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10 Best Seiko Vintage Watches to Invest In (2023 Guide)

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seiko vintage

Seiko is a distinguished innovator in the watch world, coveted for its standout models like the Grand Seiko, King Seiko, vintage Seiko chronographs, and the first mechanical watch. 

Vintage Seiko timepieces from the 1970s, especially in the Japanese market, are gaining popularity among collectors due to their iconic design, enduring craftsmanship, and significant market value. 

While Seiko is renowned for affordability and quality rather than luxury, select models from the Grand Seiko and King Seiko lines offer a luxurious horological experience without a hefty price tag.

In this article, we will explore the top ten vintage Seiko watch models—each chosen for its exceptional craftsmanship, design, and historical significance. These timepieces, each with a price point well above S$1000, represent the upper echelons of what Seiko has to offer, each a treasured piece of Seiko’s rich heritage for the Seiko fans.

1. Seiko “Bullhead” Chronograph – Stainless Steel & Brown Dial Ref. 6138-0040

Seiko “Bullhead” Chronograph Ref. 6138-0040

About

The “Bullhead” is an emblematic men’s watch within Seiko’s 6138 series. Dating back in 1970, Seiko debuted this vintage Seiko Chronograph that has a distinctive crown and pusher layout combined with a unique case shape embody the design ethos of the 1970s. 

With its striking brown color scheme, this watch stands out, attracting a devoted following among enthusiasts of vintage timepieces and oddities in horology.

Features

This watch features a distinctive chronograph along with date and weekday functions. Its enduring appeal is further accentuated by the robust and clear mineral glass crystal.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 1970
  • Case Size: 46mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Brown
    • Bracelet – Stainless steel
    • Bezel – Stainless steel
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Chronograph, Date, Weekday
  • Mechanism: Caliber 6138, Automatic winding

2. Seiko 5 Pogue Chronograph – Stainless Steel & Orange Dial Ref. 6139- 6002

Seiko Pogue Ref. 6139- 6002

About

This model stands as a legendary emblem of the 1970s’ Seiko watch era. This stainless steel men’s timepiece features an eye-catching orange dial and a Pepsi bezel. This particular model gained significant recognition after accompanying Colonel William Pogue on the 1973 Skylab 4 Mission, despite not being officially authorized by NASA. 

Features

This watch features an eye-catching chronograph, date function, and a distinctive Pepsi bezel. It is famed for its space heritage, having journeyed with Colonel William Pogue on the Skylab 4 Mission in 1973.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 1970
  • Case Size: 41mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Orange
    • Bracelet – Stainless steel
    • Bezel – Stainless steel
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Chronograph, Date
  • Mechanism: Caliber 6139, Automatic

3. Seiko Baby Panda Stainless – Steel & Silver Dial Ref. 6138-8000

Seiko Baby Panda Ref. 6138-8000

About

Baby Panda, a men’s watch, embodies timeless elegance and vintage charm with its stainless-steel casing and silver dial. As a more understated option within Seiko’s 6138 chronograph series, it caters to individuals who appreciate subtlety while still desiring the iconic and reliable performance associated with vintage Seiko chronographs. 

This model exemplifies Seiko’s refined craftsmanship and design expertise, making it an ideal choice for discerning male horology enthusiasts.

Features

This timepiece features a dual-language day display, offering a unique switch between English and Japanese. Additionally, it’s equipped with a precise chronograph that resets flawlessly to zero, demonstrating Seiko’s attention to functionality and detail.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 1971
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – White
    • Bracelet – Stainless steel
    • Bezel – Stainless steel
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date window, Chronograph
  • Mechanism: Automatic

4. Seiko Diver “Captain Willard” – Stainless Steel & Black Dial Ref. 6105-8110

Seiko Diver “Captain Willard” Ref. 6105-8110

About

Renowned for its iconic status and historical significance, “Captain Willard” is a legendary men’s watch that holds an iconic status and significant historical significance for professional dive watches. This timepiece has achieved a cult classic status among vintage Seiko watches. 

Its fame skyrocketed after being worn by Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now. The stainless steel construction, black dial, and enduring dive watch functionalities make it truly distinctive. Such is its impact that Seiko Divers has reintroduced this remarkable timepiece multiple times in their modern lineup, paying homage to its enduring legacy.

Features

This watch features an asymmetrical case and integrated crown guards, a pioneering design aspect that has persisted in modern Seiko Professional divers, making the 6105 a true icon in the realm of dive watches.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 1968-1977
  • Case Size: 44mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Black
    • Bracelet – Rubber
    • Bezel – Stainless steel
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Caliber 6105B, Automatic

5. Grand Seiko First – Yellow Gold & White Dial Ref. J14070

Grand Seiko First Ref. J14070

About

The First is an exceptional men’s watch that stands out in the world of horology. With its striking 35mm x 42mm yellow gold case and pristine white dial, this timepiece exudes elegance and sophistication. It holds a special place in the realm of watchmaking as it symbolizes Japan’s ability to rival and surpass Swiss precision in timekeeping. 

Its introduction marked a significant milestone for Grand Seiko, propelling the brand to international recognition and confirming its mastery in horological craftsmanship.

Features

This watch features a case crafted from 14K all Gold Filled, offering a sophisticated blend of elegance and durability that is signature to Grand Seiko’s design language and ethos.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 1961
  • Case Size: 35mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – White
    • Bracelet – Leather
    • Bezel – Yellow gold
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Caliber 3180

6. Seiko Lady’s Diver “Apocalypse” – Stainless Steel & Orange Dial Ref. 2205-0760

Seiko Lady’s Diver “Apocalypse” Ref. 2205-0760

About

This is a truly captivating vintage timepiece designed specifically for women. What sets this watch apart is its remarkable Apocalypse Orange dial, which immediately catches the eye. Crafted with a stainless steel construction, the watch boasts a case measuring 33mm from side to side and a lug-to-lug length of 38mm, perfectly suited for the wrist of a woman. 

Enhancing its unique character, the original rubber waffle strap, screw-down crown, and caseback all contribute to its distinctively robust and stylish appeal, making it a standout choice for women seeking a timepiece that merges vintage charm with a bold and vibrant design.

Features

This watch stands out with its bold dial, a distinctive feature complemented by luminous hands and numerals for easy readability. Its robust stainless steel construction and practical rotating bezel underline the model’s dive watch pedigree.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 1976
  • Case Size: 33mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Orange
    • Bracelet – Black rubber
    • Bezel – Stainless steel rotating bezel
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Automatic 

7. Seiko Classic Weißgold 585 72 Diamanten – White Gold & Silver Dial Ref. 160086

Seiko Classic Weißgold Ref. 160086

About

Dating back to the 1980s, Seiko launched a truly unique unisex watch that seamlessly transitions to captivate women with its exquisite design and precise timekeeping. Blending luxury and precision, this vintage Seiko quartz timepiece boasts a remarkable 14-karat white gold body, and an elegant silver dial. 

With its undeniable charm and versatility, the Seiko Classic Weißgold 585 gracefully caters to the discerning tastes of both men and women, making it a standout choice for anyone seeking a timeless and sophisticated wristwatch.

Features

This timepiece stands out for its exquisite blend of luxury and elegance, featuring a brilliant white gold case, adorned with 72 diamonds, and a striking silver dial devoid of numerals for a minimalist aesthetic appeal.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 1980
  • Case Size: 32mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Silver
    • Bracelet – White gold
    • Bezel – White gold
  • Function: Hours, Minutes
  • Mechanism: Quartz

8. Seiko Rare Matic Lady 21 – Stainless Steel & Black Dial Ref. 2517-3270

Seiko Rare Matic Lady 21 Ref. 2517-3270

About

A rare and outstanding women’s watch. With its refined black dial adorned with 21 Japan jewels, this analog timepiece showcases Seiko’s dedication to hi-beat movement. The watch features a water-resistant stainless steel case and band, along with the reliable 21-jewel Japanese automatic movement, highlighting the brand’s renowned durability and craftsmanship specifically designed for women.

Features

A notable feature is its water-proof, stainless steel back marked with “STAINLESS STEEL 2517-3270 WATERPROOF SEIKO 8D1079”, highlighting Seiko’s emphasis on durability and craftsmanship. Furthermore, it houses a precisely engineered Japanese movement, marked “JAPAN SEIKO 21J. 2517B”, underscoring the brand’s commitment to accuracy and reliability.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 1960
  • Case Size: 28.5mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Black
    • Bracelet – Stainless steel
    • Bezel – Stainless steel
  • Function: Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Japan Seiko 21J. 2517B

9. Grand Seiko – Yellow Gold & Snowflake Dial Ref. 5641-5000

Grand Seiko Ref. 5641-5000

About

A final mechanical model of the iconic 56GS series, Grand Seiko is a remarkable unisex watch that effortlessly combines elegance and precision. Crafted from solid 18-karat gold with a captivating hammered finish, this tonneau-shaped timepiece possesses a unique allure that sets it apart. 

While it appeals to both men and women, its distinctive design elements and refined craftsmanship make it a particularly exceptional choice for women who appreciate the seamless blend of style and accuracy. 

Renowned for its unwavering reliability and user-friendly operation, this Grand Seiko model continues to be cherished by horology enthusiasts, leaving an indelible impression on those who wear it.

Features

The watch stands out for its incorporation of the No Date Cal.5641A movement. This advanced feature offers five-position and temperature compensation functionalities, exemplifying Seiko’s commitment to precision and reliability.

Specifications

  • Production Year: 1972
  • Case Size: 34mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – 18-karat gold with hammered finish
    • Bracelet – Crocodile skin
    • Bezel – Yellow gold
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds
  • Mechanism: Caliber 5641A, Automatic

10. Seiko Superior Twin Quartz – Stainless Steel & Blue Dial Ref. 9983-8039

Seiko vintage Superior Twin Quartz ref. 9983-8039

About

The 9983-8039, a high-end Japanese quartz watch from 1979, Seiko released an unbeatable combination of elegance and precision. With its 14-karat solid gold bezel, gold-plated accents, and a rare midnight blue sunburst dial, it presents a captivating design. The timepiece is equipped with Seiko’s ultra-high precision Twin Quartz Caliber 9983-8039, ensuring unmatched accuracy. 

Notably, it was one of the pioneering models to feature a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, placing it in a league of its own. With its original components and untouched polish, this watch holds immense value for collectors. It is particularly sought-after by women looking for a truly exceptional timepiece that blends style and precision.

Features

This watch is notable for its ultra-high precision, thermocompensated Twin Quartz Caliber 9983-8039 movement, providing a maximum factory-set deviation of just 5 seconds per year, representing the apex of non-radio-controlled quartz timekeeping. 

Specifications

  • Production Year: 1979
  • Case Size: 35mm
  • Materials:
    • Dial – Blue
    • Bracelet – Stainless steel, partly gold plated
    • Bezel – Gold/stainless steel
  • Function: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date, Weekday
  • Mechanism: Quartz

Comparison Table

Here’s the intricacies and unique attributes of the best Seiko vintage watches, from the esteemed Grand Seiko and King Seiko lines of mechanical watches, to the reliable and robust Seiko dive watches.

ModelKey FeaturesAverage SGD Pre-Owned Price
Seiko “Bullhead” Chronograph Ref. 6138-0040• Unique crown and pusher layout
• Distinctive chronograph with date and weekday functions
• Robust mineral glass crystal
S$1,600 – S$2,700
Seiko 5 Pogue Chronograph Ref. 6139- 6002• Eye-catching orange dial and Pepsi bezel
• Chronograph and date function
• Historical significance (1973 Skylab 4 Mission)
S$2,700 – S$3,400
Seiko Baby Panda Stainless Ref. 6138-8000• Dual-language day display
• Precise chronograph function
• Timeless elegance and vintage charm
S$3,400 – S$4,000
Seiko Diver “Captain Willard” Ref. 6105-8110• Asymmetrical case and integrated crown guards
• Pioneering design for modern Seiko Professional divers
• Historical and iconic status (Apocalypse Now)
S$4,000 – S$5,400
Grand Seiko First Ref. J1470• Crafted from 14K all Gold Filled
• Elevated Grand Seiko to international prominence
• Testament to Japan’s capacity to rival Swiss precision
S$5,400 – S$6,750
Seiko Lady’s Diver “Apocalypse” Ref. 2205-0760• Bold orange dial with luminous hands and numerals
• Robust stainless steel construction
• Practical rotating bezel
S$1509
Seiko Classic Weißgold 585/72 Ref. 160086• Exquisite blend of luxury (72 diamonds)
• Brilliant white gold case and striking silver dial
• Reliable Seiko quartz movement
S$5411
Seiko Rare Matic Lady 21 Ref. 2517-3270• Water-proof stainless steel back
• Precisely engineered Japanese movement
• Emphasis on durability and craftsmanship
S$1,205
Grand Seiko Ref. 5641-5000• No Date Cal.5641A movement with five-position and temperature compensation functionalities
• Solid 18-karat gold with hammered finish
• Reliable accuracy and user-friendly operation
S$5,762
Seiko Superior Twin Quartz Ref. 9983-8039• Ultra-high precision, thermocompensated Twin Quartz Caliber 9983-8039 movement
• 14-karat solid gold bezel and rare midnight blue sunburst dial
• Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
S$1,035

Final Word

In conclusion, Seiko vintage watches offer a wide range of options for collectors and enthusiasts alike. These timepieces not only showcase Seiko’s rich heritage and craftsmanship but also provide a unique investment opportunity. From iconic dive watches to elegant dress watches, Seiko vintage models are known for their enduring appeal, historical significance, and reliable performance.

Key Takeaways

  • Seiko vintage watches showcase distinctive designs and features, such as the unique crown and pusher layout of the “Bullhead” Chronograph and the eye-catching orange dial and Pepsi bezel of the 5 Pogue Chronograph.
  • Certain Seiko vintage watches have historical significance and iconic status, like the “Captain Willard” Diver associated with Apocalypse Now and the 5 Pogue Chronograph connected to the 1973 Skylab 4 Mission.
  • Seiko vintage watches exemplify exceptional craftsmanship and reliability, demonstrated by features like the precise chronograph function of the Baby Panda Stainless and the reliable accuracy of the Grand Seiko’s No Date Cal.5641A movement.

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