Loupe This to present rare Grand Seiko VFA 6186-8000-G for auction Loupe This to present rare Grand Seiko VFA 6186-8000-G for auction

Loupe This to present rare Grand Seiko VFA 6186-8000-G for auction

Zach Blass

You may have heard a lot about Loupe This these past few weeks. The online auction platform, founded by Eric Ku and Justin Gruenberg, recently hosted the charitable Pink Dial Project Auction, which raised $526,803 USD for the fight against breast cancer. They also auctioned off a generously donated Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/014, which secured yet another $369,000 USD for charity as well. Aside from the charitable efforts of Loupe This, the regularly scheduled programming consists of highly attractive lots that appeal to all sorts of collector tastes and styles – each watch meticulously graded and scrutinised to ensure the bidding process is as pleasant as possible. Everything from Rolex, Brietling, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, MB&F, and more has been presented for auction. But next week, the platform is scheduled to list a rare collectable in exceptional condition: a Grand Seiko VFA 6186-8000-G.

Grand Seiko VFA 6186

Accuracy has always been a pillar of Grand Seiko’s grammar of design. The Grand Seiko “First”, introduced in 1960, was the first watch made in Japan to receive an “excellent rating” from the Bureax Officiels de Controle de la Marche des Montres – in turn leading the “First” to be the first Japanese wristwatch to display the chronometer label on its dial. Eager to prove their watchmaking prowess to the world beyond Japan, as well as validate their internal sense of pride and pursuit of horology, the Seiko corporation throughout the 1960’s tirelessly battled Swiss manufacturers at various observatory and chronometry contests, each year coming back stronger and stronger with more accurate calibers. Interestingly, as Seiko’s presence began to grow and grow at these contests, a Swiss agency decided that Grand Seiko could no longer label their watches as chronometers, ruling that chronometers must be tested in Switzerland.

This is where the story of VFA begins. Ineligible to submit their creations to Swiss standards, Grand Seiko rightfully decided to create their own certifications. In 1966 the “Grand Seiko Standard” was established, a standard still used to this day, which mandated a mean daily rate of +5/-3 seconds per day – notably two seconds stricter than the +6/-4 seconds per day of COSC and far stricter than the chronometer standard of the era (+10/-1 seconds per day). While incredibly accurate, Grand Seiko pushed the limits further with their “Grand Seiko Special Standard” of +/- 3 seconds per day and even stricter “Grand Seiko Very Fine Adjusted” standard: +/- 2 seconds per day for their mechanical pieces, guaranteed to run within a minute per months for the first two years of ownership.

While these pieces presented top-class accuracy for the era, and even by today’s standards, the VFA automatic watches had a short production run of three years – leading to their rarity in the present marketplace. That is why it is huge news for Grand Seiko enthusiasts, or those who simply appreciate great horology, that Loupe This is presenting a Grand Seiko VFA 6186-8000-G for bidding.

Grand Seiko VFA 6186

The stainless-steel case, 37mm in diameter and 42mm lug-to-lug across the wrist, takes on a familiar faceted and geometric profile. While its form has evolved in the current catalogue, the Grand Seiko VFA 6186-8000-G utillises a 44GS case shape – the giveaway being the broad polished shoulders of the lugs. This precursor to the current generation of 44GS designs equally stuns with top-notch executed surface finishes including satin brushing and Zaratsu distortion-free mirror polishing. The case has some blemishing and scuffing, as well as minor nicks to the bezel and crystal, but in a way this is good news. It would seem the case has never been refinished or polished, the sharp lines preserved as well as the integrity of its 44GS geometry.

Grand Seiko VFA 6186

Heading beneath the crystal, this Grand Seiko VFA 6186-8000-G has a dark navy blue dial with slight markings that reveal its age. Pencil-thin indices surround the dial, with the third hour index replaced with a day-date complication in English through a single rectangular aperture via black on white discs. The central hours, minutes, and seconds hands are also narrow in stature, but the hours and minutes hand do have Dauphine sensibilities with a line passing through the centre symmetrically splitting the ever-so sloped sides of the hands – a testament to Grand Seiko’s attention for detail. At 12’ you have an applied Grand Seiko logo, with corresponding automatic text printed beneath, and at 6’ is where you will find the VFA signature and logo.

A subtle, yet very neat, aspect of this lot is that it appears to include a period-correct (if not the original) black alligator Grand Seiko strap with matching stainless-steel Seiko pin/buckle. The strap shows signs of age, with wrinkles due to fold or wear and the “GS” logo on the underside looks to have faded. But it is in great condition nonetheless, ready for wear out of the gate. At a lug width of 18mm/19mm, there are plenty of aftermarket options should you to want to explore them.

The technical star of the show here is the Seiko in-house caliber 6186B, a 36,000 VPH movement regulated to the VFA +/- 1 minute per month standard. There are signs of oxidation to the caliber, consistent with its age, but amazingly these rare watches and their calibers are known to maintain a high degree of accuracy even today.

Grand Seiko VFA 6186-8000-G: How to bid on Loupe This

To register to bid for the lot, be sure to create an account on Loupe This before the lot goes live next week (likely next Thursday). Happy bidding!