Are you watch enthusiast ready for sophisticated automatic chronograph movement? Seiko, through its Time Module Subsidiary, has advanced once again through its NE88 Movement.

The History of Seiko Automatic Chronograph Movement

Seiko since 1881: watches with tradition

The history of Seiko begins in 1881. At the age of 22, the young entrepreneur Kintaro Hattori opens a shop in central Tokyo, where he repairs and sells wall watches and wristwatches. More than 140 years later, the company is still dedicated to the perfection that the founder always strived for and continues to bring innovations to the watch market. Seiko is one of the few watch manufacturers in the world that carries out all phases of watch production in-house. Seiko's competence ranges from the development of the watch movements and the production of the individual parts to the assembly of the bracelet, dial, watch movement, watch glass, case, and all other components. Seiko thus follows the traditional watchmaking craft of bygone times on an international level.

Seiko watches: market-changing innovations

Many of Seiko's watch technologies are now considered worldwide standards and Seiko watches represent milestones in the history of timekeeping devices. The unique Spring Drive technology from Seiko was considered a world first in 1999. The spring core drive ensures a rate accuracy that no purely mechanical watch can match. The world's first GPS solar watch also came in 2012 with the Seiko Astron from the Japanese watchmaker.

However, if you’re looking for an affordable but technologically well-equipped mechanical chronograph with vertical coupling and a column wheel, keep your eyes peeled for a watch with the very rare TMI NE88, a Seiko 8Rxx-series chronograph movement. 

Seiko 8R Family

Seiko 8R is a family of modern chronograph movements with advanced features like a column wheel, vertical clutch, and three-pointed reset hammer. The 8R family is sold by Time Module Inc. (TMI) as Cal. NE86 and NE88.

The 8R family was introduced in 2009 shortly after the related 6R family of automatic non-chronograph movements. Both use the proven 7S gear train and Seiko’s Magic Lever winding system. It is built on the 6R20 but is much more integrated than a traditional modular chronograph movement. Unlike the 6S, the 8R family uses a 3-6-9 subdial arrangement, albeit with running seconds at 3:00 rather than 9:00 as is traditional. The date window is placed at an angle at 4:30.

The newcomer combined traditional Seiko chronograph features such as a column wheel, vertical coupling and Magic Lever winding system with recent innovations including a three-pointed hammer that ensures all the chronograph counters return to zero simultaneously. The 8R28 has a power reserve of more than 45 hours. In addition, Seiko makes their own balance spring and escapement. The movement is 28 mm in diameter and 7.2 mm thick. It has a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vph) and contains 292 parts.Caliber 8R39, launched in 2011, is 7.6 mm thick. It was designed for dive watches.

Seiko was the first to market with a vertical clutch column wheel chronograph in 1969 with Cal. 6139 and the company takes these technologies to a new level in Cal. 8R. Rather than driving the minute and hour counters from the chronograph seconds wheel, each is driven by a powered wheel with its own clutch. A unique three-pointed hammer starts, stops, and resets all three wheels simultaneously, and all the counters advance continuously rather than only at one-minute intervals.











7.6 mm




Thicker, for dive watches


Caliber Series NE88 Movement: Seiko’s Chronographs Today

The mechanism of NE88 is technically superiorto the popular ETA Valjoux 7750, in which NE88 stands out for its precision and sophisticated design: column wheel and vertical clutch to control the chronograph movement, movement high beat with 28,800 vibrations / hour (4 Hz), 34 rubies, original date calendar, reserve of more than 45 hours, manual winding function, as well as time measurement function with second hand regulation function (60 seconds, 30 minutes, 12 hours totalizer).

The NE88 has some standout features that caused many watch enthusiasts to expect more from this movement.

First, Seiko NE88 movement adopt a classic Seiko feature with a triple-tipped hammer that simultaneously and instantly resets all the subdial counters back to zero. It is an effective and well-design solution that can be found on Seiko 8R28, a higher end column-wheel triple vertical clutch movement utilized in the Ananta and Velatura models.

However, the more eye-opening and major feature is the “chronograph activation mechanism: a column wheel”. This feature is considered by many watch industries as a highly coveted mechanism due to its vertical clutch the column wheel offers a much smoother tactile feel than the harder click of the horizontal cam lever chronograph as used in the 7750.This by itself makes the NE88 aninfluential movement to use than the one it seeks to supplant.

Follow up that already rare-for-this-market-segment feature with the addition of a vertical clutch and you have a real winner. A vertical clutch was invented to solve many problems that chronographs face with jumping second hands, excessive wear on the center wheel, and the obviously rudimentary mechanism that sees a wheel “jammed” into another when starting the chronograph.

The NE88 employs a vertical clutch to avoid these issues, which goes toward creating a top-notch chronograph movement. Because a column-wheel chronograph is more complex to produce, more difficult to adjust and virtually impossible to service, it is a mechanism usually reserved for only the best chronographs on the market. So to find it as a standard feature on a reasonably-priced movement hoping to overtake the industry workhorse is a pretty big deal.

All in all, Seiko SII NE88 movement is an ideal choice for all watch enthusiasts who not only want to secure themselves for the future, but are also unwilling to make compromises. Be it in the case processing, technical sophistication, or simply exclusivity. Seiko SII NE88 offers quality in almost all price ranges and seems to have a good run ahead of it.

Whether Diver, Dress-watch, or GMT function. From everyday watches to fully golden limited editions, everything is represented. Furthermore, the list prices are not only very fair, but compared to the quality, is a very good bargain.



Breining, T. (2020). A Beginner’s Guide to Watch Movement Manufacturers. Retrieved from

Brunner, G. (2022). Seiko: A Chronograph Chronology. Retrieved from

Muchow, J. (2014). The Seiko SII NE88 Automatic Chronograph Movement: A Change in the Wind? Retrieved from

Seiko Boutique. Experience the World of Seiko: High-Quality Watches for Men and Women at Seiko Boutique. Retrieved from

Seiko. (2019). Seiko 8R Family. Retrieved from

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