In 1960, Seiko created their enduring entry in the luxury watch market, Grand Seiko. Produced by Suwa Seikosha, the simply-named Grand Seiko offered the sort of fit and finish usually reserved for fine Swiss watches, with a simple hand-winding in-house movement to match.
That first Grand Seiko carried none of the familiar model designations, and Seiko had not yet settled on their now-familiar calibre naming scheme. But the calibre was marked “3180”, and that name has stuck. It was a 25-jewel movement beating at a leisurely 18,000 A/h but capable of delivering chronometer-grade accuracy.
We have here a Chrono24/Auctionata listing for February 14, 2014. Lot number 98 is listed as “Grand Seiko Chronometer Wristwatch, Japan, Around 1970“, which is of course totally incorrect. This is indeed a first-generation 3180 Grand Seiko in gold. These were produced from 1960 through 1964, at which time the line was replaced by the updated 57GS.
All is not perfect with this Grand Seiko, however. First, as noted in the listing, it is missing the original strap and buckle. In its place we have an “Audemars Piguet leather strap with pin buckle”, which looks reasonably good if not perfect.
But larger problems appear as well: The crown and case back appear to have been replaced. The crown is all wrong – Grand Seikos had a knurled crown with just a hint of convex at the end, stamped with a simple “S”. This one is far to dainty and fussy for the watch.
The case back appears to be a glass display model, which we actually quite like. It’s nice to be able to see the “tractor” ticking away inside like a modern watch, one issue we had with the recent 130th anniversary reissue of this very same watch by Seiko. But we miss the stock solid case back’s lion medallion, which signified a chronometer grade movement until Seiko dispensed with it in about 1966.
Overall, this is a nice piece. But the imperfections limit its value. Find it at Auctionata with a starting bid of € 1,200.
Update: Sold for € 1,200.
Update: Auctioned again on July 11, 2014 and sold again, this time for € 1,000.
Brand: Grand Seiko, Seiko
Style: Dress watch, Wristwatch
Case: Gold, Precious Metals, Yellow Gold
Country: Asia, Japan
Source: Auctionata, Chrono24
Tags: 3180 Grand Seiko, Grand Seiko, Suwa Seikosha