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The 1960’s-era Seiko Champion line offered some of the most Bauhaus-like designs to come out of the time period, and echoes much of the minimalism Seiko brought forth in the years following.


And at the forefront of this line was the Seiko Champion J13040 – like the freshly serviced early 1960s Seiko Champion J13040 dress mechanical here, with its highly atypical mix of cursive and block letter dial fonts.  The fonts may be diametrically opposed, but they just seem to work together seamlessly for a handsome dial design.


Seiko’s Seahorse subline – which resided within the storied Champion line – debuted in the early 1960’s and like all its brethren at the time, exude simplicity.  The Champion J13040 came in dozens of varieties during its production during this era, with later models adding additional jewels and the Seahorse name to the dial.


Even the dial font itself went through several iterations – to include pops of blue color for the depth rating – and Seiko made models in either non-lumed (early) or lumed (later) dial formats.  The early variants (like the example here) featured a great mix of cursive and block letter fonts, and remain the most desired among collectors.


The J13040 brings a lot to the table, with a domed acrylic crystal and classically angled lugs, a robust Seikosha movement, and an engraved snap case back that is a sight to behold.


Pairing these with writing typically found on Seiko case backs, the J13040 features a detailed engraved Seahorse in the center for a touch of class.  Of note, these were made before Seiko began engraving serial numbers on watch case backs, rendering it difficult to tell the exact date of manufacture.


As noted in Fratello, “The Seiko Champion J13040 may not have set any diving records or scaled any mountains, but it remains as a great example of early 1960’s design.  There’s enough happening to make these watches interesting, but that quiet restraint makes them everlasting.”


This Seiko J13040 Champion comes on a leather strap, and with nylon strap, springbar tool, and rugged travel case.

1960's Seiko Champion J13040 Mechanical Dress Watch

  • DIAL: Silver dial, with dauphin minute, hour, and second hands.  At over half a century old, the crisp dial features beautiful cursive and block letter scripts.


    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 39mm (35.5mm w/o crown) x 42mm stainless steel case, with matching caseback; detailed Seiko Seahorse engraving remains crisp on snap-on case back.


    CRYSTAL: High domed (four mm!) acrylic Seiko crystal.


    BAND: This 1960s Seiko comes on a light brown leather strap, and with a black and blue-ish grey nylon strap.


    MOVEMENT: Seiko 17-jewel 400 Seikosha manual-wind mechnical movement.  We have performed a full service on this Seiko J13040 Champion.


    CROWN: Unsigned stainless-steel crown.

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