Growing status of Grand Seiko reflected by results at the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: XIIIZach Blass
Watch enthusiasts love Grand Seiko. But the question of whether top-tier bidders would paddle up for the brand at a Phillips auction remained uncertain – until this weekend at least. The reason? Unfortunately some narrow-minded collectors have been known to shun anything that is not Swiss made, with a clear inclination for Patek Phillipe and Rolex references. But the climate seems to be changing, because at the recent Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: XIII, Grand Seiko achieved their best results yet at the auction house.
Grand Seiko ref. SBGD001
The Grand Seiko SBGD2001 is a modern piece, but was released back when dials were co-signed Seiko and Grand Seiko. The limited edition of eight pieces was introduced in 2016, with a retail price around $55,000 USD. The 43mm platinum creation was fabricated and assembled by the renowned artisans of the Micro-Artist Studio, where the best of the best Grand Seiko references are made.
The watch caught the eye of Grand Seiko collectors due to its “diamond dust” texture dial, 8-day power reserve manual winding Spring Drive movement, and of course its Zaratsu-finished platinum case – which has water-resistance of 100 metres (a rare trait for elegant and dressier platinum watches). Considering it went for almost twice the original retail price, it is fair to say there were collectors itching to add the rare watch to their collection.
Final Hammer Price: CHF 88,200.
Grand Seiko ref. 61GS V.F.A
To be honest, the final hammer price of this watch was a bit of a (pleasant) surprise because you can find 61GS VFA references for sale under $10,000 USD – but not as well preserved as this lot. Originally introduced in 1969, Phillips proclaimed the configuration was on the rarer side and clearly collectors and Grand Seiko aficionados felt this was a great opportunity to own among the first V.F.A references in excellent condition.
A neat aspect of this particular watch is its day date calendar complication that can display the information in both Japanese and English at the discretion of the owner. This 37mm stainless steel 61GS V.F.A shows Grand Seiko’s early experimentation with case geometry and development of their grammar of design. Its faceted Zaratsu case is quite stunning, with broad polished lug shoulders and the mid-section of the front case vertically satin brushed. The “Very Fine Adjusted” movement within boasted an incredibly regulated movement that Grand Seiko pledged would run within one minute per month, a much greater level of accuracy than what Swiss manufacturers were producing at the time.
Final Hammer Price: CHF 44,100.