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 Special Luxury 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.
From 1969, Seiko also started to publish one more catalogue – the “Special Luxury Catalogue” that showcased the top of the range models from the collection.
In this article we take a look at the single vintage Grand Seiko included in the 1973 Special Luxury Catalogue. This won’t take long!
Priced at 500,000 Yen, and making its catalogue debut in this publication, the Grand Seiko 5646-7005 on a 18K bracelet was the most expensive Grand Seiko of the entire vintage era.
The watch had previously been available on a leather strap, first appearing in the 1970 Special Luxury Catalogue for the price of 185,000 Yen, and making its final appearance in the 1973 volume 2 catalogue at the slightly reduced price of 181,000 Yen.
319,000 Yen was clearly a huge amount of money to spend on the bracelet, and we suspect that very few of these references ever sold. The version on leather strap is fairly common, but we have only ever seen one example of the watch on the 18K gold bracelet, which we currently have available for purchase.
Interestingly, the exact same bracelet was also used for the 18K gold VFA – reference 6185-7000 – that appeared just once in the 1971 Special Luxury Catalogue. In that publication, the 6185-7000 was available either on a leather strap or the 18K bracelet, with the premium for the bracelet being “just” 140,000 Yen. For reference, the price of gold in the second half of 1973 was around $100 per ounce, whereas in the second half of 1971 it was around $40 per ounce, which explains the huge jump in the premium for the bracelet between the two watches.
This was to be the final appearance of a Grand Seiko in the annual Special Luxury Catalogues. Here, it is preceded by 8 pages featuring 15 precious metal quartz watches. 12 of these are 38-series VFA’s, ranging in price from 460,000 Yen up to a staggering 3.3 million Yen for a platinum cased example; one is a 39 series VFA; and the final two precious metal dress watches.
For those interested in seeing the other watches featured – and they are well worth drooling over – Anthony Kable over at Plus9Time has scanned the entire catalogue for your viewing pleasure.