Within the world of vintage Seiko, Grand Seiko – distinguished by the “GS” on dial, and often crown – inhabits the top of the food chain, simple as that. Grand Seiko – with 51 different models – were simply the most painstakingly designed and exquisite watches made by Seiko, produced by both the Dani and Suwa factories.
But all this ended with the Grand Seiko 5646 line when production ceased in 1976, a self-inflicted fatality of the Quartz Crisis. By the time it ended, the GS featured largely automated – rather than hand built – construction, and the 5646 was regarded as one of the best combinations of reliability, precision, and maintenance within the original GS lineup.
Make no mistake, the GS marked, and still marks, the very best Seiko has to offer, easily on par with the vast majority of what Switzerland has to offer by way of competition.
Or did Seiko really end Grand Seiko?
The Quartz Crisis is capitalized for good reason – it had a significant and devastating impact on global mechanical watch making but took several years to build up momentum to obliterate Grand Seiko sales numbers, seemingly rendering it a foregone conclusion for Seiko to end its production.
By 1975, five years after the Seiko introduction of the game changing Astron, quartz was steadily gaining market share, with the cheapest reference in the catalogue priced at just 32,000 Yen (the legendary 6139 automatic chronograph was a little over half that at 19,000 Yen and the 6105 divers, 20,000).
As Seiko transitioned steadily into a solid quartz line up – while atypically keeping some mechanical lines going – Seiko chose to continue mechanical name conventions of its dress watches, namely: Grand Quartz, King Quartz, Lord Quartz, all updated for the new quartz age.
Seiko made the strategic move to shift existing King and Grand Seiko brand loyalty away from mechanical and to the King and Grand Quartz lines. And the rest is history – until, that is, Seiko brought back their mechanical Grand Seiko line up in 1988. But that is a story for another time…
This Grand Seiko comes with its original stainless-steel bracelet, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1978 Grand Quartz 9943-8030 Dress Watch
DIAL: White Grand Seiko-signed textured dial, with matching hour, minute, and second hands.
CASE: Stainless-steel case measures 36mm (37mm w/crown) x 42mm; bezel has small scratches near the 3 o’clock position.
CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal, with several faint scratches.
MOVEMENT: Seiko 9943 quartz movement, manufactured by Seiko’s Suwa factory in June 1978; movement hacks.
CROWN: GS Quartz-signed crown.
BRACELET: This Grand Quartz comes with its original stainless-steel bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. 7.5-inch wrist. Bracelet links remain tight.