Vintage Grand Seiko models not appearing in catalogues - 56GS
For the benefit of those subscribers who have signed up recently, I have been publishing a series of newsletters featuring scans of vintage Grand Seikos that appeared in the Seiko catalogues of the 1960’s and 1970’s, culminating in a newsletter focusing on the Grand Seiko references for women.
The intention behind this series is to cover in detail every single vintage Grand Seiko, with - where possible - corroborating contemporaneous evidence for the legitimacy of the reference.
Having now covered all the official Seiko JDM catalogues of the period, there is one more major task to fulfill, and that is to document the legitimate references that never appeared in a catalogue.
These references can be broadly grouped into three different categories –
Vintage Grand Seikos that did not appear in the regular catalogues (annual, biannual, supplemental, or Special Luxury), but were featured in other official publications such as Seiko News and Seiko Sales. Examples would include both variants of the 43999.
Vintage Grand Seikos that appear neither in the regular catalogues nor other official publications (to the best of my knowledge following research to-date), but clearly were available for sale to the public based on extensive examination of watches in collections and that have come to market over the past decade, and also following consultation with other experts. Examples would include the platinum cased “Firsts”.
Vintage Grand Seikos that were commissioned by third party companies, and would not have been available for sale to the general public. Examples would include the Toshiba 25 year service anniversary models.
Each of the seven men’s vintage Grand Seiko series features references that fall into at least one of these categories. Because there is a lot to cover, I will be splitting this study over the course of several newsletters, structuring the newsletters by series, and then by the above three categories.
In the previous newsletters in this series I covered the “Firsts”, 57GS, 44GS, 62GS, 61GS and 45GS. In the final newsletter in this series, we take a look at the 56GS references that never appeared in the catalogues.
You can view the previously published newsletters in this series - which is now complete and covers all the vintage Grand Seiko watches appearing in catalogues - here.
Grand Seiko “56” series references missing from the catalogues
Grand Seiko 5641-7000 Toshiba 25 year service anniversary
With the previous model 4522-8000 used for the Toshiba commemorative making its final catalogue appearance in 1971’s number 2, the final reference used for the 25 year service anniversary became the 5641-7000.
I believe these watches were only issued for those celebrating their quarter century work anniversary in the years 1972 and 1973.
Grand Seiko 5645-7000 Idemitsu Commemorative
A few years back I acquired an example of a previously undocumented reference created for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Idemitsu Foundation. As with the 6146-8010 detailed in an earlier newsletter, the watch has a custom case back with the commemorative text surrounding the Grand Seiko medallion, and the model and case reference numbers stamped on the inside of the case back.
Grand Seiko 5646-5010 - Roman numeral dial
Just a little over a month prior to the publication of this newsletter, a Japanese collector on Instagram with the account “@tokyo_watchs” posted a remarkable photo that showed a watch I had never seen before -
The watch on the left should be familiar, having made its sole catalogue appearance in volume 1 of 1973.
The watch on the right however is a big surprise!
The 564x-5010’s comprise a set of four watches. Two with the time and date 5645 movement, as pictured in the bottom row of the above catalogue scan; and two with the day-date 5646 movement, as seen in the bottom row on the immediately preceding catalogue page, pictured below.
The 5646-5010 shown in the @tokyo_watchs post has the same dial texture and layout as that pictured in the catalogue, but the colour of the dial is that of the 5645-5010 Roman numeral example - a graduated charcoal, rather than a graduated olive.
This is the only example of this watch that I have ever seen, but will certainly be on the look out for it in the future!
And that is almost a wrap - just one more article to come in this series, on the vintage Grand Seikos featured in Seiko export catalogues.