On the block – 20

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

Due to time constraints, a shorter column this week that features just a single watch currently available on Yahoo Japan. If you need some guidance and advice as to how to go about buying watches from Japan, check out my feature on ZenMarket.

I was actually hoping to include this listing in last week’s VFA round-up, but the seller hadn’t re-listed it. It’s a rather special Grand Seiko 6186-8000-G VFA that has been on-and-off the market for the last few weeks.

Grand Seiko 6186-8000-G VFA
Grand Seiko 6186-8000-G VFA from my own collection

Continue reading “On the block – 20”

Grand Seiko 43999

From August 1963, a very early SD-dialed Grand Seiko 43999 “Self-dater”. This was the first Grand Seiko to have both Seiko and Grand Seiko branding on the dial.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that the 43999 is also the only Grand Seiko in history (including both the vintage and modern eras) to have “Made in Japan” written on the dial.


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On the block – 19

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

Grand Seiko 6185, 6186 and 4580 VFA's
Grand Seiko 6185, 6186 and 4580 VFA’s

For this week’s On the Block, I thought it would be interesting to do a round-up of the Grand Seiko VFA’s that are currently available on the market in Japan. The reason for focusing on the VFA’s is that I can’t recall a week where there has been such variety for sale.

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Grand Seiko 4420-9000

Grand Seiko 4420-9000 early “Diashock” dial


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Yesterday’s watch was about as far from the “Grammar of Design” that you could get.
Here’s where it all started in 1967, with the earliest 44GS model that followed the dial layout of the 5722-9991 with “Diashock” printed below “Grand Seiko”. Later variants of the all too short-lived 44GS series did not have the “Diashock” text, with the logo for the Daini Seikosha company taking its place.

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.


On the block – 18

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

In this week’s “On the block”, rather than pick a single listing from each of the three main channels for purchasing vintage Grand Seikos from Japan – that is, Yahoo Japan auction, Rakuten, and individual dealer websites – I’m going to highlight three listings all from Yahoo Japan auctions that will be very interesting to watch over the weekend.

All three listings are for examples of the very first vintage Grand Seiko Chronometer, often referred to simply as the “First”, or alternatively by the reference number of its movement, the “3180”.

Grand Seiko "3180" logo variations
Grand Seiko “3180” logo variations

For the first time that I can remember, this week on Yahoo Auctions there are examples of Printed, Carved and Applied “Grand Seiko” logo dials. All three auctions close Sunday evening Tokyo time -if you have the money, this is an amazing opportunity to pick up a complete set of 3180’s within just a couple of hours bidding.

Or is it?

Continue reading “On the block – 18”

On the block – 17

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.

Grand Seiko "First" - 3180
Grand Seiko “First” – 3180

Demand for the first vintage Grand Seiko has clearly increased substantially since the Baselworld 2017 release of the re-creations of the original watch as limited editions in platinum, gold, and steel.

Prior to Baselworld, prices for the “3180’s” had been steadily increasing, with good examples of the applied logo dials selling for up to 200,000 Yen.

Since Baselworld though, prices have sky-rocketed. And I don’t think it’s hard to understand why.

Continue reading “On the block – 17”