Grand Seiko First carved logo October 1960

Grand Seiko First carved logo October 1960

Maker: Seiko
Model: Grand Seiko
Reference: The first Grand Seiko, carved logo (early variant)
Year: Cased in October, 1960
Material: 14k gold filled
Dimensions: 36mm diameter; 11mm thickness
Crystal: Plexiglass
Lume: N/A
Caliber: 3180
Service History: Feb 2020, currently running at +1.7 sec/day
Bracelet/Strap: Brown leather strap (pictures on first picture) with non original grand seiko buckle
Lug Width: 18mm
Box/Papers: None

The Grand Seiko “First”, 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 – now Seiko Epson –  based in the Nagano prefecture in central 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”. 

The most obvious feature that people concentrate on when looking to collect this reference is the way that the “Grand Seiko” logo is created on the dial. There are three main variants – printed, carved, and raised. This example is the early carved logo variant which was in production only in 1960. One can tell that this is the early carved logo variant due to its deep and “organic” nature of how the logo is carved. These early variants were manually hand carved whereas the later carved logo variants were carved using machinery. The dial code on this watch - GSJ14H156 - further confirms that this is one of the earlier production GS firsts. Furthermore, the caseback serial as well as the movement serial code both have a production year of 1960 further supporting the fact that all is consistent with this piece. It is estimated that less than 10,000 pieces of these carved logo variants were produced by the Suwa factory. Due to its manual and laborious production process Suwa abandoned this practice and switched to the raised logo’s from 1961. In recent years, the watch community has finally caught up to both the rarity and beauty of the carved logo variant and prices of these pieces have steadily increased. 

Overall, this GS first is in good condition. We know from the previous collector/owner of this piece that the crown and the lion medallion is NOT original and used replacement parts from a donor GS first. Other than this we believe everything is original to the watch as can be evidenced by the consistency of the movement serial, caseback serial, and dial code. The gold filled case has few scratches and most likely been polished in the past but retains its edges. The dial surfaces show aging and visible spotting but is in honest and fair condition considering it is a 60 year old watch. The indexes are made of 14k solid gold as indicated by the sun shaped “special dial” logo above the six o’clock. The hands are crisp and the coveted “mountain” hands are consistent with the carved logo variant. The movement has just been serviced by our watchmaker in February 2020. It is currently running at + 1.7 seconds/day.