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The Seiko 1975 Volume 1 Catalogue
For the benefit of those subscribers who have signed up recently, each week I publish an article featuring scans of vintage Grand Seikos that appeared in the Seiko catalogues of the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Although based on the articles originally published on TGSG website, these articles will be updated where appropriate with additional knowledge gained in the three or so years since they were first made available.
Additionally, since I now have the complete set of the catalogues, I am able to publish these articles in the correct chronological order - something that wasn’t possible when posting to the main website since, when starting out documenting the catalogues, I hadn’t completed my collection of them.
You can view the previously published newsletters in this series here.
(Apologies for being a little late with this newsletter this week - premium subscribers, your weekly guide to the vintage Grand Seikos on Yahoo auctions will be coming later today.)
The Seiko 1975 Volume 1 Catalogue
And so we find ourselves in 1975 - generally accepted to be the final year of the vintage Grand Seiko era. Whilst it is very likely that retailers would have still had stock of Grand Seiko references in 1976, the catalogues represent what was offered by Seiko, and so it is likely that after this final year, it was no longer possible to order new stock.
Volume 1 of the 1975 catalogue continues with the format introduced by the previous main catalogue, being A4 in size, which permits a greater number of watches to be shown on each page.
With the last of the vintage Grand Seikos to debut appearing in the supplement to the 1974 volume 2 catalogue that I featured last week, all that remains to do is to detail the watches appearing in the range, and it is interesting to consider where they were positioned in the catalogue as it demonstrates just how (relatively) unimportant Grand Seiko was to the overall Seiko off by this point in time - 5 years into the quartz revolution.
The initial 8 pages of the catalogue present the top of the range references similarly to how they are shown in the Special Luxury Catalogues, but there are also many additional pages that follow – with the now standard 3×4 layout for men’s, and 3×5 layout for women’s – featuring watches in precious metal cases. In total, there are 150 (yes, one hundred and fifty) men’s and women’s references presented in precious metal over the first 20 pages of the catalogue.
What a time to be alive.
It is on the first of these additional pages is where we find two 18K gold cased Grand Seiko’s.
5646-7005 on 18K gold bracelet, 5645-7005
At the bottom right of the page we find two familiar references – the 5646-7005 on an 18K gold bracelet, first introduced in the 1973 Special Luxury Catalogue; and the 5645-7005, which, whilst it made its debut all the way back in the 1970 Special Luxury Catalogue, hasn’t actually been featured in any catalogue since 1973’s volume 2.
The latter watch is also offered at its third different price point of 236,000 Yen. On introduction it was priced at 180,000 Yen, but strangely had its price dropped to 176,000 Yen in its catalogue appearance previous to this one.
There follow another 18 pages featuring both quartz and lower-end mechanical references before we finally get to see the remaining eight Grand Seiko’s to be depicted in the catalogue.
The last of a dying breed
Sharing a page with some King Seikos are the final Grand Seikos ever to be offered. All but one of these watches would be featured in the last catalogue that vintage Grand Seiko was featured in – 1975’s volume 2.
Alongside the two day-date 6186 movement VFA’s is the 6156-8040 Special that was introduced in 1974’s volume 2 supplement, and was the final vintage Grand Seiko reference. The 6155-8000 Special next to it makes its final catalogue appearance here.
On the second row we see four 56GS references – the white dialed 5646-7010 offered on both a bracelet and a leather strap; the blue dialed 5646-7010, and finally, the 5646-7030 that was first introduced in 1974’s volume 1 catalogue. Dropped from this catalogue is the watch introduced alongside the 5646-7030 the previous year, the Arabic numeral dialed 5646-7040.
Next week’s newsletter will feature the final catalogue of the vintage Grand Seiko era.