Grand Seiko Grand Seiko: 140th Anniversary New Releases
During an online session, Grand Seiko unveiled its strategy for 2021, which is based on an optimistic but cautious approach drawing on 140 years of history. The two new calibres revealed last year in limited series will be added to the current collection, where they will be supported by a new case design, the Series 9.
As Shinji Hattori, CEO of Seiko and Grand Seiko, likes to remind people: “Last year, 2020, we celebrated the 160th anniversary of the birth of my great-grandfather Kintaro Hattori. This year, in 2021, we will celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of our brand, Seiko.”
SBGJ251 © Grand Seiko
Very few watch brands can claim such a direct line from their founder, still less when the brand has a long history. Hermès is one – the company is still managed by the founding Dumas family – as is Breguet (Emmanuel Breguet is vice president of heritage and marketing). Audemars Piguet has two Audemars working for the company, and the there’s Jack Heuer of the eponymous watch brand TAG Heuer. But these are just a handful, out of hundreds.
Wisdom and restraint
But, true to his character, Mr Hattori is not complacent about this history. “No nostalgia, just lessons that continue to help us today. Always be one step ahead – but just one. You must be ambitious, but remain focused on the client. As we always say, don’t run, but continue to move forward. We must keep a clear vision, think of the long term, and follow our path.”
SBGD207 © Grand Seiko
Fourth brand worldwide in the segment
Currently, Grand Seiko claims to be the fourth brand worldwide in the price bracket between $5,000 and $10,000 (in terms of estimated value, behind Rolex, Omega and Breitling), and it continues to grow. The brand’s main pillars are the premium segment that Grand Seiko has made its own, and the Prospex diving range, which celebrated its 55th anniversary last year.
Grand Seiko currently operates 10 stores around the world outside Japan. In terms of products, the two new calibres unveiled last year in limited editions, the 9SA5 (36,000 vph, 80-hour power reserve) and the Spring Drive 5-day power reserve, will now be added to the main catalogue.
The Manufacture confirmed that it wants to evolve in the way it communicates with clients. First, by placing greater emphasis on marketing and digital communication; second, by focusing more on history, passion and innovation; and third, by creating collectors’ clubs like the GS9 club, which opened in Japan in 2015, and has recently expanded to the USA and China.
SLGH005 © Grand Seiko
New case design: Series 9
In terms of new models, Grand Seiko unveiled a new design, the Series 9, inspired by the 44GS model from 1967. The new case is complemented by new hour markers and a new kind of Zaratsu finish with alternating polished and satin surfaces (Zaratsu is generally associated with highly polished finishes). The first piece to use this new design, with a 40 mm diameter, the SLGH005 (EUR 9,500) is available now, featuring a dial that recalls silver birches in a Japanese forest in winter. The design will be gradually rolled out to other Grand Seiko collections.
Shades of black
This unlimited edition is supplemented by a second model (SLGH007) in a 140-piece limited series priced at €60,000, whose dial reproduces the growth rings of the cedar trees found near the company’s new creative premises, the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi. More than a hundred micro-lines traverse a black dial – very unusual for Grand Seiko, and all the more rare given the choice of platinum as the material for the 40 mm case, which is also a Series 9 design. For fans of symbolism, the star on the dial at 6 o’clock indicates that the indexes, buckle and date aperture are made of gold.
SLGH007 © Grand Seiko
Japan’s four seasons
Grand Seiko is launching four new pieces representing the four seasons – a simplified concept for international collectors, given that the Japanese recognise 24 different seasons! The four models represent spring, summer, autumn and winter. The first two are equipped with the high-frequency calibre 9S86 (SBGJ251 and SBGJ249, €7,600, May 2021), while the latter two are equipped with the 9R86 Spring Drive calibre with GMT (SBGE271 and SBGE269, €6,800, September 2021).
Unique limited-edition chrono
Finally, an anniversary chronograph was unveiled: the SBGC240 will be issued in a limited series of 500 for Seiko’s 140th anniversary, equipped with the Spring Drive Chronograph calibre 9R86 and priced at €19,200. Available from July, the watch features a combination of black ceramic and gold – a new departure for Grand Seiko – and a new dodecagonal bezel. Owners will appreciate the precision (+/- 1 second per day) of this masculine piece (44 mm diameter).
SBGC240 © Grand Seiko
Only 15 of this SBGD207 will be produced, equipped with the Spring Drive 9R01 calibre and priced at €195,000 (May 2021, exclusive to Grand Seiko boutiques). The 43 mm diameter watch in platinum with a mother-of-pearl dial is set with 97 diamonds and 24 green garnets. This jewellery watch would seem to be targeted at a male clientele with a love for the Shinshu region that is home to Grand Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio.
From the very beginning, Grand Seiko has been pursuing the essential characteristics of a watch: precision, beauty, legibility. Its design reflects the unique Japanese sense of beauty. The brand will continue to reach new heights as a global brand.Find out more >
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