What to say about this amazingly unique and rare watch, the Seiko Field Master, aka “Seiko Contra?” The Field Master was allegedly worn by the anti-Communist Nicaraguan Contra’s during the 1980s conflict there (hence the nickname), but we have no evidence this is true. Civil wars are almost always violent and messy, and facts are usually hard to come by – so judge for yourself. All we know is that it’s a fantastic military-esque tool watch, and Seiko has never made a watch like this before its launch in 1984 and has never made anything like it since!
The Field Master came in three variants, the one seen here; a rarer variant with the watch, compass, and map wheel modules, but with the addition of forth module, an LCD timer display; and the incredibly rare Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) version, which featured the watch plus three modules, but also an olive color to the base units and gold bezel inserts.
The Field Master case, or rather, cases, consists of 28mm x 28mm modules. While the watch module is permanently affixed, the other module allows the user to pull the pin crown out at the 4 o’clock position and pop the module out to replace it with a different one.Seiko started its Field Master series using the already proven H558 movement (used in the famous watch featured in “The Predator” and other Arnold Schwarzenegger films of the 1980s) and redesigned the watch around it.
The Japanese are well known for their extreme adventures around the world, and Seiko wanted to provide a watch users could rely on with their lives (Colonel Pogue, anyone?). Field Master watches were taken on numerous North and South Pole adventures, as well as to Mt. Everest and other icy peaks of the world; it featured many rugged characteristics – many lifesaving.
Here are a few (remember, some of these were true when the Field Master was new, not necessarily now):
1. Water resistance to 10 atmospheric-pressure depth;
2. Shock resistance from 3 feet;
3. Magnetic resistance, to 16,000A/m when specs at the time called for 4,800A/m;
4. Abrasion resistant Hardlex was used, all the better to stand up to decompression;
5. Cold/heat resistance from -40 to +60 degrees Celsius, higher than the Earth’s maximum temperature;
6. Resistance to cold from its 2mm thick AR coated crystal (the better to prevent fogging and glare);
7. Light weight (at 56 grams) corrosion resistant Titanium case, even if left in salt water for more than 24 hours;
8. Resistance to chemical and gas exposure, such as alcohols and cosmetic oils, and ammonia gas and carbon monoxide;
9. Bright luminescence allowing readability from 25cm in complete darkness;
10. Built-in case characteristics for safety and reliability, such as rounded edges, emergency signal code, compass, and shroud for protection.
This Seiko Field Master comes with its original rubber Seiko strap, NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1983 Seiko 2C21-0080 Field Master Watch & Compass
DIAL: Original black dial with 3, 6, 9, 12 hour Arabic indices, and original hands; dial lume shines. Original compass module.
CASE: Two original 28mm x 28mm titanium modules, with original stainless steel caseback.
CRYSTAL: Original crystal, with a small chip near the 11 o’clock position and small scratches.
BAND: Original rubber Seiko strap with signed SEIKO titanium buckle. This Field Master comes with green NATO strap, which featured stainless steel hardware.
MOVEMENT: Original Seiko 2C21 quartz movement, manufactured in March 1984; movement uses a button-cell battery.
CROWN: Original unsigned Seiko crown.