Hands-On with Grand Seiko’s Baselworld 2018 Novelties
For Baselworld 2018, Grand Seiko adds two distinct models to its already impressive lineup and celebrates the 20th anniversary of the 9S movement. Let’s go hands-on!
Grand Seiko has existed as a brand for well over 50 years. Yet, in 2018, the brand is a fresh as ever. When the brand became independent from Seiko last year, many wondered how this autonomy would affect the staid brand. However, this move provided Grand Seiko an entirely new platform to innovate and the resulting work produced speaks for itself.
Last year’s re-creation of the first Grand Seiko with the SBGW251, 252 and 253 models was the right move to re-introduce the brand as an independent. The pieces (completely sold out by the way) were emblazoned with a bold GS (Grand Seiko) logo at 12 o’clock, which is now the hallmark of all Grand Seiko pieces going forward. Here’s a rundown of this year’s Grand Seiko introductions.
Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 V.F.A
Since 1998, the 9S caliber has been a mainstay in Grand Seiko’s collection. This hand finished hi-beat movement ticks at an astonishing 36,000 vibrations per hour, basically 10 beats per second. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 9S caliber, Grand Seiko introduced a collection of three limited edition timepieces dubbed the Hi-Beat 36000 V.F.A (Very Fine Adjusted).
Available in Platinum (20 pieces), Yellow Gold (150 pieces), and Stainless Steel (1,500 pieces). All cases are finished with Grand Seiko’s proprietary Zaratsu polishing. On each piece the rotor has a center set 18k gold Grand Seiko lion emblem to identify the enhanced accuracy of the V.F.A. An accuracy that Grand Seiko claims is +3 to -1 seconds per day.
When going hands-on, I was very impressed by the dials on these pieces. The spiral tessellation pattern on the dial is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. If you look closely you’ll see that Grand Seiko has organized a unique engraving that actually repeats the G and S of the Grand Seiko logo.
Pricing is as follows: Platinum $53,000, Yellow gold $27,000, and Stainless Steel $6,300.
Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-Beat GMT “Special” Limited Edition
A continuation of Grand Seiko’s ceramic series, this limited edition also honors the 9S movement. Two materials (titanium and ceramic) combine to be a natural pairing on this super light execution. The main case and outer bracelet are made of titanium, while the outer case, lugs, and polished center links on the bracelet are made of a new blue ceramic. Unlike other ceramics, this composition is made with zirconia which helps the watch to be virtually scratchproof.
Fitted with a Hi-Beat 9S caliber 9S86 movement also beating at 36,000 v.p.h. Notably, the rotor is treated with an anodic oxidation process. Which is basically an electrolysis that oxidizes the metal resulting in a beautiful oxidized blue that you’ll notice in our photos. Like the V.F.A, the dial pattern has been extended to this edition.
Priced at $14,800 and limited to 350 pieces.
(Photography by Liam O’Donnell)