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 1973 volume 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.
Volume 2 of the 1973 Seiko catalogue sees a return to the book format, rather than the loose-leaf in binder format of 1973’s volume 1 and the 1972 catalogues. It is also the first of the catalogues to be called a “Volume”, rather than a “Number”.
Continuing the trend established in the previous catalogue, once again we see a significant reduction in the number of Grand Seiko references depicted in the range.
Just 13 men’s references are featured, and – for the first time ever in a catalogue – there are no new Grand Seiko models introduced.
Following the structure first introduced in the 1972 catalogue, the initial pages highlight the references in the range with precious metal cases. After the first two pages that feature quartz watches, we have two pages featuring Grand Seikos.
5646-7005, 5645-5000, 5645-7005
Intriguingly, the five references featured on the two pages pictured above were all missing from the 1971 volume 2 catalogue. For all but one of them, it would be their final catalogue appearance.
Comparing the price show here with that in the 1972 catalogue, we can see that all five watches have had their price reduced by 4,000 Yen. Why this would be is a bit of a mystery – it is extremely rare for any vintage Grand Seiko to have a retail price change, regardless of how long it was available in the range. Indeed, an exhaustive look through all the catalogues shows that these are the only Grand Seiko references ever to have their price adjusted.
Looking at the quartz references with 18K gold cases, we also see slight price adjustment downwards, so we can only assume the price of gold had some bearing on the matter. This does seem rather odd though, considering gold closed 1972 at around $65 per ounce, the first quarter of 1973 it closed at $90, and the first half of 1973 closed at $123 per ounce.
So basically the price of gold close to doubled over the first six months of 1973, and yet Seiko reduced the price of their 18K gold cased watches for the second half of the year. Whilst there was a sudden appreciation in the Yen against the dollar at the start of the year – due to the Japanese monetary authority’s decision to allow the Yen to float freely against the dollar – that “only” resulted in a change from around 300 to 265 Yen against the dollar, roughly a 10% improvement in the Yen’s buying power USD based commodities – nowhere near sufficient to overcome the rapid increase in the value of gold. All very odd!
The regular section of the catalogue – with the watches presented in the more familiar 3×2 grid – started on page 5, with of course quartz references leading the way.
The final Grand Seikos to be featured in this catalogue make their appearance on pages 9 and 10.
Just eight steel or cap gold cased references remain in the Grand Seiko range, and all of them carry over from the 1973 volume 1 catalogue. They really don’t make for a particularly compelling offer, and it wouldn’t surprise us if by now many retailers simply did not bother to stock the range anymore.
One further claim to fame that this catalogue can make – every single Grand Seiko reference featured is from the 56GS series. That means no 36,000 bph movements, and nothing from Daini-Seikosha.
Additional references dropped from the 1973’s first volume are all the 5645/6-5010, 5645/6-8000, and the 5641-7000.
Of the regular catalogues (not including supplements or the Special Luxury Catalogues), this is the first time since the very first catalogue – 1966’s volume 1 – that all men’s Grand Seikos featured are from a single series.
In the gallery below we present scans of the pages from the Seiko 1973 volume 2 catalogue that feature Grand Seikos