1964 marked the resurgence of a post-war Japan onto the world stage 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.
As part of Seiko’s R&D, and to commemorate its upcoming role in the summer games, it developed several advanced wristwatches for the Olympics, and Seiko would develop the large crown 6217 GMT for the Games, like the full-serviced 1964 Seiko 6217-7000 GMT automatic here, with its strikingly colorful dial 1964 Olympic torch case back inscription.
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 6217 GMT was released for a short period of time during and after the 1964 Olympics, and then discontinued. Seiko also released concurrently three variants of their first chronograph, the monopusher 571x chronograph - the 5717 and 5719, as well as the ultra rare 5718 (the ultimate grail of most Seiko collectors) - 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.
In circa 1966 or 1967, Seiko created a successor to the 6217-7000, the 6217-7010, similar in nearly every way except for dial text at the 6:00 area, lumed hour and minute hands, lume plots at every hour marker on the dial - and of course, Seiko swapped the large crown for a much smaller one. Seiko sold both concurrently for a short period of time.
This Seiko 6217 comes on a leather strap, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.
1964 Seiko 6217-7000 GMT Automatic
DIAL: Silver "linen" Seiko-signed dial with polished hour indices; hour, minute, and second hands retain lume; the inner city wheels' script is crisp and unfaded, and rotates via crown as designed
CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 38mm (41mm w/crown) x 45.5mm, with a matching 1964 Olympic torch caseback inscriptions.
BAND: This 6217 comes on one of our premium brown leather straps, with off-white/cream colored stitching. It also comes with a dark blue nylon strap, which plays off the colors of the dial well.
CRYSTAL: Domed acrylic crystal in excellent condition – no scratches or blemishes, but one small crack near 11 o'clock position.
MOVEMENT: Seiko 6217 automatic movement, which beats at 18,000 BPH; this watch was produced in May 1964. We have performed a full service on this Seiko 6217 GMT.
CROWN: Correct large unsigned stainless-steel crown.