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Thread: Vintage Datejust vs vintage Grand Seiko

  1. #1
    Master Rocket Man's Avatar
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    Vintage Datejust vs vintage Grand Seiko

    Apologies if this has been posted before but I found this interesting comparison of two similar but also very different watches, the DateJust 1603 and Grand Seiko 6245-9001.

    https://adventuresinamateurwatchfett...s-grand-seiko/

    I think both are great, timeless designs but I do have a preference for the GS because I love the bezel-free design and the hands look just deadly.

    Both watches obviously have their modern equivalents in the current 36mm Datejust and the SBGR095 Historical Edition. I wonder what that comparison would reveal?

  2. #2
    Grand Master
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    A full on fistfight in watch talk probably.

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    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Looks like a very interesting comparison. Good reading.



    Quote Originally Posted by verv View Post
    A full on fistfight in watch talk probably.
    Hah! ;-)

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    Master Caruso's Avatar
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    That was actually a very interesting article, especially the technical detail about the movement. And a surprise ending given the content on the rest of the site.

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    Master James.uk's Avatar
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    Enjoyed that. Thanks for posting. J

  6. #6
    Master
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    Vintage Datejust vs vintage Grand Seiko

    Both beautiful. My take on it - in terms of the vintage pieces, it's a lot easier to find a decent example of the DJ than the GS, which has aged gracefully. There are just more of them, and more of those are better looked after, and perhaps the design was just less vulnerable to water ingress when left for too long. A bit of all three probably. The Rolex service network would have helped, and still does. Parts availability for GS of this era is not great, to say the least. It may also be a factor that culturally, the Japanese are often more inclined to buy a new one than lovingly restore the old model. The hiatus in the brand before its relaunch won't have helped either, in terms of regular servicing. However I can say that the 60s GS self-dater I have is keeping excellent time and feels rock solid.

    In terms of the current version, they are very different beasts. The DJ has continually evolved. For me the design lost some of its appeal over the years as the case shape changed, and the indices became lume filled. Technically these may have been improvements, but I prefer the old school charm. At least the DJ41 seems to have landed, as a design, and feels like a sensible modern incarnation of the classic idea. No arguments with the improvements in the movements at least, and the service network certainly improves on mailing watches to Maidenhead to be sent to Japan for rather expensive refinishing, even if that works (AP will re-finish a Royal Oak for less).

    Where the modern GS differs though is that it's a very faithful reproduction. In most cases I'm not keen on re-issues as they feel inauthentic, but GS is the exception. I was able to take a close look at one of these in SalonQP and it left a lasting impression, it's exquisite. I can't comment on the movement and I'll leave brand preferences aside, but it is a very special watch in person, though perhaps quite small for some. In summary, I'd take the vintage DJ but the modern GS.
    Last edited by Itsguy; 13th September 2017 at 12:11.

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    Grand Master
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    I found mist of the article interesting although some of the writers views made me cringe.......probably a generation gap thing!

    As for trying to do a 'head to head' comparison, in the way the car magazines used to test cars, I don't think it ever really works with watches. Much of the appeal of a watch is emotive, it's always been that way and it always will be. Taking a watch apart gives more insight to its quality (or lack of) but even then it can be subjective.

    Paul

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    Craftsman
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    I very much enjoyed the comparison, though I've never been drawn to Grand Seiko. They're undoubtedly excellent watches, and beautifully crafted, but they just leave me cold. For that reason the Rolex was always going to be the winner. I agree with the author that with the original bracelet they look a bit like an old man's watch, though on leather/NATO it's a different thing. Unsurprisingly all but my SD16600 are on leather......

  9. #9
    Grand Master
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    Old man's watch because the old men usually have better taste. I`m 59 and I own two Datejusts.....and my good taste is beyond question

    To me, a Datejust never looks right on a strap; trying to put one on a NATO is plain daft IMO, and trying to put them on scruffy-looking (aged?) leather doesn`t work. The slim lugs flow into the bracelet nicely, almost giving the impression of an integrated design. The bit between the lugs isn't finished properly, it never looks right.......that's because you're not meant to see it. The older folks have the good sense to realise it, in the same way that we don`t need holes in the knees of our jeans.

    I was actually planning to sell my 16234, I refitted the original white dial and fully refinished the case and bracelet. In the end it looked so damned good I changed my mind, couldn`t bear to part with it. Only drawback is poor legibility in subdued light, the later versions are much better in this respect. I stupidly sold a white baton dial and handset from a later 116200 a few years ago, whilst not original it would've looked nice on my watch.

    Forget the Sub, BLNR, Daytona etc, the archetypal Rolex will always be the Datejust. The only model in the Rolex line-up that looks OK with the fatter case too.

    Paul
    Last edited by walkerwek1958; 13th September 2017 at 11:38.

  10. #10
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itsguy View Post
    My take on it - in terms of the vintage pieces, it's a lot easier to find a decent example of the DJ than the GS, which has aged gracefully. There are just more of them, and more of those are better looked after, and perhaps the design was just less vulnerable to water ingress when left for too long. A bit of all three probably. The Rolex service network would have helped, and still does. Parts availability for GS of this era is not great, to say the least.
    Agreed, but this is a western view. I wonder how availability of good quality vintage GS is in Japan. I don't follow Yahoo Japan or similar enough to really form a good opinion.

    I am guessing that the vintage GS parts situation is no better in Japan, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Itsguy View Post
    In summary, I'd take the vintage DJ but the modern GS.
    Despite agreeing with most you say, I think I'd prefer a vintage GS in very good condition!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by markrlondon View Post
    Agreed, but this is a western view. I wonder how availability of good quality vintage GS is in Japan. I don't follow Yahoo Japan or similar enough to really form a good opinion.

    I am guessing that the vintage GS parts situation is no better in Japan, though.



    Despite agreeing with most you say, I think I'd prefer a vintage GS in very good condition!
    I've kept an eye on yahoo auctions Japan via proxy bidding services from time to time, and while there's plenty of availability, good condition is still unusual. From personal experience I know that Seiko in Japan just don't have the dials or even the hands, so the majority of examples you see have scratched or corroded hands and indices, and often stained dials. This lead to my self-dater being redailed as black, which quite a few have been and which looks awesome actually, but will give purists sleepless nights as only the reissues have black dials. A similar Rolex would of course have had the dial and / or hands replaced at service over the years, and there's a thriving market in original and restored Rolex dials.

    I'd agree that vintage in VGC would be the preferred option, and in the case of the self-dater prefer the original design to the reissue, but it's hard to find really good examples. On the plus side, they generally cost a good deal less than the vintage DJ, though a mint one might not. The thing with the re-issue is, it just radiates perfection. I like the way a vintage DJ softens and mellows over time, but with the GS, that mirror polishing benefits from being brands new so in this case the reissue does have a certain wow factor, and the same applies to most of the historical collection.

  12. #12
    Master huytonman's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this, it was an enjoyable read. I wasnt aware of Grand Seiko until I first visited Tokyo in 1999, at the duty free I saw a nice looking Seiko for what I took to be about 400..luckily I double checked before buying it as I had missed off a zero, it was close to 4k and I was shocked at the time that a Seiko could cost so much. Now that I have owned numerous Grand Seiko's I can fully appreciate the quality and although its very tempting to compare them to Rolex I dont really see the point - they address the same type of application in very different ways and IMO neither is "better" than the other apart from when it comes to value retention where the competition ends and Rolex beats GS hands down. Having said this, of the two watches the GS would take my vote but thats probably because Ive never owned a vintage GS whereas I do have Rolexs'. I havent got a GS at the moment but no doubt will own another some day.
    Keith

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by huytonman View Post
    ...and although its very tempting to compare them to Rolex I don't really see the point - they address the same type of application in very different ways ... Keith
    Well, it was just a bit of fun but I would argue that they address the same type of application using a rather similar template: they are both 1960's dress watches with a date calendar function; they are both 36mm in diameter; they both use chronometer grade automatic movements running at 19800 bph. Where they differ is in their external aesthetic and in some of the technical aspects of the movements. You can also read in the introduction to the article where I was coming from in terms of drawing contrasts between their relative positions within the marketplace and the perceptions of those positions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Itsguy View Post
    Parts availability for GS of this era is not great, to say the least.
    I would agree generally with this when it comes to case parts, dials and hands but movement parts are relatively easy to come by, particularly in the case of the 62GS series because the base movement was widely used in all sorts of lower-level models. The issue with outward facing parts is to buy a decent example in the first place and then you don't need to worry!

    Quote Originally Posted by markrlondon View Post
    I wonder how availability of good quality vintage GS is in Japan. I don't follow Yahoo Japan or similar enough to really form a good opinion.
    I do follow Yahoo Japan and availability is pretty good, as long as you use a pretty broad brush approach to your searches. I regularly see decent examples of the watch featured in the article for sale but of course, with the much improved ease of access to Yahoo Japan for outsiders and the world wide demand for vintage watches in general, prices can be very strong.

    Martin

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