Grand Seiko Celebrates Its Diamond Anniversary With Four Limited-Edition Timepieces
2020 marks the 60th Anniversary of Grand Seiko. To celebrate this era of renewed energy and rebirth, the brand releases a collection that showcases its expertise in technology and craft.
Sixty is the most important number in timekeeping – 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour. This number measures our lives. And in Japan, it has special significance because entering one's 60th year is known as kanreki, an age of rebirth and renewal.
Grand Seiko was launched in December of 1960, which means that 2020 is the year that this top tier brand also enters kanreki. Undoubtedly, we can expect Grand Seiko to mark the occasion with all kinds of new releases, but this March, the brand is kicking off this auspicious event with four new sporty steel watches all with dials in Grand Seiko's signature blue hue.
Grand Seiko is a brand that has always had its own unique energy. Seiko itself was born during the Meiji period of Japan (1868-1912) when the country was undergoing an incredible cultural shift. Feudal society was replaced with the prefectures that we know today. Railways united the country and the traditional seasonal calendar and time system was replaced with the Western Gregorian calendar.
Fast forward to 1960, and the whole world was spinning with post-war optimism. That's when the company created the Lion of Watches — the Grand Seiko. The idea was that this line would represent the best in precision, durability, and beauty and that this ideal watch would one day lead the world.
The first of the four new anniversary editions pay tribute to Grand Seiko's history of game-changing technological innovations. The Heritage Collection Hi-Beat 36000 LE reference SBGH281, takes an existing model (the SBGH205) but introduces a novel colorway — an iridescent blue dial with the GS logo in gold, and red accents for the seconds hand and the lower dial text.
Limited to just 1,500 pieces, this 40mm stainless steel watch is powered by a high beat automatic movement with a 37 jewel, 55-hour power reserve. 37 jewels. Priced at just $6,300 this is a whole lot of high-end horology for your buck.
Grand Seiko has always given quartz innovation the same attention that it pays to its mechanical mechanisms. Like the Heritage Collection Hi-Beat, the new Heritage Collection Quartz Limited Edition SBGP007 is a fresh take on an existing model, but with a super-accurate 9F85 quartz movement instead of an automatic caliber.
The 9F85 represents a new age in timekeeping precision because it is accurate to +5 seconds a year, and the hour hand can be independently adjusted, stopping the seconds (for extra accuracy).
This dependability also makes the Heritage Collection Quartz an excellent everyday watch. And its sporty spirit makes it suitable for almost every occasion. This 40mm model has a textured blue dial topped with a gold, five-pointed star.
Limited to 2,500 pieces, the SBGP007 offers excellent value at $3,800.
In the West, the 60th anniversary is celebrated with diamonds. And since Grand Seiko is a global brand, they have also created a 60th Anniversary edition in their Elegance Collection.
The Women's Automatic Limited Edition STGK015 comes in a 27.8mm steel case with a bezel studded 45 diamond. The dial is further decorated with diamond markers.
Visually, this combination of precious stones and an opalescent dial is perhaps the best expression of these blue-themed anniversary editions. But the insides are just as stunning. This Grand Seiko uses an in-house 9S27 automatic movement with a 50-hour power reserve that is accurate to +8/-3 seconds a day.
Limited to 300 pieces, this precious timepiece is priced at $9,500.
A big part of the concept of Kanreki is the idea that Sixty is a magical number. Once a person has completed the five cycles of Jikkan Junishi or a total of 60 years, he or she is said to be born again. In 2017, Grand Seiko became a completely autonomous brand from Seiko, so the manufacture is celebrating a second youth in more ways than one.
Of all of these 60th Anniversary watches, the Quartz Limited Edition SBGP015 best embodies Grand Seiko's next act. The design is quite eye-catching with its 40mm case, bold blue ceramic bezel, iridescent dial, and luminescent hands.
Its also built to last another 60 years with water resistance (200m), and more magnetic resistance (to 16,000 A/m), and a brand spanking new 9F85 quartz movement (also seen in the SBGP007).
Limited to 2,000 pieces and nicely priced at $3,900. This watch drops a little later than the others, so keep an eye out for it in April.
(Images provided by Grand Seiko)