The SEIKO M158 "PAN AM"

Copies and Counterfeits

As the saying goes, imitation is the highest form of flattery. And the SEIKO M158 had quite a few admirers.

With a list price of $215 USD, the SEIKO PAN AM (as it is often called) was not a cheap watch. Adjusted for inflation that is about $925 USD (in 2022 money). The gold-tone version sold for even more, with a list price of $275 USD, or an adjusted price of about $1,180 USD.

Because of its popularity, and relatively high price point, it is no wonder that other watch manufacturers wanted in on the concept. It is shocking however to see just how close to "identical" many other watches are. Ironically most of these do not even have a functioning world time complication, just a digital watch with a world time dial frame!

I suppose this offers strong evidence of the popularity of the PAN AM model, both in terms of sell-ability as well as desirability - or wanting to be seen wearing one (even it is a fake when seen up close).

Here is a break down of the known SEIKO PAN AM M158 counterfeits, copies and/or knock-offs.

Index of Manufacturers


Piratron


Not much is known about this brand, but is generally agreed that they sold entry-level copies and derivatives of popular LCD watches in the 1980's. They are stamped MADE IN HONG KONG.

Whether the name is a play on Piranhas or Pirates - you have to love it. Probably Piranhas given the logo.

They had several goes at copying the M158, some direct copies, others more derivatives. One even has a SWISS MADE digital module!

Piratron P-053C
It does not appear that this watch has a world time complication, just the dial frame.
Left profile, one button.
Right profile, two buttons.
Signed case back.
Piratron - Unidentified Model

This unlabeled model adds a chronograph (maybe) to the P-053C.

Quartz LCD Chronograph printed on the dial frame.
It is unclear if this LCD module has a functioning world time complication.
Signed back with no model indication.
Piratron P-2163

This model is perhaps a play at mixing the aesthetic of the M158 with the later A239.

Alarm and Chronograph function indicators printed on the dial frame and a day of week indicator on the LCD.
Signed case back, made in Hong Kong.
A look under the case back.
Piratron P-222A/W

This model is more of a derivative than a copy, but pretty obvious PAN AM look:

This model uses the checkboard looking time zone indicators on the dial frame and claims SWISS MODULE.
Signed case back with Piratron logo.
Movement marked SWISS MADE NO (0) JEWELS.

Supersonic


Supersonic - Unidentified Model

No information yet found on this brand. This model appears to be a nearly identical copy of the M158-5009. Except it doesn't look like it actually has the world time complication at all, just the dial frame.

It looks like the dial frame overlaps what would normally be the LCD edge display of the selected time zone.
The dial frame indicates a possible alarm complication.
The movement removed from the case.

MBO


MBO - 0751

MBO was a German-based company that also entered the PAN AM copies fray - with their Model 0751. One of the better looking copies, this model also sports an alarm and a chronograph complication.

Aside from the four button layout, and obviously different LCD module, this is a very close copy
Signed case back
STAINLESS STEEL BACK, MBO MUCHEN MODELL 0751, SHOCK RESISTANT from Germany
Dial frame from the M158-5009 and the bracelet from the M158-5000

Beltime


Beltime LED watches were produced by the Belair Electronics company in Z├╝rich/Switzerland in the late 1970's. Watch parts were imported from Hong Kong, not Swiss-made. They produced at least a couple M158 knock-offs.

Beltime 27477
Alarm and Stop Watch overlays are situated over the bottom half of the LCD module. It is unclear what this dial looks like when powered.
Another very close design replica of the M158 from a distance.
Signed case back
BELTIME WATCH CO LTD 27477 SHC STAINLESS STEEL BACK MODELE DEPOSE
The LCD is obviously different, but the case, bracelet and dial frame all look like the M158 from a short distance.
9FA-HT54104L
Beltime WATCH CO LTD __OTEN ZURICH SWITZERLAND BT.4 NO (0) JEWELS UNADJUSTED
Signed case back
BELTIME WATCH CO LTD 27477 SHC STAINLESS STEEL BACK MODELE DEPOSE
Beltime - Unidentified Model
This model appears to have a different LCD module and larger font size on the dial frame compared with the 27477.

Meister-Anker


Meister-Anker was a registered trademark of Quelle - a East German mail-order company from the 1960's. Watches under this brand were manufactured by many different companies, and were commonly sold in department stores at low prices.

Their PAN AM knock-offs look fairly well executed, and the documentation seems to suggest the world time feature was included with these models.

Meister-Anker 67
The time here is much larger than the M158, but the case, bracelet and dial frame are obvious derivatives.
Case back with logo and stamped 67.
The watch in its original box.
Meister-Anker 64
Similar to the 64 above, but with a different LCD panel.
Instructions in the background seem to explain the world time complication.
Full set with papers.

Sekonda


Sekonda is a British watch company, established in 1966. Their watches were originally produced in the Soviet Union, at the First Moscow Watch Factory in Moscow and the Petrodvorets Watch Factory in Leningrad. Many Soviet-era Sekonda watches exported to the West were re-badged Poljot and Raketa watches.

They appear to have not only some period-specific copies of the M158, but also a couple modern interpretations that you can still buy today. Here are the vintage models:

Sekonda - Unidentified Model
LCD module with week days along top.
Sekonda - Unidentified Model
LCD panel with time in bottom half.
Sekonda - 1817 and 1816 Classic

These modern versions maintain the same time zone markings, city selections and abbreviations and the general look of the M158.

Sekonda 1817 Classic - Gold Plated.
Sekonda 1816 Classic - Stainless Steel.

Yamaha


Perhaps the most recognizable name on this list, Yamaha did produce watches at one point, and it looks like they got into the World Time business with a watch that you could say was heavily inspired by the PAN AM, though just different enough to perhaps avoid being label a direct "copy".

Yamaha - Unidentified Model
Hard to see how the World Time indicator would fit on this LCD module.
Unsigned case back.
SHOCKPROOF QUARTZ ANTIMAGNETIC
The bracelet looks like a replica of the Z-129 on the M158-5009.
The case shape is very similar, but not a direct copy. The button arrangement is also very similar.

Lotus


No information has been found about this brand, but it is clear they made several other watches, likely in the 1980's and 1990's.

Lotus - Unidentified Model
The dial frame indicates this one might have an alarm complication.
It appears that perhaps the S/D (standard or daylight) and alarm icon are printed on the crystal.
Case back is not signed.
QUARTZ SHOCKPROOF ANTIMAGNETIC STAINLESS STEEL BACK
The movement is labeled J-09.

Cresta


Very little information is available online about this watch brand. It appears they manufactured digital quartz watches in the 1970's and 1980's.

Cresta - Unidentified Model

This interpretation of the PAN AM seems to include a solar panel. It is doubtful the world time complication was included with the LCD module.

Is that a solar panel on the bottom of the dial frame?
Right side has two buttons.
Left side also have two buttons.
Signed case back.
ALL STAINLESS STEEL CRESTA

Isatron


It is possible this is an ISASWISS watch.

ISASWISS was founded in Switzerland in the 1950's, and originally called "d'Ebauches de Sonceboz". The company produced 7 main watch lines, one of which was called the "ISATRON".

Isatron - Unidentified Model
It's impossible to tell from this photo if the world time complication might work on this watch.

Commodore


Another blatant rip-off, this time from the company that also brought us the very popular Commodore-64.

Commodore - Unidentified Model
An obvious copy, with a different, cheap LCD module.
The dial frame is a direct knock off /copy of the gold plated M158-5009.
BASE METAL BEZEL
commodore international
HONG KONG CASE
STAINLESS STEEL BACK

Kawaski


Another unknown brand, perhaps Kawaski was meant to sound like Kawasaki?

Kawaski - Unidentified Model
It's impossible to tell from this photo if the world time complication might work on this watch.

Omni


Not much information is available online about this brand. It appears they made cheap quartz watches in the 1970's and 1980's. Thank you to http://www.liquidcrystal.co.nz providing these images and an interesting write-up here.

The Omni - World Time

Juwel


Juwel is/was perhaps part of the Junghans AG watch group, absorbed many years ago.

Juwel - Unidentified Model
This is one of what appear to be at least two different LCD modules used in this brand's world timer knock-off
More of a derivative than a copy, this black dial frame version looks like it also includes an alarm and chronograph.
This watch appears to use the same LCD module seen in the Omni brand version listed earlier in this article.

ALBA


ALBA W308-4000

This is a true SEIKO watch, meant to look similar to the M158 or A358, but targeted at a younger generation and priced accordingly.

This one is dated April 1980 and appears to include an alarm, perhaps more similar to the A358?
Signed case back.
Pictured in original box with ALBA logo.
A like new example.

Others?


Do you own or know of another copy / fake SEIKO PAN AM? If so, drop me a line - either in one of the forum threads below or via PM and I will be sure to add it!

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