Grand Seiko’s most recent big splash came at the Couture watch and jewelry fair in Las Vegas last August, specifically the launch of a trifecta of green-dialed U.S.-exclusive editions that visually reference Japan’s picturesque natural scenery. Not to be overlooked, however, are two other new models that the brand unveiled in the desert, both of which are equipped with the latest generation of the Seiko-exclusive Spring Drive movement. Here’s what you need to know about the new Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Editions.
As their lengthy names imply, both new models pay tribute to the founding, in 1881, of Grand Seiko’s parent company, Seiko, and like the manually wound, verdant-dialed timepieces that rolled out alongside them, both also feature a colorful, nature-inspired textured dial. In the case of the SLGA007, in a 40-mm steel case, its blue dial features a delicate wavy pattern inspired by the calmly rippling surface of Lake Suwa, which lies near the Shinshu Watch Studio where Grand Seiko makes some of its most high-end timepieces, including this one. The rose-gold-cased SLGA008, on the other hand, features a brown dial with the distinctive “tree rings” wood-grain motif that debuted on an earlier 140th anniversary model, the SLGH007 in a platinum case. Both dials sport the familiar Grand Seiko applied indices and razor-shaped hands along with an elegantly framed date window at 3 o’clock.
Both the steel and gold cases measure 40 mm in diameter. Inside both is the new Spring Drive 5 Days Caliber 9RA2, which incorporates all the attributes of the Caliber 9RA5 introduced in 2020 (the 60th anniversary year of the Grand Seiko brand), plus a new setting for the hands and a power-reserve indicator added to its back side. As on the dials, the finishing on the new movement bears influences from Japan’s natural landscape and climate, such as the frosted effect on the plates and bridges that evoke the snow-covered forests in Shinshu. The bridge lines and hole edges are diamond-cut to reflect light at various angles and the tiny hand of the power reserve indicator is blued to match the bright color splashes provided by the tempered screws.
From the technical side, Caliber 9RA2 is slimmer than its predecessor due to both the new hand-setting and the repositioning of the Offset Magic Lever away from the center. A new architecture for the gear train and its one-piece center bridge ensures that the movement retains a high degree of rigidity and shock resistance despite its thinness. Two differently sized barrels store a lengthy power reserve of 120 hours, and a quartz oscillator with an accompanying temperature sensor are vacuum-sealed together to maintain a timekeeping accuracy between +/- 10 seconds per months.
The SLGA007 is mounted on a three-link steel bracelet whose surfaces and facets, like those of the case, feature a combination of mirror-finished Zaratsu polishing and delicate hairline effects. It fastens to the wrist with a folding clasp with a Grand Seiko badge made of 18k rose gold. Limited to 2,021 pieces, it retails for $8,700. The SLGA008 comes on a brown crocodile strap with a three-fold push-button-release clasp made of the same precious metal as the case. It’s even more limited in number than its steel sibling — just 140 pieces — and priced at $49,000.