Condition is king. Condition is the new rarity. Condition, condition, condition. We’ve all heard the aphorisms praising sharp cases and original dial finishing. Here’s the thing though: these rules don’t just apply to Phillips auctions or vintage watches worth median home values. Condition is also a clear differentiator in more attainable vintage markets as well. Grand Seiko’s base 56GS are common enough in Japan to trip over. But with a dial like this? It would be a tough ask to find another.
The 56GS covered 18 variations in total, introduced in 1970. The reference was first to introduce an ultra-thin automatic calibre to the range, at just 4.5mm. It was one of the first GS series to have a fully automated production process and quality control was noticably improved in this generation. The reference 5646-7010 here denotes a full day-date complication and 28800 vph Suwa Seikosha derived movement.
While a cream dial 16550 may require a bank loan these days, a cream dial Grand Seiko is not yet as highly collected. That’s a good thing. Where value arguments are concerned, there is a strong case to be made for vintage Japanese metal. I have seen a handful of these series with unique patina. It is often not nearly this even. Spotting, partial degradation in tone, and peeling can often be seen when dials turn this dark. Not so here. This is a watch for an enthusiast to enjoy, no pretense, no hype.
I don’t need to state the dial is lovely. The case here is full and presents sharp lines. Light surface wear is visible throughout, indicative of frequent careful use. It comes from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this 5646 here from Those Watch Guys for 1250 USD.