Some may feel it is a little early for a #GSWednesday post, but it’s gone 2am in Tokyo already, so why not get started 🙂 Featured here is almost the entirety of my vintage Grand Seiko collection. I left out the dodgy black dialed 57GS’s, and a rather scrappy 5722 cap gold, which left me with a nice round 60 to share!
After a lot of research, I believe there were 122 distinct models released in the vintage era, so I’m basically half way there now! I’ve come a long way from the original plan which was just to get a single example of each movement that was used. I doubt I’ll ever complete the full set, but as they say – “never say never” 😂
OK. So who can name every single model pictured here? 😉
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.
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!
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.
Probably not the best time to post in the middle of #Apple’s #iPhone7 launch (do you see what I did there? 😂), but here’s that crop detail of the previous post that I promised you showing the remarkable textures on both the case and dial of this #GrandSeiko 5645-5000.
Another recent addition to the #GrandSeiko collection is this 5645-5000 from 1971. 18k gold hammered case, and a wonderfully textured dial – detail on those coming up next.
This is an interesting piece to look out for. It actually doesn’t seem to be that rare – there are always a handful available at any one time, but asking prices do vary wildly. It is quite a challenging watch to shoot well – hardly any sales photos of this watch look good, mainly due to very high apparent contrast on the hammered case. Odd really, and I think that maybe why these are so slow moving. It is stunning in the flesh, and I hope I’ve done it justice here!
Finally for this week’s set of images for #GSWednesday on #GrandSeiko medallions… on some watches there are no medallions. On the VFA’S, watches with cases made from solid 18k gold, and in a few other instances, the GS logo is engraved directly on the case back, as in this example – the 5645-7005.