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.
Please click on the following link for an index to all articles on Seiko catalogues from the vintage Grand Seiko era.
We are deeply indebted to the Seiko Museum in Tokyo for providing a copy of the 1973 volume 1 Seiko Catalogue that was used to produce the scans in this article.
The Seiko 1973 volume 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 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.
Similarly to the 1972 catalogue detailed in our earlier article, volume 1 of the 1973 catalogue was distributed on loose-leave hole-punched paper designed to be put into a binder. We believe that the binder for the 1973 volume 1 catalogue was the same as that for the 1972 catalogue, indeed, it is likely that retailers were simply provided with the pages to insert into the binders they already possessed from the previous year.
Also similarly to the 1972 catalogue, the initial pages of this catalogue were presented with the same look as that found in the Special Luxury Catalogues, with the top of the range models shown on fabric backgrounds and the full watch and bracelet (or strap) shown to highlight the precious metal used.
As expected, the catalogue leads with quartz references, and it is not until we turn to page four that we see the first Grand Seikos, where four references with 18K gold cases are presented.
5645-8000, 5646-8000, 4520-8010, 4522-8010
All four of these references were also featured in the 1972 Special Luxury Catalogue that we featured in our previous article.
The photograph of the 5645/6-8000 references (56GAC 086 and 56GAW 086 catalogue codes) shows – more clearly than the photograph in the 1972 Special Luxury Catalogue – the starlight textured dial that replaced the earlier linen-textured dial. This would be the last time that these references appear in a Seiko catalogue.
We suggested previously that the other two watches featured on this page – the 4520-8010 and 4522-8010 (45GS 030 and 45GSC 030 catalogue codes) – may well have had the most catalogue appearances without a gap of any vintage Grand Seiko. We see them here in their final catalogue appearance, and indeed, having now checked back through all the catalogues from 1966 through to 1975, we can confirm that it the case.
Both references appeared in every catalogue – including the Special Luxury Catalogues – from their introduction in the supplement to 1969’s volume 2, all the way through until this one (excepting the 1970 volume 2 supplement, which of course only introduced new references to the range). In fact, no other vintage Grand Seiko made more catalogue appearances than these models.
The top of the range precious metal references are presented on the first six pages of the catalogue in a similar manner to how they are shown in the Special Luxury Catalogues.
From page seven onwards, we revert to the more familiar grid-layout with six watches presented per page. Once again, we find quartz models leading the range, with the first Grand Seikos not appearing until page 11.
There are a total of six new Grand Seikos making their debut in this catalogue, and four of them feature here.
5646-7010 on bracelet, 5646-7020, 5646-5010 blue dial, 5646-5010 green dial
First up, in the middle of the top row we see a familiar reference – the 5646-7010 – but now made available on a bracelet, for a premium of 3,000 Yen over the same watch on a leather strap, that we see at the bottom right. From both the photographs and the catalogue codes for these watches (56GAW 020), it is clear that this is the white dialed version of this reference. The silvered dial 5646-7010 with the catalogue code 56GAW 021 that we saw introduced in the 1972 catalogue is never seen again.
Next to it, we see another new reference – the 5646-7030 – that surely presents significantly more value for money at the same price as the 5646-7010 on bracelet. This reference has the most dramatic faceted crystal of any vintage Grand Seiko, and has a wonderfully sculpted case.
The final two new references on this page feature the 5646 movement but in a radically different case design to what we are accustomed to.
With a movement-case reference of 5646-5010, there are two variants of this watch. The first has a blue dial and traditional applied indices, and the second has – for the first time on any Grand Seiko – printed Roman numeral hour markers and a textured and graduated green dial.
Time and date versions of these watches make up the final two new references to be featured in this catalogue, that we find pictured on turning the page.
5645-5010 white dial, 5645-5010 charcoal dial
We can see the two references pictured in the bottom right of page 12. Once again, we see the same movement-case code – of 5645-5010 this time to indicate the time and date 5645 caliber – being used for two watches with different dials, one of which is matte white with regular applied indices, and the other a graduated textured dial – probably best described as charcoal in colour – with printed Roman numerals.
There is just one more Grand Seiko featured in this catalogue – the oval cased 5641-7000, first launched in the 1971 volume 2 catalogue – which you can view on the last page in the gallery below.
The cull begins
If the commentary on this catalogue seems a little sparse compared to the more recent ones, it’s for good reason. Just 17 men’s Grand Seiko references are featured – around half the number that appeared in the 1972 catalogue.
Among those dropped are the remaining references from the 61GS series, including all the Specials and VFAs. The cap gold cased 4520/2-8000’s are gone, leaving just the 18K gold 4520/2-8010’s to represent the 45GS series, although as mentioned above, this would be their – and indeed the 45GS series in its entirety – final appearance.
Although we still see the solid 18K gold cased 5645/6-8000, their steel cased counterparts have been deleted from the range. The other 18K gold cased 56GS references – the 5641/5/6-7005 and 5641/5-5000 – are missing, although all these five references will return for a cameo in 1973’s second volume.
The final 56GS stainless steel references missing, and that won’t be returning, are the 5645/6-7000’s, the aforementioned silver-dialed 5645/6-7010, and the blue dialed 5645-7010.
In the gallery below we present scans of the pages from the Seiko 1973 volume 1 catalogue that feature Grand Seikos
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