It can be a challenge at times to keep up with the endless list of movements that are out there and to know which suits your pocket and your requirements. The Seiko 4R3x series of mechanical movements were introduced in 2011 and were based on the Seiko 7S26 movement which is one of the most respected and reliable Seiko movements from the years passed.
Why fix it if it ain’t broke?
The fundamentals of the 7S26 series are still relevant but the 4R3x movements were made to include hacking seconds and a manual hand-wind functionality. There are slight improvements that can be made over time in terms of new materials and updated technology but the 4R3x has chosen to stick with the traditional mainspring instead of the SPRON 510 mainspring material found in their higher end pieces. The reason for the traditional mainspring decision is to keep the costs of the timepiece down but to still provide a reliable watch through the mass production process.
Can I improve the movement at all?
The 4R36 movement has hours, minutes and seconds hands and is the only 4R3x family member to have the day and date displayed. The 4R36 beats at 21,600 bph and has 24 jewels to ensure its longevity. You can expect a 41 hour power reserve and no sub-dials. With these mass produced movements there is no special care given in terms of optimal adjustments so if you have some concerns with losing seconds, which can be up to 15 seconds a day at times, then take it to have the hairspring adjusted and you will be able to minimise the loss. This movement wasn’t made to perform on par with the higher quality luxury Seiko movements so paying a bit extra for a regulation is an easy way to improve the movement.
Where can I find the 4R36 movement?
The 4R36 movement can be found in many sport watches. The most common of these would be some of the Seiko divers that have 100m water resistance ratings like the Prospex timepieces. If you look for the 4R36 movement specifications online you are likely to find a very conservative assumption of +- 30 seconds a day when in practice it does far better than that. It is important to keep in mind that the accuracy can be influenced by the region you live in due to temperature but this is I have found to be generally accurate. If you like the 4R36 movement you will be hard pressed to find it in any piece that can be worn as a dress watch so the 4R36 movement is definitely for those with a taste for adventure.
We are often put off by the idea of buying mass produced items because we don’t feel that we have had the personal attention we might desire, but when it comes to the quality you get with the Seiko 4R36 movement and the low cost it will take to add one to your collection you will be grateful.