Grand Seiko continues its 60th-anniversary celebrations with the release of a fifth blue-dial model. The latest reference SBGR321 is a 40mm automatic from the Heritage family with a dial inspired by the colours of dawn over Mount Iwate. Limited to 2,500 pieces worldwide, this three-hand-and-date model will be available in October 2020.
In December 1960, the dream of a small team of Seiko’s finest watchmakers to create the best watch possible materialised, appropriately named Grand Seiko. Seven years after its birth, the Grand Seiko style was consolidated in the 44GS model. Nine specific design elements were established with the 44GS that are still seen in today’s models, including the use of reflections or “sparkle of quality” in the form of faceted hands and markers designed to reflect even the smallest ray of light.
Over the years, three lines – Heritage, Elegance and Sport – form the core collections of Grand Seiko, all fitted with superlative movements and finished with traditional Japanese attention to detail and time-honed artisanal crafts. The Heritage line, as its name indicates, pays tribute to the early Grand Seikos and many models have dials with colours or motifs directly inspired by nature.
Inspired by the sky at dawn
Grand Seiko watches are crafted in two facilities in Japan. All Grand Seiko mechanical watches (not including Spring Drive calibres) are manufactured in the town of Shizukuishi in the Iwate prefecture, home to the imposing 2,038m Mount Iwate. The dial of this Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGR321 captures the dawn sky as the sun rises behind Mount Iwate, a phenomenon that can be admired from the windows of the Shizukuishi Watch Studio. The bright blue colour of the dial provides a lively background for the faceted and applied hour markers and the razor-sharp hands. To recreate the red colours associated with the sunrise, the tip of the central seconds hand is painted red. The date window at 3 o’clock has a bevelled frame and a black background.
Case and bracelet
The stainless steel case measures 40mm, has a thickness of 13mm and is water-resistant to 100 metres. Like all Grand Seiko watches the finishes on the case and integrated steel bracelet are flawless with gleaming Zaratsu-polished surfaces for a mirror-like reflection and contrasting brushed areas.
A sapphire crystal caseback provides a view of the automatic movement with its large blue titanium openworked rotor dominating the scenery along with the classic Grand Seiko lion logo. Similar in colour to the dial, the blue colour of the rotor is achieved with an anodic oxidisation process to generate an oxide film. Below the cut-out areas of the rotor lies Seiko’s 9S65 movement.
The 9S65 calibre is part of the 9S mechanical series and was introduced in 2010, a standard automatic movement with a 3-day power reserve. Designed to improve upon its predecessor, calibre 9S55, the 9S65 relies on Micro Electro Mechanical System technology (MEMS) to produce precision watch parts and a reverser gear train system, along with hardened components. Assembled, adjusted and inspected by hand, the watch has a precision rate of +5 to-3 seconds a day.
Availability & price
As mentioned, the Grand Seiko SBGR321 is a limited edition of 2,500 pieces. The approximate retail price in Europe is of EUR 5,300 and the watch will be available from October 2020.
For more information, please visit grand-seiko.com.