate was removed from the top plate. Prior to this integration, most automatic watches relied on a separate autowinding system that was attached to an already existing hand winding caliber. This system of adding a autowind train to an existing caliber can be best remembered by the Rolex Bubble Back, a term that was used to describe the fact that if you wanted an automatic, you paid for it in the thickness of the watch. Seiko was a major developer of this "integrated" thinking.



In the photo above, I`ve removed the winding rotor, and have exposed the entire top plate of the movement. The one thing that tickles me the most about the design of this movement is its watchmaker friendliness. In both the calibers 51 and 52, the watchmaker has to remove two very tiny screws, a autowinding cover, and a wheel in order to let down the mainspring. This is because with most automatic winding systems, the winding train blocks the releasing or reversal of the ratchet wheel. In the ETA 2892, an entire bridge must be removed prior to letting down the mainspring. In the Seiko cal. 56, one simple screw needs to be removed, a locking bolt, and a wheel, and the mainspring can be let down. After the mainspring is let down, removing the ratchet wheel allows the removal of the entire top plate. I can not think of any other movement that allows the watchmaker access to the inner most parts of the movement, in so few a number of steps.



In the photo above, the top plate has been removed, and many of the design elements of the watch can be appreciated. In the bottom left corner, we can see the only two components of the autowind system that are completely under the top plate, the differential (or reverser) wheel, and the secondary idler. Note that the idler wheel is made from a dissimilar mettle, and is running on a large ruby jewel. This helps eliminate some of the wear that might other wise be caused if both wheels where made from steel. Not counting the rotor or the ratchet wheel, the system only accounts for 4 wheels. Most autowind systems of this limited size are reduced to a single winding direction, but because the differential wheel is actually two wheels stacked on top of each other, it does offer bi-directional winding. It can also be seen that the differential wheel is using a simple ratcheting spring loaded pawl system, not un-like the magic lever system of today's 7s series. From what I`ve seen, these pawls are just about bullet proof. Of the several dozen 56 caliber watches I`ve seen, none of them suffered from any type of wear in the autowind system, all of them working and winding perfectly, even after years of neglect. Moving up and clock wise from the autowind parts, I`ve noted that Seiko further economized the space available by using an angled pallet fork, allowing for a compound angle of the escapement. This means that Seiko did not need to use a straight line from the escape wheel to the balance, instead they where able to curve the arm, moving the entire escapement closer to the outside edge of the movement. The hacking lever has been fixed to a pivot, fulcrumning to and fro by a extended pin at the end of the stem. The far left fingerer of the lever rests on and arrests the balance when the stem is pulled out. Unlike the fairly complicated hacking lever found in the cal 51 series, this simple system was further retained and economized in the caliber 52 series, which is still in production as the 4s series today. Another notable design element of this movement is the direct drive of the fourth, or seconds hand wheel. Both the 51 series and the 52 series use a in-direct drive pinion, allowing for a certain amount of slop in the second hand when hacked for precise setting. No such slop, or jitter is found in the caliber 56 series.

There is, unfortunately, an Achilles Heal to this movement. It saddens me that so much effort was put into this caliber, and yet one probably unforeseeable element was left to chance. The quick setting of the day and date were compromised by the very materials used in the design.

In the photo above, we`re looking at the dial side of the movement, and I`ve removed the day ring for clarity. The part circled called the day date rocker, is the reason for this distress. This part engages the date ring on the right, and the intermediate day switching wheel on the left, when the crown is pulled out to its second position. This four spoked wheel is made out of plastic. It is held friction tight to the steel wheel below it by the spring washer that can be seen above it. I believe that this wheel used a friction fit, in hopes that if the wheel was engaged during the forbidden zone, it would slip, and the possibility of damage was reduced. Unfortunately the plastic used in the construction of these wheels has a propensity to shrink with age, causing the wheel to split, thereby causing it to slip between the spring washer and the wheel below. I`ve seen many examples of these wheels, and approximately 95% of them are split in such a manor. I even found a stash of almost a dozen of these rocker assemblies, supposable NOS, and in NOS packaging, that where all split, and would not function. This is how I postulate that the plastics used in the design have failed due to age.

Lets take a look at the forbidden zone, and why you where advised not to quickset the day or date between 8pm and 1am. Just incase your 5606 is still QSing the day and date.

In the photo above, with the day wheel removed for clarity, it can be seen that both the date changing finger, and the day changing finger are solidly fixed to their wheels. In most watches, these fingers are equipped with springs that allow the fingers to slip out of the way if the time is reversed, or the quick setting mechanism is brought into engagement. In the photo above, the date setting finger is in the middle of turning the date over, I set it up like this for the photo. Because the finger is solidly fixed to the wheel, there is no give here if the quick set mechanism is brought to bare on the date ring on the right hand side (also set up to show its position when being engaged). As you can see, if these two wheels are forced to turn against each other, something is going to give. While I believe the construction of the day/date switching wheel was supposed to allow for this inevitability, because of the materials used, it has not stood the test of time. Sadly, roughly 90-95% of the watches with the caliber 56 series, no longer quicksets the day or date. This is something that should be made clear of when looking for one of these otherwise fantastic watches. Needless to say, I am working on some sort of a replacement for this part, if and when it becomes available, will be immediately posted.

Although the 56 series was latter upgraded and used in some chronometer grade King Seiko's, I find it sad that it was not chosen for the task when Seiko made the decision to resurrect the 52 series as the 4s15, with all of its siblings. I really think Seiko was approaching the epitome of automatic movement design in this caliber, and the 4s series is a compromise of some excellent ideas.
 

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Great article noting the weakness of the 56 KS LM GS quickset gear.

Of course Seiko no longer manufactures the parts but you occasionally find aftermarket gears available. There is one is plastic and one in metal replacement gear that you can sometimes find on Yahoo Japan.

Here's and example of plastic versions:

gear.jpg

I got my watchmaker to install in on a King Seiko 5626 and it revived the quickset. Of course, I remain careful not to change dates between 9PM and 3AM to avoid any further loss of the feature.

Cheers,

-Brian
 

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I do like the rectangular vintage LMs so here are two that recently came in 5605-5000 and 5606-5000:

01.jpg



02.jpg

They were quite affordable and in great shape so I've been quite happy with them. Need to match it up with a vintage strap or bracelet.

Cheers,

-Brian
 

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Thanks for letting me resurrect a zombie (almost dead) thread...

Anyone got a line on one of these? I got my 5606 dialed in and running like dream.
THEN after all that noticed the day wheel corrector split.

I know these are harder to find than unicorn horns, but wanted to ask around.

If not then has anyone taken one of these off? How are they attached? Staked? C-clips??
I wanna try filing one down out of a brass rod. (Yes it; be slow work-- but may do the trick)


Thanks!
John

Great article noting the weakness of the 56 KS LM GS quickset gear.

Of course Seiko no longer manufactures the parts but you occasionally find aftermarket gears available. There is one is plastic and one in metal replacement gear that you can sometimes find on Yahoo Japan.

Here's and example of plastic versions:

View attachment 10233618

I got my watchmaker to install in on a King Seiko 5626 and it revived the quickset. Of course, I remain careful not to change dates between 9PM and 3AM to avoid any further loss of the feature.

Cheers,

-Brian
 

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Anyone got a line on one of these? I got my 5606 dialed in and running like dream.
THEN after all that noticed the day wheel corrector split.
If you have a staking device you can get the Quickset star from Adrian at VTA:

VTA Quickset STAR for SEIKO 56 Series MOVEMENTS - 5606, 5626, 5646 (56KS QS) | eBay

Here's a video on how to do it:


I am not a watchmaker and I don't have the tools so I have acquired the entire quickset unit from Yahoo Japan and let my watchmaker handle the rest.

-Brian
 

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My older Lordmatic 5601-9000 has no date, but I like that people are talking about these because they are super watches, take daily wear and hard use well, are accurate (mine is +~10spd) and they are super comfortable. Here's mine, not the ebst condition, but a good price from the auction site about 15 years ago. I love this watch - original band too!
15733979
 
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