The first Grand Seiko made its debut in 1960 and since its birth fifty-five years ago, the brand has remains true to what it terms the essentials of watchmaking: precision, durability, legibility and beauty.
These are what Shinji Hattori, president and CEO of Seiko Watch Corporation deems as the essential elements of a watch.
For 2015, one anniversary timepiece commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Grand Seiko is a Spring Drive chronograph – the Grand Seiko 55th Anniversary Spring Drive Chronograph Limited Edition.
Limited to 400 pieces, this Grand Seiko houses the Spring Drive Calibre 9R96 which has been specially tuned and has the accuracy of plus / minus 10 seconds a month; or plus / minus 0.5 seconds a day. This is the first essential element of watchmaking: precision.
The element of durability, as represented by the Grand Seiko 55th Anniversary Spring Drive Chronograph Limited Edition, is seen with its deep black ceramic bezel. In fact, this is the very first Grand Seiko to have a ceramic bezel.
Ceramic is seven times harder than steel when compared with stainless steel on the Vickers scale. Ceramic is also 25% lighter than stainless steel, in addition to being scratch-resistant. For the Grand Seiko 55th Anniversary Spring Drive Chronograph Limited Edition, its ceramic bezel is highly polished and has a super-flat mirror finish.
Legibility for any Grand Seiko is proven by its dial displays. What is interesting to note is that thus far, in addition to integrated chronographs, Grand Seiko watches only feature mini-complications like the power reserve display and second time zone indications.
There hasn’t been a Grand Seiko with a moon phase display mini complication or even high complications like tourbillons and perpetual calendars.
As for beauty, it is in the eyes of the beholder, as they say, and the deep blue dial complemented by gold tone hands on this Grand Seiko 55th Anniversary Spring Drive Chronograph Limited Edition is best left to be admired and judged by potential customers at their shops. Deep blue is actually Grand Seiko’s signature colour.
Speaking of shops, given the weakness of the Japanese Yen vis-à-vis the Singapore dollar for example, we understand that price adjustments for Grand Seiko timepieces which are available at the Seiko boutiques in VivoCity and Jem shopping malls in this country have recently been made.
The Spring Drive Calibre 9R96 and the complete watch are assembled in the Shinshu Watch Studio which is a part of Seiko Epson’s Shiojiri facility and located in Shiojiri-shi, Nagano, a mountainous area in the centre of Japan.