Discover more from the Grand Seiko guy
Whoever she was, it must have scared the living daylights out of her
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. 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.
There are a few minor marks on the dial, but this remains one of the better examples of the first Grand Seiko to turn up recently.
As always with this seller, the watch is very well presented and should do well.
Here is another example of how a well presented listing can really help to elevate a watch and get you to pay attention.
The slight softness to the case, and the well worn caseback medallion might put off a few, but it seems clear from the photos and description that the watch has had a recent service, so should be a worry-free purchase should it take your fancy.
As always, if you’re patient, a better example will surface at some point (and the earlier 1966 references with the lion caseback medallion are more desirable), but any downsides will be reflected in the final price, and this would make a great daily wearer.
The 564x-5010’s are certainly outliers in the vintage range - especially the two variants with Roman numerals on the dial.
Typically I probably wouldn’t expect a collector to even think of getting one of these until they already had at least four or five other pieces in their collection, but that didn’t stop a chart-topping pop star from the 1980’s (his group had the top selling single in the UK in 1986) purchasing a 5645-5010 as his first - and to the best of my knowledge, only - vintage Grand Seiko a few years back.
Things to look out for with these are clean edges to the dial, and to make sure the brushing on the bottom half of the case flanks has not been polished away.
Although the bracelet isn’t original (these only ever came on straps), I must say I think it suits the watch very well. Also note that the description states the quickset date change is working, so no worries on that front.
A slightly off-piste reference from the vintage era for sure, but a very attractive watch nonetheless. And hey - if it’s good enough for 80’s pop royalty, it’s good enough for you!
It’s interesting that even with ten photos of the watch, you still want more, and from different angles, in order to fully get a true perspective on the state of the case.
It’s why I now am firmly of the opinion that the only true way to remotely assess the condition of a watch is with a video. But, not everyone has a robot to spin a watch around whilst filming it, so we just have to work with what is presented to us!
Everyone is after SD dialed 43999’s at the moment, and this - wrong crown excepted - would appear to be a very honest example. Whilst I’d prefer to have more angled photos of the lugs, the case does look pretty sharp, and that harsh lighting will show up all the flaws.
Caseback serial number indicates this comes from the first month of production - August 1963, and is one of the first couple of thousand to be manufactured.
There is a risk here - reading the description the seller states that the second hand moves if you shake the watch lightly. Err, perhaps try turning the crown and see if it runs? Also, no movement shots, so we can’t be guaranteed that the correct 430 movement is in there.
But I suspect there will be quite a few people who will overlook those worries, and possibly pick up the watch just to get the dial and case. We will find out how brave the bidders are come Monday!
(If you do take the risk, you might want to also pick up this just in case you need some spare parts!)
It’s always nice to see a legitimate “Arabesque”, and not the fake ones from you-know-who that make regular appearances in these newsletters.
Although the pyramid faceted crystal variant is the more sought after, there are still plenty of people out there hunting for a good example of an Arabesque with a vertically faceted crystal.
The seller has provided detailed photos that highlight the minor issues with the crystal and dial, and the case is very sharp. Whilst it’s generally not wise to state a case is unpolished, there’s no doubt in this instance that no attempt has ever been made to refinish it here - it’s about as good as you could hope to find.
This should do very well.
It’s not a vintage Grand Seiko, but I like it
No collection of 1970’s quartz would be complete without at least one example from each of the three generations of “Superiors”.
At their time, the 3883, 4883, and 9983/9980 quartz calibers each represented the most accurate movements Seiko offered.
I suspect most readers will be familiar with the “regular” 9983-8000 reference, pictured below -
- but possibly many will not be so familiar with the watch featured in this listing. Whilst sharing the same reference number, and offered in the same case and bracelet, the dial is - to state the obvious! - clearly very different.
To the best of my knowledge, this particular 9983-8000 reference was not offered in Japan, and instead intended for overseas markets.
The dial shares the wonderful applied minute markers as seen on the JDM model, but the twin-quartz logo and Superior branding are dropped, and taking their place is a simple applied “SQ” logo. And then there is the colour and finish - an absolutely exquisite deep blue with a sunburst texture.
The minimum bid on this one was set at 100,000 Yen, and someone has put a bid in. Everybody else - currently there are 27 people watching the auction - will be sitting back for the action in the last 10 minutes. It will be very interesting to see what this goes for.
For those wondering just how rare these are, I’ve taken a look back over the last three years of listings for the 9983-8000, and whilst there are sales of well over 200 examples of the twin quartz superior branded JDM version, just two blue dialed “SQ” variants have turned up.
I was fortunate enough to pick up one of these a few years back, and if I can find the right battery to get it ticking again, I’ll stick it on the robot later today or over the weekend and shoot a video of it.
General Georgi Koskov
I really cannot fathom how bidding for this one has already hit 185,000 Yen, with two more days to go.
One of the more recent designs of redone dials, and an aftermarket caseback medallion.
If you look at the undersides of the lugs, it’s also clear this watch spent many years on a poorly fitted bracelet.
From our usual friend, this is one of the earlier types of redials of a 57GS (the “Chronometer” text in particular is very jarring) - it’s been a while since I can recall seeing one of these.
Fonts are all wrong (no serifs), dial code not aligned correctly.
A poorly redone dial.
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.