Spectacular Mountains Tower Over Grand Seiko’s HQ and These Watches are the Result
Grand Seiko unveiled an exciting selection of novelties at this year’s Watches and Wonders exhibition, offering fans limited-edition models and a new movement. Sticking to the brand’s ethos, there was a satisfying blend of watchmaking innovation and design cues taken from the Japanese landscape, and in a bold move, there was also a heavily jewelled piece decorated with diamonds, blue sapphires, and platinum. It confirmed what watch geeks already know: Grand Seiko holds a unique place in the watch market, creating elegant watches that challenge the best of Swiss horology.
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Grand Seiko’s big news in Geneva was the debut of its first-ever mechanical automatic chronograph. It’s a strange request from fans, but we’ve longed for a fully mechanical chronograph movement, despite Seiko being a pioneer of quartz movements and Grand Seiko having its own spring drive technology. Having listened to its customers, Grand Seiko created a stunning new chronograph watch dubbed the Tentagraph. This new model is part of the Evolution 9 family and takes its name from the technological innovation built into the watch. The movement has Ten beats per second, a Three-day power reserve and includes an Automatic chronoGRAPH. Get it?
Although the groundbreaking movement is the lead story, the Tentagraph design also delivers. The new movement is housed in a handsome titanium case that features the brand’s signature Zaratsu polishing. The case has a modern flair and is paired with a titanium bracelet. In keeping with Grand Seiko’s obsession with the views from its studio, the dial boasts a Mt. Iwate finish. If you’re not familiar with the Mt. Iwate dial pattern, it’s a very specific look, designed to mimic the mountains that tower above Grand Seiko’s Studio Shizukuishi.
The next watch to catch our eye – the Majestic White Birch Limited Edition – doubles down on Grand Seiko’s tribute to its immediate landscape, this time the white birch trees at the foot of the North Yatsugatake mountains. Near the mountains is the town of Shiojiri, where Grand Seiko’s elite craftspeople hand make watches. And that’s the amazing USP of the Majestic White Birch watch – the platinum case has been painstakingly hand engraved. As has the dial. Get this, the minute markers, Grand Seiko logo, and text are all carved out of the dial. The effect is to mimic the white birch trees in winter. It’s a memorable design and is understandably limited to only fifty pieces.
The latest addition to the Grand Seiko Masterpiece Collection is an eye-catching piece that forgoes any of the subtly of the previous two models. Instead, this is an extravagant watch that takes a white lion as its inspiration and is decorated with distinctive blue sapphires and diamonds. Like the White Birch model, the case is forged from Platinum 950 and it’s also equipped with a Grand Seiko Calibre 9R Spring Drive movement.
Created as a showpiece for the brand, the Spring Drive 8-Day Jewelry watch has an angular 44.5mm case inlaid with a staggering amount of gems. Between the case and the surprisingly legible dial, there are 266 diamonds and 27 blue sapphires. As we’ve said, this isn’t a subtle piece. It isn’t inspired by nature like the Majestic White Birch and it doesn’t debut a feat of watchmaking brilliance like the Tentagraph. Yes, it includes the timekeeping precision and watchmaking prowess that established Grand Seiko’s reputation, but it offers a completely different aesthetic. This flamboyant look has been achieved by the tapered diamonds and sapphires set into the dial, each separated by very thin 18k white gold rails. As you can imagine, a watch like this isn’t for the casual watch buyer. It’s limited to a mere eight pieces and comes with an eye-watering price tag of €283,500.
Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Collection Tentagraph SLGC001
Movement: Grand Seiko Calibre 9SC5
Strap: Titanium Bracelet
Water Resistance: 100M
Grand Seiko Majestic White Birch Limited Edition SBGZ009
Case: Platinum 950
Movement: Grand Seiko Calibre 9R02
Water Resistance: 30M
Grand Seiko Spring Drive 8-Day Jewelry Watch SBGD213
Case: Platinum 950
Movement: Grand Seiko Calibre 9R01
Water Resistance: 100M