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Posted by Esslinger Staff

Identification of Watch Movements

Open a watch and look inside, you are looking at either a Japanese watch movement or a Swiss watch movement. Sometimes it is hard to tell them apart, especially in the low grade, and in the very high end. Swiss watch movements are better quality and normally have a higher labor rate for repair. Japanese watch movements are sometimes are more costly than Swiss watch movements, but it is lesser quality and it’s difficult to work on a movement made of plastic.


Swiss Movements

A Swiss movement will have stamp of 3 letters – E.T.A. and a followed by a number ex. 955-114, 2001-001 also will tell you how many jewels if there are any. You can always spot the jewel. It is the glassy red dot where the pivot of the wheel sometimes goes through. That number would be your reference number. If you need parts or a new movement, sometimes the identification is located by the battery, sometimes in one corner by the coil, sometimes it is in the circuit board. Some watchmakers would use their own nomination and should be crossed reference with standard ETA.


When you are ready to work in a watch, you should consider if the watch has a seconds hand, if the watch has a calendar window. If it has a calendar window, is it located a 3 o’clock 4 o’clock 6 o’clock. Also be aware of how thick the dial is, because sometimes the same movement has a long and short center shaft (canon pinion). The calendar wheel can be replaced, so if you do not find the same movement with the calendar at 6 o’clock, you’ll have to remove the old calendar wheel and replace it in the new movement. Sometimes the movements are discontinued due to the age, but you still can get parts, so you can clean the old ETA movement and order a coil, a circuit or both to make that special watch work again.


I mentioned ETA because is the largest of the Swiss companies there are also Rhonda FE, ISA. But the principle goes for all the movements, all of them are marked on the back either by movement company or the watch company. There is another way to identify a movement if for some reason no lettering can be read or found, under the dial is the bridge, the funny looking parts that hold the setting parts, looks like an alien hand if you had some imagination. Well the bridge is the watch fingertip, unique to each individual, so there are books with watch illustrations about this bridge, you can match it there.




Japanese Movements

Japanese movements, Seiko and citizen are the largest watch companies in the world. They make all kinds of watches, some of them mostly for the Japanese market very costly. We normally don’t see them. Seiko use Hattori movements that are interchangeable and Citizen uses Miyota movements. Most Asian watches use them both. With Seiko and Citizen the identification is on the back of the watch, sometimes in the bottom of the dial, and most definitely in the movement, like VX42, V810 and so on. Same goes for citizen 5R12, 6L12 and others. My advice: do not try to fix these movements, it would take considerable skill and time. It is much easier to replace either for original brand or the generic. I can provide you with the numbers above mentioned, a perfect match can be found.

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  • stroudart

    We have a Bernard Datyner watch. It’s 15 Jewel, manual wind, sub seconds at 6 wind cut corner case that is very beautiful. Mechanically it is very clean- practically unused BUT IT DOESN’T WORK.We are starving for information. The movement looks like an FHF, but searching ihe “pink pages” has not revealed its secrets. We want to fix this watch ! Please advise. Thanks,

  • Rubén Iglesias

    Good evening, friends.

    We have (my partner and me) a watchmaking workshop in Madrid and we have a serious problem with a “LONGINES” man watch. We need a “L970.2” quartz movement for this watch and we cannot get one in Spain.

    Could someone help us with this problem?

    Thank you in advance for your time and your dedication to solve this query.


    • Mike Victor

      Hello Ruben Iglesias, I may have this movement available, but I will need to double check. If you are still interested in this movement, please email me at Once you email me, I will let you know if I have this in stock.

  • Chris Wallace

    I have an old Citizen Dive watch – 6100 series. I believe the coil is bad after testing resistance. Do you have a movement that would fit? The movement is stamped 6100A on the movement. If a replacement is available, will the dial and hands fit?

  • w d matovich

    what quartz movement / hands would replace an Avia seven 7 jewel movement used in a Garland watch with the seconds at the six oclock position? Is there a brown leather strap available for the same watch 15mm available that will reach around a 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 inch wrist ( I need a 13mm band for a Boluva from the 40’s as well.

  • People Pleaser

    Anyone know where I can get a replacement movement for a Seiko 8F32-0380, or

    • J_Lind

      The 8F32 is the movement caliber. If the 0380 came from the case back, it’s the case and band/bracelet ID. The four digits on the dial just below the “6” will be different as they’re the dial and hands ID. I recognized the 8F32 immediately as the men’s size Seiko Perpetual Calendar movement. I’ve owned one for over 15 years.

      Are you certain you need a new movement? Battery replacement in these is NOT the same as in other quartz watches. You don’t just drop a battery in and close it up. There’s an entire procedure to reset the movement electronics, and then set the day, month and year in the 4-year leap year cycle after inserting the battery (very, very carefully; movement is easily damaged if not done correctly). It will not run properly until you do that. Google will find the battery replacement procedure for you. If you’re already aware of this and really have a bad movement, you’re not going to find a replacement from a supplier like Esslinger. They **were** only available from Seiko and have been discontinued for some time. There isn’t another caliber movement currently being made with the same exact form and fit, including dial legs, that you can buy. The only real solution you have is to find a “donor” watch that’s been thrashed cosmetically with a working movement inside and do a bare movement transplant, using the original hands, dial, date ring and stem from the watch you’re putting it in. Unless it’s the exact same watch case number, the hands, dial and date ring in the donor watch most likely will not fit. Went down this path with a different discontinued Seiko quartz movement over a decade ago for a watch made in 1979. The 8F (men’s) and 4F (women’s) Seiko Perpetual line was excellent, and the 8F32 men’s size would run for upward of 10 years on a battery. Fiddling all the time with the movement’s day/month/leap-year check function will run the battery down quickly as it indexes the date ring and seconds hand. Hope this helps and best wishes for finding a donor.

  • thanks2him

    I have a Japanese watch which I believe needs a new movement. I am not sure which is the movement number. I found EY3N and PC21J on the movement. LR626 on the back of the watch. Would you be able to identify the correct number? Where would I be able to find a replacement? Thanks!