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 1971 Seiko Retail Pocket Diary
Regular visitors to this section of the site will be aware that we are in a continual process of publishing articles on Seiko publications from the vintage Grand Seiko era.
To date, we have published articles on many of the Seiko catalogues of the era, and also articles detailing scans of pages related to vintage Grand Seiko from the monthly “Seiko News”/”Seiko Sales” newsletters. These newsletters were the primary marketing tool for providing up-to-date information to retailers of Seiko products with news of new model releases, promotions, etc.
Below is a scan of the insider back cover of the November 1970 issue of Seiko Sales –
The top half of the page shows a picture of the publication that we will be featuring in this article – a 1971 diary intended for retail personnel. The Japanese text alongside the photo provides background into the purpose of the diary, and how to obtain it.
The diary is described as a “must-have” educational tool for watch sales people, and as will be seen from the scans that we include in this article, it contains an absolute wealth of information on both the Seiko company, and the products that were on sale to the public in 1971.
These days, it is extremely rare to come across an example of this diary for sale (this is the only one we have ever seen). After all, it would have been used on a daily basis by anyone who owned one – adding events to the calendar diary pages, notes to the note pages, names and addresses… and at the end of the year, its fate would be the same as that of all out-of-date diaries – just chucked away with the rubbish!
Perhaps another of the reasons we see so few examples of this diary, 48 years after it was originally distributed, is that it was only available “on application”. To obtain it, the retailer had to fill out a card that was supplied with the Seiko Sales newsletter to apply for a copy. The description above states “because there is a limit to the number available, please apply as soon as possible… please forgive us if it is out of stock”.
In the galleries below, we provide scans of every page of the diary that actually provides information (we didn’t think there would be much to gain by scanning all the actual calendar, notes, and contact detail pages, but have included samples of each of these).
And what a goldmine of information it is!
The inside front cover pages show photos of Seiko’s regional sales offices in Tokyo, Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukuoka, along with their contact details.
Turning the page, and opposite the full year calendar, is the contents page for what is to come later –
Translated, we learn that pages 1-13 detail the history of Seiko; pages 14-42 contain product knowledge for watches; pages 43-67 product knowledge for clocks; and pages 68-90 general knowledge that the salesman should be aware of.
But first, we have to flip through the actual diary pages, and the notes pages. Our example of this diary is practically unused – there is no writing anywhere through this section.
And now we get to the interesting section at the back.
This table of contents details one level further down the earlier table of contents that came before the calendar section of the diary.
First up, we have information on the company history (pages 1-4), followed by an explanation of Seiko’s advertising and promotional activities (pages 5-8) and then a map of Japan on pages 9 and 10.
This is a fascinating section of the diary as it actually details all the national and local media outlets that Seiko placed advertisements with. Clearly a salesman in a shop selling Seiko in the early 1970’s was very well supported with promotional campaigns!
Pages 11 and 12 of the diary show just how global Seiko was by 1970, detailing major export markets.
The chart in the bottom left shows the rapid rise in watch exports from the year Showa 25 (1960) through to Showa 45 (1970) – a 75 fold increase in a decade. The bottom right chart shows the equivalent information for clocks.
The charts on page 13 show watch and clock production numbers.
The next section of the diary contains a huge amount of product knowledge that would be useful for a watch salesman to know. Starting off on pages 14 and 15 with exploded view diagrams of the 5606A watch movement the salesman can learn what each part of the watch is called. Page 16 explains to the salesman that when ordering watches it is important to use the full and correct model reference number, detailing what the reference numbers for the watch mean.
Pages 17 details the codes used to describe the case materials, and then pages 18 through 42 go into specific details about references in the range, along with the key selling points for each reference.
The scan above shows an example of this specific product information, detailing amongst others such seminal greats as the Quartz Astron, Astronomical Observatory Chronometer, and Grand Seiko VFA’s.
The next section, spread over pages 43 to 67 cover the same information for the clocks in the range.
Finally, we get to the last section of information, which details the general sales knowledge that a salesman should have.
This section cover such information as general guidance on how to engage with the customer to ensure a pleasant buying experience; a selection of useful Japanese to English translations that could be useful when serving a tourist; exchange rates between the Yen and US Dollar; at what time of year, for what special occasions, a watch may make sense as a gift; and then more general information that could be found in any diary such as imperial to metric conversions; interest rate tables; tax tables; traditional Japanese calendar to Gregorian year conversions; and more.
Finally, after a section for adding contact details, we get to the inside of the back cover.
These last two pages show aerial photographs and details for Seiko’s three major manufacturing facilities – the top one is Seiko Precision Inc (where alarm clocks, quartz crystal clocks, calculcators, camera shutters and other instruments were manufactured), the middle Daini Seikosha, and the bottom Suwa Seikosha.
We hope you have enjoyed this article – the diary is a remarkable record of information from almost half a century ago. Whilst we don’t have the time and resources to translate all it contains, if something in the galleries below does pique your interest, don’t hesitate to take a copy and run it through Google Translate – it is truly fascinating to get a glimpse into the knowledge that would have been shared with those responsible for selling the watches to the public back then.
Below we present scans of every page of the 1971 Seiko retail pocket diary that contains relevant information. We have skipped the actual calendar, notes and contacts sections.
The scans are presented across two separate galleries for technical reasons.