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The Seiko Watches Catalogue - 1969
For the benefit of those subscribers who have signed up recently, each Tuesday 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 newsletters 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.
A quick plug for paid subs
(feel free to skip this section if you so wish!)
As I write, there are now very close to 300 people subscribed to this Substack, with no fewer than 50 of you choosing to take out a paid subscription. Frankly I’ve been blown away by the take-up to, and support for, this little endeavour, and am working on ways to enhance the content over the coming year.
One thing that I have decided to do is to offer anyone with a paid subscription “first dibs” on new watches that are offered for sale. Following a slight delay in getting the next watches to be listed serviced due to the holiday season, I’m a little behind on the planned listing, so the current watches will be up for perhaps another week or so.
In keeping with the “5” theme for paid subs ($5 a month or $50 a year), anyone who is a paid subscriber immediately prior to the publishing of a new “watches for sale” newsletter will have a 5 day exclusivity window for purchasing, during which the watches will be discounted by 5% from their listed price.
5 days following publication, the newsletter will be shared with all subscribers, and the 5% offer for paid subscribers will cease. Going forward, I probably won’t be updating TGSG website with any of the watches for sale.
OK, plug over. Let’s get on with the main content.
The Seiko Watches Catalogue - 1969
I covered in earlier newsletters three other Seiko catalogues that were published in the second half of 1969 - the regular “Number 2” catalogue, the Supplement to that, and the newly conceived Seiko Special Luxury Catalogue.
Here we see the final catalogue (that I am aware of) from that half year.
Unlike the Special Luxury Catalogue, that continued to be published for a number of years following its 1969 introduction, the catalogue seen here is - I believe - a one-off. I have not seen any other similar publications from other years, although of course that doesn’t mean to say they are not out there - prior to March 2020, I had no idea this one even existed, and there wasn’t a copy in the Seiko Museum library when I last visited in 2018.
Including the covers, the catalogue has 16 pages, with the presentation of the watches contained within it somewhat similar to how the watches are shown in the Special Luxury Catalogue.
Although undated, based on the references depicted, I am strongly of the belief that the publication came out in the latter half of 1969. The rationale for this is that pictured within it are some references that only debuted in the 1969 Number 2 Catalogue - the 18K gold cased 6145/6-8000, and the ladies 19GS R-100 (movement/case reference 1964-0010).
Interestingly, the inclusion of the 18K 614x-8000 references overlaps with the content of the Special Luxury Catalogue (“SLC”). It is possible - but this is just conjecture on my part - that this catalogue was intended for a tier of shops just below those that would have carried the top-of-the-range watches featured in the SLC.
As alluded to above, within the pages are featured both men’s and women’s watches, with the latter actually comprising the bulk of the content.
Five men’s Grand Seikos and one women’s Grand Seiko are pictured, but the photos are used to detail multiple variants of the watches shown, leading to a total of eleven featured references.
The first page shows the 6146-8000 (late dial variant - first seen in the 1969 Number 1 catalogue) cased in steel, along side the 1964-0010 (debuted in the 1969 Number 2 catalogue).
(click any of the images in this newsletter to view in higher resolution)
Whilst it is quite hard to make out, with a bit of photo manipulation and through the help of the DeepL online translation service, we learn that the text at the top of the page states -
“The pursuit of exacting precision… The cultivation of sophisticated design… The trust that comes with the five letters of SEIKO.”
The next spread shows the remaining Grand Seikos to be featured in the catalogue.
The four watches pictured are of course from the 45GS and 61GS series. Whilst we have witnessed tremendous growth of the offer through the year - 1969 started with just 10 watches in the range (4 carry overs from 1968, and 6 new references), and closed with no fewer than 32 - from the customer perspective it was all relatively simple.
Here we see what is fundamentally the same watch design, in multiple options -
Date in automatic or manual, day-date in automatic only, time only in manual only, all available cased in either stainless steel or cap gold.
If you wanted an automatic, then it came from the 61GS series, and if you wanted a manual, it came from the 45GS series. 61GS were offered with date or day-date, and 45GS with time only or date.
The simplicity of the offer even extends to the pricing architecture (apologies for the nerdiness - I have a retail background so this kind of thing fascinates me!).
Start at 27,000 Yen for the “base” stainless steel manually wound watch.
Add 3,000 Yen for each incremental “complication”.
Add 7,000 Yen to upgrade from manual to automatic.
Add 8,000 Yen to upgrade from stainless steel to cap gold case.
With the 18K cased 45GS watches left to the Special Luxury Catalogue, and no VFA’s to be seen, the 18K gold 6145/6-8000 represent the pinnacle of the men’s offer.
Whilst there are no further Grand Seikos presented, it is probably worth including scans of the rest of the catalogue for completeness, starting off with a double page spread of King Seikos, and then following are the remaning women’s references.