The Grand Seiko 4420-9000 is rightly considered to be one of the landmark releases of the vintage Grand Seiko era, and the watch today is considered a true icon of the brand, with the design language it introduced continuing to have significant influence on the design of Grand Seikos even to this day.
The 44GS series – the first Grand Seiko to come from the Daini Seikosha company – was on sale for only a short period – debuting in the supplement to 1967’s Number 2 catalogue, and making its final appearance just one year later in the second volume of the 1968 catalogue.
However, intriguingly, the cap gold reference in the series makes no appearance in any catalogue
Rather confusingly, the steel 44GS is numbered 4420-9000, and the gold cap 4420-9990. This is (almost) the opposite of the case numbering system for the 57GS series, where the steel case was numbered 5722-9990/1, and the 18K gold 5722-9000, with the gold cap 57GS being 5722-9010.
Sharing the same dial layout as the later “Daini logo” dialed 4420-9000 variant, this reference nonetheless has a completely different case design to those references with which it shares the 4420B movement.
The reason for this is not clear – indeed the case design for the 4420-9990 very closely resembles that of the 57GS series. One possibility is that at the time, Seiko did not have the ability to replicate the key tenets of the Grammar of Design in a watch case that was cap gold. However, given that at the same time Grand Seiko were producing gold cap variants of the 62GS series, this does seem a rather tenuous explanation.
We currently have an example of this reference available for purchase, which can be found at the following link –