My God, what's Bond doing?
I think he's attempting re-entry, sir.
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).
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. Please note that these links may not include every image included in the listing.
Whilst I have been a customer of FromJapan for many years, I do not receive any benefits from using these links.
As is the norm now, I will commence with the good guys.
Delayed publishing to free subs
Substack has a new feature this week where a paid-subs newsletter can be sent out to free subs after a delay.
I hope you all won’t mind, but I’d like to test this out, so this newsletter will be going out to paid subs as usual on Friday morning, and then to those with free subscriptions on Tuesday. I’ll start a chat to get some feedback on this to see what people think about it!
Here’s a handy subscribe button if you’re a free subscriber and feel the content is worthwhile upgrading for!
Last week’s example of this reference ended up closing for 200,000, which - despite the wrong crown - was a good deal for the buyer in my opinion.
This week we have another, which I suspect will do better than that, not least because it has the correct crown this time, and has just undergone a service (pity the poor watchmaker working on New Year’s day!).
For some reason the dials on these don’t seem to age well, and this one is pretty typical of the ones that turn up with a few obvious blemishes. The case - and remember that this being cap gold will never be anywhere near as crisp as a steel one - is in excellent condition.
My favourite detail of this reference is the arrowhead second hand - a design detail not found on any other vintage Grand Seiko.
Same seller as the one below, and he’s just closed this auction as well. Most odd.
Ok this is weird. This auction - which was due to run for another 2 days - was closed early, right between the time I clicked on the Yahoo link, and the time I pasted that link into the From Japan search field.
I’m going to leave it in the newsletter because it was only listed last night, so if the seller is relisting it for some reason, it will almost certainly be gone by the time next week’s newsletter comes out.
I suggest you keep an eye on the seller (just click the link to his listings on the FromJapan page) to see if it pops back up.
Although the case has been refinished, it’s not as bad as some that turn up, and the dial is pretty clean as well. If you’re patient, you will find better ones, but you will see a lot worse than this come to the market while you wait.
Well that was frustrating. Let’s see if this one stays up long enough for me to get the newsletter out!
Whilst my preference (and recommendation) with the 62GS would always be to go with the -9000 variants if you can (you just can’t beat that lion medallion), this is a lovely example of the later -9001 with the GS medallion that deserves a feature.
You’ll probably want to source a new crystal for this one - that deep scratch right above the day-date apertures will be very annoying I’m sure - there are no issues with the rest of the watch. A very nicely preserved cap gold case, and - as is common with these - a very nearly immaculate dial. I can’t think of a vintage Grand Seiko dial that ages (or rather, doesn’t age) as well as the ones you find on the 62GS.
The seller states this has been in long term storage and he couldn’t get the caseback off, so definitely factor in the cost of a service when bidding on this one.
The 452x-8000’s are always in high demand - it’s one of the references I get the most requests for. Here we have the slightly less desirable 4522-8000 with the date complication. As with the 62GS above, I suspect you’ll want to get a replacement crystal, but the case and dial are both in excellent condition.
There are a few minor white spots on the dial, so if you’re after a mint example this won’t be the one, but I suspect it will garner a lot of interest nevertheless.
With a - claimed, and I see no reason to doubt it - unpolished case, an almost completely intact caseback protection sticker, and what looks to be a very clean dial (although this highly exposed it is hard to be certain), I will be very surprised if this is still available within an hour of this newsletter going out.
Bidding is currently only sat at 60,000 Yen, but this listing has a buy-out at 149,000 Yen, which would be an absolute steal for any vintage Grand Seiko in this condition. For a Special, it’s bordering on crazy.
Buy it - right now!
Having recently published “primers” on the first Grand Seiko and the VFA’s, I’m currently working on one for the 57GS series. It will be quite a few weeks before I publish it however as there are literally thousands of past auctions to catalogue into a database before I can get started.
One of the things I’m hoping to narrow down is the date range for “transitional” references such as this one, where we find a AD dial from the 43999 in a 5722-9990 case.
Whilst my preference is always to go for the “standard” 57GS variants, there is nothing inherently wrong with transitional pieces such as the one seen here.
The watch itself has a very clean dial, with just some minor staining around the very edges, and the case is in pretty good condition - although clearly has had some “attention” in the past.
As is always important with these, it has the correct coarse knurled crown, and being sold by one of the most reputable dealers on Yahoo, it should do very well.
To be fair, this could have landed in either section, but I’ll put it here because I believe that despite the problem, it’s still a great watch.
The issue is that this is a 43999 from August 1963 - the first month of production - but with the later AD dial that is first seen on watches dating from January 1964. Once I’ve finished my research for the planned primer article these details should become clearer.
Yes - Seiko being Seiko - it is always possible that a case from August 1963 hung around for months before being used, but there’s no way to prove it for certain one way or another.
If you are prepared to overlook the slight discrepancy, what remains is a watch is absolutely superb condition, with the correct original crown, a nice sharp case, a wonderfully clean caseback and medallion, and a near flawless dial. Clearly from the date wheel though it will be needing a service.
Coming from the seller who only ever provides four photos, there is a slight concern about what the movement inside might be - it should of course be the 430 movement. if it isn’t, then that would be a sure sign of a frankensteined watch. Personally I’d like to believe this started out life with an SD dial, and for some reason in the first couple of years of its life needed a replacement dial it was the AD dial that was in production at the time.
Another example of this reference, and at least I can be sure that this listing will still be up by the time I hit the “publish” button!
Whilst not in as good condition as the earlier listing - note particularly the staining of the dial around the applied GS logo, and that deep nick on the upper right case edge - 44’s are in high demand and I’m sure this one will do well, especially given the fact that - dings aside - the case is very sharp indeed.
This 5656-7010 with a lovely creamy patinated dial makes it three in a row from the same seller.
Don’t forget you’ll almost certainly want to factor in the cost of a replacement crystal and a full service, but I’m sure it would be worth it.
Just a reminder that I am currently offering a 20% discount on all the watches that remain unsold from 2022, including this rather lovely solid 18K gold 5645-7005 that is now priced at under $3,000 including a full service and fully insured courier delivery worldwide!
You can view the other watches available here -
It’s not a vintage Grand Seiko but I like it
Wow. No other words necessary.
Just look at these photos -
I rather suspect a new record for this reference will be set with this one.
This one is back for a second week. The bidding last week got up to 1,126,000 Yen, but for some reason the seller canceled the auction and has relisted it.
See last week’s newsletter for the details on this one.
A perennial weed that just keeps returning every week.
You almost certainly won’t need me to point out this dial has been very poorly redone, but just in case, I’ve included it here!
Redone coloured dial summary
My now regular sign-off 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.