In The Metal With Grand Seiko’s Spring 2021 Novelties
Today Watchonista meets Grand Seiko’s latest creations at New York City’s Nature of Time experience.
At this week’s virtual Grand Seiko Summit, journalists and retailers were presented with the brand’s 2021 spring collection. Broadcast live from Japan, Shinji Hattori, Chairman and CEO of the Seiko Corporation, outlined both Seiko and Grand Seiko's vision for 2021 and highlighted the many successes delivered by both brands in 2020.
While the past year has undoubtedly been challenging for the world, Grand Seiko has continued to evolve and innovate despite the current global situation. The brand is continuously delivering new experiences for its clients and owners, from launching the U.S. Chapter of the GS9 Club to opening their Nature of Time experience/pop-up store in New York City.
Today is no different. Grand Seiko debuted seven new models, which Watchonista had the opportunity to experience earlier this week at the brand's SoHo pop-up. Let's dive in!
New GMTs in the Elegance Collection
Grand Seiko is no stranger to the seasons, and the brand has been deeply tied to nature almost since its start. We've previously explored Grand Seiko's continued quest to present the “Nature of Time,” and today, we're looking at four new GMT models made to celebrate the 24 seasonal phases of Japan, otherwise known as sekki.
These new additions to the Elegance Collection feature stunning dials produced to highlight Shunbun (Spring), Shōsho (Summer), Kanro (Autumn), and Tōji (Winter). Two models within the collection, the Shunbun and Shōsho, feature Grand Seiko’s Hi-Beat 36000 GMT calibre 9S86 movement; and the Kanro and Tōji versions carry a Spring Drive GMT calibre 9R66 movement.
First off, we have the Shunbun ref. SBGJ251, a Hi-Beat GMT with a stunning textured green dial and rose gold accents. The piece is inspired by the cool embrace of spring, when the colors change from their muted winter tones into spring's vibrance. More specifically, Grand Seiko said the inspiration for this edition was the blossoming of cherry trees in the mountains with their Sakura blossoms coming into view.
Up next, another Hi-Beat GMT, the Shōsho ref. SBGJ249 with a stunning rippled blue dial. The piece is inspired by summer and the delicate ripples on a lake during a warm summer day. The Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ249 (Shōsho) and SBGJ251 (Shunbun) are sized at 39.50mm and priced at $6,800.
Of course, summer can’t last forever no matter how much we try, which is why the Kanro ref. SBGE271 Spring Drive GMT features a chilly black dial with brush strokes to mirror the rich autumnal night sky. The Kanro is powered by Grand Seiko’s 9R66 Calibre and features a notable aesthetic departure from the Hi-Beat versions, a power reserve indicator at 7 o’clock on the dial.
The Tōji ref. SBGE269 is another Spring Drive GMT, and it transports us to the winter solstice. The silvery-white dial perfectly reflects the character of the morning sun shining off fresh snow. Featuring a rose gold GMT hand and GMT inscription, this monochromatic piece has just the right pop of color for the winter months.
The Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT SBGE269 (Tōji) and SBGE271 (Kanro) are sized at 40.20mm and priced at $6,000.
You can learn more about the pieces at Grand Seiko’s website.
Spring Drive Chronograph GMT Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition
For the petrol heads, Grand Seiko has unleashed a super funky two-tone chronograph. This stainless steel Spring Drive chronograph from the Sport collection delivers plenty of punch and character. Inspired by Seiko’s founder Kintaro Hattori, who famously said the brand should, "Always [be] one step ahead of the rest," this two-tone chronograph certainly delivers a unique look and feel.
The Spring Drive Chronograph GMT ref. SBGC240 Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition earned its unique look due to a unique mixture of brushed and highly polished Zaratsu finishes on its 43.80mm stainless steel case. Furthermore, the 18-karat yellow gold bezel ring, pushers, indices, and hands lend a nice contrast to the rich 'pure black' dial. Finally, a zirconia ceramic tachymeter bezel completes the look.
Powered by Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive Calibre 9R86 and featuring a power reserve of 72 hours, this new chronograph runs with an accuracy of ± one second a day. And thanks to the regulation system available in its Spring Drive calibre, the watch’s precision is unaffected by its power reserve, meaning it will provide consistent timing regardless of how much gas it has in the tank.
Limited to 500 pieces, the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT (ref. SBGC240) Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition is priced at $18,600. It comes in a special presentation box with an additional alligator leather strap with gold stitching and is available at Grand Seiko boutiques and selected retailers worldwide.
Grand Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition SLGH007
The last Grand Seiko 2021 piece we experienced was from the Grand Seiko Heritage collection: the Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition ref. SLGH007. This limited edition is one of two “halo” pieces for the brand in 2021. The other, a Spring Drive 8 Day Jewelry Watch with diamonds and emeralds, is not included in this write-up as we did not see it in the metal.
The new ref. SLGH007 is an all-platinum made to celebrate Kintaro Hattori's motto, "Don't run but always keep going.” This piece features a deeply textured black dial made to mimic the many rings in a tree trunk in honor of Hattori's story. And as any graded schooler can tell you, each circle in a tree's trunk indicates a year of growth, so it almost as if Grand Seiko is using this Hi-Beat timepiece to reach back in time and reveal its roots.
Sized at 40mm and encased in Platinum 950, this limited edition timepiece houses Grand Seiko's remarkable 9SA5 calibre, and several technical achievements provide legitimacy of innovation and craftsmanship. Most important of which would be the Dual Impulse Escapement that is merged with a free-spring balance wheel in the 9SA5. This Hi-Beat movement boasts an accuracy of +5 to –3 seconds a day and an impressive 80-hour power reserve thanks to its twin-barrel mainsprings. Overall, the movement is highly finished to meet Grand Seiko’s exacting standards and is worthy of powering such a notable timepiece.
Limited to 140 pieces, Grand Seiko’s Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition (ref. SLGH007) is priced at $59,000 and comes on a black alligator leather strap with Platinum 950 buckle.
Learn more about Grand Seiko’s 2021 novelties at Grand Seiko’s website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)