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Special Dial

Grand Seiko First carved logo 1961

Grand Seiko First carved logo 1961

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Model: Grand Seiko
Reference: The first Grand Seiko, carved logo (later variant)
Year: 1961
Material: 14k gold filled
Dimensions: 36mm diameter; 11mm thickness
Crystal: Plexiglass
Lume: N/A
Caliber: 3180
Service History: Feb 2020, currently running at -9.7 sec/day
Bracelet/Strap: Brown Crocodile leather strap (pictured)
Lug Width: 18mm
Box/Papers: None

The Grand Seiko “First” (GS1st) or “3180” as it is often referred to (due to its caliber reference) was introduced to the Japanese market on December 18th 1960. Created by the Suwa Seikosha company based in the Nagano, Japan, it was born out of a desire to create a watch that was “as precise, durable, easy to wear and as beautiful as possible”. 

There are three main dial variants to the GS1st – printed, carved, and raised. This example is the later carved logo variant which was in production in 1961. The dial logo for these were manually hand carved using machinery. Due to its manual and laborious production process Suwa abandoned this practice and switched to the raised logo’s from around the second half of 1961. In recent years, the watch community, especially in Japan, has finally caught up to both the rarity and beauty of the carved logo variant and prices of these pieces have steadily increased (doubling between 2018 and 2020)

Overall, this GS first carved variant is in fair condition. We know from the previous owner and from looking at the case serial that the caseback is NOT original to this watch. The crown also looks to be a replacement crown not original to this watch. Other than this, the movement and dial is consistent to the later carved GS1st variants as can be evidenced by the movement serial and dial code. The gold filled case has few scratches and most likely has been polished in the past but retains its original bevelled lugs. The dial surfaces show aging and visible spotting but is in honest and fair condition considering it is a 60 year old watch. The hour markers (index) are made of 18k solid gold as indicated by the sun shaped “special dial” logo above the six o’clock. The hand set looks to be original with the period correct “mountain” hands (which was only used in the print and carved logo variants) in good honest condition. The movement was serviced by our watchmaker in February 2020. It is currently running at - 9.7 seconds/day.

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