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 1970 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.
In addition to the half-yearly catalogues (originally titled “No.1” and “No. 2”, but later changed to “Volume 1” and “Volume 2”), towards the end of the year a supplement to the second catalogue would be published.
In this article we take a look at the watches included in the 1970 No.2 catalogue.
The second volume of the 1970 catalogue features a total of 31 men’s Grand Seiko references. This is two more than the year’s first volume, the difference being the introduction of six new references, and the dropping of four.
The watches that were previously in the range but are dropped for this catalogue are the four “Cross dial” 6145/6-8000 references. Of particular note is that the examples supplied on the steel bracelet made an appearance in just two catalogues – the supplement to volume 2 of 1969, and volume 1 of 1970.
The introduction of the VFA’s
Of most significance in this catalogue is the introduction of the first “Very Fine Adjusted” references, featuring three watches from Suwa, and one from Daini.
All four of these references actually made their first appearance in the January 1970 issue of the Seiko Sales newsletter that was distributed to retailers, but this represents their debut in a full catalogue.
Your author has written extensively on the subject of the VFA’s in a feature published on SJX Watches, so won’t go into too much detail here, but instead direct the reader to catch up on that article if they are not already familiar with it.
The first two watches pictured make their sole appearance in this catalogue. Although the watch heads may look to be the same, for actual production the reference pictured on the leather strap actually has a hammer-textured case, which can be seen in the examples we have for sale on this site.
The watch pictured above is available for purchase here.
Intriguingly, whist none of the VFA’s featured in this catalogue actually have “VFA” printed on the dial, examples of both the 6185 014 (6185-8000) and 6185 024 (6185-8010) have been discovered with that additional line of print.
An update to the VFA article on SJX Watches was recently published on this site that covered this discrepancy, which you can find here. Briefly, having examined serial numbers of the watches where available, we believe that the dials with “VFA” printed on them may well be service dials.
The above watch is also in stock at the time of publication of this article.
In addition to the two blue-dialed watches available above, we also have the third of the Suwa 6185A caliber powered VFA’s featured in this catalogue available.
Full details of this watch can be found at its listing.
Special luxury watches
Along side the final VFA featured on the first page – the 4580-7000 from Daini – is a reference that is clearly not a Grand Seiko, but actually priced even higher than the most expensive of the VFA’s.
The more observant reader would have noticed that the text at the top of the first page of this catalogue is not the same found on pages 2 through 6. Whereas the later pages are all titled “GS Grand Seiko”, the text here is “Special Luxury Watches”, and we believe this marks the first time that Seiko started to use this branding. Later in the year, this “Special Luxury” concept would be featured in a standalone catalogue, which we will be covering in a later article.
The final two new additions to the range that are featured in this catalogue are the 4520-7010 and 4522-7010.
These two references represent the first time that Grand Seiko was presented in a fully brushed-metal case. There were earlier references where some surfaces of the case were brushed, and also of course references with fully textured cases (6145-8030, and the 4520/2-8010), but – as can be seen in the photograph below of a 4522-7010 that we currently have available – the 4520/2-7010 do serve as stark reminders just how far Grand Seiko had moved away from the language of the “Grammar of Design” that was introduced with the 4420-9000 just three short years previously.
We also have an example of the 4520-7010 available here.
One final thing of interest to note about these two references is that we see examples on the market both with and without the “36000” text on the dial. Despite the fact the variants without the text (such as the ones we have available for sale) do not appear in the catalogues, they actually seem to be more common than those with it.