1969 was one of the most spectacular 12 months in Seiko’s legendary and storied history. That year, the Japanese company 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 full serviced gold 1979 King Seiko 9923-701A, with its spectacular textured dial, gold bracelet, and Grammar of Design case design (with original instructions manual).
In 1978, Seiko introduced the King Quartz 99xx calibre (making this example here one of the first made by Seiko), an improvement upon the first preceding Seiko quartz movement, with its hacking Twin Quartz design. 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 up to the contemporary era (let alone those when the watch debuted in the mid-1970s).
Seiko completed its Twin Quartz in 1978, further raising the quartz bar again (much to Swiss chagrin, we’re sure). In the 1970’s, the Japanese watchmaker added a second quartz crystal to their leading movements, resulting in various Twin Quartz movement families. Suwa Seikosha was first, introducing their Calibre 99 family (which the example here counts itself) in mid-1978. The Seiko approach made use of a second quartz crystal to detect changes in temperature and tune the timing of the primary crystal accordingly (vice for timing). The innovation resulted in accuracy as excellent as five seconds per year in the Seiko Superior Calibre 9983; other members of the Calibre 99 family achieved 10 or 20 seconds per year (when new) in its Grand Quartz and King Quartz dress watches.
Following Seiko’s 1975 introduction of its Grand and King Quartz lines, Seiko quite simply reigned supreme by any metric – 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 Calibre 99xx, ending the 48xx line the same year.
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 gold 9923 gleams like glass, despite nearly half a century of use.
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 lives on today in Seiko’s newest generations of quartz movements, such as the classic 9923 here.
This King Quartz comes on its original signed gold bracelet, and with a nylon strap, rugged travel case, King Quartz instructions manual, and springbar tool.
Gold 1979 Seiko King Quartz 9923-701A Twin Quartz Dress Watch, w/Instructions
DIAL: A fantastically-textured dark black King Quartz-signed dial, with matching hour, minute, and second hands. Applied stick hour indices provide the dial with an intriguing depth.
CASE: Gold King Quartz case measures 36mm (37mm w/crown) x 42mm, with sharp Grammar of Design case edges. The KQ case is quite atypically gold, with matching battery caseback hatch that fits tight.
CRYSTAL: Hardlex crystal in great condition, with no scratches or edge chips.
BAND: This King Quartz comes on its original gold KQ-signed bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. 8.5 inch wrist; bra