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Affordable Vintage: Why the King Seiko 44-9990 (44KS) Rules Them All

Affordable Vintage: Why the King Seiko 44-9990 (44KS) Rules Them All

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Fabulous Seiko might be first to come to mind when talking about vintage Seiko dress watches, however evident Seikoholics realize not to rest on the King Seiko (KS) line. In 1959, Seiko split up their Suwa auxiliary into two separate elements — Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha — to advance competition and item improvement inside the company. Suwa and Daini worked independently, with the possibility that they would not share information and would thusly attempt to one-up one another and produce better products.

It worked, and this interior competition impelled Seiko to the forefront of plan and innovation. In 1960, Suwa Seikosha delivered the main Grand Seiko Chronometer, Seiko’s first top of the line dress watch. Accordingly, Daini Seikosha delivered the primary King Seiko in 1963. In spite of the fact that it was a decent watch, the general plan wasn’t one to get excessively amped up for. In 1959, Daini Seikosha employed a youthful originator by the name of Taro Tanaka, the one who might in 1962 make a bunch of plan rules that he called the Grammar of Design . These principles would go on to in a general sense change Seiko’s plan language.

First, all surfaces and points of the case, dial, files and hands must be level and mathematically wonderful to best mirror light. Second, the bezels were to be straightforward, two-dimensional faceted bends. Furthermore, third, no visual bending from any point was permitted, and all cases and dials must be reflect wrapped up. The second King Seiko, the 44-9990, would profit by the Grammar of Design rules to become, as I would like to think, extraordinary compared to other looking watches Seiko (or any brand, so far as that is concerned!) has ever made.

Let’s immediately spread out the timetable. The King Seiko 44-9990 (also called the 44KS) was created from 1964 to 1968. The soonest delivers in ’64 had the model number 44999 preceding exchanging over to 44-9990. Like the Grand Seiko line, King Seikos likewise highlighted a gold emblem inset into the case back, a training which started with the 44KS. There were two adaptations of the emblem on the 44KS: a resplendent shield with “King Seiko” above it and a straightforward “Seiko” with a finished foundation. The shield emblem showed up from the principal discharge until around early-’67, and the logo variation showed up as right on time as late-’66 and was delivered until around early-’68. There was a little cover in the shield and logo varieties between late-’66 and early-’67. At the finish of the 44KS run in mid-’68, the “Seiko” logo emblem started showing Daini Seikosha’s lightning jolt image. I’ve just two or three these, and they were both from May 1968. Likewise with everything vintage Seiko, there are presumably exceptions and varieties that I still can’t seem to find, yet this appears to delegate of the general timeline.

Now on to the watch. What we’re looking at today is my 1966 King Seiko 44-9990. The treated steel case estimates 36.6mm wide, with a carry to-haul length of 43.3mm and 19mm carries. It just came in steel. The basic round case is set off by the eye-getting fat drags. The haul configuration is a perfect representation of Tanaka’s rules with the drags including enormous, level planes and sharp, calculated angles along the external edge. The drags are basically wonderful, as I would see it, and no other Seiko previously or since has had any very like them. Like so many of the Grammar of Design cases, the 44KS is profoundly defenseless to being destroyed by exuberant cleaning. Indeed, even the smallest clean will obliterate the dangerously sharp edges between the planes looking into the issue, and it’s a crime when this occurs. The generally flimsy and straightforward bezel, combined with the tall, formal hat acrylic gem give the 44KS the deception of being a greater watch than it is. The gem truly is somewhat extraordinary, as it’s very tall and has almost vertical sides instead of being domed.

As noted over, the case back was given the VIP treatment (if you’ll excuse the awful play on words) with the gold emblem. My model has the shield logo, which is actually very striking. Tragically, on the grounds that numerous vintage King Seikos hail from Asian nations with more damp environments, and in light of the fact that the case back is in direct contact with the wearer’s wrist, the emblems are inclined to wear and here and there even consumption. Besides, some have additionally endured on account of corrupt watchmakers’ cleaning wheels. All things considered, pleasant models can in any case be found and merit the additional exertion (and cash) to get. The dial is done in the exemplary Seiko silver with a sunburst finish. There is an applied steel “Seiko” logo underneath the twelve. Over the six, “King Seiko” is imprinted in unmistakable content, with “Diashock 25 Jewels” in more modest content beneath that. The hour markers are done in applied, faceted steel twirly doos, with the 12 o’clock marker a twofold implement with a cross-brought forth surface. The hands are an expansive, level dauphine-style with inclined edges that get back to the calculation of  the hauls. In the event that I could transform one thing about this watch, it is make the 12 o’clock marker smooth and faceted like the others. All things considered, I do like the plan the way things are. Adding to the straightforward excellence of the format is the absence of a date window, which gives the watch a work of art, wonderful balance. What more could you want?

The development is the Seiko 44A, a hacking, 25-jeweled manual type that ticks along at 18,000 bph. Seiko would change to a high-beat development for their next King Seiko model, however there is a mitigating thing about the more slow tick-tick-tick of this one. While not lavishly completed, it’s an attractive development with an outwardly satisfying architecture.

There were two adaptations of the 44A development with two diverse hacking instruments. The previous models (those with the shield emblem backs) had a “external” L-molded switch for hacking. The switch sits on top of the development and has a little pin that plunks down in an opening in the stem. At the point when you haul the crown out, the most distant finish of the switch pushes on a finely toothed stuff that stops the second hand. This is an extraordinary and, truth be told, odd plan that nearly appears to be a reconsideration. Primarily, the switch is extremely flimsy along the center and is handily broken. Better believe it, I found that the most difficult way possible, and I needed to rummage the horological world for a long while until I had the option to locate an extra switch right in the UK. Around 1967 when the emblem exchanged over to the “Seiko” logo, the hacking system was designed inside the development. Obviously, Seiko saw the flaw in the plan also.

Speaking of the crown, the 44KS crown is a truly decent one. Similarly as with any manual breeze watch, you need a bigger crown with great grasp, and that’s what you arrive. The crown estimates 5.4mm wide and has thick, gear-like depressions for a simple hold. It is marked “Seiko” with a “W” above, showing it is waterproof. King Seikos would later change to a “KS”- marked crown. I accept that the 44KS initially accompanied a lash and “KS”- marked steel tang clasp, and to the extent I realize it was not offered with an arm band. With all that the 44KS has making it work, one may expect that they cost a fortune, correct? Wrong. For some insane explanation, this watch remains incredibly underestimated. A lovely and special plan? Check. An in-house, high-grade manual development? Check, check. Executioner case back with a gold emblem? Check, check, check. Tons of vintage loot? You get the thought. Indeed, even with this, the 44KS can be found fairly consistently for anyplace somewhere in the range of $250 and $1,000, contingent upon condition and the vender, obviously. I’ve as of late seen truly decent models in the $600-700 range.

The 44-9990 is a famously wearable watch, with an ideal size and phenomenal wrist presence. You need moderate vintage? Look no farther than the 44KS.