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For sale - Grand Seiko 6145-8020

"Blue" dial
3

Background

OK apologies - I skipped a week listing something for sale because I unexpectedly had to travel last week, but I’m back now, and whilst I was away, this arrived!

If you’re getting a slight sense of deja vu, it will probably because I had one of these available back in July, and it sold within just a couple of hours of being listed. The good news is, that means I don’t have to spend ages on the background, because I can just copy it over from the previous listing, so for those who missed out the history lesson last time around…

There is arguably no other set of references from the vintage Grand Seiko era that encapsulate the influence of the “Space Age” on their design than the 6145/6-8020’s.

The 61GS series was introduced in the 1968 Number 2 catalogue as a direct replacement for the short-lived 62GS, and were the first Grand Seikos to have movements ticking away at 36,000bph. Aesthetically, the initial 6145/6-8000’s were a natural progression from the “Grammar of Design”, itself best exemplified by the 44GS of 1967.

Just one year later, in the supplement to the second catalogue of 1969, Grand Seiko introduced a set of watches that couldn’t be more antithetical to the Grammar of Design if they tried - the time and date 6145-8020, and the time and day/date 6146-8020. Each reference was available with a choice of either a white or blue dial.

This catalogue also was the first to present vintage Grand Seiko watches on bracelets. Whereas the 6145/6-8000’s had previously only been offered on straps (and would continue to be so), the 6145/6-8020’s were only ever shown in the catalogues on a bracelet - marked 6146 802 on the endlinks - that is unique to the reference family.

Presumably the references must have been received very well, because whereas the 6145/6-8000’s were directly replaced with the introduction of the 5645/6-7010’s in the supplement to the second volume of the 1970 catalogue, the -8020’s continued to carry the torch for the base 61GS movements all the way through to their final appearance in the 1972 catalogue - fully two years after all other 6145/6 caliber based watches had been dropped.

The blue dialed examples of the 614x-8020’s have lost almost all their hue over the decades, and now are found with dials that have turned a dark grey/charcoal colour.

Interestingly, if you take a look at the catalogue scan above, it looks as though the 6146-8020 was originally presented as having a grey dial (bottom left of the left hand page), whereas the 6145-8020’s dial was blue (top right of the right hand page). However, this would appear to be a misrepresentation in the image, because the colour code for the dials of the two watches - the “042” after 61GAW/61GAC - is used to reference blue dials. With the publication of the subsequent catalogue - 1970’s Number 1 - it is clear the 6146-8020 was indeed initially offered with the same blue coloured dial as the 6145.

Despite this longevity, the watches are extremely difficult to find in excellent condition today, I consider myself rather fortunate to have been able to pick up another example, just a few months later.

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Condition and price

Case

The major problem a collector will encounter when seeking to add an example of one of the 6145/6-8020 references to their collection is the condition of the case. Sadly, almost all examples that you will see offered for sale have cases that have either been completely repolished, or poorly reconditioned.

Whereas the upper and lower flanks of the case of the 6145-8020 are flat polished, the top surfaces are finished with a wonderfully delicate and contrasting circular brushing.

It is common to see these references with either that brushing completely polished away, or with very poor attempts at recreating it when someone has tried to recondition the entire case following an all over flat repolish. Needless to say, in either scenario, the watch is basically ruined.

It is very encouraging to see that the case on this one has not undergone any attempt to recondition it. The contrast between the circular brushed top side of the case with the flat polished (if now, showing the inevitable hairline scratches) sides is still very evident, and you will note that all caselines remain extremely crisp.

There not really any even minor “dings” to call out, except perhaps a couple on the lower left lug which can be seen in the following screengrab.

As always, I would encourage you to spend some time carefully examining the video for yourself, but I feel this frame communicates very well the overall condition of the case, providing also clear visibility of the hairline scratches and the wonderful circular brushing.

Now that I can spin the watch in the video, no need for a separate caseback medallion photo - check the video for yourself and you will see it is in superb original condition.

Crystal

The crystal has a grouping of some minor chips on the edge at 6 o’clock, and a handful of other edge chips that can all be clearly seen in the video, but has otherwise survived largely unscathed (although see comment on the dial to come!). Apologies for the bit of detritus on the crystal above the date window - that will of course be taken care of at service!

Dial

The dial is basically immaculate, with no signs of any damage, even at the very periphery.

You may spot what appears to be some slight staining on the dial between the 10 and 12 indices. However, this is actually not on the dial, but I believe on the underside of the crystal - you can clearly see that it’s not on the dial from the two screengrabs below that show the parallax affect -

I can’t make any promises, but I hope this stain will be simple to clean off when the watch goes for its service. Regardless, it is a very minor issue that isn’t really obvious to the naked eye.

Bracelet

The watch is presented on its original bracelet, and the sections of the bracelet that you can see in the video are typical of the overall condition, which I would consider to be very good - again, as with the case, there are hairline scratches, but it is clear the bracelet has never been reconditioned. The photo above is intended to provide a guide as to the length of the bracelet (0 is set at the longest possible hole in the clasp). It should be comfortable for up to a 17.5cm wrist.

Movement

The movement will undergo a complete service immediately before shipment, with it being stripped down to individual parts, cleaned, rebuilt, lubricated, and regulated.

Price

The previous example of this reference that I listed in July was listed at $3,500 and sold almost immediately to a paid subscriber (who of course was able to take 10% off the price).

Condition-wise, this one is very similar, with perhaps the only two things worth calling out being the chips on the crystal, and perhaps more hairline scratches on the case (although with fewer “dings”).

I was fortunate to pick this one up for a song (one of those risky 2am gambles that actually paid off for once), and am looking to find a loving home for it promptly, so am pricing it at $2,800 (fully inclusive of the service prior to shipping, and worldwide courier delivery). Personal delivery by hand to Hong Kong or Singapore may be possible, subject to my rather haphazard travel plans (I’m hoping to be visiting both before the end of November, but have no confirmed dates as of yet).

As per usual, for the first 7 days of the listing, those with paid subscriptions can purchase this watch at a 10% discount, bringing the price to $2,520. Should the watch not have sold within that period, this newsletter will be automatically forwarded to all subscribers, with the discount no longer available.

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch directly, or simply use the comment section below.

the Grand Seiko guy is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

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