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 1968 no.1 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.
In our previous article, we took a look at volume two of the 1967 catalogue, that whilst at first glance was rather simple with just a single Grand Seiko pictured, turned out with further investigation to have a rather complex background.
Fortunately things are much simpler with the catalogue featured in this post, but nonetheless there is still quite a bit of interesting history and context to be gleaned from the single page featuring photographs of four Grand Seiko references.
The first two watches illustrated are from the 62GS series – the first Grand Seikos with automatic movements.
As discussed in the previous article, these Grand Seikos “evolved” from the already existing Seikomatic Chronometers.
The above image is taken from the 1967 No. 2 catalogue, where we see images of the Seikomatics, but textual data for the Grand Seikos.
For the 1968 No. 1 catalogue, that “error” is fixed, and the correct images are used for the 6245 and 6246 Grand Seikos.
Over the course of its brief lifetime, there were a total of 9 distinct references in the 62GS series, with 1966 production pieces featuring lion medallions and having the reference code suffix -9000 and 1967 and 1968 production pieces featuring GS logo medallions and having the reference code suffix -9001.
Additionally, you had the choice of either the date-only 6245 movement, or the 6246 day-date; and with case material being either stainless steel or cap gold.
Finally, there are rare examples of the 6246-9001 using different hands and dial indices.
It is interesting to note that, as can be found on other vintage Grand Seiko references, the cap gold cases were not “simply” made by taking a stainless steel case and wrapping it in gold. There are in fact quite significant differences in the case profile of the two examples, as can be seen in the following two images.
The next watch featured in the catalogue is the 5722-9991. In the previous catalogue the 57GS reference pictured was the earlier 5722-9990 with the “Chronometer” dial, but here we are presented with the contemporarily correct final iteration of the 57GS series.
Note the consistency in the price architecture here – with both the 62GS series and 57GS series, the premium for the cap gold cased variant over the stainless steel version is 6,000 Yen. As we will see when we look at the next catalogue, this premium would increase to 8,000 Yen with the introduction of the 61GS series.
The final Grand Seiko featured in this catalogue is the 4420-9000.
It should be noted that this is actually not the first Seiko catalogue to feature this reference. There is in fact a supplement that was issued to the 1967 No. 2 catalogue that we don’t have, and it was in that catalogue that the 44GS series was introduced.
There are actually two dial variants of this reference, with this image showing the earlier “Diashock” dial. The later dial design, that we will see pictured in the next catalogue, removed the line of text “Diashock” and replaced it with the logo for the Daini-Seikosha factory.
These days, of all the watches shown in this catalogue, it is the 4420-9000 that is by far the most collectible and valuable. The reasons for this are simple – it is the watch that is considered to have introduced Seiko’s “Grammar of Design”, which to this day the brand still looks to adhere to; and it is far less common than 57GS or 62GS references.
What is interesting to note however is that of its day, it was the cheapest of all the references on sale in early 1968. At 24,000 Yen, it was 3,000 Yen cheaper than the 57GS – a price difference that makes sense when you compare the functionality of the two references. The 57GS has a date, and with the 5722-9991 introduced a 19,800 bph movement, whereas the 44GS has no date, and its movement beats at 18,000 bph.
Given the lower pricing of the watch to its contemporaries, it is maybe a little surprising that they are so much harder obtain these days than the 57GS or 62GS – one can only assume that it wasn’t particularly successful in the marketplace.
Despite the fact that in this catalogue we see pictured four distinct references from no fewer than three different Grand Seiko series, it is worth noting that for the first time, we have a consistent dial layout presented across all the series.
In the top half of the dial we see an applied Seiko at 12, with automatic printed underneath for the 62GS series; and then in the bottom half, an applied GS logo, with Grand Seiko and Diashock printed on separate lines underneath.
This is the only occasion when this dial layout was consistently applied across all available references.