Sixty Years In The Making: Our Five Highlights Of Grand Seiko’s 2020 Novelties
In lieu of hosting the 2020 Grand Seiko Summit in Tokyo, the brand has released its 2020 novelties digitally. Here are our five highlights!
Last month, Grand Seiko gave collectors a taste of their 60th Anniversary Celebrations with the launch of four limited-edition timepieces (read HERE). These four novelties featured vibrant blue dials, and each of the pieces was powered by an emblematic Grand Seiko movement. Today, the brand takes its 60th Anniversary (kenreki) celebrations a step further with the introduction of five distinctly new novelties for 2020.
Caliber 9SA5 and the Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition
First introduced in 1998, Grand Seiko's 9S mechanical caliber was at the forefront of design and craftsmanship. Two decades removed from its launch, Grand Seiko introduces a new Caliber 9SA5 Hi-Beat movement. Because of a re-designed barrel and gear train, this new Spring Drive movement is 15% slimmer than its predecessor.
The new Caliber 9SA5 beats at 36,000 vph and boasts a power reserve of 80 hours. Grand Seiko notes the new Caliber 9SA5 features an entirely new dual impulse escapement developed in-house. This new escapement allows the transmission of power directly to the balance, therefore, increasing efficiency. Grand Seiko also specifies it has an accuracy of +5 to –3 seconds per day.
Grand Seiko has taken the introduction of this new caliber a step further by encasing the movement inside a special limited edition novelty. Introducing the new Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Caliber 9SA5 Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours: a limited-edition (100 pieces) 44mm timepiece with a beautiful zaratsu polished and brushed yellow gold case. The piece is priced at $43,000 USD and will be available in Grand Seiko boutiques starting August 2020.
Re-creations of the first Grand Seiko
The year was 1960, December 18th to be exact, and inside of a small studio at Seiko's Suwa facility in Central Japan sat the team working on the creation of the first Grand Seiko. The premise of Grand Seiko was threefold. Their watches would need to be elevated products that spoke to the craftsmanship and precision expected of this new Grand Seiko line, yet, the pieces would have to be as comfortable as possible.
Ultimately, the timepiece produced was reference 3180, which boasted sharp sword hands, easy to ready declinations, and a rounded 14k gold filled case. The rest, as they say, is history. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of that momentous day in 1960, Grand Seiko has introduced three new models which pay tribute to the first Grand Seiko. The new 'Re-creations of the first Grand Seiko' references SBGW257, SBGW258, and SBGW259.
These three new introductions are all sized at 38mm (the original was 35mm) and feature ultra-thin 10.9mm thick cases. Available in platinum (SBGW257), 18k yellow gold (SBGW258), and titanium (SBGW259). Each piece is powered by the manual-winding 9S64 caliber, which unlike the original, can be seen through a sapphire crystal caseback.
The dial and hands of these models accurately match their 1960s counterparts. What's more, these three new references are taking a permanent (non-limited) place in Grand Seiko's collection. The new references will be available at all Grand Seiko boutiques starting June 2020. Pricing is $38,000 (Platinum, SBGW257), $26,000 (Yellow Gold, SBGW258), and $8,000 (Titanium, SBGW259).
Spring Drive 8 Days Jewelry Watch
Here's a piece that we weren't entirely expecting. The new Grand Seiko Masterpiece Collection Spring Drive 8 Days Jewelry Watch. A totally jeweled Spring Drive 8 Day piece with 96 individually set baguette diamonds and 25 blue sapphires. Grand Seiko says the inspiration for this piece was, "Winter mornings in the Sinshu region of central Japan." It's certainly a "frosty" piece, and one that is sure to catch the eye of a few very important Grand Seiko collectors.
The Grand Seiko Masterpiece Collection Spring Drive 8 Days Jewelry Watch is powered by Grand Seiko's Spring Drive 8 Day caliber 9R01 movement. The same caliber which powers the incredible Spring Drive 8 Day watch we discovered during our visit to Grand Seiko (read HERE). Boasting an astonishing 192-hour (or 8-day) power reserve and an accuracy of +/- 10 seconds per month this piece is the epitome of Grand Seiko.
Offered via 10 pieces edition in platinum (sized at 43mm), the Grand Seiko Masterpiece Collection Spring Drive 8 Days Jewelry Watch is priced at $185,000 USD.
Hand Engraved Reference SBGW263
One of my favorites of Grand Seiko's 2020 novelties, is this stunning hand-engraved limited edition timepiece. Sized at 39mm and available in platinum (SBGW263), each of the 20 pieces in this limited edition series features a stunning hand-engraved dial and hands. This piece was inspired by the legend of a well told by the people who lived in the Japanese town of Shizukuishi. The town got its name from water drops, “shizuku,” and rocks "ishi," which are both well represented in the intricate face of this special piece.
Each piece is hand-engraved by master engraver Kiyoshi Terui and his small team in Grand Seiko's Micro Artist's studio. Powered by a manually wound Caliber 9S64 movement, the ref. SBGW263 features engraved indices and hands along with a stunningly finished zaratsu polished platinum case. Boasting a power reserve of 72 hours and fitted to a black crocodile strap with matching platinum clasp, the reference SBGW263 is limited to 20 pieces worldwide. It's priced at $97,000 USD.
Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Professional Diver’s 600M
Finally, we have something for the sportsmen (and women): the new Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Professional Diver’s 600M. It's a timepiece worthy of an entirely new movement, featuring the new caliber 9RA5. This new movement is an evolution of Grand Seiko's Spring Drive calibers, which features a power reserve increase of 60% (up to five-days), and a dramatic slimming of proportions, from 5.8mm thick to 5.0mm thick.
By re-designing Grand Seiko's 'Magic Lever' technology, the brand takes a technology designed in 1959 and brings it into the new century. The new caliber 9RA5 boats an accuracy of +/- 10 seconds per month due to an entirely redesigned technology package. Furthermore, the new movement finds its way into a high-intensity 46.9mm titanium case which is 40% lighter than steel and far more scratch-resistant.
The new Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Professional Diver’s 600M is an entirely rugged tool watch, yet features the same exacting craftsmanship you can expect to find in Grand Seiko's more elegant collections. Made with saturation divers in mind, the watch's bracelet and bezel can be easily dissembled for easy cleaning. Thanks to the craftsmanship of Grand Seiko, the service intervals are set in decades, not years.
The new Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Professional Diver’s 600M (ref. SLGA001) is priced at $11,100 USD and is limited to 700 pieces worldwide. The piece will be available wherever Grand Seiko's are sold starting August 2020.
(Images provided by Grand Seiko)