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Grand Seiko - Grand Seiko Series 9 : a small revolution

Grand Seiko Grand Seiko Series 9 : a small revolution

New hands, new cases, new type of dials, the first two Grand Seiko Series 9 breathe some fresh air into the Japanese high-end brand's framework

It took a while for the Grand Seiko style to get through. It consistently relies on a number of brand-wide features. A single type of chamfered hands, of the Dauphine type. A single type of rectangular and tridimensional indices. A predominantly sunburst dial type. A very specific case design, which may seem plain and round, but its profile shows it's much more than that. It's made of a single arch, a polished curve stretched from lug to lug. The polished bezel has a small flat surface and a larger, steeped one.

As this is the 60th anniversary of its foundation, Grand Seiko has launched a new design, applied to the Heritage Collection Series 9. Two new references fall under that monicker. As always, they're known by faceless, drab reference numbers. The SLGH005 is made of steel and the SLGH007, of platinum, both in a 40mm case size. Almost everything about them is new.

Grand Seiko Series 9 : a small revolution

The 40-mm steel Grand Seiko Series 9 ref.SLGH005, with birch forest dial © David Chokron/Worldtempus

Their new design elements are first and formemost new hands. The minutes' remain Dauphine but the hours' have a larger base, no sharp point, and a groove runs through them. That channel is also present on the broader, thicker, trapezoid-shaped indices. The caseband now has a steeper arch, which feels more classical and no less classy. Lugs have become shorter, for a better fit. The new bezel features two clearly distinct planes. The first flat one is larger, satin-brushed while the second one is polished, which creates a clear contrast.

Grand Seiko Series 9 : a small revolution

Calibre 9SA5, 5 Hz, 80 hour power reserve, is fitted in the Grand Seiko Series © David Chokron/Worldtempus

On these two first iterations of the collection, Grand Seiko introduces dials a long way from the usual sunburst type. The brand is already familiar with textures inspired by nature. They've come in many shapes and patterns, and are now welcoming two wood-like motifs. SLGH007 imitates the cross-section and rings of an ebony-black tree-trunk. SLGH005 looks like a view of a bright and thick birch forest. Both are all new, very well made and in the case of the black rings one, madly chic.

To power these new references, Grand Seiko has chosen its most sophisticated, high-end movement. Calibre 9SA5 is the latest member of the Hi-Beat family, all of which run at 5 Hz. The 9SA5 is thinner, and its larger barrel and dual impulse escapement allow for an 80-hour power reserve, which is unheard of at this frequency. On top of all that, it looks like nothing else Grand Seiko used to design.

 

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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.

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