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Before we discuss this December 1964 Seiko 5717-8990 mono-pusher chronograph - Seiko's first chronograph - some history is required to understand why this watch is so significant.


1964 marked the emergence onto the world stage of a post-war Japan as a first-rate economic power, most readily apparent in Tokyo hosting the Summer Olympics that same year.  Seiko – despite having no prior experience in sports timing (much to Heuer’s chagrin, we're sure) – was named the official timekeeper, and began research and development in preparation for the games in 1961.


The Olympic Technical Committee head noted, "We are not assigning official timekeeping to a Japanese manufacturer because the Olympics will be held in Tokyo, but because these are actual functional [timepieces], backed up by solid theory."

Despite the head of Seiko's Watch Design Section noting his reluctance Seiko could devise suitable timepieces in time for the 1964 Summer Games - only a few years away - legendary Seiko President Shoji Hattori could not be dissuaded.


As part of Seiko’s R&D at the time, and to commemorate its upcoming role in the Summer Games, the company developed several advanced wristwatches for the Olympics (this watch here was one of them).

The 5717 was released for a short period of time during and after the Olympics, and then discontinued. Seiko also released concurrently another variant of the 5717, the 5719; the ultra rare 5718 (the ultimate grail of most Seiko collectors); and its first World Time GMT, Ref 6217-7000 - all for for the Olympics.  Never one to pass up on an advertising opportunity, Seiko naturally advertised and associated the 571x and GMTs with the games.

Seiko’s 5717/9 chronographs are powered by a smoothly operating column-wheel movement and operated by a single mono-pusher, which starts, stops, and resets the sweeping-seconds hand – while minutes are timed on the rotating bezel.

Of historical note, according to the Official Report of the Organizing Committee for the Games of the XVIII Olympiad 1964, 50 “Seiko Crown Chronographs” were presented as commemorative Torch Relay gifts.  While the record doesn’t specify Seiko model numbers, it’s an easy assessment the watches presented were the 5717, like the one on offer here.  As such, it's an important piece of history with a place in any sophisticated collection.

This Seiko 5717 comes on a vintage Seiko beads of rice bracelet, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

1964 Seiko 5717-8990 Mono-Pusher Olympic Chronograph

  • DIAL: Silver sunburst Seiko-signed dial with polished hour indices and matching hour, minute, and second hands. 


    CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 38mm (41mm w/crown) x 44.5mm, with the Seiko seahorse logo faintly present on case back.   Stainless-steel bezel remains intact and in great condition, with all black highlights highly visable.


    BAND: This 5717 comes on a stainless-steel vintage Seiko-signed beads of rice (BOR) bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. 8.5 inch wrist.  This monopusher also comes with a dark blue, green, and white nylon strap. 


    CRYSTAL: Domed acrylic crystal in excellent condition – no scratches or blemishes. 


    MOVEMENT: Seiko 5717 21-jewel manual-wind mechanical movement, which beats at 18,000 BPH and produced in December 1964.  The 5717 movements are a column wheel type, with drive engaged and disengaged by a coupling wheel, as opposed to the vertical clutch that Seiko favored with its later chronographs (such as the famed 6139).


    CROWN: Unsigned stainless-steel crown, tight as designed.


    CHRONOGRAPH PUSHER: Mono-pusher depresses with satisfying click, no stick.  Chronograph hand snaps back and resets to zero with no issue.  The pusher on these chronographs are usually quite corroded - this one is not.

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