Celebrating Seiko’s NH35 movement – the unsung hero used by top microbrands in everything from indestructible divers to vintage stunners

Is Seiko’s NH35 movement ubiquitous due to its brilliance or sheer availability? This hand-wound, hacking movement is today widely used on the microbrand scene and is basically the unbranded version of Seiko’s 4R35 movement that’s universally admired for its toughness and accuracy. Similarly reliable and robust, the NH35 is a strong mechanical heart fitted to Seiko’s mid-price Prospex and Presage families, including the Turtles, Samurais and round-cased Cocktail time references. It’s also bafflingly affordable. While in ETA or Sellita movements we talk about the ease and accessibility of service costs, a box-fresh NH movement can be bought for half the price of a service. Yes, I’m feeling guilty even writing this from an environmental standpoint, but the ability to avoid changing toxic lithium batteries over time, makes up for swapping out a movement should a big fault arise. These strengths mean the NH35 was utilised by a diverse mix of top microbrands in 2020, from vintage-inspired pilots and diver’s tool watches to whitewashed minimalist designs. Unimatic x Mihara Yasuhiro U1 Italian flair, sharp design … maybe it’s time to recognise Unimatic as the Bulgari of microbrands? They’ve managed to make two designs, the strong tool watch designs of the U1…

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