NH35 vs NH36 Watch Movements: A Comparison for Custom Watch Makers

Seiko NH35 vs NH35 watch movement
Discover how the affordable NH35 and upmarket NH36 Japanese automatic movements compare for custom watch brands. Learn their key specs, ideal applications, and why they are popular choices for OEM/ODM watches.

Table of Contents

At Romlicen, we pride ourselves on being a leader in watch movement education. As part of our ongoing series comparing watch calibers, today we will explore the NH35 versus NH36. These popular Japanese movements are often used in custom watches thanks to their reliability, accuracy, and affordable price.

Previously, we have published several watch movement articles including:

In this article, we will compare the NH35 and NH36, two automatic mechanical calibers from Seiko Instruments Inc., specifically looking at how they are used in custom and branded watches. As an established OEM and ODM watch manufacturer capable of working with both these movements, Romlicen provides key insights for watch brands.

Overview of the NH35 Movement

The NH35 is an automatic mechanical movement designed and produced by Seiko Instruments Inc., the leading manufacturer of watch calibers based in Japan.

This robust, accurate movement has become widely popular among custom watch brands thanks to its competitive price point and ease of use. Some key specs and features of the NH35 include:

  • 24 jewels
  • Automatic winding
  • Hand winding capability
  • Hacking seconds
  • Frequency: 21,600 vibrations per hour
  • Power reserve: approximately 41 hours
  • Accuracy rating: -20/+40 seconds per day

As an affordable Japanese automatic movement, the NH35 is often compared to Miyota’s 8-series calibers which are also commonly used in private label watches.

The NH35 was created as a more economical alternative to Seiko’s higher-end 4R family of movements. By simplifying some components and design elements, the cost is reduced while retaining core functionality and reliability.

For watch brands looking for a workhorse Japanese automatic caliber on a budget, the NH35 is hard to beat. Its steady 21,600 beat rate, smooth sweeping second hand, and decent 41 hour power reserve make it a versatile choice for everyday mechanical watches. Hacking seconds also adds a touch of precision for quick setting.

NH35 watch movement
NH35 watch movement

Overview of the NH36 Movement

The NH36 is an upgraded derivative of the base NH35 movement, featuring several enhancements for more refined automatic watches. It is also manufactured by Seiko Instruments Inc.

Key specifications and capabilities of the NH36 caliber include:

  • 24 jewels
  • Automatic winding
  • Manual winding
  • Hacking seconds
  • Frequency: 21,600 vibrations per hour
  • Power reserve: 41 hours
  • Accuracy rating: -20/+40 seconds per day
  • Decorated rotor and bridges

As you can see, the core stats are similar to the NH35. However the NH36 stands out with its exhibition caseback design. The signed rotor and decorated bridges and plates make it appealing for upmarket watch brands using a display caseback.

Another key upgrade is the addition of manual winding capability along with automatic winding. This allows the caliber to be wound by turning the crown, ideal for a dress watch where motion winding is less.

The NH36 occupies an interesting middle ground between affordable workhorse calibers like the NH35 and more intricate mechanical movements. For the price, it brings nice premium touches like the decorated movement, increased winding versatility through manual winding, and the same precision and reliability expected from Seiko.

NH36 watch movement
NH36 watch movement

Detailed Comparison of Specifications

Now that we have provided overviews of both the NH35 and NH36 separately, let’s directly compare some of their key specifications and functionality.

Accuracy Rating

  • Both are rated at -20/+40 seconds per day, very impressive for mechanical movements at this price point

Power Reserve

  • Identical 41 hour power reserves on full wind


  • Both have 24 jewels


  • Matching frequency of 21,600 vibrations (6 beats) per hour

Rotor System

  • The NH36 rotor features custom engravings and decorations, the NH35 rotor is plain

Winding Operation

  • The NH36 adds manual winding in addition to automatic winding, the NH35 relies solely on motion winding

Hacking Seconds

  • Both calibers support hacking seconds for precise time setting

As we can see, there are more similarities than differences in terms of core performance between these two Seiko Instruments movements. The biggest functional upgrade with the NH36 is arguably the addition of hand winding for increased versatility. Otherwise, the NH36 truly shines in its cosmetic enhancements and beautiful decorated movement.

Ideal Applications

Now that we have covered the background, capabilities, and comparisons of these two popular Seiko calibers, we can better match them to ideal applications.

The affordable and reliable NH35 is perfectly suited for custom watch brands on a budget. For new watch startups producing their first automatic mechanical model, the NH35 is hard to beat. Its competitive price point leaves room in the bill of materials for unique watch designs focused on dials, cases, and straps rather than expensive movements.

The NH36 opens up opportunities for established watch brands looking to offer a more upmarket product. Its decorative rotor and bridges make it appealing for display caseback watches. Manual winding also expands its versatility as an everyday wear caliber. The NH36 allows custom brands to differentiate themselves from competitors using more pedestrian movements.

At Romlicen, our expertise with both the NH35 and NH36 means we can deliver finished watches with either movement to match client needs and budgets. Brands seeking accessible pricing can take advantage of our capabilities with high volume production of NH35 models. Those wanting to level up into a premium offering find the right fit with the NH36.

Seiko Automatic Movement Variants

In addition to the popular NH35 and NH36 calibers covered previously, Seiko’s Instruments Inc division produces several variant movements with additional functions worth mentioning:

NH34 Movement
The NH34 adds a GMT hand for displaying a second time zone. The extra 24-hour hand makes the NH34 ideal for dual time watches. This 4-hand capability also leads to it being known as the Seiko GMT movement.

NH37 Movement
Based on the NH35, the NH37 adds a 24-hour subdial at the 10 o’clock position without compromising the date display. This allows for analog display of a second time zone.

NH38 Movement
Lacking a date aperture of the NH35, the NH38 features an engraved heart design in its place at 3 o’clock. The decorative heart display adds artistic flair.

NH39 Movement
Combining attributes of both the NH37 and NH38, this caliber has the engraved skeleton heart along with a 24-hour subdial at 10 o’clock.

At Romlicen, our extensive experience working with Seiko Instruments movements ensures we can manufacture watches with all these NH series calibers. Let us know if NH34, NH37, NH38 or NH39 capability is needed for your custom watch!


When researching movements for a new custom watch model, the Seiko Instruments NH35 and NH36 present two very compelling and popular options.

In this article, we covered the key specs, capabilities and differences between these affordable Japanese automatic movements. While largely similar under the hood, the NH36 distinguishes itself with its decorated rotor and bridges along with manual winding functionality.

The NH35 is ideal for new watch brands creating accessible mechanical watches, with its straightforward design and competitive pricing leaving room for unique dials, cases and strap designs. Meanwhile, the NH36 caters to more upmarket contemporary watch models with its exhibition caseback and refined aesthetics.

As an established OEM and ODM watch manufacturer, Romlicen has extensive expertise working with high volumes of both the NH35 and NH36 movements. We deliver customized runs of each caliber for watch brands seeking quality, reliability and seamless integration into their watch designs.

Whether you are a startup looking launching your first automatic watch collection or an experienced label aiming for a more premium model, Romlicen has you covered. Contact our team to discuss manufacturing your next watch idea powered by the capable Seiko NH35 or decorated NH36.

Related Posts

Related Products


Picture of Romlicen - China Watch Manufacturer

Romlicen - China Watch Manufacturer

Romlicen is a leading custom watch manufacturer in China, specializing in OEM and ODM services. With expertise in crafting men's and women's watches, stainless steel timepieces, and both quartz and mechanical movements, we blend traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology. Our commitment to quality and innovation makes us the preferred partner for watch brands worldwide. For custom watch solutions, contact sales@romlicenwatch.com.