Grand Seiko is to Seiko what Lexus is to Toyota but could be more appropriately likened to a Pagani hypercar when it comes to the exclusivity, craftsmanship, build quality and precision of their watches. While both Japanese brands have much to celebrate, this year is particularly significant for the premium manufacturer. Grand Seiko was established as the culmination of over a century of development and success at Seiko, particularly advancements made in the 1950s. The movement and design of the first wristwatch by Grand Seiko were also influenced by the two significant watches of that time, the Lord Marvel and the Crown.
Sixty is not only a significant number in horology but also symbolises a complete cycle of the traditional zodiac calendar and new beginnings. To mark the 60th anniversary of the creation of Grand Seiko, and their first watch crafted in 14k gold, which was made “to be as precise, durable, comfortable and beautiful as humanly possible”, the company has revealed a re-creation of that classic dress watch with dial and hands faithful to the 1960 original. You might remember that in 2017, when the company split from the Seiko banner to become an independent brand, it celebrated with the release of three “recreations” of the first watch in steel, gold or platinum cases in very limited production numbers.
The new model is presented in three material options, this time in unlimited release. It has a more contemporary case diameter of 38mm (increased from the original 35mm) but retains the slim 10.9mm profile. It also features an open case back to show off the exquisitely finished, high precision, manual-winding caliber 9S64 with its power reserve of 72 hours and accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds per day. All three models of the recreations of the first Grand Seiko come with crocodile straps.
The platinum 950 model (SBGW257) features a dial and hour markers in 18k gold. For traditionalists, the case of the second model (SBGW258) is made true to the original in luxurious 18k yellow gold, as are its hour markers. The case of the third model is made of Grand Seiko’s proprietary Brilliant Hard Titanium (SBGW259), which is not only the lightest and most affordable of the editions at around R135,000, but the prettiest, with its deep blue dial. The hour and minute hands echo the case material and follow the contours of the dual-curved sapphire crystal. Both elegant and robust, all the watches feature Seiko’s “Diashock” system, which protects the delicate balance shaft from the rigours of everyday use.
In June, the company will open a new manufacturing studio in the town of Shizukuishi, as well as the Grand Seiko Boutique in the Place Vendome, Paris. They’ve also introduced the new high-beat Caliber 9SA5 which delivers the same level of stable accuracy as that of their existing 36,000vph movement but with an impressive 80 hour power reserve. This calibre features in the Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition (SLGH002) of 100 pieces with its distinctive new look. There is also a slimmer, more precise and more powerful Spring Drive movement, which features in the Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Professional Diver’s 600M.