One of the key aims of this site is to be a source of information for those who collect vintage Grand Seiko. We don’t just list the watches that we have for sale in the anticipation that customers will add them to their collections – we also list watches that we have never had in stock, along with as much data about those watches as we can glean. The intent is to be a reliable source of information about exactly which references were created by Grand Seiko, and to provide data on those references.
We are confident that currently this site contains the most complete, accurate and detailed information on the historical Grand Seiko references that you will find anywhere.
Much of the information regarding vintage Grand Seiko references that you will find on this site has come from extensive and detailed research into the official publications that Seiko produced during the vintage Grand Seiko period.
The monthly newsletters that Seiko distributed to their dealers are a vital source of information. They – along with the annual catalogues – not only provide evidence for what actually existed, but can also be a rich source of data about those watches.
From the very first mention of Grand Seiko in the March 1961 newsletter, to what we believe to be the very last appearance of the brand in the December 1972 newsletter, every issue has been checked thoroughly. Where a vintage Grand Seiko reference has been featured, all the pertinent data regarding that reference (such as model number, dial code, catalogue code, whether it came on a strap or a bracelet, retail price, etc etc) has been added to a database, and much of that data is presented alongside every watch featured on the website under the “Additional Information” tab. (Obviously some information – such as the detailed case measurements we provide – can only be gained from having the watch in hand.)
Having researched all the official Seiko publications, there are naturally some that really do stand out. One of those is of course the March 1961 issue of Seiko News that introduced the Grand Seiko to the dealer network, and we will share more of that in a later post.
But probably the most incredible issue is that of January 1970.
Featured in this issue are several watches that could quite rightly stake their claim to demonstrate that Seiko had reached the absolute pinnacle of mechanical wristwatch accuracy.
This issue of Seiko Sales (sometime in the 1960’s the name of the newsletter was changed from “Seiko News” to “Seiko Sales”) features the launch of both the 45GS and 61GS VFA references.
“VFA” stands for “Very Fine Adjusted”. Whereas the regular Grand Seiko standard was -3/+5 seconds per day (well ahead of the Swiss COSC standard), these watches were regulated to an incredible +/-2 seconds per day.
What’s more, Seiko guaranteed their accuracy to with 1 minute per month for the first two years of ownership.
We are not aware of any manufacturer that is prepared to make such a bold claim for any mechanical watch in series production today – not even Grand Seiko themselves (although this may change in just a few weeks from now!).
Over the next four years, a total of ten VFA references would be introduced, all of which are detailed on this website, and of which currently we have seven in stock.
You can see all those watches here.
The VFA references introduced in the January 1970 Seiko Sales were the three 6185A caliber based watches, with catalogue numbers 6185-014 (also featured on the cover), 6185-024 and 6185-030; and the first of the two 4580 caliber based watches, the 4580-014.
In addition, the newsletter also introduced the legendary Seiko Astronomical Observatory Chronometer, and the Seiko Ultra Thin Dress Watch.
It is fascinating to note that in Shoji Hattori’s introduction in the newsletter he mentions the Seiko Astron – the world’s first quartz watch that had been introduced on December 25th 1969 – just days before this publication would have reached the dealers.
That watch of course signaled the beginning of the end for the vintage Grand Seiko period, and nothing would ever be the same again.
To the best of our knowledge, no scans of this issue of Seiko Sales have ever been shared online.
Until now that is!
Below is a gallery of every page in the issue, and we hope you enjoy looking through it.