Legend has it that Grand Seiko changed from carved logo dials to raised logo dials due to yield issues due to the fact the logos were being manually carved on the dials.
Having now compiled an extensive database that details a large number of watches covering the entire production timeline of the reference, we find it a little more challenging to accept this explanation – quite simply, the carved dial variant was in production for a considerable period of time (commencing in April 1960, and running up until July 1961).
It would seem rather odd or Grand Seiko to take so long to address a yield problem by fundamentally changing the production methodology of the dial. However, what is of course abundantly clear is that the process for getting the logo onto the dials did change, and based on the extensive research that we have carried out over the years, it changed in the summer of 1961.
Whilst we have seen carved dials in watches with caseback serial numbers indicating production as late as July 1961, watches featuring raised logo dials can be dated to as early as June 1961, so as is so often the case with Seiko, we have a transitional period where multiple variants were coming off the production line.
What is particularly interesting about this transitional period is that there are a number of example of watches that have surfaced dating from June 1961 that have a different dial code to all those that preceded them, and different again to all those that came after.
The dial code found on the transitional watches is GSJ14H156E. Earlier watches do not have the “E” suffix, and later ones add an additional “AD” suffix.
These transitional watches can be found with both mountain and flat hands, and with both carved and raised logo dials.