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King Quartz 5856-8000


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About Details and then some
Manufacture Seiko King Quartz
Model reference QHB031 5856-8000
Movement Quartz
Caliber 5856
Dial Blue Navy
Case 37x42x09mm Steel
Lugs 18mm
Bracelet Original XQB440
Crystal serial # Unknown Mineral
Timegrapher Accuracy: as rated Rated as: 15spm
Jewels 7
Serial # 75xxxx Production: 1977-05
Condition Excellent
Service Not required
Box & Papers No box No papers

In 1975 the Grand Seiko line and the King Seiko line ceased production, due to the quartz crises they could not remain profitable. Of course, in 1988, the Grand Seiko line was simply revived with high end quartz watches - neatly tying in with the defunct Grand Quartzes of the early eighties. And finally in 1998, the mechanical GS were re-introduced, one might expect due to popular demand.

King Seiko followed suit fortunately, having been equally successful with the King Quartz until about 1983. This was somewhat later however, in 2000 a limited edition model was presented as a reissue of the 45KS and only much later in 2021 again to commemorate the King Seiko 44-9990 KSK-020, but with with all modern upgrades.

Back to 1975, it was then that the robust, no holds barred King Quartz caliber appeared right next to the 4843 Grand Quartz caliber (48GQW). A direct descendant of the 38QR caliber, it was printed in the catalogues as 08KQW, and next to it a 08QTW (more generally known as the Quartz QT). One can honestly say that pricing was a mystery, even if the quality was not, as the dial work was exceptional. The mentioned models were not clearly ordered in price tiers. Generally V.F.A is more expensive, as is gold plating and a bracelet added (integrated or not). Slightly later it was to be succeeded by the equally robust 4823 caliber – now that made sense, as one immediately thinks of the even more expensive brother the 4843 GQW.

The 0853 was a very solidly made quartz (your watchmaker will love it!), much thicker than its descendants and has huge presence (and in fact thermo-compensation due to its sheer bulk), the dial work as stated was impeccable and very involved – truly a high end watch. Strangely though for the 0853, the crown was somewhat neglected and not embossed with the quartz logo, unlike the other calibers mentioned, the 4823 and the 4843.

In my experience the quartzes mentioned are among the most accurate vintages; the twin quartzes like the 99 (9940 pictured above, right) series have the specs for sure, but after 40 years or so… build quality and robustness gain the upper hand. The early King Quartzes truly shine!

A serious collector will have dealings with the 08 caliber movement, as stated descendants of the early 38xx quartz movements of the seventies. These movements however were subdivided in the SQ, QT, QR and QZ quartzes. They were the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) watches made around 1971-75, while the export models were mostly labelled SQ 2002, SQ 3003 and SQ 4004.

The highest quality and the most expensive of these 38's were the SQ & QT (with tighter specifications - 15s as compared to QR's 20), then the QR and finally (much later in time as well) the lowly QZ. But remember, at this time there were no cheap quartzes so even the lower grade QZ was more expensive than the average mechanical watch.

After 1975 the 38QR does not turn up again in any other series and dies out as such; it is depicted lastly in the catalogue of 1975 - right next to the identically priced 08QZW/08QZC - that would be calibers such as 0842/0843. It is evident then that these 08's are the descendants of the 38QR. What a conclusion to see these presumably simple quartzes elevated.. Of course they already looked the part.

We are not done here however, and it does not get any easier with the 38QT, which evolves in 1974 into the other 08 caliber, the 08KQW King Quartz series - and, for a year or so, into the elusive 08QTC! That would be respectively the King Quartz 0852/0853 and the Quartz QT 0823.

The 38QZ finally is introduced in 1975 in the 09 series with a 15/20s specification. To conclude, there was never a model year where all these designations existed at the same time but it is evident that the SQ is better and more expensive than both the QT and QR. The cheapest QR of course was more expensive than the QZ at introdution but this compares 1971 against 1975 where there probably has been significant price erosion for quartz watches. However, with more or less the same specifications and a four year difference, the QR would have had the higher market positioning, just below QT.

Some stats are printed below, between brackets the seconds per year:

1974, 08 series, 0822 (15), 0823 (15), 0841 (15), 0842 (15), 0843 (10), 0852 (10) and 0853 King Quartz (10)

So, the king never really left the scene, even now vintage quartzes are highly desirable watches and fully the equal of whatever goes for a good quartz these days. However, while quartz based watches are extremely accurate compared to mechanical watches, they are still not perfect. One of the main reasons for the inaccuracy in a quartz model is temperature change... the oscillation of the quartz crystal varies slightly because of this. It will cause the slight drift in timing. To compensate quartz watches will employ some kind of temperature compensation. Enter the king’s Twin Quartz…

But first, there was a small single quartz interlude with calibers 4822, and somewhat later its co-habitant the 5855/6 in the Japanese catalogues of 1975. These were very solidly made quartzes (your watchmaker will love it!). But the 48KQ was still a thicker watch than factual descendant the 5856. To be sure, it has huge presence and its thermo-compensation, due to its relative thickness, is still excellent after all these years.

The dial work is usually impeccable, these truly are high end watches. The focus is on raised markers and light reflections to give them something extra..... great legibility and some "punch". That punch is also implemented in the mechanics of this watch, it has that special Seiko gimmick of the "jumping seconds hand". This means that it will jump ahead 10 seconds when you pull the crown to adjust the time. It makes time setting so much easier!

In my experience these single quartzes are among the most accurate vintages; the twin quartzes like the 99 series have the specs for sure, but after 40 years or so… build quality and robustness gain the upper hand. The early King Quartzes truly shine!