Reference Cities - Changes over the Years

SEIKO World Time watches from 1964 through 1976

A detailed look at all of the changes made to the reference cities and bezel layouts throughout the years

A Collectible Evolution


The most interesting aspect of a vintage world time watch is undoubtedly the choice of reference cities used. It provides a portal back in time, to the geo-politics of a bygone era. The changes made throughout a long production run like this one (more than 13 years in this case) offer even more insight, bringing to life a broader perspective of the political evolution from year to year and across decades. These changes also make the watch and all of its iterations highly collectible.

There were 6 different bezels produced between 1964 and 1976, in 2 different colors, plus a special gold edition. That's 13 different bezels in all.

The bezel started with 26 cities listed, and 26 time zone marker positions (little arrows to align to the GMT hand) - if you include the DL (International Date Line). By the end of the run, SEIKO had increased this to 29 cities (30 if you include the GMT indicator), and 28 time zone marker positions (including DL).

Cities that started on the original bezel but were eventually dropped
Chicago Dropped April 1968
Reunion Dropped April 1968
Santiago Dropped April 1968
Dharan Dropped January 1971
Iceland Dropped January 1972
Cities that were added after the original version
Singapore Added August 1966
Dharan Added April 1968, Dropped January 1971
Mexico City Added April 1968
Buenos Aires Added April 1968
Tehran Added November 1969
Riyadh Added January 1971
Mauritius Added January 1972
C. Verde Is.
(Cabo Verde Island)
Added January 1972

Dharan is the only city that was added and later dropped. Here is a closer look at each set of bezels and their respective changes.

The Reference, First Version


Here is the first cities ring/bezel. It was used on all 6217-7000 watches in 1964 and 1967. Note, the cities text is in all black on the silver bezel, and the text is all white on the black bezel.

Total Cities: 26
Total Markers: 25 + DL = 26

Black Bezel, 6217-7000, all production in 1964 and 1967
Min. production 20,380
Relative rarity across entire series 3.539%
Silver Bezel, 6217-7000, all production in 1964 and 1967
Min. production 80,066
Relative rarity across entire series 13.904%
Map of the Cities

The Second Version


With the Asian Games version of the watch, SEIKO released an updated cities ring/bezel. The changes include:

  • Rangoon moves from the outer ring to the inner ring
  • Bangkok moves from the inner ring to the outer ring
  • Singapore is added to the inner ring
  • The inner cities text color changes from black to blue on the silver bezel

This new bezel was used on all 6217-7010 watches, including the lumed versions in 1967. It was also used on the 6117-601X through March of 1968.

Total Cities: 27
Total Markers: 26 + DL = 27

Black Bezel, 6217-7010 and 6117-601X through March of 1968
Min. production 41,532
Relative rarity across entire series 7.212%
Silver Bezel, 6217-7010 and 6117-601X through March of 1968
Min. production 138,441
Relative rarity across entire series 24.041%
Map of the Cities, August 1966 - March 1968
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

The Third Version


In 1968 SEIKO again updated the cities ring/bezel, this time mid-production of the 6117-601X. Based on the Image Data, it appears that the 6117-601X production started using the prior series' cities bezel before switching to this new bezel in April of 1968.

The changes:

  • GMT added as its own Time Zone position on the ring
  • London is stacked with Paris-Rome at the same Time Zone position
  • Dharan replaces Reunion
  • Mexico City replaced Chicago
  • Buenos Aires replaces Santiago
  • DL (The International Date Line indicator) is now colored, blue on the black bezel and red on the silver bezel

Total Cities: 27 + GMT = 28
Total Markers: 26 + DL = 27

Black Bezel, 6117-601X from April 1968 through end of model
Min. production 16,739
Relative rarity across entire series 2.907%
Silver Bezel, 6117-601X from April 1968 through end of model
Min. production 65,563
Relative rarity across entire series 11.385%
Map of the Cities, April 1968 - 1969
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

The "Error Bezel"


The third version of the bezel is the introduction of the so-called "Error Bezel". This is where the reference cities have GMT and London marked as different time zones, instead of stacked one above the other in the same time zone (or just not listing GMT at all). This is in fact correct and not an error. In 1968, England (re)implemented British Summer Time (BST), effectively shifting London to GMT+1 during the summer months. This was something that England had done in the past.

Click here to read more. BST was effective from October 1968 through October 1971, and is accurately reflected on this and future bezels.

Error Bezels account for a minimum production of 188,360, or about 32.709% of all watches in this series. The black error bezel is substantially less common than the white/silver error bezel. This breaks down as:

  • 99,720 of white/silver bezels, or about 17.317% of all watches in this series.
  • 88,640 of black bezels, or about 15.393% of all watches in this series.

The Fourth Version


With the release of the 6117-640X, we get another revised cities ring/bezel.

The changes include:

  • Cairo moves from the outer ring to the inner ring
  • Moscow moves from the inner ring to the outer ring
  • Tehran is added to the inner ring
  • The text color on the black bezel changes from blue to red/orange

Total Cities: 28 + GMT = 29
Total Markers: 27 + DL = 28

Black Bezel, 6117-640X through 1970
Min. production 39,127
Relative rarity across entire series 5.159%
Silver Bezel, 6117-640X through 1970
Min. production 29,708
Relative rarity across entire series 5.159%
Map of the Cities, December 1969 - 1970
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

The Fifth Version


In January 1971 Seiko again revised the Cities ring.

The changes include:

  • Dharan is replaced with Mauritius
  • Moscow becomes Moscow-Riyadh

Total Cities: 29 + GMT = 30
Total Markers: 27 + DL = 28

Black Bezel, 6117-640X through 1971
Min. production 20,100
Relative rarity across entire series 3.490%
Silver Bezel, 6117-640X through 1971
Min. production 16,378
Relative rarity across entire series 2.844%

Note: Data appears to show that this cities bezel was used in some early watches in 1972, at latest into March.

Map of the Cities, 1971 - Early 1972
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

The Sixth and Final Version


In early 1972, SEIKO made their final revision to the cities ring/bezel.

The changes include:

  • London and GMT are moved to the same Time Zone position
  • Rome moves from the inner ring to the outer ring
  • C. Verde Is. is added to the outer ring
  • Azores moves from the outer ring to the inner ring, replacing Iceland

Total Cities: 29 + GMT = 30
Total Markers: 27 + DL = 28

Black Bezel, 6117-640X from 1972 onward
Min. production 66,530
Relative rarity across entire series 11.553%
Silver Bezel, 6117-640X from 1972 onward
Min. production 29,890
Relative rarity across entire series 5.191%
Gold Bezel, 6117-640X from 1972 onward
Min. production 12,535
Relative rarity across entire series 2.177%
Map of the Cities, 1972 - 1976
Additions in Green, Removals in Red

Rarity Index


Based on cataloged production numbers, here is a list of bezels by production rarity across the series.

NOTE: the rarity of a specific bezel is based on the following calculation:

(((colorExamples / modelExamples) * modelProduction) / totalProduction) * 100

  • colorExamples = Total Count of this specific Bezel Color in data set
  • modelExamples = Total Count of this specific Model in data set
  • modelProduction = Minimum Production for this specific Model
  • totalProduction = Total (minimum) Production of all watches in this generation
% of Total Min. Production Description
1
2.177% 12,535 Gold Dial, 6th Version (1972), Model(s) 6117-640X
2
2.844% 16,378 Silver Dial, 5th Version (1971), Model(s) 6117-640X
3
2.907% 16,739 Black Dial, 3rd Version (1968), Model(s) 6117-601X
4
3.490% 20,100 Black Dial, 5th Version (1971), Model(s) 6117-640X
5
3.539% 20,380 Black Dial, 1st Version (1964), Model(s) 6117-7000
6
5.159% 29,708 Silver Dial, 4th Version (1969), Model(s) 6117-640X
7
5.191% 29,890 Silver Dial, 6th Version (1972), Model(s) 6117-640X
8
6.795% 39,127 Black Dial, 4th Version (1969), Model(s) 6117-640X
9
7.212% 41,532 Black Dial, 2nd Version (1966), Model(s) 6117-7010, 6117-601X
10
11.385% 65,563 Silver Dial, 3rd Version (1968), Model(s) 6117-601X
11
11.553% 66,530 Black Dial, 6th Version (1972), Model(s) 6117-640X
12
13.904% 80,066 Silver Dial, 1st Version (1964), Model(s) 6117-7000
13
24.041% 138,441 Silver Dial, 2nd Version (1966), Model(s) 6117-7010, 6117-601X
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