Grand Seiko celebrates its 60th anniversary with the release of this 39mm, manual-winding, platinum Elegance model with a hand-engraved dial decorated with symbols related to the legend of Shizukuishi. A second model in rose gold, also from the Elegance Collection, features a green machine-engraved dial that evokes the radiant green white birch trees located near the studio where the watch is made. Both models are fitted with manual-winding movements and, as anniversary editions, are limited editions.
The mountain scenery and legend of Shizukuishi
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. Since 2017, when Grand Seiko gained autonomy from Seiko, the brand has positioned itself as the high-end arm of the Japanese watch brand. The Elegance line was introduced in 2019 as GS’s dress watch with slimmer cases and softer, more rounded contours.
The Shizukuishi Watch Studio, located in the Prefecture of Iwate is not only a state-of-the-art manufacture but is also home to 90 expert craftsmen and women who are responsible for the decorative features and polishing of the watches and are capable of executing fine adjustments to infinitesimal tolerances.
Shizukuishi is renowned for its spectacular mountain scenery with the snow-capped Mount Iwate in the background. According to legend, an old man living in the region started to hear strange sounds emanating from underneath an old cedar tree. Intrigued, villagers followed the sound to its source and were led to a deep, bottomless cave. The sound was produced by drops of water “shizuku” dripping from the ceiling. The sound of the water hitting the rocks is known as “ishi” in Japanese and since then the area became known as Shizukuishi.
The decoration of the dial and the hands of this Elegance model are inspired by this curious legend; the razor-sharp hands feature a water droplet motif and each hour marker bears the pattern of water splashing against a rock. Master engraver Kiyoshi Terui and his small team have engraved all the decorative features by hand, including the Grand Seiko name, the logo and the star above 6 o’clock. The dial is made of 18k white gold and the task of hand-engraving is rendered more challenging given the slightly curved surfaces the artisans have to work with, especially on the outer minutes/seconds track.
The 39mm platinum case has a height of 11.8mm and features the spectacular mirror-polished, distortion-free finish we associate with GS watches. The reverse side of the sealed caseback protecting the manual-winding movement has an 18k yellow gold Grand Seiko lion. The platinum Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGW263 is produced in just 20 pieces and will retail for EUR 101,000.
White Birch Trees
The second Anniversary Elegance model comes in an 18k rose gold case and its spectacular green dial is decorated with an intricate geometric motif radiating from the centre. In this case, the dial is machine-engraved by hand and the colour takes its inspiration from the white birch trees close to the studio. Like the trees with their white trunks and vibrant green leaves, the dial shimmers in green and white as the viewing angle changes.
The case measures 39mm in diameter and has a height of 11.6mm and is beautifully finished with mirror-polished (Grand Seiko’s legendary Zaratzu technique) and brushed surfaces. The rest of the dial is typically GS with diamond-shaped indices cut at the tip to reflect more light and polished to a mirror-like finish. The classic dauphine hands of Grand Seiko, with their surgically sharp edges and brushed upper surface contrast to the bright polish of the central seconds hand.
Also equipped with manual-winding GS calibre 9S64, the movement has a 72-hour/3-day power reserve, is resistant to magnetic fields of 4,800 A/m and has an accuracy rate of +5 to -3 seconds per day.
This Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGW264 in rose gold is produced in 120 pieces and will retail for EUR 25,000. Both watches will be available from July 2020 in Grand Seiko Boutiques and Salons worldwide.
For more information, please visit grand-seiko.com.