Within the world of vintage Seiko, Grand Seiko – distinguished by the “GS” on their spectacularly designed dials and chronometer movements – reign supreme. But this 1965 Seiko 6245-9000 Seikomatic Chronometer here isn’t a Grand Seiko – it’s the immediate predecessor to the very first automatic Grand Seiko, the GS 6245-9000.
It’s also the same watch that angered Swiss Contrôle officiel suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) officials so much they changed chronometer rating rules to exclude Seiko in favor of Swiss-based watch companies.
Per Fratello guru Michael Stockton, “The Grand Seiko 62GS strikes me as one of the more distinctive dress watches from the 1960s. Its clean case lines, lack of a bezel, and casual disregard for a proper crown are just a few of the aspects that make it so special. Of course, the dial…contains everything we admire about the brand such as the finely applied indices and logos… One piece of advice: don’t sleep on these. They are simply that good.”
Above plaudits aside, some brief history. As we hinted at above, the Grand Seiko 62GS didn’t actually start life as a Grand Seiko, but rather as the Seiko Seikomatic 6245-9000 here in mid-1965. Featuring a chronometer rating, which Seiko has only bestowed sparingly on several of its watches since 1960, the Seikomatic 6245 was produced for a mere two years, heightening its rarity.
However, the Swiss COSC – in a fit of pique at the Chronometer rating on the non-Swiss Seikomatic 6245 – declared via the official Swiss chronometer agency that watches had to be tested in-country to qualify. Seiko had faced down the Swiss in the past, and it wasn’t about to stand down this time – the Japanese watchmaker instead played a game of one-upmanship via the creation of the Grand Seiko Standard, which tests its watches in-house to a standard even more strict than the Swiss COSC one.
As part of the Grand Seiko Standard, Seiko transitioned the Seikomatic 6245 into the Grand Seiko 6245 in circa late 1966 - Seiko would only continue to produce the Seikomatic successor until early 1968
But what a production! The clean dial design impresses with its details, with a simple silver sunburst background transitioning into a step dial – providing it with extra depth – with an outer minute ring and radial brushing. And let’s not neglect the applied indices, logos, hands, and fantastic black serif fonts reveal the precision and attention to detail Seiko is legendary for.
The other design aspect Grand Seiko is famous for is also present here on this Seikomatic 6245 – namely, Grammar of Design case awesomeness. None of the flat or sharply angled surfaces found on other iconic GS models like the 44GS are present here; instead, lots of finely polished angles with channeled and ridged complex lugs. “In the steel,” the watch reflects light beautifully.
Again, per Fratello, “…this piece is all about the details. Upon first glance, though, I admit that it might not be painfully obvious what makes this watch so fantastic. At the risk of sounding like a neckbeard who jabbered incessantly about the qualities of the Japanese brand, this watch really deserves to be held. Hell, this deserves to be studied because it was way ahead of the pablum that the best from Switzerland were trotting out at the time… one of Seiko's all-time greats.”
And Seiko knew the Grand Seiko/Seikomatic 6245-9000 was a legendary watch – in 2015, it re-issued the design as the Grand Seiko SBGR095, with prices between $5k to over $21k (depending on variant) in today’s market.
This Seiko 6245 Seikomatic comes on a premium leather strap, with nylon strap, springbar tool, and rugged travel case.
1965 Seiko 6245-9000 Seikomatic Chronometer Automatic Dress Watch
DIAL: Brilliant Seiko Seikomatic-signed dial; matching hour, minute, and second hands.
CASE: Stainless-steel case - in all its Grammar of Design glory - measures 36.5mm x 40.5mm; caseback showcases the fantastic gold Seiko lion medallion.
CRYSTAL: Slightly domed crystal, in good condition - no scratches, but with small crack near five o'clock position.
BAND: This Seikomatic comes on a premium greenish-brown Strap Geeks leather strap; it also comes with a blue, white, and red nylon strap.
MOVEMENT: The 35-jewel Hi-Beat 6245A automatic chronometer movement beats at 19,800 bph, manufactured in December 1965.
CROWN: Correct unsigned crown at the four o’clock position.