I don't own a Grand Seiko for several reasons but a key one is aesthetics as I am not so into it's trademark gothic fonts and certain stylings of it so don't foresee myself owning one for the time being(never say never and I am tempted by some models) but I definitely appreciate it for it's philosophy on making refined, reliable and precise luxury watches without unnecessary elaboration or decoration... "Just pure, simple and basic watchmaking raised to the level of an art form"
And for now, I can't seem to justify their price tags seeing that there are sooo many good Seikos(both in their vintage and modern ranges) for less than $500(many below $200) to be had that tick many of the boxes important to me. [You can see this in my recent acquisitions of Seiko divers in posts below.] It is also because I prefer wearing versatile sports watches and hardly wear dress watches so don't intend to spend a whole lotta $$$ on a dress watch, which most Grand Seikos are.
So we come to a refined dress watch today from their King Seiko line, manufactured at the Daini(second) Seiko factory in the 1960s.
- In 1968, in the last of the Chronometre(read accuracy) competitions, the 'Accuracy Observatory Trials at Neuchatel' during that period, the watches from Seiko's Daini and Suwa factories were the most accurate mechanicals out there, trumping what the Swiss and others had to offer.
- Daini and Suwa factories were setup to compete with each other and both made Grand Seikos. Only Daini made King Seikos though.
- Back in the 60s and 70s, Grand Seikos had chronometre certs and were adjusted to a higher accuracy. King Seikos were not certified for accuracy but some of these watches had similar internals to the Grand Seikos. The first GS from Daini is the 44GS which was reissued last year LINK.
- In 1975, due to the quartz crises, that they were very much a part of creating, they could not keep these premium mechanical lines alive. The Grand Seiko line and the King Seiko line ceased production.
- From a co. history standpoint, they had challenges in the late 80s after the Plaza Accord from the G5, which weakend USD against the Yen and Deustschemark and suddenly had trouble selling Seikos cause the Yen was too high against the dollar.
- Interestingly, it was against this backdrop that in 1988, they decided to revive the Grand Seiko line with high end quartz watches.
- In 1998, they re-introduced mechanical watches to the Grand Seiko line.
- Current day Grand Seiko mechanical watches have a target accuracy range in use of -1 to +10 seconds per day. But in their tests of uncased movements, the requirement is for a mean daily rate in different positions of an impressive -3.0 ～ +5.0 seconds/ day i.e. better than COSC which is -4 +6, also based on the uncased movements.
- Per their site: "Grand Seiko Standard Inspection," which measures gain / loss (daily rate) under various environments, is carried out at the manufacturing plant for 17 days in total, and only mechanical watches that satisfy the standard are given the title of "Grand Seiko." More info on the certification here LINK and faqs here LINK
and it still keeps good time too :)
2 wrist shots follow... 35mm by 42mm on my
The 4402 8000 King Seiko is a clean, simple and wonderful vintage dress watch from the most accurate mechanical watch in-house manufacture at that time. It is undervalued impo and i am happy to have it in my watchbox for the (few) days in a year, I do decide to wear a dress watch