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4

Withdrawn - Grand Seiko 4580-7010 VFA

Case serial 070293. I'm going to keep this one after all :)
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Introduction

Today I am listing for sale two examples of the same vintage Grand Seiko reference - the legendary 4580-7010 VFA.

However, only one will be sold. Once a sale is confirmed for one of the watches, the other will immediately be withdrawn from sale and will not be listed again for at least two years. Quite simply, I cannot bear the thought of my collection not including an example of this reference!

Should neither watch find a new home by December 31st 2023, I will withdraw them both from sale.

Historical background

In production for just a single month in July 1970, and only ever featured in a single catalogue - Seiko’s 1970 Special Luxury Catalogue - the 4580-7010 VFA has taken on an almost mythical status in the pantheon of vintage Grand Seiko.



Arguably - and certainly in my mind - no other reference produced by Grand Seiko before or since, including the entire modern era, better encapsulates brand’s core pillars (that were established with the introduction of the first Grand Seiko just a decade previously) of precision, legibility, and beauty.

Perhaps more contentiously, I would argue that - if one is to accept those three pillars as foundational to any timepiece - the Grand Seiko 4580-7010 VFA is the greatest three hand watch ever made.

Whilst - as with all vintage Grand Seiko references - it is unclear just how many examples of the watch were manufactured, when contemplating the rarity of this reference it is worth considering that in the last decade, just four examples have turned up on Yahoo Japan (one of which had a poorly reprinted dial).

If we are to go by the number of examples turning up for sale over the years, this makes the watch considerably rarer than even just the final batch of Seiko Astronomical Observatory Chronometers, that were also manufactured in 1970.



The Astronomical Observatory Chronometer is the only non-numbered edition vintage Seiko for which we know precise production figures. In total, 228 examples of the “AOC” were manufactured from 283 movements submitted to the Neuchatel Observatory for testing in 1968, 1969, and 1970. The second and third batches of movements (numbering 30, and 150, respectively) utilised the same 4580 caliber that we find in the 4580-7000 and 4580-7010 VFA’s.

Of the 180 examples of the caliber submitted to Neuchatel in 1969 and 1970, 27 did not pass the strict Observatory Chronometer test and it has been suggested that those movements ended up in the production 4580-7000 and 4580-7010 VFA’s. Please note however that I do not believe for one moment that this implies these movements represent the entirety of non-AOC 4580 based watch production!

For those who would like to read more about the history of the Grand Seiko VFA’s (and I really recommend you do, in order to fully understand the context of the 4580-7010 reference), I have written a “primer” on the series that you can read here -



Before I go on to describe the watch (there won’t be too many words, because I think the video does the job perfectly), it is worth mentioning that in the modern era, Grand Seiko has - as of the time of publication - only produced a total of 20 watches (individual watches, not references) to the VFA standard.

I rather suspect that number may well see an uplift next year, since 2024 marks the 55th anniversary since the introduction of the VFA’s, and historically Grand Seiko has marked 55th anniversaries with the introduction of recreations and reinterpretations of vintage pieces.

In October 2022 Grand Seiko applied to re-register the “Grand Seiko V.F.A.” trademark. The trademark was published for opposition in September 2023, and a notice of allowance issued on October 31st 2023.

Whilst I would never suggest anyone purchase a watch with a consideration for any potential financial upside, it might be worth a ponder on what could happen to the level of interest in these historic vintage pieces with the full weight of the modern Grand Seiko marketing machine behind a new range of VFA’s.


Grand Seiko 4580-7010 VFA, case serial number 070293

Case

As will be evident from the video above, the case on this watch has not been reconditioned. It shows marks that one would expect on a 50+ year old watch that has clearly been lovingly - and carefully - worn over the years.

The subtle brushing of the case flanks remains very evident (rare as this reference is, one does come across an example or two where this brushing has been completely removed with over-zealous polishing), and contrasts wonderfully with the flat polished case facets.

Caselines and lugs are very well defined, although I would say that the slightly softened “dings” that can be seen in the sides of the case are evidence of gentle hand polishing over the years.

The crystal has some minor dings which are clearly visible in the video. Personally I would recommend keeping this original crystal on the watch, but I will supply an additional modern reproduction sapphire crystal that has been manufactured from a laser scan of the original.

Dial

The dial on this watch is quite extraordinary, and I have never seen another like it. Whether or not one finds this “patination” attractive or not is of course a very individual matter. Many people consider the supermodel Kate Moss’s defining characteristic as her freckles after all!

I will let the video do the talking on the subject.

Movement

The movement in this watch was last serviced in late 2021, and I do not propose to have it re-serviced prior to sale.

Accessories

The watch will be supplied with the correct Seiko branded buckle, as detailed in this article -

Price

The watch is priced at US$65,000.

Founding Member (15%) and paid (10%) subscriber discounts apply to this price, although once again I will stress that should the other 4580-7010 sell first, this watch will be withdrawn from sale, and should neither watch sell by December 31st 2023, both will be withdrawn from sale.

This newsletter will be forwarded to all subscribers on Monday December 11th. Please note that subscribers upgrading their memberships after Monday December 4th from free, to paid or Founding Member, will not be able to take advantage of the discounts offered.

Delivery

Due to the value and historical significance of this watch, delivery will be by hand, anywhere in the world.

The cost of delivery will be dependent on location, and will be discussed privately with collectors who are seriously considering purchasing the watch.


Any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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