Visiting Watch-Colle in Japan
Before heading to the land of the rising sun, I made it a point to visit at least one watch store with a well curated vintage selection of one brand, Seiko. To be specific, Grand Seiko and King Seiko.
Through conversations with a couple of watch buddies, Watch-Colle has been brought to my attention by @watch_collective. Located on the outer side of the Osaka Ekimae Daiichi Building in Umeda, Osaka, Watch-Colle has been in business since 2001 with their focus being on vintage timepieces. Their inventory ranges anywhere from familiar Japanese brands such as Seiko and Citizen to big name Swiss brands like Rolex, Omega and Patek Philippe. However, upon checking out their website here, it was their selection of vintage Grand and King Seiko that caught my eye. And well, as you may have guessed, I came home with an extra watch!
More importantly, here are a few things to keep in mind before visiting the store! Firstly, as they do not accept credit cards, it might be wise to carry enough cash with you on your visit. On a side note, checking out their website to see what's available might be a good idea before visiting. Next, keep in mind that language might be a slight barrier if you can't speak Japanese. On the bright side though, the store operators are very eager to help with your enquiries. As a matter of fact, they'll translate their website to show you the specifications of the watch that you would like to know! Moving on, as an effort to preserve the condition of new leather straps that are put onto their watches, you are not allowed to strap them on. Lastly, there is also no bargaining, what you see on the price tags are final (yes I asked them).
So here’s the question, should you visit this shop? In my opinion, if you are looking for watches priced reasonably for their condition, then YES! You definitely get what you pay for here. Although prices might be slightly higher for certain good examples, I don't think they slap a huge premium on (at least for the Grand and King Seiko models). However, that also means that they are sold at reasonable market value and if a significant price reduction from the market value is what you are looking for, you might have better luck in other places. Anyways, here's the watch that I brought back with me, a King Seiko 44-9990!