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Grand Seiko’ s Novelties at Watches and Wonders 2024

Grand Seiko is a Japanese luxury watch brand known for its exceptional craftsmanship, precision, and innovation. Established in 1960 by Seiko, the watches are renowned for their high-quality movements, attention to detail, and elegant designs. Key features are their High Precision Movements which are powered by highly accurate mechanical movements, including Spring Drive and Hi-Beat calibers, ensuring excellent timekeeping, superior Craftsmanship with each watch undergoing rigorous testing, with expert watchmakers meticulously assembling and adjusting every component for optimal performance, Distinctive Design where the watches are characterized by their distinctive design elements, such as sharp, polished edges (zaratsu polishing), textured dials, and exquisite hand-finishing, reflecting Japanese aesthetics and attention to detail, Innovative Technologies that combines traditional watchmaking techniques with innovative technologies, such as the Spring Drive movement, which offers the accuracy of quartz with the beauty of mechanical watches, Its Diverse Collections offers a range of collections catering to different styles and preferences, from classic dress watches to sporty models, each showcasing the brand’s commitment to excellence.

Watches and Wonders 2024 witnessed Grand Seiko’s impressive showcase of their latest offerings. Among them, a hand-wound Evolution 9 movement variant stood out, alongside elegant dress watches and sporty models celebrating a Spring Drive milestone. The collection featured a dazzling high jewelry creation, three refined dress watches and three dynamic sport watches. Some pieces embraced the sleek Evolution 9 aesthetic, while others embraced the brand’s distinctive angular case design inspired by its lion emblem. Each watch sought to evoke natural beauty and poetic themes through its color schemes, textured dials, and innovative features, inviting enthusiasts to delve deeper into their intricacies.

Let’s begin with the top-tier model, the SBGD215, a luxury timepiece that combines exquisite craftsmanship with precious jewels.

Model: SBGD215

The SBGD215, part of the “lion” themed collection, may surprise you with its jungle of gemstones that exude dazzling brilliance. Despite the lavish gem setting, it retains the signature case shape with angled lugs and the mane texture at the dial’s center, consistent with its thematic family. This model is another tribute to the anniversary of the 9R Spring Drive, produced in very limited quantities for discerning collectors with a taste for opulence. While it embodies characteristics of high jewelry watches, maintaining bold dimensions akin to its Sport watch counterparts, this timepiece stands out as a large 44.5mm diameter, measuring 14.4mm in thickness, crafted from 950 platinum, and adorned with a total of 293 stones (including 148 diamonds and 145 sapphires) on its case and dial. Limited to just eight pieces, this watch is truly special and deserves an equally exceptional movement. Enter the 9R01, a hand-wound Spring Drive movement with three barrels providing an impressive eight days of power reserve, visible through a power reserve indicator on the movement, accessible via the caseback window.

Technical Specifics

  • Movement: Hand-wound 9R01 Spring Drive
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve indicator (visible on the movement through the caseback window)
  • Case: Dimensions of 44.5mm x 14.4mm; Crafted from 950 platinum
  • Availability: Limited edition of 8 pieces
  • Water-resistant: Up to 100m
  • Price: USD 300,000

Evolution 9: SLGW002 & SLGW003

The above two models embodies Grand Seiko’s commitment to refining its design language and technical capabilities, elevating the brand’s position in the market. As part of this evolution, it has focused on creating a slimmer movement, a welcome enhancement. Now, they have unveiled a hand-wound movement, the 9SA4, based on the 9SA5, further advancing their watchmaking prowess. It has emphasized the meticulous development of the movement, focusing on enhancing the winding experience in terms of sound, tactile feedback, and visual appeal. When winding the watch, one can notice the distinctive click through the caseback, resembling the motion of a bird pecking into something. These attention to detail are what resonate with watch enthusiasts, capturing their hearts and admiration.

The SLGW003 is crafted from the brand’s Brilliant Hard Titanium alloy and the SLGW002 in luxurious rose gold. Both options showcase the popular birch bark-inspired textured dial, a design element that has been well-received in other models from the brand. These variants stand out as some of the most captivating offerings yet.

Technical Specifics:

  • Caliber: Manual winding 9SA4; 80-hour power reserve; High-beat at 5Hz
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
  • Case: Dimensions of 38.6mm x 9.95mm;
  • Water-resistant: Up to 30m
  • Availability: Titanium variant is unlimited, Rose gold variant is a limited edition of 80 pieces
  • Price: USD 10,700 for titanium; USD 45,000 for rose gold

Evolution 9: SLGH021

Another addition in this line-up is a new model equipped with the 9SA5 automatic movement. Featuring a 40mm case crafted from Ever-Brilliant Steel, this model incorporates all the premium attributes of the Evolution 9 series while highlighting the brand’s renowned expertise in creating visually appealing yet minimalist and easy-to-read dials. In this iteration, the dial showcases a molded pattern reminiscent of rippling water, a design element also found in other watches from the brand but presented here in a subtle pale green hue. The inspiration for this specific shade of green stems from a river in the Genbi valley near the brand’s workshops.

Technical Specifics

  • Caliber: Automatic 9SA5; 80-hour power reserve; High-beat at 5Hz
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
  • Case: Dimensions of 40mm x 11.7mm; Crafted from Ever-Brilliant Steel;
  • Water-resistant: Up to 100m
  • Availability: Limited edition of 1,000 pieces
  • Price: USD 10,400

New Grand Seiko First Re-creation 

This new Grand Seiko First re-creation maintains the elegant and refined style of the original while integrating advanced technologies and refined design elements for a contemporary interpretation. Limited in production, this model features an 18K rose gold case and a stunning navy-blue dial with a “starry night” theme, evoking a captivating portrayal of the night sky. The 18K gold indexes add a twinkling effect, enhancing the celestial ambiance. The modern touch of navy extends to the accompanying crocodile strap, complemented by an additional classic brown crocodile strap. Notably, it also includes a transparent caseback that showcases the beautiful Caliber movement.

Technical Specifics

  • Caliber: Hand-wound 9S64; 72-hour power reserve
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
  • Case: Dimensions of 39mm x 10.9mm; Crafted from 18k rose gold; transparent Caseback
  • Water-resistant: Up to 30m
  • Price: USD 26,500

Sport Chronograph 20th Anniversary SBGC275

A year after debuting the Tentagraph, which introduced a new design paradigm with a more traditional chronograph layout, Grand Seiko revisits the iconic form of its Spring Drive chronographs. This latest creation merges the distinctive “lion” theme, characterized by a large angular case and a dial texture inspired by a lion’s mane, with a deep red color scheme. The model commemorates 20 years since the introduction of the first 9R-family Spring Drive movements. While the dial pattern echoes other “lion” watches, Grand Seiko employed a new technique to achieve a shifting hue effect based on viewing angles. This innovative approach involves layers of nanoscale film applied through a patented process called “Optical Multilayer Coating,” utilizing PVD (physical vapor deposition). The subdials, also in the same color, feature sunburst finishes to create a striking contrast.

Technical Specifics

  • Caliber: Automatic 9R96 Spring Drive chronograph GMT; 72-hour power reserve
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph, GMT
  • Case: Dimensions of 44.5mm x 16.8mm; Crafted from High-Intensity Titanium;
  • Water-resistant: Up to 200m
  • Availability: Limited edition of 700 pieces
  • Price: USD 13,400

Sport Spring Drive GMT SBGE307

The watches in this year’s Grand Seiko Sport collection continue to evolve from an established design, combining an angular case with a distinctive dial texture. Among Grand Seiko’s modern catalog, this case represents a contemporary and edgy aesthetic, drawing inspiration from the brand’s lion logo, used since its first wristwatch in 1960. The dial’s texture mimics a lion’s mane, while the angular lugs are likened to lions’ claws, embodying a king-of-the-jungle vibe. This GMT model joins an existing line-up featuring the “lion” elements, which includes a Spring Drive model and a chronograph (above model). Despite its substantial dimensions of 44.5mm width and 14.9mm thickness, the use of High-Intensity Titanium in both the case and bracelet helps offset its weight compared to heavier metals like steel.

Technical Specifics

  • Caliber: Automatic 9R66 Spring Drive; 72-hour power reserve
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, GMT, power reserve indicator
  • Case: Dimensions of 44.5mm x 14.9mm; Crafted from High-Intensity Titanium;
  • Water-resistant: up to 200m
  • Availability: Unlimited production
  • Price: USD 10,700

Sport Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ277

This timepiece stands out among this line-up for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it retains the traditional case shape, unlike the other Sport models. Secondly, it’s more reasonably priced below $10,000, making it more accessible to long-time Grand Seiko enthusiasts. However, despite its lower price point, it doesn’t compromise on quality, featuring a high-beat automatic GMT movement.

One of the distinctive features of the SBGJ277 is its green accents on the flange ring, sapphire-crystal bezel, and GMT hand, creating an interesting contrast and color scheme. Grand Seiko suggests that this color combination may evoke imagery of a green valley with snow-capped mountains in the background. From our perspective, it’s simply an exceptional sport watch. However, it’s worth noting that its substantial case size of 44.2mm in steel and therefore on the heavier side may require a strong larger wrist for comfortable wear.

Technical Specifics

  • Caliber: Automatic 9S86 GMT; 55-hour power reserve; High-beat at 5Hz
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, GMT, rotating 24-hour bezel
  • Case: Dimensions of 44.2mm x 14.8mm; Crafted from steel;
  • Availability: Unlimited production
  • Water-resistant: Up to 200m
  • Price: USD 6,800
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