Grand Seiko 5645-5000

Grand Seiko 5645-5000

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Much is made of the Grand Seiko “Grammar of Design” that was introduced in 1967 with the 4420-9000. Taro Tanaka’s philosophy of watch design can be distilled down to four simple rules – all surfaces and angles of the case, dial, indices and hands should be flat; bezels were two dimensional faceted curves; no visual distortion from any angle, with cases mirror finished; and no more generic round cases. (Summary from an article on wornandwound.com). And yet… Just four years after the introduction of the 44GS series, we have this.
Breaking every “rule” in the book – with its very traditional tonneau shaped bezel-less case; pencil thin hands – black for the hour and minute, gold for the seconds; hammer-toned 18K solid gold case; a “starlight” dial… There’s not a flat highly polished surface to be found anywhere!

Probably – if one is to go off the prices these fetch on the market – one of the least loved vintage Grand Seikos there is. But one that I believe deserves a place in any serious collection.
There is also a dateless version of this watch – the 5641-5000. Typically, despite the solid gold case, you should be able to pick up a really nice one of these for well under US$2,000. In fact, if you’re quick, there’s a 5641-5000 on Yahoo Auctions right now that is closing in four hours, and priced at 158,000 Yen with no bids.

#GSWednesday

On the block – 16

A weekly series of posts highlighting interesting Grand Seiko watches on the market

“On the block” is the section of the website where I share some examples of vintage Grand Seikos currently available on the Japanese market.

I aim to publish a new post in this category each Friday, highlighting a vintage Grand Seiko of interest from each of the three main channels for acquiring these pieces from Japan – Yahoo auctions, Rakuten, and individual dealers’ websites. However, sometimes there just isn’t much new worth highlighting, so that may have an impact on what gets written up.

Generally, it is becoming clear that demand for vintage Grand Seikos is outstripping supply. The Grand Seiko “First” is a good indicator of this. Whereas just a few months ago, you would typically expect to find more than half a dozen examples available on Rakuten at any one time, as of today, there is just a single (terrible) example.

As to how to go about actually purchasing from overseas, check out my article on ZenMarket.

This week, I will be highlighting just two watches. One from a dealer’s website, and one from Yahoo – there is nothing new and noteworthy on Rakuten (although a few watches that I have featured in previous posts are still available).

I will also be making an exception this week and highlighting a watch that isn’t actually a Grand Seiko (although many people do list it as such!).

Seiko Astronomical Observatory Chronometer
Seiko Astronomical Observatory Chronometer

Japanese dealer

Just gone live this morning on Watch CTI’s website is a listing for a Seiko Astronomical Observatory Chronometer.

Continue reading “On the block – 16”

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

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Grand Seiko 5646-7030 macro

Ok, time for that close-up of the dial of the Grand Seiko 5646-7030 that I promised you.
Just a wonderful texture that, as @etio_nono suggested in a comment on my previous post, may well be a source of inspiration for some of the modern Grand Seiko dials.
This particular watch dates back to July 1974, and is actually the latest manufactured vintage Grand Seiko currently residing in my collection.

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Grand Seiko 5646-7030

For this week’s #GSWednesday, another photo of a recent addition to the collection – the 5646-7030.

I managed to acquire this one with its original bracelet, but sadly with a missing link or two, so it can’t fit on my wrist. No worries, I thought, I’ll just remove the bracelet and I can wear it on one of my quick-release spring bar straps. Went to put on a strap, and was very surprised to find that it wouldn’t fit.
Nearly all vintage Grand Seikos have 18mm lugs. But this one is just 17mm, so at the moment, I can’t wear it! Back into the box it goes then.

I’ll post a close up of the textured dial later in the day. This is a fabulous watch that is seriously undervalued in my opinion. Picked this one up for a song, and they are not too hard to find.

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State of the collection – the 56GS movements

A write up of the vintage Grand Seiko watches in my collection that utilise the 56GS movements.

Since there are over 40 pieces in the collection, it makes sense to break this “state of the collection” 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 5645-7005
Grand Seiko 5645-7005

The 56 series of vintage Grand Seiko is second only to the 61GS with regards to the diversity of the watches produced. Whilst utilising only three different movements (there are no “special” or “VFA” examples in this series), there are over 40 variations with differing cases or dials.

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On the block – 8

A weekly series of posts highlighting interesting Grand Seiko watches on the market

The vintage Grand Seiko market

Each Friday, I write up three vintage Grand Seikos currently available in Japan that followers of this blog may be interested in acquiring.

There are three main online channels for purchasing these watches from Japan – Yahoo Japan auctions, Rakuten, and individual dealer websites. Usually, I pick one watch from each of those channels to highlight, but this week I struggled a bit looking for a new interesting piece on Rakuten, and there’s not much new out there with the dealers either.

So for a change, I thought I’d concentrate on Yahoo Japan auctions, and was looking around to see what was available and whether I could give this week’s post a bit of a theme. And I found three watches that certainly have some similarities!

Grand Seiko 6145-8030
Why is this the only photograph in this post? Read on to find out…

Continue reading “On the block – 8”