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.
The Seiko 1975 volume 2 catalogue
From the late 1960’s onwards, Seiko would publish two main catalogues each year that were distributed to retailers. These catalogues detailed the full range of product on offer, providing a photo of every watch, along with a brief description and salient details including the price, case material, and other basic information.
The earliest of these catalogues that we have dates from 1967, and from that issue all the way through to the 1971 catalogues, the first watches featured were naturally the Grand Seikos.
The catalogue that we present scans from here is the second volume from 1975, and was the final catalogue to include Grand Seiko – it marks the end of one era, and yet also provides some intriguing insights into the transition to a new one.
By 1975 of course the quartz revolution – initiated by Seiko themselves with the launch of the Astron on Christmas Day 1969 – was in full swing. Whilst it’s true to say that quartz didn’t kill off mechanical Seikos completely (there are dozens of pages featuring mechanical watches in this publication), it seems that internally within Seiko a decision was made that there was simply no point trying to convince people of the merits of paying a premium for a highly precise mechanical watch, when a quartz movement could do a better job.
The 1967 catalogue mentioned earlier featured just two references of Grand Seiko. By 1971, no fewer than 37 examples were listed, but then followed a fairly rapid shrinking of the range, leaving just nine references included in the 1975’s second volume.
What is fascinating about this catalogue however is that it features the two sections of the quartz range that in the author’s view demonstrate clearly that whilst the specific “Grand Seiko” brand was retired in this year, the ethos behind Grand Seiko was already transitioning directly into the upper end of the quartz range.
With mechanical Grand Seikos having their last showing in this catalogue, it also includes for the first time examples from the newly created “Grand Quartz” range. Indeed, just as earlier catalogues would lead with Grand Seiko references, this one leads with two 18k gold cased Grand Quartz models that incredibly are priced at roughly two and a half times as much as the most expensive Grand Seiko of all time.
The other interesting thing to glean from this catalogue regarding the transitioning of mechanical Grand Seiko to quartz powered references is that the legendary “VFA” moniker features on an astonishing 21 quartz references. Given that in the entire mechanical Grand Seiko era there were only ever 11 VFA’s – detailed in an article over on SJX Watches – it really does go to show just how quickly the industry was changing in the early 1970’s.
The quartz VFA’s utilised the 382x and 392x calibers – both accurate to +/- 5 seconds per month. That nine of the quartz VFA references featured in this catalogue had cases – and in some instances bracelets – made from precious metals goes to show just how much Seiko were promoting quartz as a luxury product. One of those – the catchily coded “38SQ-024” had a platinum case, platinum bracelet, and a blue “tiger eye” dial. Priced at 3.85 million Yen, it could well be the most expensive purely “Seiko” branded watch of all time.
But perhaps the most telling aspect of this catalogue that demonstrates just how much quartz was dominating things in 1975 is that – bar a cameo appearance of a couple of 18k gold cased references on page 13 – the Grand Seiko references weren’t featured until page 47, sharing that page with some King Seikos.
Eight of the nine Grand Seiko references featured in this catalogue are available for purchase from this site – the following links will take you directly to the listings for the watches.
From page 13 of the catalogue –
From page 47 of the catalogue –