Kintaro Hattori founded Seiko in Tokyo in 1881. Since then, his company has maintained its commitment to its timepieces’ accuracy, legibility, and durability. But they wanted to create the best Seiko watch model. So they gathered their most skilled and experienced watchmakers to create the best watch for the company. And, after 80 years, the company launched its top-of-the-line timepiece series – the Grand Seiko.
The company was so proud of the new product that they confidently entered international chronometer competitions. It was in 1968 that the Grand Seiko won first place in the Neuchatel chronometer trials. The brand also took 4th to 10th place in the prestigious Geneva Watch competition in the same year.
Grand Seiko Displays Peak Performance
What makes the Grand Seiko stay at the top of its class? Here are the two main reasons why:
From Suwa Seikosha (the Seiko factory responsible for creating the Grand Seiko) came an innovation that came to be known as Spring Drive. Invented by Yoshikazu Akahane in 1977, this mechanism in their watches combines the conventional mainspring and barrel with what Seiko calls the “glide wheel.” This makes their timepieces more accurate than their quartz counterparts. Seiko’s Tri-synchro Regulator System or the glide wheel enables the system to maintain its target rotation and braking force that controls the watch’s second hand, creating a perpetual movement that measures time accurately. The GS was designed using quartz (9F) that is responsible for getting their timepieces the highest rating of +5/-3 seconds per year.
GS maintains its high-quality standards, starting with the conventional method of assembly to the traditional practice of polishing watches (dubbed the “zaratsu” technique). It assures the buyer that every watch under the brand is polished by hand. This traditional way of polishing is indicative of the company’s respect for tradition.
Another way they show their craftsmanship is the testing they do for each timepiece. Each piece must pass the test and adjustment (which goes beyond what the industry practices) for 17 days. This is done by the master watchmakers of the company.
The company continues to use traditional parts in the manufacture of its timepieces. In comparison, others continue to change the materials used to produce their watches but Seiko does not. They use the same materials but innovate them. An example of this is their use of hairspring and mainspring that is made of alloy. They still use alloy but created an advanced variation they call SPRON. This is a type of metal that maintains the precision of the watch over a long period. This was further developed into what they now call Spron 610, which has twice the impact with the magnetic resistance that is three times higher than the original.
Release of New Watch Models
Over time, Grand Seiko continued to add new models to its collection. They now offer their most prized models, which include:
Grand Seiko SBGD205 Spring Drive Watch
This model is considered the top of the line in terms of engineering and design. The dial is the most celebrated part of the watch. It is made of 18k white gold, and around the dial are baguette diamonds and blue sapphires with an anti-reflective coating. The pattern in the inner surface is called kushinome or the “comb pattern” created when a comb is dragged across an inner clay surface. The seconds’ hand is made of tempered platinum. It culminates with the crocodile leather strap. Since it is a limited edition to date, there are only ten pieces on the market.
Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGZ001
It offers 84 hours of power reserves and features the upgraded version of 9RO2 that is powered by their Torque Return System. The platinum950 was used for its case and clasp. It has a 3 bar water resistance and a magnetic resistance that is equivalent to 4,800A/m. The alligator leather strap comes with a folding clasp with a push-button. It is another example of the craftsmanship displayed by the team in the Micro Artist Studio of Grand Seiko. And there are only 30 pieces of this kind in the world.
Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake SBGA211
Considered to be the most iconic of Seiko watches, this one is a lot cheaper than the first two. Yet, it follows the same tradition of elegance and craftsmanship Grand Seiko is known for. It offers a 72-hour power reserve. The design, in general, resembles a field of newly fallen snow. While it may look simple, the snowflake dial is made through the hard work of the master craftsmen of Shinshu Watch Studio in Shiojiri. The silent smooth glide of the steel second hand is like time flowing continuously softly, subtly, and meditatively. Its specifications also include the dual-curved sapphire crystal and the titanium case and bracelet.
Seiko in Japanese means exquisite, so with the Grand Seiko collection, the brand lives up to its name. It is truly a brand that highlights tradition and innovation, so its watchmakers consistently come up with the most durable, dependable, and sought-after watches in the market.