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Seiko Magic Lever

Seiko Magic Lever

Seiko Magic Lever

The Magic Lever was introduced by Seiko in 1959 with the purpose of improving the efficiency of the winding system. In other words, it shortens the winding period and allows for a longer power reserve. In comparison to a Swiss style winding system, the Magic Lever is minimalist and requires far fewer parts to accomplish the same task.

The video below shows the Seiko Magic Lever in action.

Seiko Magic Lever

In Seiko’s own words:

“One key point of the Magic Lever is that its shaft is on an eccentric pin that is outside of the central shaft of the rotor. Therefore, the Magic Lever itself always moves up or down regardless of whether the rotor turns clockwise or anticlockwise.” –source

Pawl Lever

You may also see the Magic Lever system referred to as the Pawl Lever. For example, the official Seiko tech sheets for the caliber NH3 series lists this as part 0831 183.

Seiko Pawl Lever Magic Lever 0831 183

Simulation Video

This video also does an excellent job in explaining how the system works:

“This is the autowinding system of seiko watches. It is known as the “magic lever system” since it was built according to the structure of the train wheel system. With this configuration, it allows the ratchet wheel to rotate in a desired direction no matter which direction the oscillating weight is turned. Such design greatly enhances the efficiency of energy saving that is done by converting the kinetic energy from human’s moving to the potential energy storing in the mainspring inside the watch.”

Magic Lever = Non Manual Winding?

No. Although most of the Seiko watches equipped with the Magic Lever have non-manual winding and non-hacking calibers, this is may simply be a coincidence.

The short answer is that many collectors presume that all magic lever watches cannot hand wind. That’s mostly true with exception to 6R15 and other 6R calibers. Either way, the magic lever is so efficient that hand winding is not really necessary, and that’s exactly what Seiko was going for.

Orient Watches

Orient watches also use Seiko’s Magic Lever winding system. The video below does a great job in explaining the differences between this system and a Swiss style winding mechanism:

Is the Seiko Magic Lever any good? Share your opinions, experiences and watches below... Keep comments respectful and follow our community guidelines.

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Christian
Christian

Does Seiko still use this winding mechanism?

Ralf
Ralf

Yes.

Christian
Christian

Thanks! Do you know if it’s used across the entire brand? Like from cheapo Seiko 5 all the way up to Grand Seiko?

Ralf
Ralf

Hi Christian,
Exactly what you said, from entry level to Grand Seiko Spring Drive, the magic lever is alive and kicking: https://www.grand-seiko.com/us-en/special/10stories/vol6/2/

Ralf
Ralf

Yes, it is used for all their mechanical automatic movements as far as I know. My response with the link to the Spring Drive website is not yet live for some reason. But yes, even spring drive movements use the magic lever, as do Seiko 5s….

DAVID JOHN THOMSON
DAVID JOHN THOMSON

Yes. For example the Seiko NH35A movement.

Keith Nelson
Keith Nelson

When I see the pawl lever and the tiny teeth on the transmission wheel, I also feel like this system has a chance to break from looking too fragile. Then I remember the Seiko watches I’ve had over the years that never had any issues despite not being serviced in like 20-30 years. They are tanks!

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