Saturday, October 22, 2011

1964 Second generation 43999 or 5722 Grand Seiko chronometer, box and owners manual

The search is on for a Second generation 43999 or 5722 Grand Seiko chronometer, box and owners manual. I have never seen a set of these, or even photos, so I have attempted to reconstruct this information from what is available on the internet.

1) Photo of first generation cal. 3180 Grand Seiko Chronometer packaging, tags and certificate:

Source: eBay auction (book)

Note that the first generation GS uses the Applique Dial 3-pointed star-inside-a-triangle logo (,161.0.html) rather than the GS Lion on both the box as well as the Chronomter certificate.

2) Photo of second generation cal. 43999 Grand Seiko chronometer, receipt and owners manual (not original box)

Source: uhm, not sure, but seem to remember it was cached from Rakuten.

3) Second generation 43999 or 5722 Grand Seiko chronometer, box and owners manual

Source: cached from online sales site

So, to sum up, a complete set for the second generation GS Chronometer would appear to include: 
  • a black, presumable wooden box with yellow and red "Lion logo" interior as seen in figure 3,
  • an owners manual as seen in figures 2 and 3
  • a chronometer certificate similar to figure 1 but with Lion logo rather than the three-pointed star,
  • hang-tags and price-tags similar to figure 1
  • an outer protective cover in cardboard similar to figure 1
  • receipt
Of all of these, only the owners manual appears from time to time on Yahoo Japan, in such pristine condition that the seller must a) either have a box full of NOS manuals, or b) have a good color printer and some strange fetish which involves copying only the second gen. GS manual and selling it on the internet. Occams razor suggests the former.  A scan of the manual can be downloaded at: 

1964 Cal 430 to 5722 Second Generation Grand Seiko Chronometer transition

 By way of introduction, these "second generation" Grand Seiko chronometers were preceded by cal. 3180 "first generation Grand Seiko". The 43999 has the caliber 430 (with "tadpole" regulation) and is occasionally termed 43GS, while the 57GS have the otherwise identical 5722A (tadpole) or the 5722B ("rack & pinion" regulation) caliber. Both are very similar to the original cal 3180 of the first GS.  My review of the cal. 430 Chronometer Grand Seiko can be seen at the Seiko and Citzen Watch forum

With respect to their crowns, a rule-of-thumb allowing the quick identification of otherwise essentially identical pieces is that the 43999 has a coarse-knurled crown, similar to that of the cal. 3180 "first generation Grand Seiko":

Source: Stefan Molle,

while the 5722 has the fine-knurled crown:


Both the 43999 and 5722 version of the second GS have the "W SEIKO" imprint on the crown. What is uncertain is whether there was a transitional period where 43999s had a fine-knurled crown, or whether these crowns where subsequently fitted during repair and maintenance.

The following indications suggest that there was indeed a transition period:

Exhibit 1: Antiquorum's recent auction of an early (1965) 5722 with a coarse-knurled crown:


Not exactly conclusive, but next we have:

Exhibit 2: 43999 paperwork, and what we must assume is the associated 43999, with fine-knurled crown.

Source: uhm, not sure, but seem to remember it was cached from Rakuten.

and finally,

Exhibit 3: From the "Vintage Seiko GS Chronometer Crown Liner 5722 5719 BOOK" what appears to be a cal.430 (=43999) judging from the short three-cifer caliber number on the movement, apparently a 1964 as far as I can make out from the case back, with a fine-knurled crown:

Source: eBay auction

Accordingly, it can be assumed to be correct to fit the fine-knurled crown (part number 55W31NS) to both the 43999 as well as the 5722 caliber second generation Grand Seiko chronometers, while maintaining originality.

Finally, part number 55W31NS is correct for the following watches:

  1. Grand Seiko Chronometer models 5722, 43999
  2. King Seiko Chronometer models 4400-9990, 4420-9920, 44999

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Geek nirvana? Moleskine notebook, 1964 GS chronometer & 1954 Parker pencil...

 Was sitting at a meeting today and had a moment of pure pleasure from the combination of my Moleskine notebook, a pristine Parker clutch pencil (0.9mm HB lead) from 1954 and a recently serviced 1964 Grand Seiko chronometer on a WJean mesh. Geek nirvana, or just the quiet enjoyment of some of the fine, understated pleasures of life in an every-day situation?