State of the collection – the 62GS movements

A write up of the vintage Grand Seiko watches in my collection that utilise the movements from the 62GS series

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!

Grand Seiko 6245-9000
Grand Seiko 6245-9000

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!

Grand Seiko 6245-9000
Grand Seiko 6245-9000

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.

Grand Seiko 6245-9000 Cap Gold
Grand Seiko 6245-9000 Cap Gold

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.

Grand Seiko 6245-9000 steel and cap gold
Grand Seiko 6245-9000 steel and cap gold – side profile

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.)

Grand Seiko 6145-9000 steel and cap gold
Grand Seiko 6245-9000 steel and cap gold – front profile

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.

Grand Seiko 6246-9001
Grand Seiko 6246-9001

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).

7 thoughts on “State of the collection – the 62GS movements”

  1. Nice examples of the 624x models!

    I want to expand a little on the “calibre# code” from Hattori Corp. [Seiko] that was introduced in the early/mid ’60s when the calibre#s were standardized to 4 digits. I learned the following from both Hidekazu-san & Tachy-san [son of retired Seiko engineer Tokunaga-san]:

    From Hidekazu-san:

    1st&2nd digits: ‘machine’ number *or movement family*
    3rd digit: indicator of amount of ‘special adjustment’
    4th digit: display type indicator

    However, Tachy-san gives more detail & some caveats about that generalization:

    1. Regarding the 3rd digit, the idea of indicator of amount of ‘special adjustment’ only applies formally in the Grand Seiko “lines” … he indicated “With respect to values 2,4,5,6, & 8 on the 3rd digit for Grand Seiko calibers: from the caliber 1964 of 1968(year) to the calibers 6186 & 1984 of 1972(year), I think those 3rd digit values correspond to the accuracy of A, 2A, 3A, L2A(B) and 4A in the GS standard.” These standards are shown in a database I constructed online, but I understand they are also published in “The Seiko Book”.

    If you don’t have the book you can see the accuracy grade tables @

    http://seikoholics.yuku.com/topic/443/SEIKO-Brand-Master-Entry-with-marketing-scans#.WGMZALkuM0l

    The 19GS calibres mentioned above were Women’s models & the “L2A(B)” refers to the accuracy standards for Women’s models.

    2. The 4th Digit

    This was to indicate the “Display Type” in Tachy-san’s words. But as you will see below, it is a combination of wind type [hand vs. auto] and the calendar display type, but with provisions for some other displays/complications as well.

    It seems that this digit was used more consistently across the Seiko mechanical product line [BOTH Suwa and Daini] than the 3rd digit. The following table shows the typical usage of this digit:
    0 -> Hand wind, no calendar.
    1 -> Auto wind, no calendar.
    2 -> Hand wind, Date only.
    3 -> Hand wind, Day, Date.
    4 -> (reserved)
    5 -> Auto wind, Date only.
    6 -> Auto wind, Day, Date.
    7 -> (reserved)
    8 -> (reserved)
    9 -> (reserved)

    Please NOTE: The arrow has significance in this table as in a mathematical or logical relation. What we should be careful of is that this principle, using the arrow, works from left to right only. A contrary reading (from right to left) is not exact. For example, although 62 World Time has Auto and Calendar (Date), the 4th digit is not 5 but 7.

    All mechanical movements made by Suwa Seikosha except for two OEM movements (2801,2821) follow this principle. Also, many mechanical movements made by Daini Seikosha, except some movements follow this principle as well.
    ….
    I think the numbers 4,7,8, & 9 were reserved for ‘other elements’ (like the 24Hr hand, hacking, subdials, etc.) at the start of the codification process. But, it seems 4,7,8,9 are not strictly applied. For example, the 2559 “Queen Seiko” is hand wind, no calendar, Hr/Min only (no seconds), but the 6139 Chronograph has day/date calendar, is auto wind, & has NO constant seconds hand. So the 4th digit “9” appears to have different meanings between these movement families.

  2. On the -9000 to -9001 case code you mention:

    I do see logic in this “transition” from 62 Chronometer to 62 GS. Really, the difference between the 2 models is a matter of badging rather than differing movement architecture or other technical factors. Even the accuracy standard between the two [Chronometer vs. GS] would appear to be the “same” from what I can find out: in 1966 up to some time in 1968 the standard used for “GS” was changed from -3 -> +8 secs/day MDR [Mean Daily Rate]. to -3 -> +6 secs/day. Sites like “Seikomatic” and other sources indicate the “Chronometer” grading conformed to the “Chronometer Excellent (or Superior) Class” and show scans of certificates there (at Seikomatic’s page on the 62 Chronometers) some of which show “Superior Class” as -1 to +10 secs/day (as used by the “BO Chronometer”) which is the same differential value as -3 -> +8 (in terms of the maximum spread allowed). In other words, the 62 Chronometers used the same accuracy factors as their contemporary 5722B GS (so that a 62 Chronometer made on a particular day would have the same standard to live up to as a 57GS with 5722B made on the same day). Tachy-san also makes similar claims based on his research.

    Thus, it would seem the 62 GS was an evolution out of 62 Chronometer [Ex. movements are the same! Standards applied adhered to the same evolving strictness level between the 2, etc.]
    … rather than a “new and very different creation” with a different movement architecture between the 2 products.

    More discussion of standards (including info pertinent to possible differences between 62 Chronometer & 62 GS) is at:

    http://seikoholics.yuku.com/topic/770/King-Seiko-Special-vs-Superior-Chronometer#.WGMiY7kuM0k

    The Seikomatic site (warning: Japanese language site!) is at:

    http://www.h4.dion.ne.jp/~smatic/index.html
    ==================================================
    I have also heard an explanation from some Japanese writers about why there was no automatic GS until years after the introduction of the hand-wind (3180) GS. In summary: Japanese society was conservative & this extended to the elite watch buyers. It was felt (by Hattori management) that elite buyers would not consider an auto-wind to be as prestigious as a hand-wind. Instead of coming out with a “luxury”/high-accuracy auto-wind GS, they tested the market with “luxury automatic” models such as the J13.083 (a heavy gold-capped cal. 395 39j auto-wind Seikomatic Self-Dater) and then the later 624x Chronometers. Of course, the Swiss challenge to their use of the term “Chronometer” rather forced Hattori Corp’s hand into changing badging, but seeing that these hi-end automatics were being accepted by the “elite” watch-buyers, Seiko/Hattori then felt comfortable in allowing the 62 Chronometer line to be formally badged as “GS”.

    A theory by Japanese writers, but sounds reasonable.

    1. Hi Don –

      The logic of the progression from the Seikomatic Chronometer to the Grand Seiko is sound.

      What is not so logical – and was the point I was clearly making – is the model numbering. 6245-9000 was the same on both, 6246-9000 changed to 6246-9001 from Seikomatic to Grand Seiko.

      1. Ahh, yeah – I see now after reading your paragraph again 🙂 You make a good point … as others have noted in forums/watch-groups over the years … Seiko did some inconsistent things in those days & that makes understanding them rather difficult for the collector/researcher who expects to be able to explain Seiko’s product line in a “logical” manner.

  3. Hi Gerald,

    Awesome collections of the 62 GS, I agree with you that this model has one of the most unique and good looking case, and in my humble opinion not just for a Seiko but all wrist watches. I was reading this post on my crappy cell phone earlier and I thought for a second you have one of the reissues, since the condition of your steel 6245 is just amazing.

    Albert

    (The caption of the two 6245 head only photo says 6145)

    1. Hi Albert –

      We’re definitely in agreement re the case design 🙂

      I also think the reissues are the best Seiko have done so far. I just wish they had stuck to the original crown design. One day I’m sure I’ll pick up the SBGR095 – I’ve been sorely tempted on a number of occasions.

      Thanks for highlighting the typo on the caption – fixed now!

      Kind regards,

      Gerald.

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