COUTURE 2021: Grand Seiko Unveils A Quartet Of New Limited Editions

COUTURE 2021: Grand Seiko Unveils A Quartet Of New Limited Editions

The Japanese manufacture celebrates an important anniversary at COUTURE in Las Vegas.

By Rhonda Riche

Just yesterday I was talking to a friend from the collector community about how they had, on paper, always appreciated Grand Seiko. But they only truly became a convert after holding one of these timepieces in her hands. That is why we’re so ecstatic to be able to examine the brand’s latest offerings in person at COUTURE in Las Vegas.

The challenge now is: How can we properly convey the refined execution of the Grand Seiko’s new Heritage collection Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition (SLGA007) and the Elegance collection U.S. Limited Editions in mere words and images? We’ll just have to do our best.

Five Days in the Desert

The first watch introduced in Las Vegas is the Heritage collection Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition (SLGA007), featuring the Spring Drive 5 Days Calibre 9RA2.

Seiko’s founder Kintaro Hattori was one of the first and most important Japanese watchmakers in history. And 2021 marks the 140th anniversary of Hattori’s first watchmaking shop, K. Hattori & Co., opening his own watchmaking shop. His business philosophy was that his company should be “Always one step ahead of the rest.” Grand Seiko, a collection dedicated to the best in design, leading-edge manufacturing, and high-grade finishing, was founded in 1960 and is the ultimate expression of that goal.

Today, Grand Seiko commemorates the 140th anniversary of Hattori’s first business venture with its latest addition to the Heritage collection, the Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition – a timepiece powered by the new Spring Drive 5 Days Calibre 9RA2.

An evolution of the 2020 Spring Drive Calibre 9RA5 introduced in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Grand Seiko, the 9RA2 movement of 2021 allows for a thinner case. This slimmer silhouette is made possible due to the 9RA2’s Offset Magic Lever power reserve indicator (visible through the sapphire caseback) that has been positioned away from the center of the movement and a new setting of the watch hands. Both of which lend the watch a more elegant and streamlined appearance.

Meanwhile, the stainless steel case measures only 34mm, which will appeal to potential collectors with a wide range of wrist sizes. And the way the watch merges with the wrist – thanks to things like a dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating and other subtle touches as a see-through screw caseback and screw-down crown – makes it feel quite natural. Moreover, these refinements amplify the beauty of the dial.

Enthusiasts will tell you that Grand Seiko’s mastery of horological innovation is on par with the elite Swiss luxury brands. But the brand is almost unbeatable when it comes to telling a story through its finishing. In this case, the watch’s dial transports you to the waters of Lake Suwa, located near the Shinshu Watch Studio, where shallow waves create ripples that sparkle as they catch the light. Plus, the golden seconds hand and Grand Seiko lettering suggest the morning sun reflected on the lake’s tranquil surface.

Finally, all of this evocative craftsmanship is set atop a flowing, stainless steel integrated bracelet. The effect is serene and allows the wearer to contemplate the passage of time in a more meditative way.

The Grand Seiko Heritage collection’s Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition (SLGA007) with the Spring Drive 5 Days Caliber 9RA2 will be available at the Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected retail stores worldwide in December for $8,700 and limited to 2,021 pieces.

Nature’s Way

Las Vegas is a uniquely American invention. A neon-lit, human-made oasis in the middle of the Nevada desert. Yet, it is a fitting location to debut Grand Seiko’s newest nature-inspired, US-only limited editions in the Elegance collection.

This trio of manual-wind, green-dialed timepieces – the SBGW273, 275, and 277 – act as an antidote to the 24-hour sensory overload that is Las Vegas. That is because these limited editions strive to recreate a pilgrimage to the Genbi Valley, where time seems to be at a standstill. Located in Northeast Japan, this natural wonder was formed by the convergence of volcanic ash from Mt. Kurikoma and the flowing waters of the Iwai River. And it is the Genbi Valley’s contrast between steep, rocky cliffs and lush greenery that creates a dramatic landscape that serves as the inspiration for the SBGW273, 275, and 277.

These timepieces are variations on the fan-favorite Grand Seiko SBGW231,l which is considered a marvel of minimalist form and function and a classic example of how the individual parts of a complex mechanism can come together to create something so seemingly. In this case, like the SBGW231 and how the volcanic ash, trees, and water come together to create the beauty of the Genbi Valley, underneath the thoughtful proportions and clean dials of these U.S. limited edition dress watches is the impressive 9S64 calibre movement.

With a case size of, the SBGW273, 275, and 277 all wear comfortably on a variety of wrist sizes. Housed inside a 37.3mm stainless steel case, the manually wound 9S64 time-only movement that powers the SBGW273, 275, and 277 is expertly constructed, beautifully finished, and can be appreciated via the watches’ exhibition caseback. And with a power reserve of 72 hours and an accuracy of -3 to +5 seconds per day, the 9S64 showcases Grand Seiko’s expertise in creating highly efficient and accurate movements.

The three new SBGWs also highlight Grand Seiko’s signatures, such as razor-sharp hour and minute hands and perfectly polished indices, and provide a sense of motion that recreates the sensation of hiking through the valley and watching the play of light and shadow across the water or through the trees.

Available for purchase this November and exclusive to the US market, the SBGW273, 275, and 277 will retail for $4,900. Each will also be limited to 140 pieces.

The SBGW275 will be exclusive to Grand Seiko Boutiques and Grand Seiko online. The SBGW273 and SBGW277 will be available for purchase at select specialty retailers.

For more information, visit the Grand Seiko website.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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