Seiko Lord matic and Lord Matic Special (1968-1977)

These informations were mainly gathered through my own experience, from watches I actually had in hands. They reflect what I observed and are not the holy truth. Page updated May, 14th 2024 : Section “before buying” added.

Text & Pictures : D. Broglin – Watch & Vintage

Lord Matic was the mid to high range of automatic watches introduced by Seiko in 1968 and based on the freshly developed 56xx movement. As you might probably know, there was actually two ranges of LM, the one produced by the Suwa factory, based on the 56xx movement and the LM Special introduced a couple of years later by the Daini factory and based on the 52xx movement.

List of all models Seiko Lord Matic (LM)

The first years

It is commonly admitted that the first LMs were introduced in 1968 by Suwa and mostly replaced the Seikomatic range. However, it seems that some models were released as early as December 1967 (ref.).
Until the early 70’s, most models had a rather classical design, the cases were often monobloc ones, meaning you couldn’t access the calibre by the back.

A Lord Matic from January 1968

At the beginning of the 70’s, the range became more diverse with the introduction of quite excentric models with coloured dials, facetted crystals and sometimes weird cases.
The LM Special models from Daini probably appeared in 1971 and adopted from the start a kind of mixed classical/funky style.

Lord Matic 56xx : movements

The 56xx family is a big and famous range of automatic movements, that equipped not only the Lord Matic but the King (5621, 5625, 5626) and Grand Seiko (5641, 5645, 5646) as well. They all had the stop second and the manual winding feature.
The Lord Matic was available in time-only, date-only or day & date configuration, with respectively the 5601, 5605 and 5606 calibre. The frequency of these movements is 21,600 bph and they had 23 or 25 jewels. The 5606 has a double language day disc, one of the language always being English. The second language can be Kanji, German, French, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, Dutch. This system of double language will be then adopted in almost all Seiko movements (6106, 7019, 7009, etc…). The day and date quickset is one of (if not the only) the weaknesses of the calibre. Unfortunately, Seiko had the bad idea to use a plastic transfer wheel which tends to break or unseal from its metal support when you try to set the day or the date between 11 pm and 2 pm. Many, many movements are affected by this issue and replacement parts are rare and expensive.

Lord Matic 56xx : variations

As I wrote earlier, the first models (from 1968 to ca 1970) had a classical design, with white, black or silver dials. All cases were made of stainless steel or were gold plated. Some very rare early models had a 18k solid gold case. The crystal was generally made of glass, glued on a flat bezel surrounding the dial and maintained by a pressed ring, but some models had acrylic crystals as well, especially the ones with shaped cases (oval, squared…).

All Lord Matics had a stainless steel bracelet, with a “LM” embossed clasp. The very early models had only “Seiko” embossed on their clasp. You can watch the endlink of a bracelet to know if it matches the case. It wears two numbers, the calibre reference and the first 3 digits of the case reference. (see picture)

In ca 1970, Seiko started to produce more casual models, following the general trend of the 70’s. There are a lot of variations and it would probably difficult to list them all. The dials could be green, blue, brown, grey, two-toned, with a colour gradient, etc… Only red dials are rare (Seiko didn’t use much that color, I don’t know why…). The crystals were often facetted, with different patterns as well. Finally, the cases could be square, oval, rectangle…

Lord Matic Special 52xx : movements

The 52xx family is a range of automatic movements, that equipped the Lord Matic Special and the King Seiko Special. They all have the stop second and the manual winding feature, their frequency is 28,800 bph.
The LM Special was only available in day & date configuration, with 5206 or 5216 calibre. It has a double language day disc, like the 5606 movement. The day and date quickset is working well and hasn’t the same potential issue than the 56xx.

It is interesting to know that these 52xx movements have been reengineered in the 90’s to lead to the excellent 4S calibre range (4S12, 4S15, etc…) which can be found in the Seiko Alpinist from that period.

Lord Matic Special 52xx : variations

The design of the Lord Matic Special is an association of classical and more excentric elements. All cases were made of stainless steel or were gold plated. They were quite small, they almost never exceed 35 mm in diametre. The crystal is as far as I know always made of glass and is sometimes facetted. The dials can be coloured (blue and green are the most common ones) but is often white or black.
Finally, the cases are generally round but some models had square or rectangle ones.

All LM Special had a metal bracelet, with a “LM” embossed clasp.

Before buying a Seiko LM – Issues

The Seiko Lord Matic are quite easy to find, except for some models. Generally speaking, the points you will have to verify are the following ones :

  • Does it have its original stainless steel bracelet ?
    For some classical-designed models, it will probably be ok to have a leather instead of the SS bracelet but for some models, it will be mandatory to have the original bracelet because the case simply needs it. Some cases are lugless or have only 12 or 14 mm between thick lugs and it will be very difficult to find a matching aftermaket bracelet or band.
  • Does the quickset work ? (the LM Special is not affected by this issue)
    Of course, many watches are affected by the issue but you have to know that it’s still possible to set the day and the date with a broken quickset. Remember that the very first day and date watches had absolutely no quickset at all.
  • Do the hands move when the mainspring is loaded ?
    A slippy cannon pinion is a quite common issue as well, the movement runs but the hands are stuck. On the 56xx movements, there isn’t any classical cannon pinion that can be tighten. A wheel has to be replaced to fix the problem. On the 52xx, these is a standard cannon pinion.
  • Is the dial in good condition ?
    Look very attentively the dial before purchasing a LM. Quite a lot of them have stain, yellowish enamel or missing paint on their rim or near the day and date frame. Leave it and find another one. A deteriorated dial is not repairable.
  • Is the crystal in good condition ?
    If the crystal is round shaped, flat or domed, no problem, you will be able to replace it easily by a standard reference, whether it is an acrylic or a glass one. If the crystal is facetted or has a special shape and you will want to replace it by the original part, it will be more difficult. Some references are simply impossible to find, and when you will finally find the one you were looking for for months, it will probably cost a important fraction of the watch itself. Of course, if the facetted crystal is round, you can still replace it by a flat one.

Some examples

LM “time-only”, 5601 movement
As far as I know, only a few models have this calibre.

Seiko Lord Matic 5601-9000, 1971
with Arabic numeral markers
Seiko Lord Matic 5601-9000, 1975

LM “date-only”, 5605 movement

Rare Seiko Lord Matic 5605-7020, 1969
Seiko Lord Matic 5605-5000, 1970
Seiko Lord Matic 5605-7050, 1971

LM 5606 movement, classical design

Seiko LM 5606-7120, 1973
Seiko Lord Matic 5606-7050, 1969
With the day in all letters, at 9 o’clock
Seiko LM 5606-7070, 1968
Seiko Lord Matic 5606-7010, 1968
One of the first LM models
Seiko Lord Matic 5606-7040, 1968
Rare case.
Seiko Lord Matic 5606-7000, 1970
Black dial version

LM 5606 movement, the “funky” ones

Seiko LM 5606-5011, 1972
A quite popular model, available in white, grey, black, light blue, golden, etc…
Seiko LM 5606-5110, 1972
A rare gold plated case and an extremely rare numeral kanji disc.
Seiko LM 5606-5100, 1974
The seldom 5100 case with black day & white date at 6 o’clock

LM Special, 5206 and 5216 movement

Seiko LM Special 5206-6090, 1973
Seiko LM Special 5216-6040, 1974
Seiko LM Special 5216-6120, 1973


Special models and successors

Some models were unusual, there is a LM “SilverWave”, water resistant with a screwed crown as all Silverwave have. These ones are very seldom. The LM “De Luxe” from 1975-76 was fitted with the same 5626 movement than the King Seiko.
Many export models didn’t have the LM name on their dials, they had the 5606 movement and the same case references.

Seiko LM De Luxe 5626-8140 from 1976

More exotic is the Lord Quartz range, which hasn’t much in common with the Lord Matic range and which was produced in the early 80’s.

We can also just say a last word on the Lord Marvel which was the first model to wear the “Lord” name, but that was earlier in the 60’s and this range will be described later.

The LM range will be produced until 1977 and didn’t have any real successor. At that time, quartz was booming and I think that automatic watches weren’t a priority anymore for Seiko.

Finally, from 1975-1976, the 5606 movements had been used in a JDM range, the Seiko Emblem. The Emblem was also available with a quartz movement.

List of all models Seiko Lord Matic (LM)

The LM for sale

11 Comments

  1. There are some 5606-7000 with an without the “AD” letters on the dial after the case model number. What does the “AD” mean? And why aren’t all having these letters?

    • Dear Alfred,
      This point is quite often discussed on the web, AD should stand for “Applique Dial” or “Applied Dial” but the rule is actually not so clear. Some dials don’t have the AD, as you said, but are anyway identical to AD marked ones.

    • Sono un grande appassionato degli orologi Seiko dopo che ho avuto in regalo da mia madre nel 1973 il mio primo 5 sports 6119-6400 con un bel quadrante orange; inoltre seguo sempre il forum di Manuel Maggioli grande esperto della storia Seiko

  2. Bonjour. Comment réparer une 56xx dont la roue de transfert a cassé ? J’aimerais redonner vie à une 5100 et une 5070 qui ont toutes les deux ce souci…

  3. Waow, merci pour tout ça!
    J’ai l’occasion d’en acheter une pour une 50aine d’euros, si je trouve une roue, tant mieux, sinon tant pis, à ce prix-là je ne vais pas me priver !idem pour la 5070!

  4. I have a LM Special ,25 jewel 1971 5206-6030 movement. It has been running fine for trhe alst 2 1/2 weeks of wear, but last night it gained 30 mins overnight!
    I had made a change during the day. BUT , is this one of those watches you don’t alter between certian times??? What could have caused the sudden increase in time and what is the remedy please?

    • Hi Nick,
      Generally speaking, when a watch suddenly runs too fast, that means that the hairspring has been spoiled by oil or by some dirt. That makes the hairspring oscillate faster. It is a common issue. The cure is to clean the movement.
      Regarding the day or date quickset, no risk of breaking something on this 5206 movement, it is one of the most reliable Seiko ever produced.
      David

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