A watch’s movement is its beating heart, and in the case of Seiko's NH series, these hearts are robust, reliable, and revered. Known for their automatic winding mechanisms and precision, these movements have become the go-to choice for watch modders worldwide. The NH series balances traditional watchmaking craftsmanship with modern technological advances, offering a range of functionalities to suit various modding needs. 

If you're new to Seiko modding, it might be tough to decide which movement is going to work best for your watch build, so hopefully this blog post helps point you in the right direction.


Seiko NH35: The Workhorse

This is hands down one of the most popular movements used in Seiko modding. Affordable, reliable, versatile - It's not hard to understand why it's the reigning champion.

At the heart of the NH35's appeal is its robustness. As an automatic movement, it is powered by the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist, eliminating the need for manual winding or frequent battery replacements. This feature is particularly attractive to modders who value both practicality and the classic charm of mechanical movements. The NH35 is also known for its accuracy and dependability, traits that Seiko has perfected over decades of watchmaking expertise.

Another critical factor in the NH35's popularity among modders is its versatility. The movement is designed to be straightforward to work with, making it an ideal choice for those who are just dipping their toes into the intricate world of watch modding. Its compatibility with a wide range of cases and dials means that it can be used to create an array of watch styles, from sleek and modern designs to more traditional or rugged looks.

The NH35 also features a date function, adding a layer of functionality to the watches it powers. This complication is easily integrated into various dial designs, providing modders with the flexibility to create both aesthetically pleasing and practical timepieces. Additionally, the NH35's hacking mechanism, which stops the second hand while setting the time, allows for greater precision – a feature often sought after by watch enthusiasts.

In terms of customization, the NH35’s unbranded nature is a significant advantage. It allows modders to create unique, personalized watches without the constraints of brand-specific design elements. This freedom is a key driver behind the NH35’s widespread use in custom watch projects.

In summary, the Seiko NH35 is a foundational element in the world of watch modding due to its reliability, user-friendly nature, and versatility. It provides an excellent base for a wide variety of modding projects, appealing to enthusiasts who value both function and form in their customized timepieces.

Decided to go with the Seiko NH35? You can go with either our White Datewheel NH35 or our Black Datewheel NH35 - yes, even the colour of the datewheel matters when choosing a movement for your watch build.


Seiko NH36: Date AND Day Functionality

A defining feature of the NH36 is its day-date complication. Unlike the NH35, which only displays the date, the NH36 adds a day function, providing added utility and an extra layer of interest on the watch's face. This feature enhances the appeal of the movement for modders who aim to craft timepieces that are not just visually striking but also highly functional. The day-date complication is seamlessly integrated into the movement, allowing for a wide range of creative dial designs and layouts.

Like the NH35, the NH36 boasts the durability and precision synonymous with Seiko's craftsmanship. Its automatic winding mechanism, powered by the motion of the wearer's wrist, ensures a constant and reliable power supply, making the watch both practical and low maintenance. The NH36 also includes a hacking feature, allowing for precise time-setting – a much-appreciated detail by watch enthusiasts.

The NH36's adaptability to various styles and designs makes it a versatile choice for modding. From elegant dress watches to rugged, adventurous designs, the movement provides a solid foundation that can be tailored to fit a myriad of aesthetic preferences. Its reliability and added functionalities make the NH36 a sought-after movement for modders who wish to elevate their custom watch projects with a touch of sophistication and enhanced practicality.

Think your watch build needs a day and date function? Get a Seiko NH36 here. If you prefer the Day/Datewheel to be black - and if you want the Day to be in Kanji to pay homage to Seiko's Japanese origins, this NH36 with a Black Kanji Datewheel is the one for you.

Seiko NH34: The Master of GMT

The Seiko NH34 movement is especially prized in watch modding for its GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) capability, which enables the tracking of an additional time zone. This feature is not just a technical advancement but also a nod to the spirit of adventure and global connectivity, making it a coveted choice for enthusiasts creating travel-themed or professional timepieces. 

Unique among its siblings in the NH series, the NH34 allows modders to incorporate a level of complexity and utility typically reserved for high-end watches. The movement's ability to display a second time zone is not just functional but also adds an element of intrigue and sophistication to the watch's face. This feature is particularly appealing for modders looking to craft timepieces that are both conversation starters and practical tools for frequent travelers or professionals with global connections.

In terms of reliability and construction, the NH34 maintains the high standards set by Seiko's NH series. It features automatic winding, ensuring that the watch stays powered through the wearer's natural motion, thus offering the convenience of not requiring manual winding or frequent battery changes. The inclusion of a hacking mechanism also means that time can be set with precision, a detail highly valued by watch enthusiasts and collectors alike.

The NH34's versatility in design integration makes it suitable for various watch styles, from sleek and modern to more traditional designs. Its added functionality does not compromise its ease of use in modding, making it accessible to both experienced modders and those new to the craft.

Ready to build a watch that's destined for globetrotting? Get your Seiko NH34 here.


Seiko NH70/71 - True Beauty Lies Within

The NH70/71 stands out with its open-heart design, a feature that allows a glimpse into the rhythmic dance of the watch's internals. This design choice is not just a showcase of mechanical beauty but also serves as a bridge between traditional watchmaking and contemporary design sensibilities. The movement's skeletal nature transforms the watch face into a dynamic canvas, revealing the intricate workings typically hidden beneath the dial. The NH70/71 is particularly appealing for modders aiming to craft watches that are not just timekeeping tools but conversation pieces that exhibit the artistry of mechanical movements.

Just answer this question - do you want something that's a bit more of a visual spectacle? Then yes, the Seiko NH70 and Seiko NH71 might be the movement of choice for you.


So... What's the best Seiko movement for modding?

In wrapping up, the idea of a "best movement" in watch modding is more of a catchy, clickbait title than a reality. Truthfully, there's no one-size-fits-all 'best' movement. What matters most is finding the 'best' movement for your specific project and needs.

Each Seiko NH movement - be it the NH35, NH36, NH34, NH70, or NH71 - serves a particular purpose in modding. Their individual features make them suitable for different types of watches and modding goals. The NH35 and NH36 are great for reliability and everyday functionality, while the NH34 adds a layer of sophistication with its GMT feature. On the other hand, the NH70 and NH71 are all about visual appeal, perfect for those who want their watch to make a statement.

Choosing the right movement depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Are you after functionality, aesthetic appeal, or a blend of both? The 'best' movement is the one that aligns with your personal preferences, the specific requirements of your modding project, and the functionality you want in your customized watch.

It's not about flashy titles or generalizations; it’s about matching the right tools to the task at hand and achieving the desired outcome in your watch modding venture. Pick your poison!


March 11, 2024 — Glen H