This ultra rare 4840 is a very solidly made quartz - with a thick layer of gold capped around it! The production run of the 48 base caliber spanned just four years so they are becoming highly collectible! The 4840-8040 however, even more so... read on.
In the first year of its production in 1975, only the Grand Quartz reigned supreme right next to the Quartz V.F.A, with just three models, 8000/8010/8020. There were no other GQ calibers. The models 8030/8040/8041 were introduced later in 1975 and made for just three years! They came with a thick steel band for the 4843 and with leather only for the 4840 & 4842. That setup never changed for this caliber. Even when the much daintier 48xx-8110 variation was introduced in 1977, ending the 8030/8040/8041 production run in that year.
In 1978 Seiko introduced the twin quartz 9943, ending all of the 48xx caliber that year. The 48xx of the year before however remained a thicker and wider flaring watch (38x43x11mm!) and was more robust than its 9943 descendant - it is after all a Tanaka design. Therefore it already has a huge presence, apart from its very modern dimensions.
This 4840-8040 has a definite "butch" personality to it as evidenced by its measurements of course... It is the definite early "king" of the 48s, as other variations like the 8110 are already smaller with lugs of 18mm instead of 19mm and dimensions of 36x40x10mm. For that matter, this 8040 even has the larger case size, even if it is only one millimeter more from lug to lug (42, not 41mm). Also the lugs have a slightly different shape to them as seen from the front - which makes them seems longer. Apart from that however, this watch is thoroughly understood and functioning perfectly. It is indeed the twin brother of the 4842-8041, and definitely a very similar sibling to the 4843.
Describing this watch reminds one of just that. For instance, the thermo-compensation, due to its relative thickness, is still excellent after all these years. The Silver linen dial work of course is impeccable, truly a high end watch. You noticed the black striped hands? It gives this watch something extra..... great legibility and some "punch". And that punch is also implemented in the mechanics of this watch, it has that special Seiko gimmick of the "jumping seconds hand". This means that it will jump ahead 10 seconds when you pull the crown to adjust the time. It makes time setting so much easier!
The Grand Quartz at hand is fully original with an original bracelet, is not polished and runs to specs.
In my experience these single quartzes are among the most accurate vintages; the twin quartzes like the 99 series mentioned have the specs for sure, but after 40 years or so… build quality and robustness gain the upper hand. The early Grand Quartzes truly shine!