Grand Seiko knows how to celebrate an anniversary, and this past week the Japanese watchmaker celebrated two. First unveiling the Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary Limited Edition and shortly afterward the Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition, Grand Seiko celebrates both the birthday of Seiko’s founder and the founding of parent brand Seiko — then known as “K. Hattori” before becoming “Seikosha” 12 years later — which occurred in 1860 and 1881, respectively.
These two latest releases come on the heels of a long string of anniversary models by Grand Seiko in 2020 — many of them celebrating 60 years of Grand Seiko proper, such as three re-editions of the first Grand Seiko, a blue dial SLGH003, and an all gold Grand Seiko re-edition containing a new hi-beat manufacture movement.
Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary Limited Edition (Ref. SBGZ005)
First turning our focus to the Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary Limited Edition, we find a clean and elegant model that showcases some of the finest work by the brand. Its platinum case is exceptionally thin but very well-proportioned, at 37.5 mm in diameter and 9.6 mm thick. Its rounded contours feature Grand Seiko’s signature Zaratsu finishing, which provide the case with its mirror-polished facets. The case is quite simple otherwise, with a small, signed crown on its side and relatively straight lugs.
Underneath the curved sapphire crystal, the silvery white dial showcases the most unique feature of the model: the face is subtly divided into 12 sectors, with an intricate and contrasting line pattern breaking up the sections while coming together to produce a cohesive and elegant look. As not to detract from the elaborate dial work, the other features we see are uncomplicated in their execution, with white-gold double markers used for the hour indices and very small applied marks used to denote the minutes between each hour. As has been Grand Seiko’s tradition since the 1960s, a small star marker is placed at 6 o’clock to denote that the indexes are produced in gold. The final features on the dial are the two dauphine hands that are a signature for the brand, a simple pointer to count the seconds, and a straightforward, applied Grand Seiko logo toward the top of the dial.
Inside the 160th Anniversary model is the Spring Drive Caliber 9R02, a quartz-regulated, manually-wound movement capable of an 84-hour power reserve. The movement is accurate to +/- 1 second per day (or about +/- 15 seconds per month), and displays a power-reserve indicator, as well as its excellent finishing, behind a sapphire caseback. As a nod to the watch’s development studio, the movement also features an engraved “Micro Artist” plaque towards its bottom, which indicates that the watch was produced at Grand Seiko’s Micro-Artist Studio in Nagano, Japan. (Grand Seiko says the prospective owner can also request an alternative engraving.)
Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition (ref. SBGW260)
The other anniversary release is the new Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition — which, while holding “Seiko” in its title, is being released under the Grand Seiko brand, and in-fact re-creates the first Grand Seiko from 1960 as its base design.
The 140th Anniversary model uses a 38-mm by 10.9-mm rose gold case, and features the Zaratsu finishing, simple crown, and slightly faceted lugs similar to those found on the 160th Anniversary model. This watch comes standard on a brown crocodile strap with a three-fold, push-button-release clasp in rose gold.
On the dial, we find a design historically faithful to that of the original Grand Seiko, with a matte finish and a deep cream color. The modern watch uses rose-gold-colored details rather than the original’s yellow and steel ones. The face of this model is much simpler than the fine-line-patterned dial on the 160th Anniversary model, though it also uses double hour markers, dauphine hands, and an applied Grand Seiko logo at the top, most of these features produced in rose gold rather than white gold. At the bottom of the dial, above the applied star indicating the indices as being produced in gold, there is an additional printed line reading “Diashock 24 jewels,” a reference to the shock resistance and jewel count of the movement.
Inside the 140th Anniversary model beats the manually-wound Grand Seiko Caliber 9S64. This movement is accurate to +5 to -3 seconds per day, and hosts a power reserve of 72 hours. This caliber is also visible via a sapphire caseback, this one etched with the historical Grand Seiko lion emblem.
Price and Availability
Both the Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary Limited Edition and Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition are expected to become available in January 2021 via Grand Seiko boutiques and authorized retailers. The 160th Anniversary model will be limited to 50 editions and is marked at $103,000, while the 140th Anniversary model will be limited to 350 total editions and will retail for $29,000.
For more information, you can visit Grand Seiko’s website, here.