Grand Seiko 45GS 4520-8000
If you want a classic Japanese ‘grammar of design’ and the early GS 36000 vph hi-beat movement, 45GS is your choice. Although modern Grand Seiko impresses mostly with their technical and detailed approach, they are leaning on something. They’re leaning on rock solid, beautiful designs forged in the mid 60s. The 45GS is one of a handful from that era that could be considered a core component to Grand Seiko’s DNA. If you’re willing to dive into the deep rabbit hole of vintage Grand Seiko, you won’t be sorry. The payoff is just as deep.
The ‘grammar of design’ was introduced by Taro Tanaka for the 44GS. This model described nine design elements explicitly that were intended to be enduring through all time. Those were a double-width 12 index, multi-faceted rectangular indices, a polished bezel, highly-polished planes and 2D surfaces, a half-recessed crown, flat dial, faceted hands, curving sideline, and a reverse slanted bezel with case side. That very well-defined formula has clearly influenced nearly everything GS have released since. This 8000 series case is probably the most closely adhering design within the 45 lineup (7000 cases are a little more angular variation on the theme).
After the 44GS, this 45GS (produced from 68-73) fused that design formula with a 36000 vph movement. The second hand sweeps with an impressive smoothness. The no-date dial and classic fonts let you focus on just that. For its performance, the movement is quite robust. As one would expect, a well-engineered bit of practical precision. Typical, really. I mean that with complete adoration.
This example is a not a safe queen, but not rough. The case has certainly been polished. It can be seen on the edges and planes alike. Shape is still present. The dial is quite strong, but not perfect. There is mild discolouration around the very edge. Its back is legible but worn. It’s quite an honest 45 and would be an excellent watch to actually wear frequently, rather than store away. This would be a watch to buy, never sell, and enjoy the hell out of.
Find this 45GS here from Special Dial for ~1500 USD.