It’s an early start for Grand Seiko in their new watch announcements this year and it makes sense since 2020 marks the 60th Anniversary of the high end sister brand to Seiko. It should mark the start of more dazzling releases to come going by the four watches that we have just learned about, that certainly be part of the opening salvo for the year.
The four watches ensure that there is something for everyone, including a high-beat automatic, two quartz and one ladies automatic.
Before we get to the watches, I think it’s fair to say that Grand Seiko has truly come of age. It is no longer solely the connoisseurs’ choice, or the part of Seiko that no one really knew about and had to explain. Now, Grand Seiko, having split away from parent brand, Seiko, is its own independent brand, and is truly in the mainstream consciousness of watch buyers. Many new boutiques have been opened over the past year, with more to come, and the retail availability of Grand Seiko is now wider than ever.
It makes the launch of these four watches then, an expression of the brand’s solidified confidence. Certainly, if you want a reliable, everyday watch, with a typically Japanese aesthetic and finishing to rival the best that the Swiss can offer, look no further than the following for some ideas.
Heritage Collection Hi-Beat 36000 Limited Edition
The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 with Calibre 9S85 is a staple offering that is a practical everyday watch with time and date that showcases everything that is good about the brand. With a case and bracelet aesthetic inspired by the famed 44GS from 1967, and carrying a +5 and -3 secs a day accuracy with a 55 hour power reserve, there is nothing more that anyone would need. This new version comes with a dial in the colour of Grand Seiko blue and has a gold Grand Seiko logo and a red seconds hand. Limited to 1500 pieces.
Caliber 9S85/ 36,000 vibrations per hour/ +5 to -3 seconds per day/ Power reserve: 55 hours/ Stainless steel case/ Water resistance: 10 bar/ Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m/ Diameter: 40.0mm, Thickness: 13.3mm/ Stainless steel bracelet/ Approximate recommended retail price in Europe: €6,200 Limited edition of 1,500
The Calibre 9S27 was launched in 2018, and it was a movement that was designed with high performance and small size in mind. Despite being only 19.4mm in diameter and 4.49mm in height, it boasted specifications such as a precision of between +8 and -3 seconds a day and an unexpectedly good 50 hour power reserve. It was essentially the perfect movement for a brand new ladies collection, with watches measuring 27.8mm in diameter. The new version for the 60th Anniversary of Grand Seiko comes with a practical stainless steel case, and a decidedly celebratory 56 diamonds totalling 0.48 carats (45 of which are in the bezel) The new watch, dressed with the blue mother of pearl dial, is a fitting statement for what is effectively a diamond anniversary, and certainly gives the 29mm Lady Datejust from Rolex a run for its money. Limited to 300 pieces.
Caliber 9S27/ Vibrations: 28,800 vibrations per hour/ +8 to -3 seconds per day/ Power reserve: 50 hours/ Stainless steel case with 56 diamonds (0.48 carat)/ Water resistance: 10 bar, Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/M/ Diameter: 27.8mm, Thickness: 11.2mm/ Stainless steel bracelet/ Approximate recommended retail price in Europe: €9,900 Limited edition of 300
Heritage Collection Quartz Limited Edition
Quartz watches are something that most fine watch enthusiasts are reluctant to consider, except when they are made with as much care and precision as a fine mechanical watch. With Seiko being the undisputed leader in the genre, being a brand that perfected the quartz movement and precipitated the quartz crisis, it’s only a Grand Seiko quartz watch that will pass muster from the most snobbish of horological connoisseurs.
The new Quartz Limited Edition showcases a brand new quartz movement – the 9F85, whose main highlight is a time difference adjustment function that allows the hour hand to be adjusted independently without stopping the seconds hands. This watch is also adjusted to a much higher precision than standard versions, up to + or – 5 seconds a year, with this ability highlighted by the gold star at the 6 o’clock position. The dial comes with a unique pattern in blue (Grand Seiko calls it the 2020 pattern) and a seconds hand in red. Limited to 2500 pieces.
Caliber 9F85/ Accuracy: ±5 seconds per year (at temperatures between 5℃ and 35℃)/ Time difference adjustment function/ Stainless steel case/ Screw case back with 18k yellow gold plate/ Water resistance: 10 bar, Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m / Diameter: 40.0mm, Thickness: 10.8mm/ Stainless steel bracelet / Approximate recommended retail price in Europe: €3,900 Limited edition of 2,500
Sports Collection Quartz Limited Edition
The most obvious aesthetic highlight of the Quartz Limited Edition in the Sports collection, has to be its ceramic bezel, which is in the same blue as the dial. Despite not being a functional bezel, it is cool all the same, and does look extremely striking. I would certainly love to see this on the mechanical models as well. Like the other men’s watches, this watch comes with a red seconds hand, and for its more sporting ambitions, hour and minute hands coated with Lumibrite for superb nighttime legibility, 20 bar water resistance, magnetic resistance to 16,000 A/m and a screw down crown. This watch also comes with the Calibre 9F85, although it is less finely adjusted than the previous 60th Anniversary model in the Heritage Collection, managing a + or – 10 second a year accuracy. Still beats the pants off most quartz watches though. Limited to 2000 pieces.
Caliber 9F85/ Accuracy: ±10 seconds per year (at temperatures between 5℃ and 35℃)/ Time difference adjustment function/ Stainless steel case/ Screw-down crown, screw case back/ Ceramic bezel/ Water resistance: 20 bar, Magnetic resistance: 16,000 A/m/ Diameter: 40.0mm, Thickness: 12.4mm/ Stainless steel bracelet/ Approximate recommended retail price in Europe: €3,900 Limited edition of 2,000