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Grand Seiko SLGW002

Grand Seiko Brings its A-Game to Watches and Wonders 2024

From its unique sources of inspiration to the unparalleled levels of Japanese craftsmanship housed within each of its timepieces, Grand Seiko is always one of Man of Many’s most highly anticipated exhibitors at Watches and Wonders. This year, Japan’s horology powerhouse didn’t disappoint with a range of watches that show not only the depth of skill retained by its artisans, but also the breadth of imagination possessed by its designers. 

Read on as we explore a handful of our favourite Grand Seiko timepieces from Watches and Wonders 2024, where we’re on the ground in Geneva going hands-on with the releases from the best watchmakers in the world. 

Grand Seiko SLGW002 and SLGW003
Grand Seiko SLGW003 and SLGW002 | Image: Grand Seiko

Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Collection

  • Reference: SLGW003 / SLGW002
  • Movement: Manual-winding Calibre 9SA4
  • Diameter: 31mm
  • Water Resistance: 30 metres
  • Power Reserve: 80 hours
  • Material: Titanium case / 18k rose gold
  • Price: AUD$15,950 / AUD$67,200

Grand Seiko has unveiled an exciting new movement at Watches and Wonders 2024 in the form of the Calibre 9SA4. This intricate blend of engineering and art acts as a callback to the ‘60s and ‘70s when Grand Seiko would craft manually wound 10-beat timepieces in pursuit of improved rate stability and superior precision. Incredibly, the release marks the first time in 50 years that Grand Seiko has unveiled a new hand-wound high-beat movement, which also happens to be the third movement to join the latest generation of its Calibre 9S platform.

While the intricacy of the movement is certainly something worth marvelling at—beating 10 times per second while achieving a power reserve of 80 hours—one charming detail in particular struck us. In perhaps the most grand Seiko move imaginable, the movement’s click is crafted into the shape of a wagtail, a bird synonymous with the surroundings of the studio where the movement is made. Thanks to the movement’s unique design, the click’s bird-like pecking motion can be viewed through the sapphire crystal case back during the hand-winding process. 

More: Best Watch Releases of Watches & Wonders 2024 – Part 2

Grand Seiko SLGW002
Spot the Wagtail just to the left of “9SA4A” at the bottom of the movenment | Image: Grand Seiko

Impressive as this sounds, it wouldn’t count for much if the movement wasn’t deployed in a watch worthy of it. Fortunately, Grand Seiko has unveiled two beautiful dress watch references belonging to the brand’s Evolution 9 Collection, which fittingly represent a stylistic continuation of the 44GS from 1967.

While both the titanium and 18k rose gold references offer a stunning and refined reinterpretation of that iconic timepiece—both boasting a dial inspired by the white birch trees found in northern Japan—only the latter is a limited edition with Grand Seiko poised to release 80 pieces. Both references will be available from August 2024.

Grand Seiko Calibre 9R 20th Anniversary Edition
Grand Seiko Calibre 9R 20th Anniversary Edition | Image: Grand Seiko

Grand Seiko Calibre 9R 20th Anniversary Edition

  • Reference: SBGC275 
  • Movement: Spring Drive Chronograph GMT Calibre 9R96
  • Diameter: 44.5mm
  • Water-Resistance: 200m
  • Material: Titanium case
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Price: AUD$20,000

When Grand Seiko’s representative mentioned to us that the dial of the Calibre 9R 20th Anniversary Edition would change colour before our very eyes, we were sceptical. When attending Watches and Wonders, you get used to overstatements being made and tend to take everything with a healthy pinch of salt. Then we saw the watch in the flesh and it turns out not one lie was spoken in that room. 

Using a new patented dial manufacturing process called Optical Multilayer Coating, Grand Seiko jettisoned traditional dial-colouring techniques. Instead, it used a physical vapour deposition process, in which several layers of nanoscale film create an effect whereby the dial’s hue changes depending on the angle of view. 

More: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Duometre Chronograph Moon is a Double-Barrelled Dynamo

Grand Seiko Calibre 9R 20th Anniversary Edition
Compare the orange here to the red above | Image Grand Seiko

However it’s done, holding the Calibre 9R 20th Anniversary Edition in your hand is a striking experience. As you turn its dial in the light, it shifts from vivid orange back through deep red and into stunning shades of pink. Grand Seiko claims the inspiration for this effect came from watching the Hotaka mountain range from dawn as colours slowly transform its appearance throughout the morning, so we’re confident in saying it’s appropriately astounding.  

Beneath this stunning light experiment, Grand Seiko’s new Spring Drive Chronograph GMT features a uniquely adjusted version of the Calibre 9R86. This is enclosed within an unusually angular casing that the Japanese Watchmaker claims was inspired by the lion, a brand symbol since the first Grand Seiko timepiece launched in 1960. Limited to just 700 pieces, we expect this one to be highly sought after when it becomes available in July 2024.

Masterpiece Collection Grand Seiko Kodo Constant force Tourbillon
Masterpiece Collection Grand Seiko Kodo Constant force Tourbillon | Image: Grand Seiko

Masterpiece Collection: Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-force Tourbillon

  • Reference: SLGT005
  • Movement: Manual-winding Calibre 9ST1 
  • Diameter: 43.8mm
  • Water-Resistance: 100m
  • Material: Platinum 950 and Brilliant Hard Titanium case
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Limited Edition: 20
  • Price: AUD$POA

For there to be shadow there must also be light, and so Grand Seiko has introduced the latest addition to its Masterpiece Collection: the new Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon. Following the success of 2022’s award-winning Kodo Constant-force Tourbillon, which took inspiration from the shadowy tones of evening and twilight, Grand Seiko has now unveiled a companion timepiece that acts as a celebration of light, providing a perfect counterpart to the maison’s previous effort. Together these sibling watches act as a perfect representation of Grand Seiko’s fascination with the concept of shadow and light. 

More: New Tudor Watches for 2024 Revealed and Priced

Masterpiece Collection Grand Seiko Kodo Constant force Tourbillon
Light and shadow | Image: Grand Seiko

This sense of light is embodied by the bright silver tone of the components making up the watch’s  Calibre 9ST1 movement, within which can be found Grand Seiko’s first ever in-movement use of blue sapphires. Grand Seiko claims these jewels are intended to “recall a beautiful dawn”. The open nature of the whole design is continued through to spaces found within the lugs, altogether reflecting Japanese design’s famous appreciation of open space. 

Consisting of more than 340 components, the new timepiece is a dazzling piece of work, complemented by a white leather strap that has been treated in the same traditional way that was once used in the making of samurai armour. Limited to just 20 pieces when it arrives in December 2024, we hope those who purchased the original Kodo Constant-force Tourbillon have their names at the top of the list.