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.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.
We remarked at the end of our previous article, featuring the first Seiko catalogue from 1968, that the four watches pictured, coming from three different Grand Seiko series, all had a consistent dial layout. As we are about to see, that’s all about to change.
Although two references feature in both volume 1 and volume 2 of the 1968 catalogue, only one of them remains of the same design.
Pictured in the bottom left of the page is that watch – the 5722-9991, with both the stainless steel and cap gold variants mentioned. Following a production run that commenced in 1963 with the 43999, the 57GS series has its swansong in this catalogue – it would not appear again.
Next to it is a familiar watch with an unfamiliar face. The 4420-9000 first appeared in the supplement to the 1967 volume 2 catalogue, but here, just 6 or so short months after its introduction, we see that Seiko decided to change the layout on the dial.
For ease of comparison, pictured above are the images of the 4420-9000 from the 1968 volume 1 catalogue (on the left), and from the volume 2 catalogue (on the right).
Those who have read the previous article will recall that in the 1968 volume 1 catalogue, references from multiple Grand Seiko series had a single consistent dial layout – something that had not occurred previously. Well, as we can see from the evidence presented here, that consistency wasn’t maintained for very long!
The early examples of the 4420-9000 had the same textual layout on the dial as the 5722-9991. An applied Seiko logo up top, and and applied GS logo down below, with the text “Grand Seiko” and “Diashock” on separate lines underneath.
Later examples of the 44GS references – there were both steel cased 4420-9000 and cap gold cased 4420-9990 (a reference that is one of the very few vintage Grand Seikos to never make an appearance in a catalogue) – removed the word “Diashock” from the dial, and in its place featured the logo of the Daini Seikosha factory.
As with the 57GS, this catalogue was the last to feature a 44GS reference, making it the shortest production run of any vintage Grand Seiko series, and contributing significantly to the collectibility of the watches.
Taking pride of place at the top of the catalogue page are the newly introduced 61GS references.
As we can see, the dial layout of these references matches that of the 44GS also pictured in the catalogue – so one theory would be that the 4420-9000 had its dial updated so that it would have a consistent look to the newly introduced range.
We can see by following the presentation of references from one catalogue to the next that the 61GS series was very clearly introduced to supersede the 62GS models – something that wouldn’t necessarily be directly obvious were we to simply examine production dates of the watches. Clearly with their 36,000 bph movements the 6145A (date) and 6146A (day-date) calibres were a significant step up from the low beat 19,800 bph 6245A (date) and 6246A (day-date) calibres they replaced.
Additionally, the design of the watches closely follows the famed “Grammar of Design” first introduced with the 44GS – indeed, were it not for the lack of a date, at first glance it would be quite challenging to tell a 4420-9000 and a 6145-8000 apart.
As can be seen from the descriptions, both date and day-date examples of the 61GS references were available in stainless steel or cap gold cases.
Pricing wise, there is a premium on the replaced 62GS series. The base, date only, model in stainless steel goes up from 38,000 yen to 40,000 – a fairly modest bump when you consider the changes under the hood. If you wanted a day indication to go alongside the date, that premium remained the same at an additional 3,000 Yen, but if you opted for the cap gold cased models, you would now be paying an additional 8,000 Yen on top of the stainless steel equivalent for the privilege, rather than the additional 6,000 Yen that we find on the earlier series.
Over the course of the next couple of years, 16 separate references would have the 6145- or 6146-8000 model numbers. In due course we will cover them all.
Serving as the introductory pieces in the 61GS range, the references pictured in this catalogue were the first in what would become the most diverse and long lasting vintage Grand Seiko series of them all.
Lasting right up until the end of the vintage era in 1975, the 61GS series includes a total of 48 distinct references, utilising 7 different calibres.
The watches pictured in this catalogue are of particular interest because they are the only automatic vintage Grand Seikos not to have the word “Automatic” on the dial. As we will see in the next article, this dial layout design hung around for even less time than the previous one!