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Thread: Seiko & Orient Diver Watches Issued to the RAN (Royal Australian Navy)

  1. #1
    Moderator lambstew's Avatar
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    Default Seiko & Orient Diver Watches Issued to the RAN (Royal Australian Navy)

    Hi All,

    A recent question to me by a member regarding a 1987 Seiko quartz RAN issued diver I posted about a number of years ago made me curious to see if anyone here has seen any others?

    Back in 2010 I posted about a Seiko 7043-7000 200m quartz RAN issued dive watch with NSN I spotted in for service at my watch maker's in Sydney. My watch maker used to do repair work for King's Disposals in the city while they were still operating and was able to buy surplus military watches from them over the years which included RAN issued chrono's, Certina dive watches, RAAF MKXI watches, Vietnam Aussie issued Benrus plastic and the later Hamilton ss field watches etc.

    One of the surplus lots he purchased from King's contained Seiko plus a few Orient dive watches. A customer of his purchased one of these disposal Seiko's and that was the watch I saw in the shop and was allowed to photograph for reference:

    Pictures courtesy of Imgur:





    The NSN - 6645-66-124-9068, Serial No. 630351


    The Orient does not have an assigned NSN, only a crudely done issue marking with broad arrow (107/90) that "looks like it was done by a child" in the words of my watch maker. I can only speculate that the Orient was a small unit buy or a trials watch but it is legit. I have never seen another Orient but they are surely out there. There was another RAN issued Seiko FS on the PX a long time ago but it was a 7458-7000 150m Quartz, dated May 1985 so a little earlier.

    Unfortunately very little is known about this era of issued RAN dive watches and there is no known surviving documentation as the RAN only keep records for seven years. The Certina DS SuperPh1000 is the previous known issued RAN dive watch and superseded by the Seiko's, and augmented with a few trails Orients in 1990.. The next watch to take on the job was the Citizen Aqualand and more recently the Casio Mudman G9000 if that is accurate..






    The most I was able to find out about the Orient from their customer service was that model # D39729 was produced beginning in 1987 and that my watch had been shipped to the Australian distributor in the late 1980's according to their records. Any record of sale to the RAN would have been held by the local distributor and I have not been able to find any further information about them thus far..

    Be interested to hear from someone else and see if any more examples of either have turned up,

    Cheers,

    Konrad
    Last edited by lambstew; 07-11-2017 at 11:53.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator dave's Avatar
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    James K has made mention of a Citizen Promaster ex RAN diver watch..

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    Moderator lambstew's Avatar
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    Thanks Dave - the RAN used several Promaster Aqualand models with the JP2000-8E being the most well known..

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    Orients were very popular in the 70's and 80's in Australia and I would not be surprised if they were selected for testing/issuing by the military, particularly if the testing/procurement officer had personal experience with them. I bought my wife an Orient manual wind gold dress watch that had a whopping 21 jewel movement (which is pretty good for a manual wind) in 1980. I suspect the watch was a 79/80 model with integrated bracelet and green dial. She wore that for many years and it still works after winding, having been serviced once in it's lifetime. The jeweler who was a brick and mortar family business in a suburb called Nundah in Brisbane reckoned that Orient was a fantastic brand and as good if not better than Seiko. I knew many people who wore Orient watches then. In the little suburb I lived in there were multiple stores that sold Orient, including a local pharmacy. Most jewelers/watchmakers stocked them. Even then they were a reliable watch and priced slightly cheaper than Seiko, so if money was a consideration Orient was a good choice for military application.

    Orients were readily available until the late 80's/early 90's in Brisbane at least.
    Last edited by pete26; 07-11-2017 at 20:12. Reason: added info

  5. #5
    Moderator lambstew's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information Pete. I didn't know that Orients were popular in Australia in the 70's & 80's. I don't think the distributor lasted much beyond those years because I can't find anything on them so likely disappeared a long time ago. Maybe they were hoping for a military order and since the model had been on the market already for 3 years in 1990 they probably were offering them at a good discount..

    Here is my Citizen Aqualand JP2000-8E. Though gotten in Australia I have no military provenance for the watch which can still be found for relatively little money.. It's too bad the RAN didn't mark the Citizens so difficult to know the pedigree..

    The Australian War Memorial shows one in their collection which was issued to an official war photographer during the Iraq War in 2003:

    https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1194793?search

    The serial number of my watch lies in shouting distance of the War Memorial example..






  6. #6

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    I had an issued R.A.N Seiko Divers will dig out pictures and post when I find them sold it 7+ years ago and always regretted it.

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    Moderator lambstew's Avatar
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    Thanks Paul. I accidentally deleted the pics I saved from your sale so good to hear from you..

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