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SOLD - Grand Seiko 6146-8010 "Arabesque"

Pyramid faceted crystal
2

Back into the safe it goes!

Background

Keeping up so far with my plan to offer a new watch each Monday, this week it’s the turn of the remarkable 6146-8010, nicknamed the “Arabesque” due to the florid graphic underneath and around the applied Grand Seiko logo.

The 6146-8010 came in two different variants - identified by their differently faceted crystals - and featured in the catalogues for just a single year, debuting in the first volume of the 1970 catalogue, and taking a bow in the second.

With the base 6146-8000 in steel selling for 40,000 Yen, there was no less than a 50% premium for these two references. In effect, they filled a price point gap between the regular references and the VFA’s, which started at 85,000 Yen for the 4580-7000.

One can only assume given their relatively brief appearance in the range that they were not a huge success sales-wise, but that extra 20,000 Yen bought you a couple of very cool features.

Firstly, as indicated by the “HSS” in the catalogue description, the cases of the Arabesques were made from Seiko’s proprietary “Hardened Stainless Steel” which was much more resistant to scratching than the regular steel. Secondly, we can see in the catalogue image on the left in the above scan, the crystal of one of them had strong vertical facets. The catalogue description also reveals that the crystals on these two watches were made of sapphire, rather than Seiko’s usual Hardlex plastic.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the watch on the right just has a regular flat crystal, but this is actually the pyramid faceted variant that is offered for sale in this newsletter.

The pyramid faceting is extremely subtle - so subtle in fact that from straight on, it is all but impossible to make out that the crystal features any faceting on its surface at all. Here’s a screengrab from the end of the video -

Once you start to move the watch around though, things get really interesting indeed, with some angles revealing a remarkable effect from the crystal refracting the light multiple times.

It’s so good, it really does deserve a dedicated video to show it off -

Of the two variants, the pyramid faceted crystal Arabesque is by far the rarer, with the vertically faceted example outnumbering it by more than 3:1 with regards the number of examples that we see coming to market today.

With the 615x “Specials” launching in the first volume of the 1971 catalogue, the Arabesques were squeezed out of the range completely. The 6156-8000 Special with a regular stainless steel case and hardlex crystal could be had for just 53,000 Yen, and for those who wanted the practical and aesthetic benefits of a hardened steel case and faceted crystal (albeit only of the vertical variety), there was the 6156-8010 for 68,000 Yen.

The Arabesques are today of course highly sought after - they have that almost irresistible combination of scarcity, historical intrigue (one was placed in the Expo70 time capsule that will remain buried for another 4,947 years!), and aesthetic brilliance - with the pyramid faceted example just taking things to a whole other level.

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Case

The case is in superb condition, with the all important addition vertical flank (distinguishing it from the regular -8000 case) extremely well defined. There are hairline scratches, but no significant dings or gouges at all.

On this one I would not stick my neck out and claim the case is unpolished - if I was nit-picking, I’d suggest that possibly there is some very slight softening of the edges, but I would expect that from gentle cleaning with a cloth over the years, and certainly there is no evidence that anyone has ever attempted to refinish the case.

Crystal

The all important crystal is immaculate, with neither a single chip nor scratch to be found. The facets are extremely sharp, and I’m certainly very confident the crystal has never been polished.

Dial

The dial is in superb condition, with just some slight wear at the very periphery between the 10 and 1 indices. The little bit of detritus that is visible in the videos at the edge of the dial near the crown will of course be removed at service!

Movement

As always, the watch will be sent off to my watchmaker for a full movement service immediately prior to shipment.

Price

To be perfectly honest, had the 6146-8030 that I listed last week sold already, I wouldn’t have been offering this one for sale at all. But as will be obvious from my Instagram feed, something exceptional has come into the collection and I really do need to shift some pieces to fund it, so let’s see if someone will jump at this one at a price of just US $5,000.

Note that the listing for the 6146-8030 will be going out to all those with free subscriptions shortly (it automatically goes out to all exactly 7 days after the newsletter firsts gets distributed to paid subscribers, so I think it will be in about an hour from now). Should that watch sell before the Arabesque, I reserve the right to withdraw this one from sale!

As always, your paid subscription gets you a 10% discount on the listed price for the first seven days after publication, so this wonderful reference can be yours for just $4,500 - freshly serviced, and with fully insured worldwide courier delivery included.

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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