Vintage Grand Seiko collection

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? 😉

#Seiko #GrandSeiko #グランドセイコー #セイコー #vintage #vintagewatch #seikofam #watchfam

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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.
#GSWednesday

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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State of the collection – the 57GS movements

A write up of the vintage Grand Seiko watches in my collection that utilise the movements from the 57GS series

Between now and the end of the year I will be posting articles on my collection of vintage Grand Seikos.

Since there are over 40 pieces in the collection, it makes sense to break this 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!

Macro detail of the 5722B movement
Macro detail of the 5722B movement

Following on from the first Grand Seiko, based on the 3180 movement, were a series of watches now categorised as being in the 57GS family.

Three different movements were utilised over the period that the 57GS were on sale, and the three watches that I have representing these movements were made in 1963, 1965 and 1967.

Continue reading “State of the collection – the 57GS movements”

Grand Seiko 57GS variants

Here’s a shot featuring the three generations of Grand Seiko 57’s. On top, the 43999. This watch is the SD dial version, and the serial number dates it to August 1963, which is believed to be the first month of production for this model. As mentioned previously, personally I like to consider this model in its own 43 series rather than bundling it in with the others!

Underneath on the left, a 5722-9990 from 1965, and on the right, a 5722-9991 from 1967.

This is by no means representative of all variants of the vintage 57GS series, but it does cover the full range of calibres that were used. The 430 in the 43999, the 5722A in the 5722-9990, and finally the 5722B in the 5722-9991.

TBC

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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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