Between now and the end of the year I will be posting articles on my collection of vintage Grand Seikos.
Since there are over 40 pieces in the collection, it makes sense to break this write-up over several articles. Each post will cover a specific movement – or set of movements – from the vintage Grand Seiko releases, and include photos of the watches I have that utilise that movement.
Whilst I don’t intend these articles to provide a comprehensive and thoroughly researched scholarly history of vintage Grand Seikos, I will share some knowledge on the pieces that I have picked up over the course of the last year. If I get anything wrong, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
Traditionally following the 57GS series would be the 44GS, but since all my 44’s are from 1967, and I have two 62’s from 1966, it’s the 62GS that is up next.
Starting its life as a “regular” Seiko, the 6245 movement was first introduced in the Seikomatic Chronometer. In the second half of 1966, Seiko had to drop the use of the term Chronometer due to objections from the Swiss COSC, and thus the first automatic Grand Seiko was born.
As far as I can ascertain – from checking many 62GS that have come to the market in the last year or so – the Grand Seiko 6245’s and 6246’s that were produced in 1966 had a lion medallion on the case-back, and those from 1967 have the GS medallion.
What can be confusing is that the exact same model number – 6245-9000 is used for both the Seikomatic Chronometers and the Grand Seikos with just the date indicator. They are however easily distinguished due to the different branding. For the model with day and date complication, the model number for the Seikomatic is 6246-9000, and for the Grand Seiko, 6246-9001. Makes sense, not!
As will be evident from the above photo, there are a couple of things that really stand out design-wise on these pieces.
To my mind, the case of the 62GS has one of the most beautiful designs ever created for any watch.
The case is bezel-less, which creates a wonderful – almost Pininfarina like – sweeping curve from lug to lug; and the crown is positioned at four o’clock and set into the case.
This latter detail was chosen to highlight the fact that the watch was an automatic, and that the user didn’t need to wind the watch. In fact, these watches cannot be hand-wound at all. The only purpose of the crown is for setting the time and date. If you want to wind the watch, you need to swing your arm around a bit!
I have three examples of the 62GS in my collection, and will probably add more at some point in the future given how much I like this model.
Good condition 62’s are very hard to find, especially in Cap Gold. Initially when looking at the case of the Cap Gold variant, you may think that it is the same design as the regular stainless steel version. This is not – if you pardon the pun – the case.
The photos above and below serve to show that – whilst superficially very similar – there are in fact quite significant design differences between the steel and cap gold versions of the 6245-9000. To create the cap gold variant, Seiko didn’t just cap the existing steel case, they actually created an entirely new one with noticeably thinner and slightly extended lugs. Additionally, the cap gold case is not as faceted as the steel version.
Also interesting to note is that in this instance, Seiko did not differentiate the model numbers between the steel and cap gold versions – they are both “6245-9000”.
(note – the gold cap example in these photos possibly does not have an original crown, although it may just be very worn down one. I do have a replacement NOS crown for this watch that I will swap in at some point in the future.)
The third 62GS in my collection is an example of the 6246-9001.
Starting with the 62’s, the Suwa Seikosha company introduced a movement numbering system where the last digit indicated the “complications” on a watch. If the final digit of the movement number is a “1”, there are no complications. A “5” indicates a date complication, and a “6” indicates a day and date complication.
There are no solid 18K gold versions of vintage 62GS watches – just the four models are available. Steel and cap gold 6245, and steel and cap gold 6246. Towards the end of the lifespan of the 62GS, Seiko changed the design of the hands (for some reason – I don’t know why, and much prefer the original ones!), although these models are seen very rarely indeed.
In 2015, Grand Seiko launched a very limited range of watches celebrating the vintage 62GS, and these are available cased in stainless steel (600 pieces); as well as rose, white, and yellow gold (100 pieces each).