Grand Seiko’s Watches & Wonders 2023 releases are steeped in glamour, elegance and performance: a diamond- and sapphire-set SBGD213 for ladies, slim hand-engraved SBGZ009, and an important new development for the brand, a high-beat 5Hz SLGC001 chronograph.
SLGC001 Grand Seiko Tentagraph
Grand Seiko expands its sporty and contemporary Evolution 9 collection with the first mechanical chronograph in the range. The self-winding cal. 9SC5 that drives the watch not only achieves greater precision from a fast 5Hz beat rate, its 3-day power reserve is the longest in the industry for 5Hz chronographs, courtesy of an energy-efficient escapement and dual barrels.
The chronograph configuration is as expected in the premium segment – vertical clutch for smooth starts and column wheel for crisp operation. Grand Seiko also ensures reliability with no less than 20 days of testing in multiple positions and temperatures to ensure the cal. 9SC5 operated within the Grand Seiko standard +5/-3 daily deviation in time-telling, three of which with the chronograph running.
The Tentagraph is a large watch, and tall; hence a good thing for it to be cased in titanium, with ceramic bezel to keep scratches at bay. The textured blue dial, patterned after Mt Iwate, is an alluring touch that keeps the Tentagraph within the Grand Seiko family.
SBGD213 Grand Seiko Masterpiece Collection Spring Drive 8-Day Jewelry Watch
A Grand Seiko watch is generally subdued in design and adornment, communicating its virtues from the pinnacle of watchmaking craft in a whisper rather than yelling “look at me!” The SBGD213 takes a somewhat different tack, in being carpeted with diamonds, but nevertheless stays in character without going overboard. Staying true to Grand Seiko’s defining principles, time display for the SBGD213 remains highly legible, courtesy of the blue sapphire hour markers arrayed around the mother-of-pearl dial, set amidst a generous layer of diamonds. The 266 diamonds (5.62 carats) and 27 blue sapphires (1.25 carats) are set by hand between white gold rails, complemented by Zaratsu polishing specially developed for platinum to effect a distortion-free mirror finish for case facets without stone setting. The overall effect is luxurious, glamorous, without ostentation.
Even more outstanding for something so glamorous is what a capable watch it is, beneath all that sparkle: the SBGD213’s manual-wind Spring Drive movement deviates by less than a second a day, runs for eight days on a full wind, and boasts water resistance to 100 metres. In a limited edition of eight pieces.
SBGZ009 Masterpiece Collection Spring Drive Limited Edition
It’s an inexhaustible palette of hues and textures that Grand Seiko draws from as it honours the natural environment around its studios. The white birch forest has been an inspiration in earlier watches, but where the imagery had been confined to the dial, it now runs over in the SBGZ009 onto bezel and case, hand-engraved by artisans at the Shinshu Watch Studio. The execution of the birch forest motif is also somewhat different in character from before, being more metallic and lustrous in effect.
Minute track and dial lettering are carved into the dial, and to complement the white gold hour and minute hands and markers, the smooth-sweeping seconds hand is tempered to a shade of grey to match the frosty theme.
Turning the watch over reveals the power reserve indicator, and the mainspring barrel which actually contains two mainsprings set in parallel to deliver a power reserve of 84 hours. The barrel cover bears a cut-out of a bellflower, the symbol of Shiojiri where the studio is located. The gold plaque set into the lower bridge which reads “Micro Artist” (the same facility as the Shinshu Watch Studio) can be customised to the customer’s desire.
The SBGZ009 keeps an appropriately slim profile thanks to its manual wind Sping Drive movement; this is balanced with the increased heft of the platinum case. It is available in a limited edition of 50 pieces.