Are the Seiko Ukiyo-e Dials Real?
Rawad Sleem | IG @itsrawadsleem |
Recently, I was able to source a few Seiko Ukiyo-e Dials for the Vintage Watch Shop. I had a handful of clients reach out and ask about them. All of them ended up purchasing even after my answer to their questions, was "no one knows."
What Is a Ukiyo-e Dial?
There are various dials throughout the Ukiyo-e Dials but they all share the same style. They are all original stamps with famous Ukiyo-e Paintings printed on them. You can see these dials on Lord Matics and on rare occasions, you can find a vintage King Seiko or even Grand Seiko with the Ukiyo-e print. All the sources I have found showed models from the late '60s throughout the '70s. All of the examples were models with only automatic movements. Some could be seen with original bracelets and others with generic leather straps.
What is the Story?
It seems like Seikos have been used for modding since the early 70's.
To sum it all up, no, this was never a collection created by seiko, but…
These stamps were carefully applied on the Seiko Models by retailers of the brand. It is said to have been a way for watchmakers to practice. They need to take off all the markers and logos off the dial and be able to reapply them after the dial is done. In addition, this craft was really only done in Japan. I personally have not found anyone who still does this, all the ones that I have found came with the Ukiyo-e dials. Some even showed wear or patina that would correlate with the era the watches were from.
There is no definitive answer to what these are or who made them. However, they are original Seiko watches with some of the prettiest dials in the vintage market. In my opinion, we don't always need an answer to everything, sometimes the mystery makes it so much more interesting. You have a beautiful watch for under $1500 that is unique and hand finished (in a way). That's fun and I think we could all add a little more fun in the watch box.