29 October 2021 | 8 min read
If you’re a regular reader of the Watch & Bullion blog, you’ll know we’ve been diving deep into different automatic watch movements recently. After all, while the watch case and design get most of the credit, a watch would be nothing without its movement!
In this article, we’ll put two popular movements to the test once again, as we compare the Miyota 8215 and the Seiko NH35. Both of these movements are commonly found at the budget end of the market, especially in microbrands that need to balance budget-friendly prices with tried and tested reliability.
After we’ve given you a history of both movement manufacturers, we’ll compare the movements side-by-side before pulling out some of the most popular watches that use each caliber.
Time’s ticking, so let’s get started!
Not got time for the full article? Check out the TL;DR:
- Many view the Miyota as an old workhorse that delivers reliable performance. But beware, it can be susceptible to ‘stutter’ faults and excess rotor noise.
- The NH35 is slightly more expensive than the Miyota, but is highly reliable and incorporates additional features such as hacking and bi-directional winding.
Miyota 8215 vs NH35 – Manufacturer & Movement Comparison
Founded in 1959, the Miyota movement manufacturing business is one of the world’s biggest producers of good quality, affordable movements. Their 8000 and 9000 series are especially popular thanks to their reliable performance, and given the brand is an offshoot of timekeeping great Citizen, we’re not surprised.
As you’d expect, their Japanese manufacturing model is incredibly slick, with their most famous movement, the caliber 2035, manufactured at a staggering one unit per second. Miyota does a fantastic job of combining great quality with affordable prices, which is what has made them so popular for the last 60 years.
At Watch & Bullion, we recently featured the brand’s 9015 caliber in another movement comparison lauding it for its blend of high quality and cost-effectiveness. The 8215 is no different and is essentially a ‘step down’ the ladder from the 9015.
This means you’re most likely to see the 9015 in very cheap watches (maximum $350) alongside a lot of microbrands and start-up watch companies.
While the 8215 is seen by many as a reliable workhorse, it’s not without its faults. There are a number of reports of the movement stuttering alongside the rotor being incredibly noisy when the wearer finds themselves in quiet conditions!
It’s worth starting our deep dive into NH movements by clarifying who they are. NH is not a brand, they are a movement range from Seiko. So anytime we reference NH, what we’re really saying is Seiko.
Seiko’s NH movements are essentially trade versions of the movements they put into their own watches. Specifically, the NH35 movement is the Seiko 4R35 movement rebranded for distribution. Naturally, this is a great way to generate extra business for Seiko, given these are movements they have already designed and built, all they are doing is mass producing them.
And the great thing about Seiko is that they’re super reliable. Compared to the Miyota movement, the NH35 is a step-up in class that incorporates additional modern features such as hacking and bi-directional winding.
Even though this movement is definitely of better quality than the Miyota, you’ll still find it within similarly priced watches, mostly in the $200-$300 range.
The Verdict: To start with, both movements are cheap and reliable, which is why they’re so popular across the globe. But, it’s widely agreed that the NH35 from Seiko is the better movement thanks to its modern features and the lack of noise which you experience from the Miyota.
Psst! – This isn’t the first time we’ve put Seiko and Citizen to the test, check out our full Seiko vs Citizen article here.
Miyota 8215 vs. NH25 – Side-by-Side Specs
Now you’re up to speed with the brand’s history and the two movements, let’s put their specs side-by-side to see how they shape up technically.
|Functions||Hour, minute, sweeping seconds. Date window.||Hour, minute, sweeping seconds. Date window.|
|Thickness||5.67 mm||5.32 mm|
|Diameter||26.00 mm||27.40 mm|
|Lift Angle||51 Degrees||53 Degrees|
|Frequency||21,600 vibrations per hour||21,600 vibrations per hour|
|Number of Hands||3||3|
|Power Reserve||40 hours||41 hours|
|Accuracy (Per Day)||-20 ~ +40 seconds per day||+/- 20~40 seconds per day|
|Country of Origin||Japan||Japan/Malaysia|
|Price Point||$40 – $50||$60 – $75|
|Real Customer Feedback – Pros||Good movement, cheap, easy to get hold of, easy to replace||Solid movement, hacking seconds, bi-directional movement|
|Real Customer Feedback – Cons||Noisey rotor, timekeeping stuttering observed on a lot of models||Slightly more expensive than the Miyota|
The Verdict: Both movements deliver incredibly similar specs on the surface, so for the winner, it comes down to the hacking and the bi-directional hand-winding of the NH35, so long as you’re happy to pay a little bit more.
With the comparisons done, it’s time to check out some watches! Here are four standout watches that use either the Miyota 8215 or NH35 movements.
Example Models Using The Miyota 8215
1. Stuhrling Original Aquadiver
If you’re a fan of classic and stylish diving watches, you’ll love the first Miyota 8215 model we’ve pulled out. The American brand model themselves on Swiss watchmaking practice to combine great quality with even better prices.
The 42mm Aquadiver (model above is the M13544) typifies this perfectly, with a piece that takes all the great elements of a sporty dive watch, and puts them into a classy, high-quality package. While we’ve featured the blue model here, there are 8 different variations including black and silver dials, alongside gold and rubber strap options.
At just under $250, it’s a relatively affordable price for a really stylish-looking dive watch. Given that you’re also getting 200m water resistance, a date window, Rolex-like hand stylings, and of course the powerful Miyota 8215 movement, we think it’s a bargain and a watch we’d definitely recommend!
Next, we’ve got a brand most budget watch fans will have come across with Timex. This classy ‘Marlin’ model utilizes a modified 8215 movement with this model coming in blue and green options, we have opted for the green version out of personal preference but both look amazing.
The 40mm piece is super simple from a design perspective inspired by Timex’s 1969 viscount collection with the boxed 3, 6, 9 and 12 as well as the sun-ray dial and raised indices, combined with slender silver hands and hour markings. Green dial with sun-burst finish really stands out and looks as good in person if not better than in the photos.
At around $260, it’s a great way to get your hands on a simple and stylish watch that delivers reliable performance from the Miyota movement. You also get some nice additional features such as 50m of water resistance and an exhibition case back, so we can definitely recommend it as a killer full package.
Since 1969, La Forban has been creating super stylish French-inspired watches, mostly named after famous French sailing towns. Renowned for their supply of the French Navy and the PATMAR (French maritime patrols), the brand does a great job balancing style and functionality.
For our second Miyota 8215 watch, we’ve pulled out the Malouine, which we think you’ll agree is a very attractive tool/diver model. At around 39mm, it’s a great size for most wrists and combines a deep black dial with a combination of numbered and slender markings alongside a recognizable large arrow/spear hand combination.
Spec-wise, it packs a bit of a punch too! You’ll get a 120-click unidirectional bezel, domed sapphire crystal, 150m of water resistance, and a hardy silicone strap. Given the fairly budget nature of the Miyota 8215, it’s likely to be one of the best spec watches you’ll find with this movement inside the case!
All of this comes together to the tune of around 410€, or $475, which, while it is expensive, isn’t a bad price to pay for a watch that looks as good as the Malouine.
Example Models Using The Seiko NH35
To get us started with the NH35, we’ve pulled out the ultimate watch if you’re looking for durability. The Isobrite range by Armourlite is famous for being one of the hardiest watches ever, with the brand’s Armourglass crystal 10x harder than most other premium watch crystals.
When you combine this hardiness with the T100 tritium lume, you’ve got a watch that’s highly practical, great for sports, outdoor pursuits, or manual labor. The 44.5mm piece is pretty heavy-duty, with the black Polycarbonate case and silicone strap contrasting nicely against the electric blue dial.
You’re getting a pack full of features here too, including 200m water resistance, a uni-directional bezel, a date window at 5 o’clock, and of course that hardy NH35 movement. It all comes together pretty well and delivers robust performance and accurate timekeeping in a military-style package.
At $550, the Isobrite isn’t a cheap watch. But, if you need something that’s strong and hardy, there really isn’t a better watch on the market altogether, not just with an NH35 movement.
The Hull Riviera by Spinnaker is a pretty interesting watch. While in many ways it looks like it could be a slight copycat of a Patek Philippe Nautilus, when you look a bit closer, it has an identity all of its own.
At 42mm, it’s a little on the bigger side for those with more slender wrists, especially given the square-ish nature of the case. But, boy, oh boy, does this watch have style. The deep blue dial, silver hands and marking, and subtle red accent come together to create a powerful and strong-looking sports watch.
With the whole thing being driven by Seiko’s NH35, you know the watch is going to be accurate, with additional features such as 100m water resistance, a mineral crystal, and the solid steel bracelet rounding off the entire package.
If you’ve got $350 in your budget, this is a great watch to get on the wrist and one that will definitely turn heads and keep you looking super stylish!
A very visually appealing watch designed for both recreational and professional divers. With its impressive NH35A automatic movement, striking bubble mirror synthetic sapphire glass, and Super bright C3 Swiss Luminous, blue luminescent hour markers, excellent for night brightness.
It has some excellent features for its price point, such as the 120-click ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel and the unique convex lid design. This wonderful diving accessory not only excels underwater but looks stunning on land as well.
From a diving perspective, the best thing about this watch is the spec, with 200m of water resistance rare to find at this price point. Talking of price point, if you like what you see and want to get a watch with an NH35 movement on your wrist, the ADDIESDIVE Scuba Diver won’t break the bank at just $189.99!
Head onto the watch forums, and you’ll see both the Miyota 8215 and the NH35 described as workhorse movements. And it’s hard to argue with that description as both calibers do a great job at powering millions of watches across the globe.
Ultimately though, if you’re trying to pick between the two, the NH35 is the clear winner. Not only does it avoid some of the common noise and stutter complaints you see from the 8215, but it also incorporates some additional modern features.
That being said, you always get what you pay for, and the NH35 is slightly more expensive, which you can expect to see filter into the price of any watch which sports the movement.
Either way, whether you go for the Miyota or the NH, you’re getting great movement from two fantastic Japanese watch manufacturers, both of which will ensure you keep reliable time day after day.
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