It was in December of 1960 that Japanese watchmaking giant Seiko released its “King of Watches,” the first Grand Seiko timepiece, which became legendary for reaching new heights of precision, durability, legibility, and ease of use. This year, the Grand Seiko brand — once Japan’s best-kept horological secret, now a worldwide phenomenon — celebrates 60 years with a quartet of new limited-edition watches, two automatic and two quartz, all featuring Grand Seiko’s signature blue dials.
The number 60, as Grand Seiko points out, is not only a fundamental number in timekeeping but also in Japanese culture signifies “a moment of new energy and rebirth.” Hence the company’s plan for a year-long celebration that will not only pay tribute to its past achievement but also to point the way forward to the next 60-year cycle of Grand Seiko watchmaking, kicking off with these four models. The first of the two automatics is a men’s watch, a modern re-creation of the historic 44GS model from 1967 that established the distinctive Grand Seiko signatures. Powering the watch is the high-beat Caliber 9S85, possessing a 55-hour power reserve and a 36,000 vph frequency, and boasting an accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds per day. The 40-mm stainless steel case, water-resistant to 100 meters and magnetic-resistant to 4,800 A/m, is attached to a steel bracelet with a three-fold push-button-release clasp. The Heritage Collection 60th Anniversary Hi-Beat 3600 Limited Edition will be limited to 1,500 pieces and priced at 6,200 euros.
The other automatic watch is for ladies, and contains a movement specially designed for Grand Seiko’s women’s collection, the ultra-thin Caliber 9S27. Beating at 28,800 vph inside a 27.8-mm case, the self-winding movement offers outstanding precision (+8 to -3 seconds per day) as well as a substantial power reserve (50 hours). The case is set with 45 diamonds on its bezel, and the mother-of-pearl dial uses diamonds at the hour markers, for a total of 56 diamonds. Like the men’s model, the Elegance Collection Women’s Automatic Limited Edition has a see-through caseback and a steel bracelet. Priced at 9,900 euros, it’s limited to just 300 pieces.
The two quartz-powered anniversary editions are both noteworthy as the first to feature an all-new movement, Caliber 9F85, equipped with a “time difference adjustment” function that allows the user to adjust the hour hand without stopping the seconds hand, which ensures no loss of precision after changing time zones. The Heritage Collection Quartz Limited Edition carries a version of this new movement that is honed to a level of accuracy of +/-5 seconds per year — as symbolized by the five-pointed star at the 6 o’clock position. The dial has a special “2020” motif, and is more legible than predecessor models thanks to a wider opening provided by the 40-mm case’s thin bezel. The seconds hand of this model is in a vivid red and its caseback features the iconic Grand Seiko lion medallion. Limited to 2,500 pieces, the watch will be available in March and priced at 3,900 euros.
Finally, a second model powered by the new quartz Caliber 9F85 hails from Grand Seiko’s Sport Collection. Framing its blue dial is a scratch-resistant ceramic bezel of the same color, while the dial’s hands and hour markers are coated in Seiko’s proprietary LumiBrite substance for nighttime legibility. The 40-mm case of the Sport Collection Quartz Limited Edition has enhanced water-resistance to 200 meters as well as upgraded magnetic resistance to 16,000 A/m. The watch, limited to 2,000 pieces and priced at 3,900 euros, has a screw-down crown and caseback and a steel bracelet.