The Grand Seiko First in Stainless Steel

Introduction – collecting vintage Grand Seiko

One of the challenges for any collector of vintage Grand Seiko is to understand exactly which references exist. There is no “official” history of the brand that covers every watch that was manufactured, and Seiko themselves have released next to nothing when it comes to providing details as to the production history of watches across the eight series that commenced with the “First” in 1960, and came to a close with the 61GS and 56GS series in 1975.

Just a selection of the vintage Grand Seiko range

As such, anyone wanting to verify the legitimacy of a particular watch is reliant on seeking the opinion of the wider community of fellow collectors or dealers.

Ultimately this means that any opinion on whether a more contentious reference may or may not be “legitimate” can, at the end of the day, only be that – an opinion. However, having said that, when weighing up opposing opinions it is important to take into account any evidence provided in support of the claims being made.

That there are illegitimate vintage Grand Seikos offered for sale on a weekly basis is undeniable. Taking just one category of what is available on the market – various models that have had dials repainted black and then re-printed – we have seen something in the ballpark of half a million US dollars’ worth of sales over the last few years from just two Japanese sources.

Indeed, in the very early days of building this collection – prior to making the decision to start a business focused on dealing in vintage Grand Seikos – your author actually purchased three examples of black-dialed references believing they were legitimate. After all, they seemed of very good quality, the printing on the dials was excellent, and since there were seemingly so many being bought and sold, there was no reason to suspect they were not original. Certainly nowhere on the internet was there anyone stating that the watches were fakes.

[A note on the use of the term “fake” in this article – I will use the word “fake” to describe any watch that has been doctored in any way by a third party to misrepresent it. Use of the word “fake” in describing watches in this article does not necessarily imply that every individual part of the watch is not of original manufacture.]

An example of a fake vintage Grand Seiko

But the more your author researched things, the more suspicious he became. Having invested a significant amount of money into acquiring vintage Seiko catalogues and dealer newsletters, these black dialed watches couldn’t be found in any contemporary documentation.

Fast forward a couple of years, and the amount of time we have invested in researching vintage Grand Seiko is in excess of 5,000 hours, with many thousands of dollars spent on acquiring official contemporary Seiko publications to validate and document the references that were produced.

A selection of reference material

The main result of this investment is that we have a database that details a total of 140 distinct references of vintage Grand Seiko (none of which, by the way, were manufactured with a black dial). Now, we wouldn’t claim for one moment that the research is over, and that no new discoveries will be made in the future, but we are confident that the information that we share on this website is the most accurate that has ever been compiled.

Discounting the most subtle of model variances – such as those found in the Grand Seiko “First” dial variations, which would not be discernable in old publications; and watches commissioned and customised for third parties (such as Toshiba, or Idemitsu) – of those 140 watches in our database, there are just 5 references that we have not yet been able to find officially documented in either catalogues or the monthly dealer newsletters.

Those 5 references are the Grand Seiko “First” in platinum; the 4420-9990 cap gold cased 44GS ; the 6146-8030 and 6146-8040 ; and finally, the 6156-8030. Despite this lack of contemporaneous documentation however, there is absolutely no doubt that all of these references are legitimate.

But there is one additional reference that doesn’t appear anywhere. It’s a reference that has long been discussed in hushed and reverent voices amongst the growing community of vintage Grand Seiko collectors and dealers, and a reference examples of which exist in several of the top collections in the world.

We have been told by one source that as part of the research into the release of the re-issues of the Grand Seiko First at Baselworld in 2017, Seiko looked into their archives and could find no evidence this watch was ever manufactured. Yet at the same time, there are people at the company who have stated publicly that it does indeed exist.

That reference is the subject of this article – the mythical Grand Seiko First in stainless steel.

Grand Seiko First in stainless steel

Some context

It’s worth taking a step back for a moment and considering just how significant and important this watch would be by thinking about what its equivalent would be were we discussing other brands.

The Grand Seiko “First” was – and this is of course stating the rather obvious – the first Grand Seiko. Unlike the major collectible Swiss brands such as Patek Philippe or Rolex, the first reference from Grand Seiko is actually one of the most collectible of the brand’s entire output. Indeed, it really does need to be recognised not just as the foundational piece for the brand, but also a foundational piece that needs to be included in any serious collection of vintage Grand Seikos.

Not many people are that interested in collecting the very first reference Rolex or Patek manufactured. With both brands what are typically highly collectible are references from much later in the lifespan of the brand, such as the Submariner or Daytona from Rolex, or the 2499 from Patek.

No world-class collection of Patek Philippe vintage timepieces would be complete without a 2499, and similarly, no world-class collection of Grand Seiko would be complete without a “First”.

Now clearly, whilst we genuinely believe that the market for vintage Grand Seikos is only just getting started, and that there may well be a significant “upside” to values over the coming 5-10 years, we are not going to claim that any vintage Grand Seiko will ever get close to the values we see on the top Patek 2499’s (not even by a factor of 50).

But contextually, for vintage Grand Seiko collectors, finding a legitimate example of a Grand Seiko First in stainless steel would be the equivalent for Patek collectors of finding a legitimate example of a stainless steel 2499.

This may come across as a bold claim considering we have tracked down no fewer than 10 examples of the First in steel. But as we are about to explain, we believe just one of those examples – a watch that surfaced in June of this year and went by almost unnoticed – is legitimate.

Grand Seiko First variants – filled gold and platinum

Those who have read our article on the “regular” filled gold Grand Seiko First dial variants will be aware that over the relatively short three year production lifespan of the model, there was a continual evolution of details of the watch design, resulting in no fewer than eight distinct variants. (For ease of reading, we will for the rest of this article refer to the filled gold references as simply “gold”.)

The design details that vary are as follows –

  1. Handset
    1. Mountain
    2. Flat
  2. Grand Seiko Logo
    1. Printed
    2. Carved
    3. Raised
  3. Caseback medallion
    1. Early
    2. Late
  4. 12 o’clock index
    1. Double piece
    2. Single piece
  5. Dial finishing
    1. Flat (SD logo)
    2. Sunburst (AD logo)

Not every possible combination exists of course – far from it – and we would encourage those who have not already done so, to read the article before continuing with this one, as it details the evolution of the design details found on the gold reference.

In addition to the gold examples, there are also extremely rare examples cased in platinum – believed to have been available on an special order basis only – of which we have seen three different variants. We haven’t seen sufficient examples of the platinum cased watch in order to arrive at any definitive conclusion, but it would seem that the design details of the platinum watches track relatively closely to those that we find in the gold examples at the time the platinum watch was produced.

Three platinum cased Grand Seiko Firsts

Grand Seiko First in stainless steel variants

One of the most remarkable things about the examples of the Grand Seiko First in stainless steel that have surfaced, is that every single one of them is unique with regards to its specific set of design attributes.

It is precisely this uniqueness that lends a lot of credence to one of the theories about the provenance of the watches – that they were internal design prototypes that somehow found their way onto the market. Another theory is that they were used as “service watches” – loaned to owners of the regular models when they took their watch in for service.

As we will discuss later however, we no longer believe either of these theories are correct, and that in fact nine out of the ten examples that we have managed to track down are actually aftermarket “frankensteined” watches.

But first, let’s walk through those nine examples and examine how they vary.

Watch number 1

Grand Seiko First in stainless steel – watch number 1

This watch was purchased by the author in February 2016. At the time, I was keen to own an example of the First in each of the Grand Seiko logo types – printed, carved, and raised. When it turned up for sale, I discussed the watch with another couple of collectors and researched what little I could, and decided to purchase it as my print logo example.

Subsequently I was able to secure a stunning example of a regular gold reference with a printed logo dial, and decided to advertise the watch for sale to partially fund that purchase. The watch remained on the market for quite some time.

When The Grand Seiko Guy launched in December 2017, we took the decision not to list the stainless steel watch on the site along with the rest of my collection, due to the lack of provenance, but it remained listed on my personal blog at watchdxb.com.

In April 2018, a collector contacted me inquiring as to whether the watch was still available, and it was sold privately. Extreme care was taken to make sure the collector knew what he was getting into, and that there would be no comeback should the watch turn out to be illegitimate in the future.

Soon after that sale, I began working on the article covering the First dial variants, and during the research for that article, my doubts about the authenticity of the steel watch that I had owned became stronger and stronger. Then, in June 2018, the tenth example of a First in stainless steel known to us surfaced, and my doubts were sealed. In my view, the watch I had owned and subsequently sold was not legitimate.

I reached out to the buyer, and despite the earlier agreement that the sale was in good faith, and that he would have no comeback should the watch turn out not to be genuine, since it was I who was going to be making that claim with the planned publication of this very article, it was not a situation that I felt comfortable with, and so reacquired the watch.

As mentioned earlier, every single example of the Grand Seiko First in stainless steel that has surfaced is in some way or another unique. Just as with the gold and platinum cased examples, we find design variations across a number of different details of the watch.

This personally owned example has the following details –

  1. Handset – flat
  2. Grand Seiko logo – printed
  3. Case back medallion – of “Chronometer” type and gold
  4. Dial finishing – sunburst
  5. Dial indices – regular length
  6. Inside case back – type 1

There follow photographs detailing some of these aspects.

Flat handset

 

Printed logo

 

Case back medallion

With regards the the case back medallions found on these watches, as we will see they exist in both gold and stainless steel. One perplexing thing about the case back medallion is that it is different to that found on the regular gold cased watches.

The design of the case back medallion on the stainless steel watches is unique to these watches, with the word “Chronometer” below the lion, rather than the words “Grand Seiko” above it. To the best of our knowledge, this medallion is not found on any other production Seiko. It is, however, available for purchase as a spare part from a dealer in Japan.

Sunburst dial finishing

 

Inside case back markings

Movement

Note that the movement number of this watch is very early, indication production of the movement in the first half of 1960. Examining the inside of the case back, we can see that there is however no case serial number, and the content and layout of the text stamped on the inside of the case back is very different to that found on regular watches.

Since the author personally owns this watch, we are able to detail the aspects that we know to vary across the example out there. For the majority of the other examples, we are not able to check all 6 aspects, but we have been able to determine sufficient details to identify specific watches across multiple transactions, and validate that all examples are unique.

Watch number 2

The second example of the Grand Seiko First in stainless steel that we will detail resides within an important US collection.

Sold in February 2016, we provide below images taken from the sales listing. Only low resolution images are available, but they are sufficient (along with additional personal knowledge of the watch) to identify significant design variations to watch number 1.

Watch number 2, picture 1

Watch number 2, picture 2

Watch number 2, picture 3

From the images above, and our personal knowledge of the watch, we are able to state the following design aspects –

  1. Handset – flat
  2. Grand Seiko logo – carved (“late” carving method as per gold examples)
  3. Case back medallion – of “Chronometer” type and in steel
  4. Dial finishing – flat
  5. Dial indices – regular length
  6. Inside case back – type 2 (same layout as regular watches, with a serial number indicating production in January 1962)

Watch number 3

This example was owned by a Japanese collector, and sold at auction in August 2016.

Below are the three remaining images available from the listing for that watch. It is interesting to record that in the listing description the seller makes the following claim (Google translated from Japanese) – “… when asked Seiko overhaul, it is confirmed that all parts are genuine Seiko”.

As we will explain after detailing the nine examples, we do not believe this to be the case where the dial is concerned.

At the time of this listing, the author also noted details from images that are no longer available and were not saved.

Watch number 3, picture 1

 

Watch number 3, picture 2

 

Watch number 3, picture 3

This watch has the following discernable characteristics from the images and the author’s notes that were made at the time of the sale –

  1. Handset – flat
  2. Grand Seiko logo – printed
  3. Case back medallion – of “Chronometer” type, and in steel
  4. Dial finishing – sunburst
  5. Dial indices – appear to be shorter than regular, but could be a trick of the light
  6. Inside case back – type 1

Watch number 4

This example was sold at auction in September 2016.

Once again, we present the three images available from that listing, which enables us to detail a number of characteristics of the watch.

Watch number 4, picture 1

 

Watch number 4, picture 2

 

Watch number 4, picture 3

  1. Handset – mountain
  2. Grand Seiko logo – carved
  3. Case back medallion – of “Chronometer” type and would appear to be in steel.

The images of this watch are very low in saturation, but it does look to us that the case back medallion is in steel, and not gold. Remarkably though, even if we were wrong with this interpretation and the medallion were in gold, this watch would still be unique – no other example that we have come across has mountain hands, a carved Grand Seiko logo on the dial, and a case back medallion.

Watch number 5

The fifth example of a Grand Seiko First in stainless steel that we have uncovered was sold at auction in January 2017.

Unfortunately, whilst we noted the details of the watch at the time of the sale, the listing would appear to have been subsequently deleted, and we didn’t save the images at the time.

This watch had the following characteristics –

  1. Handset – mountain
  2. Grand Seiko logo – printed
  3. Case back medallion – of “Chronometer” type and probably gold
  4. Dial finishing – sunburst
  5. Dial indices – definitely significantly shorter than regular

Watch number 6

This watch was sold by a large Japanese consignment company in July 2017, and from photos taken from the listing, we can – yet again – establish that this watch has unique characteristics when compared to all the other examples.

We believe from social media postings that this watch is now with a collector based in Singapore.

Watch number 6, picture 1

 

Watch number 6, picture 2

  1. Handset – flat
  2. Grand Seiko logo – printed
  3. Case back medallion – of “Chronometer” type, and steel
  4. Dial finishing – flat
  5. Dial indices – regular

Watch number 7

The seventh example of the reference was first sold at auction in June 2015, and then quickly flipped and auctioned again the following month. It now resides with quite possibly the most important collector of Japanese watches on the planet. The author has personally seen and handled this watch.

Images from the auction listing are provided below.

Watch number, 7 picture 1

 

Watch number, 7 picture 2

 

Watch number, 7 picture 3

In addition, the description accompanying the auction provides details of the inscription of the inside of the case back, enabling us to determine the following characteristics of this piece.

  1. Handset – flat
  2. Grand Seiko logo – printed
  3. Case back medallion – none
  4. Dial finishing – flat
  5. Dial indices – regular
  6. Inside case back – type 2 (same layout as regular watches, with a serial number indicating production in September 1963)

Watch number 8

We only have a single image of this watch, which appeared on a Japanese blog in December 2017. Even though we can only see the dial side of the watch, it is sufficient to identify it as having unique characteristics.

Watch number 8

  1. Handset – mountain
  2. Grand Seiko logo – printed
  3. Dial finishing – flat
  4. Dial indices – regular

Watch number 9

Sold at auction in February 2018, this watch is again unique, as we can determine from the photos and description that accompany the listing. The seller notes that he acquired the watch “10 years ago or more”.

Watch number 9, picture 1

 

Watch number 9, picture 2

 

Watch number 9, picture 3

The description details the markings on the inside of the case back as being consistent in content as those on the author’s example, but as can be seen from the provided images, the profile of the case back and the layout of the text is different.

  1. Handset – flat
  2. Grand Seiko logo – printed
  3. Case back medallion – of “Chronometer” type and in gold
  4. Dial finishing – flat
  5. Dial indices – regular
  6. Inside case back – content the same as type 1, but case back has different profile and content laid out slightly differently

What are the chances?

It is worth taking a moment to reflect on the fact that every single one of the above watches is unique.

Regardless of whatever the provenance of the watches is, it is an absolutely remarkable fact to behold. Just as with the regular gold reference, we find differences in handsets, the Grand Seiko logo, and dial finishing.

Flat and mountain hands exist on the regular reference; printed and carved logos exist on the regular reference; flat and sunburst dials exist on the regular reference. It’s almost – almost – as if someone, possibly within Seiko, possibly a third party – deliberately set out to create a set of unique watches all based on the same theme just to toy with us.

It should be stressed that author is only able to search through auction listings history going back around three and a half years. The earliest example detailed above sold in June 2015, the latest in June 2018.

There surely must be more examples “out there”, and it would seem from a comment on at least one auction – and confirmed in conversation with a Japanese dealer – that these have been circulating for at least a decade. But, the more that are out there, the more remarkable it is that all those that have surfaced since June 2015 are unique.

There are only so many variations of handset, logo type, dial finish, and caseback medallion that are possible. In fact, it’s worth just pondering on the odds of 9 unique watches turning up given a couple of further assumptions, so forgive us for a moment whilst we play with some maths (don’t worry, we’ll skip the workings).

Let’s assume that each of the examples listed above has a duplicate with the same set of design features, but that hasn’t appeared on the market in the last few years. Making for a total of 18 watches, of which 9 have been publicly traded.

If there were just two examples in existence of each of the watches detailed above, the odds of the 9 that have come to the market all being unique are just one in a hundred.

So – something else is clearly behind what is going on here. The odds of this happening by chance are simply not feasible.

For now, where these watches originated from remains a mystery. Why they are all unique remains a mystery.

But regardless of their origin and uniqueness, there is a more fundamental problem with all of them. And it is that problem that convinces us these watches did not originate – in their current state – from Seiko.

Fake dialed gold Grand Seiko Firsts

As research for our article on the Grand Seiko First dial variants published in June this year, we examined in great detail not just the fourteen references from our own stock, but also literally hundreds upon hundreds of gold Grand Seiko Firsts that have sold both on auction sites and from Japanese based dealers over the last few years.

This research enabled us to establish a history of the design changes that occurred over the production timeline of the reference. Crucially, we have very clear information regarding manufacturing order, and dial reference codes, of the eight different variants that are detailed in the aforementioned article.

During the course of our research, we also uncovered examples of both printed and carved logo Grand Seiko Firsts in gold that were fakes.

We will state for the record, and stake our reputation on, the following statements –

  • There are no print logo Grand Seiko Firsts in gold with anything other than a GSJ14H156 dial code.
  • All carved logo dial Grand Seiko Firsts in gold – with the exception of the transitional variant – have the same dial code as the print logo (the transitional variant of the carved logo Grand Seiko First has a GSJ14H156E dial code)
  • If you ever come across a “regular” print or carved dial Grand Seiko First with a GSJ14H156E-SD dial code, then at the very least, that watch has a fake, or re-done, dial.

Here are some examples of Grand Seiko Firsts with fake dials –

Fake dial example number 1

 

Fake dial example number 2

 

Fake dial example number 3

 

Fake dial example number 4

If you are even in any doubt about the legitimacy of a vintage Grand Seiko – regardless of its source – don’t hesitate to contact us. We believe it is vitally important that collectors have as much information at their disposal in order to make astute buying decisions, regardless of where they are making their purchase.

In every instance of the listing of a fake printed or carved logo dial Grand Seiko First in gold , the dial code is GSJ14H156E-SD – a code that only legitimately appears on raised logo dials.

Wrong dial code for a print dial Grand Seiko First

Even though the above image is of very low resolution, it is still easy to spot the additional “SD” suffix to the dial code. You don’t even need to able to read it to see that it is there.

Additionally, in every instance of the listing of a fake printed or carved logo dial Grand Seiko First, the printing of the word “Chronometer” is not correct.

Chronometer in wrong font

This is how the word Chronometer is printed on legitimate dials.

Correct Chronometer font

At first glance they look the same. But once the tell is pointed out to you, you will never miss it.

Here is a direct comparison in high resolution –

Chronometer font comparison

The top image is taken from the author’s Grand Seiko First in stainless steel that was bought in February 2016. The lower image is taken from our late version carved logo dial Grand Seiko First in gold.

Whilst there are many subtle differences between the two, the immediate tell – the one that you will be able to spot even in low resolution photos – is the curl at the top of the C in “Chronometer”. It is significantly shorter in the fake dialed watches when compared to the genuinely printed ones.

Different, but Same Same

We have gone to great lengths in this article to cover the differences in the nine unique examples of Grand Seiko Firsts in stainless steel that we have been able to uncover. We have also highlighted just how remarkable (and unlikely) that all nine watches would be unique by chance.

But crucially, whilst they are all different in some respects, in two ways they are also all the same.

Every example of the Grand Seiko First in stainless steel that we detail above has either a printed logo dial, or a carved logo dial. And every example of the Grand Seiko First in stainless steel that we detail above, has a GSJ14H156E-SD dial code.

Grand Seiko First in stainless steel with fake dial showing wrong dial code

Additionally, every example of the Grand Seiko First in stainless steel that we detail above has the word “Chronometer” printed incorrectly in exactly the same way as the fake gold examples.

Grand Seiko First in stainless steel with fake dial showing wrong Chronometer font

That these stainless steel watches share the same dial print as gold watches that we know for a fact have fake dials can only lead to one realistic conclusion.

The source of the dials for the faked gold cased watches, and the source of the dials for the stainless steel cased watches, is the same. And it is not Seiko. They are forgeries.

Regardless of whether or not all or any parts of these watches originate from Seiko, there is no getting over the fact that the dials were printed elsewhere, which can only call into question their entire legitimacy.

Given the evidence, our view is that these are all “Frankensteined” watches.

If you go back and look at the photos we provided of gold Grand Seiko Firsts with faked dials, you may notice a similarity between some of them. There is a very good reason why three of the four photos of the faked dialed Firsts presented in the previous section look to be of similar presentation. It’s because all three came from the same seller.

Whether that seller had any idea about the illegitimacy of the watches he sold cannot of course be determined indirectly, but we rather suspect his source for those watches could probably shed some light on the origin of the stainless steel examples detailed above.

One more thing

Grand Seiko First in stainless steel from June 2018 auction

In June of this year, just days after the publication of our article on the history of the Grand Seiko First dial variants, the watch pictured above appeared in an auction listing.

Having just spent weeks pouring over countless images of Grand Seiko Firsts, not to mention photographing and examining the dial variants in our possession in more detail than had ever been done previously, your author’s eyes were particularly attuned to spotting inconsistencies.

It was immediately obvious that there was something very different about this stainless steel First compared to all the examples we had seen before.

I suspect that probably to almost anyone else, this just looked like another example – and a rather dirty example at that – of a Grand Seiko First in stainless steel coming to the market. Rare, yes. Interesting, yes. But “just” a steel Grand Seiko First. The tenth to turn up in the last few years.

But – and it’s a huge “but” – to the trained eye there were two things that, whilst tiny in the picture, might as well have been pulsating in lurid neon colours to your author.

Even in the relatively low resolution photos provided in the auction listing, it could be seen that the curl of the “C” in “Chronometer” was correct. Here’s a crop at 100% resolution.

Correct font for Chronometer

And it wasn’t possible to read the dial code from the head on view of the watch.

Dial code not visible

This latter aspect is a significant detail – the dial code on the carved and printed logo dial watches is situated much lower on the edge of the dial than the -SD dial code that one finds on the later raised logo dials. When the crystal is installed on the watch, it can be close to impossible to actually read it. If you ever see a head-on shot of a Grand Seiko First, and you can’t make out the dial code, it is almost certainly not going to be the code with the -SD suffix.

If you go back and look at the dials of the watches pictured earlier in this article, you will note that in pretty much every case, the dial code – along with its -SD suffix – is clearly visible.

The stains on the dial barely even registered. They mattered for nothing. I was looking at what was quite possibly the find of the decade – could this possibly be a legitimate Grand Seiko First in stainless steel?

Needless to say, we acquired the watch, and anxiously awaited its delivery. 

On receiving the watch, we had the dial removed so that we could examine it in great detail, and photograph it in high resolution in order to compare with what we know to be a legitimate example of a printed logo dial variant that is found on the gold watch.

Grand Seiko First in stainless steel – dial removed from watch

 

The reverse side of the dial

The printing on the dial from the stainless steel watch – of the dial code; the “Diashock” text and SD logo; and the “Chronometer” text – are all a match for those found on the gold model.

A comparison of the printing of the Chronometer text (apologies for bizarre appearance of the word “rectangle” – there appears to be some bug with the slider comparison plug-in) –

Gold filled print dial
Steel carved dial

 

A comparison of the printing of the Diashock text –

Gold print dial
Steel carved dial

 

A comparison of the printing of the dial code –

Gold print dial
Steel carved dial

There is absolutely no question in our minds that this dial originates from Seiko, and has not been tampered with.

One thing of interest to note about the watch is that the caseback is unlike any from the nine examples detailed above.

Similarly to watch number 7 detailed above, it has no medallion.

Comparison of case backs – external

In the photos above and below, on the right is the case back from this stainless steel First, for comparison on the left is the case back from a gold First.

Unlike watch number 7, the inside of the case back only has the text “Stainless Steel” stamped into it.

Case back comparison – internal

The movement, with serial number 607322, is certainly of the correct vintage for a carved dial Grand Seiko First. Whilst this is a relatively minor point given how easy it would be to swap a movement over, it is encouraging when considering the originality of the watch as a whole.

Finally, the hands are correct for a carved dial as well, being of the mountain variety.

Grand Seiko First in stainless steel – handset

So.

Do we really have the only legitimate example of a Grand Seiko First in stainless steel to surface in recent memory?

Whilst it is impossible to know with 100% certainty, we believe the evidence we have presented is extremely compelling.

Concluding thoughts

Based on extensive research into the mysterious case of the stainless steel Grand Seiko First, we believe that we are currently in possession of what is arguably the only legitimate example to surface and be documented. We have neither seen nor heard of the existence of a similar watch in history.

Additionally, based on the errant printing on the dials of the other 9 examples of Grand Seiko Firsts in stainless steel detailed here – printing that matches exactly that found on known faked examples of gold Grand Seiko Firsts with printed and carved logo dials – we believe all of those 9 watches are fakes.

We would very much welcome any thoughts, feedback, and insight from collectors and dealers around the world with regards to the content of this article, and the conclusions we have reached.

At the end of the day – as stated at the beginning of this article – everything we have written here is simply our opinion, with conclusions reached backed up by a significant amount of research, the evidence from which is presented for all to critique.

We will continue to reach out to Seiko to see if they are able to provide any more details on this mythical reference, but to date have not had any response despite attempting to make contact through various channels.

This watch is available for purchase from this link, which also includes additional photographs showing the case profile.

 

Grand Seiko First in Stainless Steel

3 replies on “The Grand Seiko First in Stainless Steel

  • B

    very informative. I own a 430 GS, and same as the “first”, I find the engraved ‘F’ and ‘S’ near the balance wheel adjuster are in wrong position — move tadpole tail to ‘F’ would make it runs slow (just by the 2-pin touching the hair spring position relative to the tadpole tail) . A silly overlook on Seiko?

    Best,
    Brian

    Reply
    • thegrandseikoguy

      Hi Brian –

      Thanks for reading and for your comment. I guess the “F” means “if the watch is running fast move it towards here” 🙂

      I’m sure it makes logical sense to someone!

      Kind regards,

      Gerald.

      Reply
      • Brian

        Hi Gerald,

        All of the watches I have seen — including many different calipers that I own — have the adjuster pointer when moved to F would cause the watch to run faster, and not when it is Fast then move to F. I believe the balance wheel plates were engraved correctly when the early generation watches did not have the tadpole, and they didn’t change the engraving when the tadpole was added for a finer adjustment.

        Brian

        Reply

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