1969 was one of the most spectacular in Seiko’s storied history. That year, it released the world’s first automatic chronograph, the Calibre 6139 and the V.F.A. (Very Fine Adjusted) movement – which delivered Seiko’s highest yet level of precision for a mechanical movement.
Seiko would also release another first upon the world, the first quartz wristwatch. The Quartz Astron went on to change the way the world told time, and severely tested the dominance of the Swiss, bringing high technology within the reach of all.
As the world got accustomed to the novel new Astron technology dominating the market in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Seiko was hard at work on its next innovation to challenge Swiss watch industry dominance, developing the Superior, Grand Quartz, and King Quartz lines – like this 1977 King Seiko 4823-8130, with its spectacular deep blue dial.
In 1975, Seiko introduced the King Quartz 4823 calibre, an improvement upon the first Seiko quartz movement to be produced in large quantities, the 38xx calibre series. The KQ’s high level of finishing easily remains several cuts above the disposable mass-produced quartz movements fitted to the vast majority of modern quartz watches (let alone those when the watch debuted in the mid-1970s).
Following Seiko’s 1975 introduction of its Grand and King Quartz lines, Seiko simply reigned supreme – the combination of innovative technology and Tanaka’s Grammar of Design lines overwhelmed anything the Swiss had on offer. And the Swiss quite literally paid the price for this in global market share loss. Subsequently, in 1978, Seiko introduced the twin quartz 9943, ending the 48xx line that year; regardless, the latter remained a more robust movement in comparison.
Seiko’s newly developed quartz collections replaced its mechanical Grand Seiko and King Seiko collections were produced until the early 1980s. The Japanese company, thankfully, has never seen fit to let go of its famed Grammar of Design philosophy, and for the hard-core collector, there is ample evidence of Seiko’s dial design genius and finishing techniques here – this 4823 gleams like glass, despite nearly half a century of service.
During the 1970’s, Grand and King Quartz contained many innovations, and many remain solely with Seiko – one was the special Grand and King Seiko "jumping seconds hand" (before it evolved to be called Seiko’s "dancing hands"). When the crown is pulled to adjust the time, the seconds hand will jump ahead 10 seconds to accommodate for the time it takes to set the time, further ensuring accuracy.
Seiko would go on to produce a diverse line of Grand and King Quartz watches, characterized by a beauty that competes with the best of its 1970’s golden age. To wit, some of its quartz lines were identical in price point as Rolex at the time. Their accuracy was unmatched and live on today in Seiko’s newest generations of quartz movements, such as the classic 9F.
This King Quartz comes on a stainless-steel bracelet, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.
1977 Seiko King Quartz 4823-8130 Dress Watch
DIAL: A fantastic deep blue King Quartz-signed dial, with matching hour, minute, and second hands. Applied stick hour indices provide the dial with an intriguing depth.
CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 36mm (37.5mm w/crown) x 41.5mm, with sharp Grammar of Design edges. Matching battery caseback hatch fits tight.
CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal in great condition, with no scratches or edge chips.
BAND: This KQ comes on a vintage stainless-steel bracelet; it also come with a nylon strap.