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 1974 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.
In this catalogue – as is to be expected – once again we see a significant reduction in the number of Grand Seiko references featured, with just 10 models listed.
Following the structure first introduced in the 1972 catalogue, the initial pages highlight the references in the range with precious metal cases. No Grand Seikos feature on these 16 pages.
We then need to flip through another 8 pages featuring quartz references before we arrive at the Grand Seikos.
VFA’s and Specials make a return
Those who have been following these articles may recall that in the previous two catalogues – 1973 volume 2 and the 1973 Special Luxury Catalogue – it appeared that the 61GS series had been retired, since all men’s watches featured in those publications were from the 56GS series.
Here we see the welcome return of two VFA’s that make their first appearance in a regular catalogue, having been introduced in the 1972 Special Luxury Catalogue; and two of the Specials, which first appeared in volume 1 of the 1971 catalogue.
Turning to page 26 – the last in this 180 page catalogue to feature Grand Seikos – we see two new references making their catalogue debut.
Pictured top left is the 5646-7030 (catalogue code 56GAW 100), which has a beautiful sand textured dial that, whilst hard to ascertain from the catalogue photo, is clear to see on the photo of the reference we have in stock.
Note that our example also comes on a bracelet. Whilst never pictured in a catalogue on a bracelet, we are convinced that this is totally original, since the 5646-7030 is unique amongst all vintage Grand Seikos in that it has a 17mm lug width. The part number for the bracelet is XQB240.
The second, and final, new reference to be introduced in this catalogue is the 5646-7040 (catalogue code 56GAW 110), pictured next to the 5646-7030.
As with the 5646-7030, this watch also has a wonderfully textured dial that is hard to see in the catalogue photo, but can be seen clearly on a photo of an example we have available.
What is of course clear in the catalogue image is a unique feature of this watch – it is the only vintage Grand Seiko with Arabic numeral hour markers. Additionally, the case is unique and totally contrary to all the “rules” of the “Grammar of Design”.
With the remaining watches featured in the catalogue being the commonly seen 5645/6-7010 references on both leather straps and bracelets, that pretty much wraps it up for this article, save for a run through of the references that have been dropped.
The more observant reader would have noticed that there are no 18K gold Grand Seiko references to be seen, so it’s goodbye to the 5641/5-5000 and 5641/5/6-7005 which all featured in the 1973 volume 2 catalogue. Also of note, there are no cap gold references either, so that means no more 5645/6-7010 in that metal. Finally, we also say goodbye to the two coloured dial 56GS series references that we saw previously – the 5646-7010 with blue dial, and the 5646-7020 green dial.
In the gallery below we present scans of the cover and pages from the Seiko 1974 volume 1 catalogue that feature Grand Seikos.