Seiko, for a long time, has been away from the trend of vintage and reissues. This was simply not their thing, the brand simply emphasized on evolution and modern designs. Yet, since a few years now, and mainly with the arrival of the Presage collection, the Japanese brand now looks at its rich history. For Baselworld 2017, the focus will be on the recreation of the first Grand Seiko, launched for Japan only in 1960 (while the international launch of Grand Seiko took place in 2010), with three limited editions (SBGW251 – SBGW252 – SBGW253). And for those who prefer present days, there will also be a modern reissue, the SBGR305.
The first Grand Seiko watch, created in 1960
While the international launch of Grand Seiko took place in 2010, the name actually dates back 1960. Fro the earliest days, the focus of this high-end sub-brand has always been on precision, reliability, fine execution and elegant designs. The dial of the very first Grand Seiko watch carried the name Grand Seiko at the twelve o’clock position as a symbol of its unique identity and superior quality. Also, it featured the mention “diashock” on the dial, Seiko’s own version of the shock absorber system found in mechanical movements – yet this mention became sort of iconic. This exact watch is today the interpretation source for a new range of models, to be seen as faithful reissues.
The first Grand Seiko, re-created in platinum, gold and steel (SBGW251 – SBGW252 – SBGW253)
The new Grand Seiko SBGW251 – SBGW252 – SBGW253 use the exact same case and dial design as the 1960 first watch of the brand. Yet, its diameter has been increased to 38mm, in line with contemporary taste but still very reasonable. The dual-curved sapphire crystal is also loyal to the original shape and gives the re-creation the same pleasingly gentle profile. As for the dial, the same markers and logos can be found, as well as the “Diashock xx jewels” mention. Finally, even the hands show the exact same design, with their sharp facets and perfectly polish edges.
From left to right: SBGW251 in platinum – SBGW252 in yellow gold – SBGW253 in steel
All versions feature a hand-wound, yet modern, movement, the Caliber 9S64, with a 4Hz frequency and 72 hours of power reserve (as often with Grand Seiko, the movement, even if perfectly finished, is hidden behind a plain caseback, to stay faithful to the original watch).
3 Versions of this re-creation of the first Grand Seiko will be available:
- The SBGW251 (picture above) – with a 999 platinum case and 18k white gold hour markers. The base of the dial is also in gold. The logo is sharply engraved in the dial. The 9S64 caliber of this platinum version has been adjusted to an even higher level of precision, -1 to +5 seconds per day. Limited to 136 pieces, priced at 38,500 Euro – available from March 2017.
- The SBGW252 (picture above) – with a 18k yellow gold case, gold hour markers and gold hands. The logo is here applied on the dial. Limited to 353 pieces, priced at 21,700 Euro – available from March 2017.
- The SBGW253 (picture above) – with a stainless steel case, steel hands and markers. The second hand is here heat-blued and the logo embossed on the dial. Limited to 1,960 pieces, priced at 7,200 Euro – available from March 2017.
A new case material and a new caliber for the modern re-interpretation (SBGR305)
Alongside these three perfectly faithful interpretations of the first Grand Seiko, the brand will also introduce something more modern and more innovative, while sharing the same DNA as the 1960s watches. The modern re-interpretation of the 1960 Grand Seiko ref. SBGR305 features a new automatic caliber, the 9S68, which makes possible a larger date window. This movement has a 72 hours power reserve and a 4Hz frequency.
Other novelty with the SBGR305 is the case, made of Brilliant Hard Titanium, a new material that is exclusive to Grand Seiko and that is as light as pure titanium but twice as hard as stainless steel. Yet, it shows polished and brushed surfaces. The design of the watch is a mix between clues of the 1960s and modern days, with sharp edges, nicely textured dial but the same hands and indexes as the vintage versions and, for the visual appeal, the lugs are narrow and the case sides are recessed to give the same slim profile as the original.
This Grand Seiko SBGR305 however exposes its entrails, with the caliber 9S68 visible through the sapphire caseback. This watch will be a limited edition of 968 pieces, priced at 8,800 Euro and available from July 2017.