Before buying Grand Seiko. Know all about the pinnacle of domestic watches
“Grand Seiko” is synonymous with domestic luxury watch brands. Introducing the charm of the brand, which is made by collecting the best of Japanese watchmaking technology.
From Japan, world standard. Watch called “Grand Seiko”
Switzerland is the home of luxury watches, which is an unwavering fact. In fact, most of the major luxury watch brands such as Rolex, Omega, and TAG Heuer are concentrated in Switzerland. Under such circumstances, “Grand Seiko” is the only domestic wristwatch that has the technical and brand power to compete with Europeans. It is the best brand of the long-established manufacturer “Seiko” that Japan is proud of in the world.
A genealogy that lasts for more than half a century. Follow the history of “Grand Seiko”
The brand was born in 1960. Even at that time, Swiss-made mechanical watches dominated. Meanwhile, “Seiko” announced the “first Grand Seiko” with the aim of becoming the world-class watch of the highest quality in Japan. This model was the first domestic watch to comply with the historic Swiss chronometer certification standard. And in the 1960s, “Seiko” began to surpass the Swiss with its technological capabilities. In 1964, the company participated in the Swiss Observatory Competition, where prestigious brands compete for accuracy, for the first time, and in 1967, it dominated the top ranks. According to one theory, it is said that the Swiss people considered the technological capabilities of “Seiko” as a threat, but the competition was not held at the end of 1968.
Since the announcement of the first generation, a number of milestone-like mechanical “Grand Seiko” have been produced, such as the first domestically produced self-winding model and a high-precision model with a monthly difference of ± 1 minute. The turning point was in 1969, the world’s first quartz wristwatch was released by Seiko. The quartz type swept the watch industry, and the mechanical type that surprised the world “Grand Seiko” will also be equipped with quartz in 1998. And in 1993, 9F quartz was praised as quartz that exceeds quartz. This 9F system was an epoch-making one that overcame the weak points of quartz such as weak torque and inability to adjust time.
The Swiss, who were hit hard by the quartz developed by Seiko, will return to mechanical watches and rebrand them as luxury watches. And “Grand Seiko” also revived the mechanical movement in 1998. On the contrary, we will develop a mechanism that will make a name for itself in the history of watches. That is the “Spring Drive” announced in 1999. It was an amazing mechanism that uses an old-fashioned mainspring as a power source and ticks the time with a quartz oscillator that can produce incomparably higher accuracy than a mechanical type. This “Spring Drive” was installed in “Grand Seiko” in 2004 after a development period of four years since its announcement
And in 2017, the “SEIKO” logo will disappear from the dial, leaving only “Grand Seiko”. It means that we have made a new start as a luxury brand that represents Japan, not as a luxury model of “Seiko”. This is like the luxury car brand “Lexus” by “Toyota”. Like the “Lexus” brand, which is now highly regarded around the world, the value of “Grand Seiko” will continue to grow.
The unwritten law that forms “Grand Seiko”. What is “Seiko Style”?
“Grand Seiko” pursues not only accuracy as a watch, but also beauty and visibility. The “Seiko style,” which is a design feature of such “Grand Seiko,” was established with the “44GS” released in 1967. “Seiko Style” consists of three basic principles and nine design codes based on them.
The contents are finely stipulated, such as the dial is flat, the index at 12 o’clock is twice as wide as other indexes, and the hour and minute hands are cut on multiple sides to make them thicker. I understand that. Design consistency is an essential element of luxury brands. “Grand Seiko” has been making watches that meet that condition.
Another feature is that the usage of light is truly Japanese. The design that gives “shadow” the same value as “light” by the curve of the case and the polish applied effectively is the ultimate of MADE IN JAPAN. It has a unique taste that cannot be produced by Europeans.
Accurate and unrivaled heart. Know the characteristics of the three movements
As you can see from history, “Grand Seiko” has developed three types of movements. One is mechanical, the second is quartz, and finally the “Spring Drive”, and we still have these three types of movements in our lineup. If you know the characteristics of each movement, you will be able to choose the model you like more.
“9S” mechanical, the movement that forms the basis of “Grand Seiko”
The latest version of the mechanical movement that surprised the world is “9S Mechanical”. A mechanical movement is powered by the force that winds the mainspring and unwinds it. The power is transmitted by gears and moves the needle. The brand that can manufacture this movement in-house is called the Manufacture, but of course “Grand Seiko” is the Manufacture. While there are luxury brands outsourced to specialized movement manufacturers, the Manufacture is a testament to its high technological capabilities.
Also, pay attention to the new GS standard imposed on “9S Mechanical”. The standard is a stricter in-house standard than the official Swiss chronometer (COSC), which is compliant with luxury brands such as “Rolex”. The official Swiss chronometer needs to be within -4 to 6 seconds per day in 5 postures during the 15-day inspection period, while the “new GS standard” requires 17 days and 6 postures per day. The difference should be within -3 seconds to +5 seconds. Of course, all “9S mechanicals” shipped are subject to this rigorous certification. “9S Mechanical” is a crystallization of confidence in the unrivaled accuracy of “Grand Seiko”.
“9F Quartz” goes beyond quartz, overturning the common sense that it is thin and light
Let’s take a closer look here. In the first place, this quartz type is the world’s first-speed control method realized by “Seiko”. Taking advantage of the property that the crystal unit vibrates 32,768 times per second, it keeps accurate time. The annual difference of “9F Quartz” (time deviation of one year) is only ± 10 seconds. The daily difference in the static state of “9S Mechanical” (difference in the time of the day at the time of inspection) is -3 seconds to +5 seconds, and it is said that the mechanical type is extremely accurate, so how amazing the accuracy of quartz is. You will see
In order to achieve that accuracy, it takes an incredible amount of time and effort to age the crystal unit for three months and match the crystal with the IC. And as mentioned above, quartz had the weakness of weak torque. The “9F Quartz” overcomes this with its unique technology called a twin pulse control motor, and it is now possible to move the thick hour and minute hands and the GMT hand, which cannot be moved by other quartz models. “Grand Seiko” does not compromise on function or design just because it is quartz.
A hybrid engine was invented by “Grand Seiko”. “9R” Spring Drive
If you want to get a hybrid move of mechanical and quartz, “Grand Seiko” is the first. The “9R Spring Drive Movement” is an epoch-making movement in the history of watches that can only be experienced by “Grand Seiko” users, which mixes the mechanical warmth and quartz precision introduced so far, and the prestige the brand. It is one of the elements that make a brand.
“Spring Drive” uses the mainspring used in mechanical watches as power. Since it does not require batteries, it is excellent from an ecological point of view, and you will feel romance in the act of winding the mainspring. On the other hand, the time is controlled by quartz, and the average monthly difference is ± 10 seconds, which is unthinkable with a mechanical watch. “Spring Drive” is a dream-like movement that has the best of both worlds, “mechanical” and “quartz”. Again, only “Grand Seiko” can get this movement in their own hands. It goes without saying that this one-of-a-kind mechanism is one of the elements that makes “Grand Seiko” a prestige brand.
The ever-evolving “Grand Seiko”. Touch the charm with 3 collections
“Grand Seiko” is currently categorized into four collections and is on sale. The “Masterpiece Collection”, which has high-end manufacturing quality and price, the “Heritage Collection”, which conquers the royal road of “Seiko Style”, the “Sports Collection”, which literally has active features, and the classical atmosphere represented by manual winding. It is an “elegance collection” to wear. Unfortunately, the “Masterpiece Collection” cannot be purchased online, but here we will introduce the features and recommended models of the other three collections.
▼ Collection 1: This is the “Heritage Collection” that embodies “GS”
This “Heritage Collection” is a basic line that strongly inherits the “Grand Seiko” design before 2017, that is, before the brand became independent. It can be said that the well-behaved look centered on a simple three-needle model that does not look strange is a legitimate successor to the “Seiko style”. There are many royal dress watches that you will never get tired of, and it is ideal for those who want to continue using them until their grandchildren’s generation.
The simple and elegant design with a 40mm case that is familiar to Japanese people is attractive. High-quality detail work such as well-chamfered indexes is unique to “Grand Seiko”. Equipped with the mechanical movement “9S65”, the power reserve is 72 hours, which is about 3 days. It is the best standard model for the first “Grand Seiko”.
Quartz model with elegantly curved bulges on both sides as a design accent. Of course, the installed model is the “9F82” of the “9F” series. Although unique in the heritage line, the spirit of “Seiko style” is alive and well. The light blue of the dial is refreshing and urban. It is a versatile model that looks great not only in the on-suit style but also in the off-style if it is a beautiful outfit such as a shirt.
Equipped with the ultimate movement “Spring Drive 9R65” that “Grand Seiko” is proud of. Bright titanium, which is about 30% lighter than stainless steel and resistant to scratches and corrosion, is used for the case and bracelet. Titanium is difficult to process, but the beauty of the mirror surface is so great that it can be mistaken for a stainless steel model. “Grand Seiko” has a strong impression that it is a wristwatch that adults can wear, but it is also recommended for fresh 20s because the stripes on the dial bring out youthfulness.
A GMT model with a crown guard gives a tough and sharp impression. The movement to be installed is “Spring Drive 9R66”. In addition to the three hands of hours, minutes, and seconds, the center is equipped with a red GMT hand that makes one revolution in 24 hours, and the second time zone can be displayed with one clock. This is a useful function for people who often go abroad on a trip or business trip.
The power of “9F Quartz” is that it can move the four hands with a strong presence while being a quartz movement. The red GMT hand that floats in the toned face functions as an accent in the face. The balance of the 24-hour display, which is casually arranged on the outer circumference of the index, is also noteworthy.
▼ Collection 2: A new weapon of the “GS” brand. “Sports Collection”
A tough rotating bezel and a sporty chronograph. “Sports Collection” is the most active line in “Grand Seiko”. A model with an aggressive design that breaks the preconceived notion that watches of the same brand match suits has also appeared, and succeeded in expanding the frontage of the brand. This is a line that I would like people who seek individuality who have avoided “Grand Seiko” because it is uninteresting to check it out.
Click here for the blue dial version of the above model. This is recommended for people who have a lot of casual styles because it gives a more youthful impression. The oversized index luminous is bright Lumibright, the screw-down crown, the anti-reverse bezel, and the tough look with all the elements of a diver’s watch, it also functions as a good accent for your outfit.
▼ Collection 3: “Elegance Collection” with style and goods in your arms
The “Elegance Collection” is a thin, dressy prestige line with the motif of Japan’s natural world. Precious metal models such as platinum, which “Grand Seiko” has not handled so far, are also lined up, and there are models of 5 million yen or more, so it can be said that it is a collection that challenged the battle in the world’s ultra-luxury watch market.