The purpose of this newsletter is to provide guidance on which vintage Grand Seiko auctions on Yahoo Japan might be of interest to collectors. I also detail those “dodgy” listings that you need to avoid.
What you will notice is that this isn’t just a simple list of auction listings - in discussing the merits (and demerits) of the listings I often branch off into a bit of background that I hope will be useful in helping you to learn some of the nuances of collecting vintage Grand Seiko.
For those paid subscribers who are reading one of these newsletters for the first time, you can access the archive of all the previous newsletters on the Substack website (or the iPhone and Android apps).
Going forward, I will be unlocking these newsletters a week after sending them out to paid subscribers. The main benefit is of course alerting paid subs to the auctions that they might be interested in bidding on (and avoiding), but I feel the educational value post-close of the auctions is only fair to share to all.
Important note for UK and EEA subscribers -
Yahoo Japan is now actively blocking connections from the UK and the European Economic Area due to the prohibitive costs of adhering to the GDPR regulations for a relatively small number of users.
To get around this for the purposes of this newsletter, links to the auctions detailed will be provided through one of the Japanese proxy companies - FromJapan.
Whilst I have been a customer of FromJapan for many years, I do not receive any benefits from using these links.
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The first Grand Seiko with raised logo dial
It’s a fairly quiet week on the recommended front I’m afraid, and we kick off with an example of the first Grand Seiko that in almost any other week probably wouldn’t have made the cut.
However, there is a seemingly endless demand for first Grand Seikos at the moment, and I’m sure there will be quite a few people interested in this one.
The reason that for me it gets a pass is because of that small stain near the SD dial logo. Stains like this are pretty common on these dials, but it’s the location of this one that puts me off - it’s just too distracting from the dial print. Were it to be towards the periphery of the dial, then the watch would probably get a much stronger recommendation.
No doubt by now most of you will be familiar with this seller, who only ever provides four photos for their listings. From these, the case looks to be pretty good, and I’m pretty sure the only noticeable issue with the dial is the aforementioned stain.
Unsurprisingly the crown is not original, and in this instance with the overall good condition of the case and the fact it is a raised logo dial, I’d probably recommend settling for one of the modern reproduction crowns to replace the one with the watch now.
Grand Seiko 5646-7010
I think it’s been a while since I featured one of these in the newsletter that didn’t have a patinated dial. The reference is undoubtedly the most accessible of all the vintage Grand Seikos, and as such makes a superb starter piece for any collection (or indeed, a great value watch if you only want to own a single vintage Grand Seiko).
With a lovely clean dial and case that retains its sharp edges, this is a pretty easy recommendation - not least because in this instance, unlike so many times with 5646’s, the seller states that the watch is running accurately, and more importantly, the quickset day and date change is fully working!
Grand Seiko 5722-9991
Here’s a reference that makes far too many appearances in the “bad guys” section, so it makes a change to be able to include one up top.
There are a few light stains to the dial, but this is otherwise a very nice example of the reference. Of all the 57GS variants, it’s probably fair to say that the 5722-9991 is the least desirable due to it having the later non-chronometer dial.
Coming from an honest and reputable seller, if you’re interested in picking up a 57GS but don’t want to have to pay what it takes to get the earlier references, this would be a great pick-up.
Grand Seiko 5646-7030
It would be preferable for the photos to be of better quality, but based on the images provided, this looks to be a very sharp example of the 5646-7030. This reference seems to be getting more popular of late, and I expect there will be quite a bit of interest in this one.
It’s not a vintage Grand Seiko, but I like it
Grand Seiko SBGF003
Dating from 1995 (so more time has passed since this watch debuted to today, than passed from the end of the vintage era to when it was introduced), the SBGF003 was actually the very first Grand Seiko of the modern era to feature a coloured dial (as opposed to white/cream/silver or gold).
Some will love the style, some will hate it. I love it, and was after one of these for years until I finally managed to pick one up back in 2021.
The bezels on these are scratch and fingerprint magnets, and it is very rare to come across one with its bezel still in great condition, as with the one we see here.
It’s also a very tough watch to photograph, as evidenced by the appalling catalogue photo -
The seller here has actually done a pretty good job, but to show you how good these can look, here’s a photo of mine -
Early references from the modern era are very overlooked in the market at the moment, but something tells me their time will come. Pick ‘em up whilst they’re still bargains!
An early dial 6145-8000 in cap gold from Closer
It’s be tough lately to find watches to recommend that are sat with dealers in Japan, and whilst there is nothing “spectacular” about this one, I do think it represents remarkable value at just 107,800 Yen, and if you wait until first thing Wednesday morning (literally 12:01am Japan time) and order through From Japan, you should be able to get an additional 7% off that, as they have a weekly Rakuten offer.
Grand Seiko 5722-9991
Looks like our friend took a week off for Golden Week last week, but he’s back with the usual fodder!
Grand Seiko 4520-8010
There’s nothing “dodgy” with this watch, but since it is one that I often feature in the good guys, I thought it probably worth highlighting this one this week as I don’t recommend you should chase it - if you’re after one of these, I would strongly recommend waiting for one in better condition to turn up.
Grand Seiko 6146-8050
I suspect this one will do quite well, despite the fact that of course that is not the correct faceted crystal for this reference - the correct crystal only has vertical facets.
It’s also worth highlighting that this particular seller reconditions the cases of pretty much every watch he sells. He does it well, but if you are after something with the original unpolished case, be very careful if you are tempted by one of his listings.
Grand Seiko 43999 SD dial
No surprises to see one of these appearing up with the return of the usual seller. No doubt in time he will come out with a better reprint than the one we see here (so obvious from the pointy A’s in the dial code text), but for now, he seems to be doing very well with this one.
Grand Seiko 6155-8000
What a strange lot.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone manage to put together a “set” from so many different vintage Grand Seiko Series before!
The watch, whilst a Special, is nothing special - just an average condition 6155-8000 with a nastily gouged caseback medallion. The bracelet is I believe the XQB070, which is correct for the 564x-7010’s, the certificate is for the 56GS series (some would also claim it is correct for the later 45’s), the price ticket is for the ladies 1964-0010 in cap gold, as is the swing ticket.
As for the boxes, well it’s hard to tell from the photos, but going by the relative size of the certificate and the inner box in the final photo, I think they may be for the 19GS, but possibly could be 56GS.
The seller would probably make more money selling each of the things separately than by putting them all together and presenting it as a full set. Just bizarre.
It will be interesting to see what this listing sells for in comparison, which looks to be all the correct boxes and papers for a 19GS.
Grand Seiko 5646-7000
The 5646-7000 was never originally sold on a bracelet, and we have an odd listing here where bidders may well perceive the value of the bracelet that is fitted to the watch to actually exceed the value of the watch itself.
The bracelet reference is XAB271 (an example of which sold last month for 79,000 Yen), and it is correct for the 6155- and 6156-8000 Specials (as featured immediately preceedingly). I wonder whether someone will pick up both these lots and do some mixing and matching!
In fact, iff you really want to go to town on these mismatched sets, here’s a listing for the 19GS to whom at least the swing tag and price ticket - and possibly the boxes as well - in the Special listing belong.
Popcorn at the ready - let’s see if someone buys all three!
Redone coloured dial summary
As usual, I close with the usual reminder to steer clear of any vintage Grand Seikos with coloured dials similar to the above. This is not a comprehensive photo - there are many references that get this “treatment”, and several listings typically appear every week.
The bracelet on SBGF003 seems to be 16 cm, a bit small for me. Any tips on where one can buy more links?
Much quieter than the previous blockbuster weeks!