There's a certain magic to wristwatches. Beyond their practicality, they're a perfect blend of art and engineering. But what if you could take this a step further and customize your watch to your liking? Welcome to the world of watch modding.



When we speak about watch modding, one name stands out – Seiko. A Japanese brand renowned for its quality and affordability, Seiko has won the hearts of many watch enthusiasts. Over the years, Seiko watches have become a favorite canvas for modders, those creative individuals who tweak, tune, and transform watches into unique, personalized pieces.

So, let's dive into the captivating world of Seiko modding. We'll explore its humble beginnings, the journey it's taken, and the exciting new trends shaping its future. Whether you're a seasoned horologist or new to the watch world, come along for this exciting journey. Don't worry, we've set our dial to "easy-to-understand". There's something here for everyone!

The Origins of Seiko Modding

Understanding the beginnings of Seiko modding is a bit like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. While the exact origins are a little hazy, we know that the seeds were planted when DIY enthusiasts first discovered the potential within Seiko's reliable and affordable watches. Their curiosity sparked a movement that would grow to captivate the world.



The rise of the internet played a significant role in this journey. It connected modders across continents, fostering an online community where tips, tricks, and designs could be shared. These digital workshops helped transform Seiko modding from a niche hobby into a global phenomenon.

From these early days of swapping out parts on classic models, Seiko modding has evolved into a sophisticated craft. Let's take a look at how this transition happened and where it's leading us today. 


From Basic Mods to Advanced Builds

As with any craft, Seiko modding had humble beginnings. Initially, enthusiasts were primarily concerned with modifying the appearance of their timepieces. Replacing straps, swapping out dials, and changing bezels were common modifications - the goal was to make each Seiko uniquely identifiable and to have it reflect the owner's personal style.

But as the modding community matured, so did their craft. The introduction of the NH35 and NH36 movements – the intricate mechanisms that control a watch's functions – marked a significant turning point. These movements were not just reliable and accurate; they were also highly versatile, opening the door to far more complex modifications.

With these new movements, the modding community moved beyond cosmetic tweaks and began exploring functional upgrades. And as the modders delved into these deeper alterations, they indirectly influenced another growing trend in the watch industry: the rise of microbrands.


Source: Dan Henry


Microbrands are independent watch companies that often cater to niche markets. The availability of Seiko's reliable and affordable movements like the NH35 and NH36 provided a solid foundation for these budding brands. These movements empowered them to focus on innovative designs and unique selling points, contributing to the diversification of the watch market.

This period of growth and evolution set the stage for the next leap in Seiko modding – the introduction of the NH34 movement. But before we get into that, let's understand why these movements became so crucial to the modding world.

The Game Changer: Seiko NH34 and Its Impact on Modding

The Seiko NH34 movement was a game-changer in the watch modding world, heralding a new era of possibilities. Prior to its arrival, GMT mods—a feature that lets you track two time zones simultaneously—were a distant dream. Modders would often mimic the look of a GMT watch, but without the functionality. Imagine a car that looks like a sports car, but without the powerful engine. That all changed with the NH34.


Source: 12&60


Built on the proven architecture of its predecessors, the NH35 and NH36, the NH34 brought versatility and affordability to the table. It quickly became a favorite among modders, offering the reliability of Seiko with the coveted GMT feature. It was like finally getting that sports car engine, and at an affordable price too!

Despite being slightly taller than the NH35 due to the added GMT hand, it was compatible with many existing Seiko modding parts. A minor height adjustment with a double-domed crystal made it fit seamlessly into modders' toolkits. Most NH35/36 compatible dials also worked with it as long as the center hole was widened to accommodate the GMT hand post.

The advent of the NH34 opened new avenues for creativity. From the popular "Batman" mod—a homage to the Rolex GMT-Master II—to completely unique multi-timezone mods, the NH34 allowed modders to fully realize their ideas. It wasn't just about making watches look good anymore; it was about adding functionality that made them more versatile.

With the NH34, Seiko modding leaped forward, and the impact of this development is still being felt. It has redefined the craft and brought a bright new chapter to the Seiko modding story.

The Future of Watch Modding: New Possibilities

The momentum in the world of watch modding shows no signs of slowing down. Every day, new possibilities are emerging, pushing the boundaries of creativity and craftsmanship even further. As we look to the future, it's clear that the landscape of watch modding is growing richer and more varied.

Take, for instance, the rise of chronograph mods. These intricate modifications require a keen understanding of mechanical movements and a steady hand, but the results can be nothing short of extraordinary. Whether it's the addition of a stopwatch function or a complete overhaul of the dial and hands, chronograph mods are opening up new frontiers for watch enthusiasts.


Source: Wildman Bespoke


The modification of luxury watches, like Rolex, is another area gaining traction. Artisans are delicately customizing these high-end timepieces, adding personal touches while maintaining their timeless elegance. These modifications may be affecting the resale prices of their high-end timepiece, but the cost of personalization is something that many are prepared to pay for.

In the world of watch modding, the only constant is change. With each passing day, the community continues to evolve and innovate, adding new chapters to the fascinating story of watch modification. As we venture further into this journey, who knows what the next big breakthrough will be? The sky's the limit!

Achieving Your Dream Mod with namokiMODS

As we stand on the cutting edge of watch modding, several trends are taking center stage. The Seiko NH34 mods, as mentioned before, are the talk of the town, with a variety of eye-catching designs from GMT Master II homages to minimalist masterpieces. If you are yet to join the modding craze and want to jump straight to GMT builds, have a look at our GMT DIY Watchmaking Kit with 5 design variants.

With the advent of new modding parts and tools, it's never been easier to realize your dream watch. And this is where namokiMODS steps in. Offering a wide selection of high-quality parts, from bezels to dials, hands to crystals, namokiMODS empowers you to turn your vision into reality.

Whether you're a novice or a seasoned modder, you can rely on namokiMODS to provide the parts you need. 

Happy modding!

June 14, 2023 — Jeremiah A

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