In 1990 Seiko introduced the Yacht Timer Sports models in the catalogue of that year, the 8M37-7000 for 38.000 Yen. The following year came the expensive 8M37-8000, costing a whopping 150.000 yen or an easy 1250 Euro. Both were much alike in design. Then there were some poor odd-ball -6000 cousins at just 22.000 yen that had tried since 1990 but were to be eliminated altogether in 1992. However, even the "grand" -8000 model was produced for two years only and then the cheaper -7000 (lasting well over 8 years) tried to take over, but was outshadowed by the radically redesigned 6M37-6000 in 1993. In 1999 this one was the last one standing and would end the line.
So, inspired by the older mechanical movements, Seiko developed this first quartz movement with a countdown system. While the original Seiko Yacht Timer in the early 1980’s (with the 7A28 caliber) was the world’s first analog quartz chronograph, the Seiko 7A28 Yacht Timer, it was equipped with the same movement as the rest of the lineup. That 7A28 Yacht Timer however already combined a bright color with a white dial, large pushers and a small crown.
In the early 1990’s of course Seiko really went to town on these "regatta timers". No more just a 7A28 with the right color scheme, but as mentioned a more luxurious 8M37 in 1992 and a 6M37 in 1993 (costing much less at 45.000 yen).
The Yacht Timer (YT) was created to time races and is all about the countdown, ensuring one gets the boat at speed at the start line at exactly the right time.
Most watch afficionados think about the cheaper, much later 8M35 YT (38.000 yen) when discussing the yacht captain's watch (or even the first 8M37 YT), it is however only the 6M37 that introduced the brilliantly executed bubble timer. This was immediately copied by many swiss brands like Tag Heuer, Zenith and its ilk.
With the introduction of the Seiko 6M and the 8M YT the crown was used more as a selection tool, moving forward or backward to change the mode of the watch, shown in the lower register. In time mode, setting the time is done by pulling the crown out one stop and then using the two pushers to change the hour and minute hands. Setting 15/10/5 modes moves the needle-like hand to the appropriate countdown area on the upper track. Then, the upper pusher stops and starts the timer and the lower resets. The general timer allows for a countdown function of up to 30 minutes and the “Match 0” function allows both hands to be reset to 12:00.
Using the Seiko 8M37 Yacht Timer demonstrates once again how Seiko does functional complexity with a simple watch design. The typical yachting timer colors of red and blue makes it all highly legible. Also, the watch can take a beating that likely occurs on a boat with its crown guard and on the 6M37 the "moaring" bolts around the bezel.
On the much later introduced 8M35 note the slightly blue shade of the index surround at the 5-minute countdown marker (otherwise, known as 11:00). One may think this is dial damage, but it’s on every single watch. Also, note the Daini symbol on the bottom of the dial and case back – proof that this still belongs in the vintage category.