Grand Seiko 43999

The Grand Seiko 43999 was the second watch to be released in the historical Grand Seiko collection, following on from the success of the “First”, or “3180”. The 43999 was – I believe – the first Grand Seiko to be officially identified by its model number. What is interesting though is that it is considered to be the first of the 57GS series, despite the fact that the models starting with 57– weren’t released until well after this came out. Presumably then, at the time, this could not have been considered to be a 57GS series watch.

Is this a recent misclassification of this watch? Does it deserve to be considered as its own “43GS” series? Purely on the basis of contemporaneous evidence, personally I would argue that it does.

What is also interesting about the 43999 is that it came in at least two dial variants, and possibly more. This particular example, from August 1963, is from the earliest type – the “SD” at the end of the dial identification number standing for “Special Dial”. This indicates that the hour markers are made from solid gold – 14K or 18K depending on which source you believe.

Later examples of this model have dials marked “43999TD”, and you will also find quite a few on the market marked “5722-9990T AD”. Whether or not the latter are original, I have no idea. They could well be re-dials since that dial is also found on watches with the 5722A movement.

What I do know having spent the better part of this year collecting vintage Grand Seikos is that there are a few sites out there that people very often consider as the “gospel” on Grand Seiko history, that I have discovered actually contain multiple errors or omissions. Simply, I don’t know who to believe on these matters any more!

As mentioned on an earlier post, one fun fact (at least, I think it’s a fact!) is that the 43999 is the only Grand Seiko in history to have “Made in Japan” on the dial.

The SD variant that you see here is very hard to find in decent condition these days, and I was very happy to pick this example up recently, although my hunt for a full set NOS 43999 SD continues!

Detail of the dial marking coming later.

TBC

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Grand Seiko 5722-9000

After the first #GrandSeiko, with movement 3180, came the 57GS, and a change in the design of the medallion. The lion stayed, indicating a movement that was to chronometer standards, but unlike on the 3180, which had the text “Grand Seiko” above the lion, on these models was just the word “Seiko”. This medallion was used on models using the first two movements in the 57GS series – the 43999 (with the 430 movement), and the 5722-9000 (with the 5722A movement). The same design of medallion was also used later on for the -9000 variants of the 6245 and 6246 models from the 62GS series. Yes. It is a little confusing! #GSWednesday #Seiko

TBC

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Grand Seiko 5722-9990 – behind the scenes

Thought it would be fun to share a #BTS (behind the scenes) shot. This is a screenshot of the software that controls the #CAPcam camera that I use. In the left window you can see the red, blue, and green markers that are the defining three points that I want to be in focus. On the right, you can see in the table the physical distances from the sensor to those points. As long as those distances are correct, the camera will work out the precise movements to apply to the front standard (where the lens is mounted) in order to set a plane of focus that intersects through those three points. Simple, eh? 😜

TBC

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Grand Seiko 5722-9990

Here’s the full shot that the previous post was cropped from. The #GrandSeiko 5722-9990, from 1965, along with its original timing certificate. And if you were wondering why that engraving wasn’t all in focus, it’s because I set the focal plane to get the text at the bottom of the frame in focus, along with the “Grand Seiko” engraved text on the bridge!

TBC

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