Grand Seiko” is renowned as the pinnacle of Japanese wristwatches. Its high quality is as good as that of Swiss luxury watches, and its delicate and beautiful design, which can only be achieved by Japanese manufacture, is gaining popularity overseas year by year. We introduce some representative models of Grand Seiko that you should keep in mind as well as their charms that are still loved even after more than 60 years since their birth!
Japan’s finest wristwatch brand “Grand Seiko
Grand Seiko is Japan’s world-class luxury watch brand. The first Grand Seiko was born in 1960 under the concept of “the finest Japanese-made practical watch that challenges the world.” It attracted attention both at home and abroad as a Japanese-made watch of high quality comparable to watches made in Switzerland, the home of luxury watches. The brand is highly regarded for its “delicacy” and “manufacturing attitude” unique to Japanese watchmaking, and reigns as the top brand among Seiko companies, which have released a succession of high quality watches to the world.
Three reasons why Grand Seiko is supported around the world
Grand Seiko is recognized not only in Japan but also in Switzerland, the home of watchmaking. So why does Grand Seiko enjoy the support of so many watch enthusiasts? Let’s take a closer look at the appeal of Grand Seiko to find out why.
Grand Seiko’s appeal (1) “Seiko Style,” the crystallization of a uniquely Japanese sense of beauty
The basis of Grand Seiko’s design is the “Seiko Style,” a unique design based on the Japanese sense of beauty. This design was created by the chief designer at the time, Taro Tanaka, and was established with the ” 44GS ” launched in 1967. The design was based on the following three basic concepts and nine design codes to embody a wristwatch that is mainly composed of flat and straight lines, where the gradation created by the delicate harmony of “light” and “shade” unique to Japan is most beautifully expressed.
Grand Seiko’s three basic concepts
1) “A design that is primarily flat and consists of flat surfaces and secondary curved surfaces. As a rule, tertiary curved surfaces are not adopted.”
(2) “The area of flat surfaces should be increased as much as possible throughout the case, dial, and hands.
(iii) “As a rule, each surface should be mirror-like, and distortion should be eliminated from the mirror-like surface as much as possible.”
The nine design codes are based on these three concepts and strictly define details such as the 12 o’clock index twice as wide as other indexes, tangential sidelines that soften the sharp impression of the modeling, and a flat dial. The essence of a wristwatch-accuracy, beauty, readability of time, ease of use, and longevity of use-is pursued, expressing a uniquely Japanese delicacy and depth of flavor that cannot be expressed by foreign brands. The one-of-a-kind design has been highly acclaimed in countries around the world.
Grand Seiko’s Appeal (2) “Three Types of High-Quality Movements Recognized Around the World
Grand Seiko has developed three types of movements. Grand Seiko is the only company that has developed three types of movements, which is called the heart of a wristwatch, even today when many different types of watches are being produced. Here, we will explain in detail the three types of movements: “mechanical,” “quartz,” and a hybrid of the two, “Spring Drive.
Mechanical Type: “9S Mechanical,” which has passed the strict Grand Seiko standards
The core of Grand Seiko watches is the “9S Mechanical,” a mechanical movement that is powered by the force that winds and unwinds the mainspring. 9S Mechanical is equipped with a number of cutting-edge technologies. The “balance,” which is responsible for maintaining a constant rate of oscillation, has succeeded in producing the ” Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000,” a movement that vibrates at 10 beats per second, as opposed to the 6 or 8 beats per second of most mechanical watches. Furthermore, by using a cutting-edge processing technology called ” MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System)” to produce high-precision parts, the watch is lighter while maintaining its strength. In addition, the “New GS Standard” imposed on the 9S Mechanical, which sets standards that exceed those of the Swiss Chronometer in terms of inspection period, attitude difference, accuracy, and ambient temperature, guarantees high quality.
Quartz Type] “9F Quartz” overturns the conventional wisdom of quartz type watches.
The quartz movement, powered by a battery, was developed by Seiko for the first time in the world. The “9F quartz” movement, which is said to have been “created to surpass quartz,” uses functions that overturn the conventional wisdom of quartz watches. Quartz, which has less torque than mechanical watches, has difficulty moving thick, heavy hands, and generally uses thin hour and minute hands. In order to move these hands accurately, the movement is equipped with a ” twin-pulse control motor ” that allows the heavy hands to move while conserving energy. In addition, the watch is equipped with an ultra-low power temperature compensation function, enabling it to run twice as long as conventional watches and a life span of approximately three years, longer than that of a typical quartz watch. The watch is also equipped with a number of features that distinguish it from conventional quartz watches, such as an instantaneous date calendar that switches instantly, and improved indication accuracy that allows the second hand to correctly indicate the scale.
Hybrid Type] “9R Spring Drive,” a third type of movement that combines elements of both mechanical and quartz
The “9R Spring Drive” is Grand Seiko’s unique hybrid movement that combines the best of both mechanical and quartz. The 3-hand model has more than 200 parts, and the Spring Drive chronograph has more than 400 parts. Only Grand Seiko can create this movement from detailed blueprints marked to the nearest 0.01 mm.
Grand Seiko’s Attraction (3): “Commitment to the “Manufacture” of Integrated In-House Production
Grand Seiko has a strong commitment to “Manufacture,” which means that the mechanical part of a watch, the movement, is manufactured entirely in-house. Even in Switzerland, the home of wristwatches, there are many brands that only use movements made by other companies. Grand Seiko, however, is particular about each and every part of its movements, and its integrated in-house manufacturing has realized high precision and high design quality. Grand Seiko’s fusion of cutting-edge technology and skilled craftsmanship makes it a rare entity in the world.
Each of the five collections of Grand Seiko watches features a representative model!
Grand Seiko offers many models from dress watches to sports watches. Here, we introduce representative models you should keep in mind while touching on the features of the five collections available from Grand Seiko.
Grand Seiko “Masterpiece Collection” Representative Model: SBGZ003
The “Masterpiece Collection” features models equipped with original movements created by the elite of the Micro Artist Workshop, a luxury watch workshop based in Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture. This “SBGZ003” is equipped with a hand-wound Spring Drive movement, newly developed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the original Spring Drive mechanism, which was introduced in 1999. The new mechanism, which combines dual spring barrels and a torque return system, provides a duration of approximately 84 hours. The hour and minute hands and indexes are made of 14K white gold, expressing the beauty of Japanese nature in delicate and elegant white. The “GS” part of the brand logo engraved on the dial and the Spring Drive logo are designed to reflect the moment when light reflects off the snow and sparkles.
Grand Seiko “Evolution 9 Collection” representative model: SLGH005
The ” Evolution 9 Collection ” born in 2020, the 60th anniversary of Grand Seiko, has an appealing dignity through a new design conceived to be a truly good wristwatch while inheriting the Seiko style. This “SLGH005” was inspired by one of the most famous birch forests in Japan, located near Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi, Grand Seiko’s mechanical watch manufacturing base. The beautiful birch forest is represented by a dynamic stamped pattern and delicately colored dial. The watch is equipped with a highly efficient escapement and two power mainsprings, and despite its high beat rate of 36,000 vibrations per hour, it can be driven for approximately 80 hours at maximum winding. The unique horizontal winding structure makes the watch thin and comfortable to wear on the wrist.
Grand Seiko ” Heritage Collection ” Representative Model: SBGA211
The “SBGA211,” a representative model of the “Heritage Collection” featuring a lean, well-balanced royal design, is manufactured at the “Shinshu Toki no Takumi Kobo” in Nagano Prefecture, surrounded by the Hodaka mountain range, which is covered in snow for several months, and features a “snow white pattern” dial inspired by this. The movement is powered by Spring Drive, and the case and bracelet are made of bright titanium, which is approximately 30% lighter than stainless steel, the material most commonly used, and is highly resistant to scratches and corrosion, making it light and comfortable to wear. The watch has a maximum winding time of approximately 72 hours, and the remaining power can be checked visually on the power reserve display at the 8 o’clock position.
Grand Seiko ” Sports Collection ” Representative Model: SBGJ237
The ” Sports Collection ” offers high performance in a wide range of situations. The “SBGJ237,” which uses a 9S mechanical movement and has a rotating bezel, is introduced from the collection, which offers an extensive lineup of chronographs, GMT models, and divers’ watches. The rotating bezel allows the watch to display three different time zones simultaneously, and the design is sporty while maintaining the beauty of a Grand Seiko watch. The watch is water resistant to 20 atmospheres and shock resistant, making it ideal for active activities. The midnight blue dial and blue and white sapphire glass bezel give it the appearance of a vintage watch, and it is sure to be one that you will love for a long time.
Grand Seiko ” Elegance Collection ” Representative Model: SBGK007
Among the five collections, the ” Elegance Collection ” has a classy appearance that makes you want to wear it on special occasions. This “SBGK007” is a thin dress watch equipped with a newly developed manual-winding movement that allows the wearer to wind the mainspring while checking the power-reserve hand. The dual-curved sapphire glass has been thoroughly polished from both sides to create a distortion-free dome shape, and the dial is also finished with a raised dome shape in the center, creating a soft atmosphere typical of mechanical watches. The hands, carefully crafted one by one by artisans, are blended with the curved lines of the case, sapphire glass, and dial to create a graceful design with a sense of unity.