Seiko Baselworld 2014 : Broadening the spectrum of possibilities
High frequency, sports watches, multi-function models or three-hand quartz-driven timepieces: Seiko’s 2014 offering is more high-quality and eclectic than ever.
Seen from the rest of the world, Seiko is a major brand with a very broad range. Viewed from its home country, Seiko is a monumental group encompassing an abundance of brands, lines and styles. In presenting the 2014 collections destined for Europe, the Japanese giant vividly demonstrated both its size and the breadth of its skills. The Prospex range – one of Seiko’s most important alongside the Velatura, Kinetic, Premier and others – is to be introduced in Europe. The fact that it has remained virtually unknown until now is standard practice for the group, which tends to export its concepts only sparingly. Prospex is all about adventure sports such as diving or aviation. The robust construction of these models is based on a monohull case and the use of tried and tested quartz, Kinetic or automatic movements.
In parallel, the group is pursuing the development of its upscale lines, personified by the Grand Seiko brand. These rigorously manufactured watches are mechanical or electromechanical thanks to Spring Drive movements. The major 2014 launch is the Hi-Beat GMT. Its calibre, one of the very few to operate at a frequency of 5 Hz (hence its name) is now also equipped with a dual time-zone mechanism. This concept was introduced last year on gold models that are almost impossible to find outside Japan. It is worth noting in parallel the introduction of bottle-green dials – a colour rarely used and rarely in such an appealing way – as well as a deep blue. Dial textures are a speciality of Seiko, which offers extremely refined sunburst motifs produced in-house. In particular, the pattern on the Hi-Beat GMT models is inspired by the ripples that can be seen on the snow-capped mountains facing the construction workshop of the Grand Seiko mechanical movements, in northern Japan.
Seiko is however first and foremost an industrial juggernaut specialising in quartz technologies. It is indeed virtually the only brand to continue offering battery-driven prestigious men’s watches. The brand focuses on two models. The first is the Astron, featuring a world-time display that is solar-powered and automatically synchronised by satellite. This now slimmer and smaller instrument watch is becoming increasingly wearable and affordable.
The second is incomparably more ‘confidential’. Ref. SBGV011 is a Grand Seiko driven by Calibre 9F, a high-precision analogue quartz movement boasting an ultra-fast stepper motor of which the brand is extremely proud. It serves as a reminder that quartz is not necessarily synonymous with low-end products and that it has its own fans along with its own distinctive assets.
The history of Seiko is a more than 130 year story of innovation. From the very start, Kintaro Hattori was determined to be at the forefront of the industry and his oft-repeated credo was that Seiko should be “Always one step ahead of the rest.”Find out more >
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