Whenever I visit a new city, I always make sure to sneak out of the new product presentations to cruise for the best places to buy vintage watches.  Tokyo is, among many other superlatives, one of the best places to go watch shopping in the world.  There are countless high-end retailers and the Japanese are incredibly astute collectors of watches.  To give you an idea, they have a particular penchant for vintage Rolex Explorers and Omega Speedmasters, and in the modern realm, Lange and FP Journe are two of the most popular lines – Journe even chose to open his very first boutique in Tokyo.   

There are dozens a interesting vintage shops in Tokyo, most notably Jack Road.  But this story isn’t about the well-known high-end dealer, it’s about a funny little store that sits on the eighth floor of a church in Ginza.  It’s a store you would simply never just happen across, which is part of what makes it so special.  This incredible deposit of vintage watches (and as you’ll see, many other cool old things, including the largest collection of vintage Leica i’ve ever seen in my life) is called Lemon, and it is now probably one of my favorite stores in the world.  This is the story of how I found it, the incredible watch i (almost) bought there, and a photo report of its beautiful inventory.

One night back in October, I was roaming around Ginza alone.  I had spent the day at the Seiko Watch Museum looking at some of the most important watches in their history.  The overarching theme was this: Grand Seiko is built to a higher standard than required by anything Swiss, and when the original GS was launched in 1960 it represented the very finest in mechanical watchmaking of the time.  The Seiko museum showed us their example, and stressed how rare these early Grand Seiko watches had become.