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What to say about this amazingly unique watch, the H558 "Arnie" - in particular, this seldom seen orange dial variant here?

 

The H558 - similar to this seldom-seen orange-dialed variant 1982 Seiko H558-500A here - was heavily favored by divers in militaries the world over, which long took note of it for its highly visible design, multitude of functions, and reliable movement.  During its heyday, it was widely popular with various armed forces for the same reasons, despite the widely held (false) assumption that military personnel only wear military watches issued to them.

 

It was also worn by actio Arnold Schwarzenegger (he noted it as his "favorite watch" - perhaps you've heard of him?) in a string of action movies that set the bar for, well, action, in the 1980s, like “Predator (1987),” “Raw Deal (1986),” “Commando (1985)," (which still has the highest fatality count in an action move, I mean, if you’re into that manner of thing), "Running Man (1987)," and even, yes, "Twins (1988)."  And yes, even the epic "Terminator 2 (1991)."

 

The H558 was released in 1982, and was the first hybrid dive watch rated to 150 meters.  The Japanese are well known for their extreme adventures around the world, and Seiko wanted to provide a watch whose users could rely on with their lives.

 

As such, Seiko designed its H558 (and the H601) with a few rugged characteristics – many lifesaving. Here are a few (remember, some of these were when the H558 was new, not necessarily now):

   1. Water resistance to 10 atmospheric-pressure depth;

   2. Shock resistance from 3 feet;

   3. Abrasion resistant Hardlex was used, all the better to stand up to decompression;

   4. Resistance to chemical and gas exposure, such as alcohols and cosmetic oils, and ammonia gas and carbon monoxide;

   5. Bright luminescence allowing readability from 25cm in complete darkness; and,

   6. Engineered to withstand temperatures of -40C to 60C (after all, it was tested on expeditions to the south and north poles, as well as, of course an Everest ascent in 1988).

 

This Seiko H558 comes on an Uncle Straps GL831 rubber strap, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

1982 Seiko H558-500A "Arnie," Orange Dial JDM Variant

$1,649.99Price
  • DIAL: Seldom seen Seiko-signed orange dial in outstanding condition, with vibrant blue font - no fade! - and excellent sugar cube-like granular lume on dial; original lume shines quite nicely following exposure to strong light.  Correct gold handset and dial retain their lume, fully intact and shining.

     

    CASE: With its black plastic shroud, this H558 measures 48.5mm x 47.5mm, with matching stainless-steel caseback (which retains most of its tsunami wave-frosting).  The black shroud surrounds a bezel with a solid bezel insert and lume pip, with limited wear.  Its quite unusual to find H558 bezels in this condition, as the inserts are frequently heavily worn. 

     

    CRYSTAL: Seiko H558-correct Hardlex crystal, no scratches or blemishes.

     

    BAND: New Uncle Straps 22mm rubber GL831 rubber strap, an excellent homage to the original this H558 came with; it also comes with a black nylon strap.

     

    MOVEMENT: Seiko H558 quartz hacking movement, manufactured in November 1982; movement uses a button-cell battery.  All functions– including GMT, alarm, stopwatch – work, including the light.  All LCD segments work well and are clearly legible – LCD contrast is excellent.  Movement has no evidence of previous battery leakage. 

     

    CROWN: Unsigned screw-down crown.

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