For this week’s “On the block”, where I highlight three interesting vintage Grand Seiko’s on the market in Japan, I’ve selected one watch from Yahoo Japan auctions, one from Rakuten, and one from an established dealer
For those of you not familiar with how to purchase from Japan (very nearly all sellers there will not ship overseas), do check out my detailed article on ZenMarket that I posted back in November 2016.
As always, I will illustrate this post with images of watches from my own collection. Click through the links provided to see the details of the watches actually available for sale.
Starting off this week with a watch that is listed on Rakuten – an early “Grand Seiko” dialed 6146-8000.
For the first few months of their production, the 6145- and 6146-8000 had different branding on the dial to all subsequent 61GS series watches, in that underneath the “GS” Grand Seiko logo was the text “Grand Seiko”. There are four different models with this dial, with both the 6145- and 6146-8000 being available in steel and cap gold cases. Also of interest on the dial is the fact that the Suwa factory logo underneath the text is of a different design to that found on the later watches.
These early “Grand Seiko” dialed watches always carry a premium over the later variants, which replace the Grand Seiko branding with the text “Hi-beat” on one line, and “36000” underneath. Additionally, the rotor on the automatic movement of these watches is also branded “Grand Seiko”.
Currently available on Rakuten is a very fine example of an early-dial 6146-8000 from the extremely reputable dealer “Kyotoya”. Right now, Kyotoya has probably the best selection of vintage Grand Seikos of any dealer anywhere on the planet. If you want to see them all, then you can do so here.
Normally Kyotoya’s prices are towards the upper end of the market, but it has to be said that you do get what you pay for, and of course have complete peace of mind that you wouldn’t necessarily find if trying to nab a bargain on Yahoo auctions. In this instance though, I think the watch is extremely keenly priced at just 118,000 Yen, and I don’t expect it to hang around for long.
Next up this week are a pair of listings on Yahoo Japan auctions from another seller who is a regular feature on these columns, “chanson5033”.
Whilst the above photo is of a 5645-7005, the first listing is actually for the day-date version of this watch, the 5646-7005.
564x-7005’s are not that hard to come by, but as is often the case with all 18K solid gold cased vintage Grand Seikos, people typically list these pieces either with a high minimum bid or with a buyout price.
Right now there are actually at least four (I’ve only done a quick search) examples of 564x-7005’s available on Yahoo with minimum bid and buyout prices in the 300,000 Yen ballpark, and another four on Rakuten.
When they do come up for open auction, good examples typically sell in the 200-250,000 Yen range. Closing on Sunday evening (Japan time) with bidding currently at 131,500 Yen, this should be a good (and rare) opportunity to pick one of these lovely watches up for less than the price a dealer would usually let one go for.
Now, if you already have one of these, then don’t look away just yet, because you may well be interested in the second listing that I’m featuring from Yahoo this week, and that is for the solid 18K bracelet that was original to this model.
If you’ve already clicked on that link, you probably would have noticed that the bracelet is available from the same seller. I suspect what chanson5033 might have done here is actually split up the watch and its accompanying bracelet into two separate auctions, and then put a minimum bid price on the bracelet of 250,000 Yen.
A smart move if you ask me – there are probably quite a few people with 5646-7005’s who might be tempted to pick up the bracelet to accompany the watch they already own.
This is the first time I can recall this bracelet being available on its own, but the price is quite high, although when you consider the scrap value of the gold in the bracelet is around US$1500, perhaps it’s not so unreasonable.
I think it will be a tough sell, but if you do go for it, don’t get too carried away with your bidding. As those who have been clicking on the links in this article and paying attention would have spotted, Kyotoya has an example of the 5646-7005 with this bracelet on sale for 508,000 Yen.
Finally for this week, we return to the one where it all started – the Grand Seiko Chronometer “First”, or 3180 as it is often referred to.
If you’ve been following these “On the block” posts of late, it won’t have escaped your attention that since the reisssues of this piece were announced at Baselworld in March, prices for 3180’s have been going through the roof.
There seems to be an almost inexhaustible demand for them at the moment, and this is reflected in this week’s recommendation of watches available at a Japanese dealer.
Just a couple of days ago, BQ-watch listed three examples of the more common raised logo dialed watches at once. The three are priced differently according to their quality, but the most expensive one at 405,000 Yen has already been put on hold, leaving just two left priced at 348,000 and 324,000 Yen. I don’t expect they’ll be around for long.
Caveat Emptor – whilst I personally would be happy to have any of the pieces I comment on positively in my collection, you do need to be aware that there are always risks when you purchase a watch remotely. My recommendation of a watch can in no way be taken as any guarantee as to its condition or authenticity, nor as to the credibility of the individual or company selling it. However, it would be remiss of me not to highlight that this week’s article features watches from three sources all of whom I have purchased from previously, and all of whom I believe to be 100% trustworthy to deal with.