Vintage Grand Seiko dial layouts

As I write this post, there is a lot of buzz around from people anxious to see what Seiko reveal at Baselworld tomorrow (Thursday 23rd March). The top rumour this year is that there is going to be a significant change to the dial layout on Grand Seikos.

There are three dial elements that are common across the entire modern Grand Seiko range (except for certain historical re-issues, for obvious reasons) – at 12 o’clock you will find the text “SEIKO”, and at 6 o’clock there is the “GS” logo above the gothic “Grand Seiko” text.

The Grand Seiko community has been very active in discussing what might be revealed tomorrow, and some interesting Photoshop mock-ups have been shared as people try to second guess what the change (if any!) will be. Following a discussion on one of the forums, I thought it was an appropriate time to summarize how the dial layout changed during the course of vintage Grand Seiko lifespan.

I will only be focusing on the three major elements on the dial – the Seiko text, the Grand Seiko text, and the GS logo.

So without further ado, onto the history lesson…

Grand Seiko Chronometer/”First”/3180 – all models

Grand Seiko Chronometer
Grand Seiko Chronometer

  • Grand Seiko text in gothic font at 12 o’clock
  • No Grand Seiko logo
  • No SEIKO text

57GS – 43999 and 5722-9990

Grand Seiko 43999 with SD dial
Grand Seiko 43999 with SD dial
  • SEIKO text at 12 o’clock
  • Grand Seiko text in gothic font at 6 o’clock
  • No GS logo

57GS – 5722-9991

Grand Seiko 5722-9991
Grand Seiko 5722-9991
  • SEIKO text at 12 o’clock
  • GS logo above GRAND SEIKO text in plain capitals at 6 o’clock

Note – this is the layout that (almost) all modern Grand Seikos follow, BUT, on the modern Grand Seikos the Grand Seiko text is in the gothic font. Interestingly, and something that I’ve only just come to realise when preparing this article, no vintage Grand Seiko shares the same dial layout (including font type) as the modern range.

44GS – all models

An early "Diashock dial" Grand Seiko 4420-9000
An early “Diashock dial” Grand Seiko 4420-9000
  • SEIKO text at 12 o’clock
  • GS logo above GRAND SEIKO text in plain capitals at 6 o’clock

62GS – all models

Grand Seiko 6245-9000 cap gold
Grand Seiko 6245-9000 cap gold
  • SEIKO text at 12 o’clock
  • GS logo above GRAND SEIKO text in plain capitals at 6 o’clock

61GS – early 6145/6-8000’s

Grand Seiko 6146-8000 early dial
Grand Seiko 6146-8000 early dial
  • SEIKO text at 12 o’clock
  • GS logo above GRAND SEIKO text in plain capitals at 6 o’clock

And just when it seems that things have settled down, with the 5722-9991, 44GS, 62GS and the first watches of the 61GS series all having the same layout, it all changes…

61GS – all subsequent models EXCEPT for the VFA’s

Grand Seiko 6145-8020
Grand Seiko 6145-8020
  • SEIKO text at 12 o’clock
  • GS logo at 6 o’clock
  • No Grand Seiko text

61GS – the VFA’s

Grand Seiko 6185-8010 VFA
Grand Seiko 6185-8010 VFA
  • GRAND SEIKO in plain capitals at 12 o’clock
  • No GS logo
  • No Seiko text

45GS – all models EXCEPT for the 4580 VFA’s

Grand Seiko 4520-8010
Grand Seiko 4520-8010
  • SEIKO text at 12 o’clock
  • GS logo at 6 o’clock
  • No Grand Seiko text

45GS – the 4580 VFA’s

Grand Seiko 4580-7010 VFA
Grand Seiko 4580-7010 VFA
  • GRAND SEIKO text in plain capitals at 12 o’clock
  • No GS logo
  • No Seiko text

56GS – all models

Grand Seiko 5646-7030
Grand Seiko 5646-7030
  • SEIKO text at 12 o’clock
  • GS logo at 6 o’clock
  • No Grand Seiko text

And in my humble opinion…

Regular readers of this blog and my followers on Instagram will know that I consider the 4580-7010 VFA to be the absolute pinnacle of the vintage Grand Seiko releases. In every single regard, I consider this watch to be perfect.

Any excuse for another photo of it!

Grand Seiko 4580-7010 VFA
Grand Seiko 4580-7010 VFA

If I was in charge of design at Grand Seiko, this is the dial layout I would go for. Keep it simple. Keep it elegant. And absolutely re-introduce a discrete logo at 6 o’clock that identifies the factory the watch was made in. Include an absolute maximum number of two lines of text above that logo that describes the movement – Spring Drive, Hi-beat, Automatic, Automatic Hi-beat, Quartz. Don’t include “GMT” on the GMT watches – you can see it’s a GMT, no need to shout about it.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings – all will be revealed at 10am CET.

 

1 thought on “Vintage Grand Seiko dial layouts”

  1. I totally agree, keep it simple. I don’t think we need ‘Seiko’ if there is going to be ‘Grand Seiko’. I think the dial on SBGW033 is pretty awesome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.