Seiko’s iconic clock tower atop its Wako retail store famously survived the bombing of Tokyo in World War II. However, it could not withstand an assault by Japan’s most famous fictional giant monster, who demolished it during a rampage through the Ginza in the iconic, original Godzilla film in 1954. As it turns out, both Godzilla and Seiko are celebrating anniversaries in 2019: 65 years since the Toho kaiju film that launched Japan’s King of the Monsters into pop culture and 20 years since the invention of the Spring Drive technology that revolutionized watchmaking. The dual milestones come together stylishly in the new Grand Seiko Godzilla 65th Anniversary Limited Edition.
The watch, measuring 44.5 mm in its high-intensity titanium case, features a number of references to Japan’s legendary movie monster, albeit more subtly than one might expect given the somewhat nerdy subject matter. Grand Seiko (which spun off as an independent, high-horology brand from the larger Seiko parent brand in 2017) went with a dark red color scheme rather than a more obvious green one: the crimson dial with its radiating waves is designed to echo the look of Godzilla’s fiery red heat-ray breath, and the sharkskin strap, with its applied black and red areas, has been given a rough texture inspired by the monster’s dinosaur hide. Grand Seiko says that the case itself, with its strongly angled shapes, “brings to life the magnitude of Godzilla.”
The dial’s distinctive hands and hour markers, as well as the numerals on its sapphire bezel, are coated in Seiko’s proprietary Lumibrite substance for easy legibility in the dark. The dual-curved, “high definition” sapphire crystal over the dial has an antireflective coating. Another sapphire pane in the caseback features another visual reference to Godzilla, and one uniquely tied to the venerable Japanese watchmaker: a rendering of the creature destroying the Wako clock tower (which, fortunately, in real life still stands at the main intersection of the Ginza district, serving as an iconic symbol of both Seiko and the city of Tokyo). Illustrated by Shinji Higuchi, co-director and special effects director for 2016’s “Shin Godzilla” movie, the image replaces the emblematic Grand Seiko lion — essentially swapping out the King of the Jungle for the King of the Monsters for this limited edition of 650 pieces.
Behind that image of Godzilla, ensconced within the 200-meter water resistant case, beats the Grand Seiko Spring Drive 9R15/65 caliber, with 30 jewels and a 72-hour power reserve. (An indicator for this three-day running time appears on the dial at 8 o’clock, along with a date window at 3 o’clock). Invented by Seiko, Spring Drive calibers achieve their high level of timekeeping accuracy (+/- 0.5 seconds per day, +/- 10 seconds per month) through their use of a balance wheel, electromagnetic energy, and a quartz oscillator instead of a traditional escapement. This “Tri-Synchro Regulator” transmits energy to a classical self-winding rotor. Spring Drive calibers also offer a high level of magnetism resistance, at 4,800 A/m. The Grand Seiko Godzilla 65th Anniversary Limited Edition hits Grand Seiko and Seiko boutiques and retail partners in November 2019, priced at $12,500.