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 2 supplement 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.
We mentioned in our write up of the 1974 volume 2 catalogue that there were no fewer than 58 steel cased quartz references featured in the catalogue prior to getting to the Grand Seikos. This supplement to that catalogue debuts the last ever Grand Seiko of the vintage era to be launched, but before we get to see it in the catalogue, there are another 20 quartz references introduced.
Whilst Grand Seiko was pretty much on life support, it would be wrong to assume that quartz had taken over everything. It was really only the top-of-the-line Grand Seiko range that was being decimated.
There were still several lines of mechanical watches with strong presence in the range at the lower end of the market, from 5 Actus models starting at under 10,000 Yen (less than a quarter of the price of the cheapest quartz watch); stylish Advans priced between 16,000 and 20,000 Yen; 5 Sports chronographs from 16,000 to 23,000 Yen; literally dozens of Lord Marvels/Lord Matics starting at 15,000 Yen and rising to double that; and of course the King Seikos – represented by the classic King Seiko and stylish Vanac sub-ranges – from the mid-20 thousands of Yen up to the mid 40’s.
One by one, quartz would continue on its inexorable path and eat into these ranges until almost no mechanical references remained in the range. But it would take a few years to get there, and we will of course be stopping well before quartz took over completely, as there is just one more year to go of Grand Seikos featuring in the catalogues.
Without further ado, we present the final Grand Seiko to debut in the vintage era –
Pictured at the top left of the page, in a way it does seem a little odd to be introducing a relatively high priced new Special into the range at this point in time – particularly seeing as a day-date Special had only just been dropped from the range. But perhaps the 6156-8040 was intended as a direct replacement for that earlier 6156-8000.
The watch was presented on a bracelet – leading to a premium of 3,000 Yen over the 6156-8000 – and featured a beautifully faceted stainless steel case. As usual, the catalogue photo doesn’t really do the watch justice, but we were very fortunate to acquire a simply stunning mint example of this reference last year (now sold) which we picture below.
For anyone interested in acquiring this reference, we do have another example – though not of the same quality as the one pictured above – available for purchase on the site at the time of publication of this article.
In the gallery below we present scans of the cover and page 3 of the Seiko 1974 volume 2 supplement catalogue.