Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT SUN109 And SUN023

Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT SUN019

Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT SUN023

 

Seiko had a very exciting announcement at the Baselworld 2014 fair.  The announcement was that Seiko’s Propsex brand was finally being launched on an international level for the first time.  The brand was gently introduced last year with the SBDB008 Limited Edition in the US market, and now, an entire series will coming to the US.  Part of their international launch was the introduction of new models for this series.  Today we feature the Prospex Kinetic Diver GMT, models SUN019 and SUN023, which are the now most anticipated in the series.

Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT SUN019

The SUN019 will feature a 47.5mm stainless steel case and bracelet, mostly brushed in finish.  The shrouded design is inspired from their 1st 600m dive watch from 1975 with openings from 12:00 to 3:00 and 6:00 to 9:00 allowing for easy access to its uni-directional divers bezel.  The dial and bezel for the SUN019 will be in black, with the dial matte, making for great contrast along with it’s heavily applied luminous (Lumi-Bright) markers and hands.  All four hands, along with the hour and minute markers, the frame of the GMT hand, and the tail end of the seconds hand will all be coated in the Lim-Bright material.  As we all know, Seiko’s Lumi-Bright is very strong and with this heavy of an application is sure to glow tremendously.

Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT SUN023

The next model is the SUN023.  It will have the same case design, but with a black hard coating on the shroud, orange accents for the dive features (rotating bezel and minute hand) and blue accents for the GMT hand and 24 hour numerals.  The strap attachment for this model will be a black silicone giving it a soft and comfortable feel.  The date will be featured just before the 5:00 marker, and the watch will also have a power reserve display that can be activated by pushing the upper right button.  The second hand will act as your power reserve display.  When pointing at 6:00, the power reserve is completely full.  The closer it gets to 12:00, the lower the power.

Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT SUN019

Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT SUN023

The case sides on both models are hollowed out, allowing you to see the inner case.  The attention to detail is incredible and gives you a lot to look at while on the wrist.  These pieces are going to be thick and while I don’t have the exact measurements as of yet, I would guess them to be around 15-16mm. Of course, this is common and expected in most dive watches.  The SUN019 and 023 will both have screw down crowns, and 200m water resistance.  They will also have sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.

Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT SUN019

Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT SUN023

 

The movement used is the Seiko Kinetic GMT caliber 5M85.  This will obviously display a secondary time zone, which is read in 24 hour increments and also features an independent setting hour hand, which can be adjusted by the first click out on the crown.  Kinetic movements work off of body movement to recharge the watch.  Essentially, 250 swings of its rotor is equivalent to 1 days worth of energy.  The watch can run up to 6 months without movement before it needs to be recharged.  This would be from a full charge, and if you can manage to keep these beauties off of  your wrist for that long.

The MSRP on the SUN109 is $695, but is currently available for pre-order on AZFineTime.com for $521.25 HERE.  The SUN023 will have an MSRP of $675, but also is available on our site for pre-order at $506.25 HERE.  Both pieces are scheduled for early to mid September for delivery.

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See more pictures below…

 

Campanola Mechanical Collection – The Intersecting of Swiss – Japanese Manufacturing

Campanola Mechanical NZ0000-58W NZ0000-07E La Joux Perret Swiss

A ground breaking day has occurred in watchmaking.  On June 18th 2014, Citizen announced the introduction of a new collection in their stunning Campanola series.  These new Campanola models will be the first to feature mechanical self-winding movements.  Campanola Automatics are not the ground breaking news I was discussing.  What is, is that the mechanical calibers featured in these two new pieces are actually manufactured in La Choux De Fonds, Switzerland and assembled in Japan!  In March of 2012, Citizen Japan announced its purchase of the holding company Prothor, which owns the incredible Swiss movement manufacuture La Joux Perret.  LJP produces parts, movements and complications for a huge list of watch companies such as Hublot, Panerai, Corum, Graham, Eberhard & Co. and many more.  They are also renowned for their own brand, Arnold & Son.  During the year of the 150th anniversary of Swiss – Japanese trade, Citizen has introduced the first true Swiss – Japanese hybrid.

Campanola Mechanical NZ0000-58W NZ0000-07E

In a day and age where movements are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, watch companies need alternative movement manufactures in order to stop relying on Swatch Group owned ETA.  Swatch Group has made it loud and clear over the years that they wish to reduce ( or more ultimately stop providing completely) ETA movements to companies outside of Swatch.  One of the biggest hurdles in this is that ETA is the most commonly used movements in the Swiss watch industry.  Sellita movements have become a great alternative to ETA for most watch brands, however, the one thing they still have to buy from Swatch is hairspring.  The Swatch owned company Nivarox is the largest (near only) source right now for hairspring and there aren’t many other companies out there who provide it.  Interestingly enough, other parts for Sellita are provided by La Joux Perret, and the tie with Citizen is where it gets really interesting.  Citizen not only makes their own mechanical movements under the Miyota label in Japan, but they also manufacture their own hairspring.  This could solve a lot of problems in the long run.  Not only will there be options for using Citizen’s hairspring as an alternative to Nivarox, but I could also imagine that there will one day be technology for manufacturing the springs in Switzerland brought over from Citizen Japan.  Basically, in my eyes, Citizen is pushing to prove they are tremendous competition for Swatch Group, which they truly are.  It was over two years ago that Citizen not only obtained Prothor, but also loosely stated their plans to purchase other Swiss companies, challenge Swatch in a manufacturing sense, and to one day introduce a Swiss – Japanese hybrid.

Arnold and Son DSTB 250th Anniversary

Arnold and Son DSTB 250th Anniversary

To help elaborate on La Joux Perret’s manufacturing capabilities, it is important to discuss their brand & and Son.  This is very innovative and highly skilled factory that manufactures these pieces.  One of the most unique and interesting complications they have become renowned for is the True Beat (or Dead Beat) seconds hand.  Essentially, this mechanical caliber is complex and  a perfect example of Haute Horlogerie.  The example above is A&S’s DSTB (Dial Side True Beat).  This in-house self-winding caliber with 50 hour power reserve and rate of 28,800 bph does not express the typical 8 advancements of the second hand as most watches with this rate.  Instead, the expression of seconds counting is done by having the second hand jump from second to second as you would see on a quartz, but is fully mechanical.  The time (hours and minutes) is indicated at the small sub dial  located in the 4-5:00 area, with the large True Beat seconds located between the 11-12:00 area.  This truly impressive piece retails for around $50,000.

Arnold & Son Time Pyramid

Arnold & Son Time Pyramid

Another unique and impressive movement is their Time Pyramid movement.  This skeletonized movement features twin barrels providing a 90 hour power reserve with dual power reserve display.  The first barrel will basically wind the second, transferring the energy and showing so in the power reserve indicator.  The gear train is formed in a pyramid shape, showing the balance at the very top, just under the 12:00.  The Time Pyramid in steel is about $30,000 and about $40,000 in 18k red gold.  Aside from these complications, they also make an array of tourbillons, double tourbillons, chronographs and more.  The brand also has an incredibly rich history behind watchmaker John Arnold back in the 1700′s, and his good friend Abraham-Louis Breguet.

Campanola Mechanical NZ0000-58W NZ0000-07E

Campanola Mechanical NZ0000-58W NZ0000-07E

Getting back to the new Campanola Mechanical Collection, these new La Joux Perret movements are labeled as the Y513 caliber.  These movements will feature self-winding plus hand winding, a 42 hour power reserve which is displayed at 6:00, a rate of 28,800 bph, 25 jewels and big date display at 12:00.  There will be 2 models in the line up.  The “old silver” dial on the NZ0000-58W with stainless steel case and bracelet and the black dialed NZ0000-07E on black crocodile leather.  Both models will measure out at 42mm wide and 14mm thick (mostly due to the tremendously thick domed sapphire crystal with 99% clarity anti-reflective coating).  The dials on these pieces will be extremely detailed and three dimensional.  The process of electroforming is used in order to create the unique rippled and parchment paper look in each corresponding dial.  The inspiration of “Space and above” is implemented on these dials, yet still feature a very classic look.  The uniqueness of a Swiss manufactured movement assembled in Japan is reason enough to be intrigued by these timepieces, but the design will draw people in on its own.  We are very excited to see this finally come to life as we have been anticipating it for nearly two years.  We are sure this is not the last we will see of the new and unique relationship, and look forward to more compilations between 2 of the finest watch manufacturing countries, Switzerland and Japan.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

JEANRICHARD Aquascope Grey “Hokusai” Dial 60400-11E202-FK6A

JeanRichard Aquascope Grey "Hokusai" Dial 60400-11E202-FK6A

To celebrate 150 years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan, JEANRICHARD has introduced a series of special release timepieces honoring this relationship.  In 1864, the two countries signed a trade agreement and established a friendship that still proves strong today.  As a small production item for 2014, JEANRICHARD has intrduced their gorgeous diver model the Aquascope, with a very unique “Hokusai” dial.

JeanRichard Aquascope Grey "Hokusai" Dial 60400-11E202-FK6A

The reference to the name Hokusai comes from famous Japanese artist during the Edo period, Katsushika Hokusai.  Hokusai created ukiyo-e wood block prints, and became most renowned for his work, Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.  The most popular in this series is The Great Wave of Kanagawa.   Created sometime in the 1830′s, the image depicted boats caught in a tremendous wave with Mount Fuji in the background.  This new JEANRICHARD Aquascope features an engraved dial featuring this illustration.

JeanRichard Aquascope Grey "Hokusai" Dial 60400-11E202-FK6A

The 44mm stainless steel case of the Aquascope has a beautiful combination of satin and incredibly high polished attributes.  The 60 minute divers bezel is also completely stainless steel with the circular satin finish on the top, and high polish on the teeth of the 120 click uni-directional bezel.  Though the case is over 13mm thick and 44mm wide, the pieces short lugs make it very wearable on most any size wrist.  The lugs are actually a part of the case side inserts that are attached to the inner cushion case.  The JR cases are one of the most elaborate produced in their price range, using over 20 different parts.

JeanRichard Aquascope Grey "Hokusai" Dial 60400-11E202-FK6A

The Aquascope will feature a 300m water resistance with screw down crown.  The branded crown lacks no detail with JR logo on the end, and a colosseum design on the sides.  Sapphire crystal is utilized and has anti-reflective coating to eliminate glare.  The overall design is stunning, and the amount of detail expressed throughout is very impressive.  I can easily say, the quality standard of JR as a brand is top of the line, even though the prices are modest.

JeanRichard Aquascope Grey "Hokusai" Dial 60400-11E202-FK6A

Inside it’s closed case back is the Sellita based, JR60 movement.  This modified self-winding caliber has 28,800 bph, 26 jewels, hand winding, hack, and a minimal power reserve of 38 hours. This movement only displays 3 hand time, and a date displayed between 4:00 and 5:00.

JeanRichard Aquascope Grey "Hokusai" Dial 60400-11E202-FK6A

The hands and indexes of this model are rhodium coated, beautifully finished and give dominant legibility.  A unique aspect to the “Hokusai” model is that the indexes are actually not applied to the actual dial.  Instead, they are attached to the chapter ring and float slightly above the dial.  This technique allows for the dials engraving to be without interruption and also gives a more three dimensional presence.

JeanRichard Aquascope Grey "Hokusai" Dial 60400-11E202-FK6A

Of course, the luminous material on this diver is very strong and bright, providing great night time legibility.  The 60 minute mark on the bezel is luminous, as well as all 3 hands and each index.  The lume for the index lies in the middle of each index, sandwiched between the rhodium coated attributes.

JeanRichard Aquascope Grey "Hokusai" Dial 60400-11E202-FK6A

The strap is black rubber, ribbed and branded with the JR logo.  The strap also features a well constructed dual push button deployment clasp, with two steel inserts to secure the clasp to the strap.

JeanRichard Aquascope Grey "Hokusai" Dial 60400-11E202-FK6A

The “Hokusai” Aquascopes will come in 4 color variations, with the grey being sold as an exclusive to AZ Fine Time in the US.  The MSRP on this piece is $3,300, and is now available at AZFT.

 

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-486-3996 or submit an inquiry through AZFineTime.com.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

See our video review below…

 

 

See more pictures below…

 

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.37.050.00 M005.914.11.060.00 M005.914.17.030.00

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.37.050.00

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.37.050.00

At the 2014 Baselworld Fair, Mido debuted a great assortment of novelties for the year.  Most exciting, and something AZ Fine Time has been anxiously awaiting, is the introduction of new calibers to the Mido line up, with extended power reserves as you have seen in some of the other Swatch Group brands.  One of our favorites this year is the new Mido Two Crown Diver series, now in a new chronograph, with 60 hour power reserve.

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.37.050.00

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.37.050.00

The first in this series is the M005.914.37.050.00, with cool blue accents for the hands, indexes, and the first 15 minutes of the inner rotating bezel.  We have seen a nice assortment of black and orange color combinations from Mido in the past.  The addition of this new color to the 44mm PVD case with black Geneva striped dial makes for a beautiful addition to the series that we have not seen before.  The strap attachment for this model is rubber with a black PVD coated deployment clasp and will retail for $2,300.

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.11.060.00

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.11.060.00

The second in this new series is a more traditional color combination from Mido including a anthracite Geneva striped dial and orange accents.  Only the chronograph counters hands will have orange luminous material and there is also orange accented on the 15 minutes of the inner rotating bezel as well as the screw down chronograph pushers.  The stainless steel case and bracelet will be finished in polished and brushed attributes, and have an open case back to see the highly decorated ETA base movement.

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.11.060.00

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.11.060.00

As most people know, ETA is owned by Swatch Group.  Over the years, other brands such as Hamilton and Tissot have started to debut unique movements in the brands, with exclusive calibers for each brand.  Now, Mido will have their own ETA modified movements unique to their brand.  The new caliber uses an improved mainspring to provide the 60 hour power reserve and has gorgeous decoration including perlage, striping and blue screws.  The M005.914.11.060.00 is set to retail at $2,230.

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.17.030.00

Mido Two Crown Diver Chronograph M005.914.17.030.00

The final piece in the 2 Crown Diver Chronograph is the M005.914.17.030.00.  This model will have a silvery-white striped dial, stainless steel case, and rubber strap with deployment clasp.  All models use a crown at the 10:00 for the inner rotating bezel, have screw down chronograph pushers and have sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.  The M005.914.17.030.00 is going to be $2,200 retail.  All 3 styles are scheduled for September delivery and are currently available for pre-order.

 

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to call us at 1-800-486-3996 or submit an inquiry through AZFineTime.com.

 

Thanks for reading!

Citizen Campanola Returns To AZ Fine Time

Campanola Eco-Drive Minute Repeater Perpetual BZ0030-08W

Campanola Eco-Drive Minute Repeater Perpetual BZ0030-08W

After a couple of years of being discontinued in the international market, Citizen’s beautiful and elaborately designed Campanola series will be returning to Arizona Fine Time, now with Eco-Drive technology!  Previous models of Campanola were battery driven, allowing for an entire Urushi lacquer dials,which was only on a couple of models.  Over the course of the last year, Citizen has finally reintroduced the Grand Complication models with Eco-Drive technology in some unique and modern designs.  The previous year brought a new perpetual calendar moon phase model, of which we will be receiving one style.  There’s a lot to look forward to, even though supply will be extremely limited.  Let’s take a look at the new line up of Campanola.

CAMPANOLA ECO-DRIVE MOON PHASE PERPETUAL BU0020-03B

CAMPANOLA ECO-DRIVE MOON PHASE PERPETUAL BU0020-03B

First in this line up will be the moon phase perpetual BU0020-03B.  This Eco-Drive model has a 6 month power reserve from a full charge, moon phase, day, date, month display, and the renowned beautiful burgundy lacquer that everyone loved so much in the original series of Campanola.  The gold flaked urushi lacquer aspect of the dial is located in a large circle at 6:00, which also includes the moon display.  The Duratect coated stainless steel case measure out at 43.5mm wide and 14.4mm thick and will retail for $3,750.

CAMPANOLA ECO-DRIVE MINUTE REPEATER PERPETUAL BZ0030-08E

CAMPANOLA ECO-DRIVE MINUTE REPEATER PERPETUAL BZ0030-08E

Next in the line up is the first set to utilize Eco-Drive technology in their Campanola Grand Complication series, with the hand assembled and finished G910 caliber.  These more modern designed Campanola’s will be in cases 44.6mm wide by 15.9mm thick.  The 1st model is the BZ0090-08E, with black clouded lacquer ranging from about the 5:00 to just past 9:00.  This will come on a black crocodile leather with a grey/white contrast stitching.  The retail will be $4,800 and include Citizen’s 5 year warranty.

CAMPANOLA ECO-DRIVE MINUTE REPEATER PERPETUAL BZ0030-08W

CAMPANOLA ECO-DRIVE MINUTE REPEATER PERPETUAL BZ0030-08W

The second in the series will be the BZ0030-08W, with a surprisingly gorgeous purple dial.  Purple can be a difficult color in a mens watch, but for some reason, this shade maintains a masculine look and looks truly impressive.  The same type of clouded lacquer appears in this model in purple, and the black crocodile strap has purple stitching.  These pieces will have both chronograph and minute repeater modes that can easily be toggled between by holding the lower left button.  The BZ0030-08W will also retail for $4,800.

BZ0030-16E BZ0030-16F

A new set of Grand Complications were just released this year prior to Baselworld, using the same G910 caliber as the two models above.  These styles bring back more of the traditional Campanola design, using larger roman numerals on the chapter ring of both models, in two stunning color combinations.

CAMPANOLA ECO-DRIVE MINUTE REPEATER PERPETUAL BZ0030-16F

CAMPANOLA ECO-DRIVE MINUTE REPEATER PERPETUAL BZ0030-16F

The BZ0030-16F will come with gold accents, not just on the dial, but also a matching color accented in the straps stitching.  The lacquer used on this dial will be black urushi, with sprinkles of mother of pearl dust laid throughout.  This gives a cosmic appearance, symbolizing the heavens and the strength and brightness of life born into harshness.  The retail on this model is $5,000.  All models of Grand Complication Eco-Drive featuring the G910 movement will have a 12 month power reserve from a full charge.

CAMPANOLA ECO-DRIVE MINUTE REPEATER PERPETUAL BZ0030-16E

CAMPANOLA ECO-DRIVE MINUTE REPEATER PERPETUAL BZ0030-16E

The final piece in our new line up of Campanola will be the BZ0030-16E.  This model uses a black and red urushi lacquer, expressing the earth in the form of glowing magma starting to cool.  There will be red roman numerals along with black crocodile strap with red stitching.  The displays on these models will have day of week near the 11:00 area, leap year/chronograph hours display at 8:00, month/chronograph minutes counter at 6:00 and a 24 hour display at 3:00.  The BZ0030-16E will have an MSRP of $4,900.

These models are currently available for pre-order direct through AZFineTime.com HERE, or you can call us at 1-800-486-3996.  Delivery is expected some time this summer.  Be sure to keep an eye on the site for more details.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Seiko Credor 40th Anniversary Signo Cherry Blossoms Skeleton GBBD965

Seiko Credor 40th Anniversary Signo Cherry Blossoms Skeleton GBBD965

To celebrate 40 years of Seiko’s luxury brand Credor (debuted in 1974), the introduction of a new limited edition Signo model has come forth.  You may remember a few weeks ago when we shared a live experience of Seiko’s Master Engraver, Kiyoshi Terui, doing a hand engraving at the Baselworld Fair (which can be seen HERE).  This was a sneak peak of what we knew was coming, but was not officially released until today.  We are proud to introduce the first Credor model ever to make its way to the USA, the new Seiko Credor 40th Anniversary Signo Cherry Blossoms Skeleton GBBD965.

Seiko Credor 40th Anniversary Signo Cherry Blossoms Skeleton GBBD965

This new limited edition model will express the motif of cherry blossoms with 3 pink mother of pearl cherry blossoms, floating down a stream from the 3:00 to 6:00.  The blossoms symbolize Japanese aesthetics, with every part of this skeletonized movement hand engraved by Seiko’s artisan, Mr. Terui.  The ring around the outer edge of the dial is a blue toned mother of pearl, with a 37.4mm wide, 6.6mm thick platinum 950 case.

Seiko Credor 40th Anniversary Signo Cherry Blossoms Skeleton GBBD965Seiko has utilized their 6899 ultra thin hand wound caliber in this new limited model.  The movement itself is is a part of the caliber 6800 series, which was actually developed in 1969.  The hand engraving executed in this model has to be within an extremely tight tolerance.  The movement itself is only 1.98mm thick, and parts in this caliber can be as thin as 0.25mm thick.  A delicate depth of only 0.15mm can be engraved on the components, and the artists patterns engraved are within an astounding 0.01mm tolerance.

Seiko Credor 40th Anniversary Signo Cherry Blossoms Skeleton GBBD965

Seiko Credor 40th Anniversary Signo Cherry Blossoms Skeleton GBBD965

The 6899 caliber has a 37 hour power reserve in order to keep a +25/-15 second a day accuracy rating.  While this is not going to be close to the actual performance (as we have learned in other Seiko timepieces performing much better then their rating), this is extremely difficult to achieve in a movement this thin.  This dual level movement has a unique feature in order to achieve stable accuracy.  Due to the skeleton design of this caliber, air resistance in the balance is reduced and the swing angle of the balance increases.  To correct this, a “torque control wheel” is used to control the stability of the watches accuracy and improve the swing angle of the balance.  This caliber is produced in extremely low volume at Shizuku-Ishi Watch Studio in Morioka, Japan.

Seiko Credor 40th Anniversary Signo Cherry Blossoms Skeleton GBBD965

The 40th Anniversary of Credor is expressed in engraving on the case back.  In the highlighted area in the image above, “CR. 40″ will be engraved subtlety.  Arizona Fine Time is extremely proud to be receiving very few of these extremely limited models, with only 40 pieces produced for the entire world.  The MSRP on the GBBD965 is $26,000 and is scheduled to be released by the end of 2014.   If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-486-3996 or submit an inquiry to AZFineTime.com.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998

Today, Arizona Fine Time is proud to share a truly unique experience with our readers that no company in the USA has ever shared before.  At Baselworld 2014, we had the distinct honor and privilege to view Seiko’s most outstanding achievement in horology, the Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998.  This is not only an outstanding achievement for Seiko, but also can easily be labeled as the most accurate, most pure sounding minute repeater in the entire watch industry.  With 660 parts, 112 jewels and a finish that became know to be one of the finest, the Credor Minute Repeater is a truly special and unique piece that the most seasoned high complication collector can appreciate.

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998

To start, the repeater we viewed was a sample used for the Baselworld Fair.  This specific piece functions only in the minute repeater, not in actual timekeeping so that the hands do not move while on display, and show the skeletonized dial at its full potential.  The time displayed on this piece is 9:42 and when this decimal repeater is engaged by pushing the lower left button, the time will be expressed in chimes coming from a mechanical hammer and gong system, chiming in a low pitch tone for hours, a double chime for ten minute increments, and a high pitch tone for individual minutes.  Expressing this time, the low pitch chime will sound nine times (for 9:00), the forty minutes will be expressed by four double chimes, and two high pitch times will be added to equal 9:42.

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998

The case back exposes the hammers that strike a pin, in turn making contact with the gong.  An aspect of the system utilized to achieve pure sound includes two cases.  One, a 42.8mm wide, by 14mm thick, 18k pink gold case completely finished in the mirror like and hand applied Zaratsu katana blade polishing technique.  The inner secondary case is composed of steel to create resonance and prevents water from entering the movement, though the watch is not water resistant.  Between the two cases lie the gongs.  The gongs are made of a unique alloy of steel, supplied by Munemichi Myochin, a 52nd generation black smith who specializes currently in his award winning wind chimes.  His family originally started as blacksmiths making armor as far back as the Heian Period (794 to 1185 A.D.).  Once the period of feudal Japan diminished, the demand for armor fell and the Myochin family went on to produce fire tongs around the Meiji period (Sept 1868 – July 1912), a once necessary item in any Japanese household.  It was discovered that once the tongs were struck together, they produced a beautiful sound.  Today, Munemichi Myochin carries on his families over 850 year old legacy in producing some of the worlds most renowned wind chimes, which he himself started making back in 1965.  These wind chimes produce a beautiful resonating sound that maintain the same impressive clear tone, without effect from surrounding factors such as temperature or humidity.  Sony uses these wind chimes to test the quality of their microphones, they are commonly used in Japanese movies for sound effects, and even celebrities have raved about their sound.  As an example, Stevie Wonder was gifted a set of Myochin wind chimes as a gift by Japanese composer, Isao Tomita, and he was amazed by the chimes calling  it something along the lines of “a magical sound of the Orient”.  The gong of the Credor Minute Repeater is only 0.6mm which is necessary to achieve the perfect tone.  It took months of testing to ensure the frequency, volume and gradual loss of intensity replicated the his wind chimes.  These tests (of course) were done on machines manufactured by Seiko Epson. 

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998

I mentioned that this Credor has one of the most pure sounding repeaters in the entire watch industry.  One of the reasons behind this statement is that the 7R11 Spring Drive movement used does not produce the “ticking” sound of a traditional escapement.  When a traditional escapement minute repeater is engaged, the “ticking” of the regulation mechanism can be heard also.  It has to in order to keep accurate time.  Spring Drive does not produce a “ticking” noise as the regulating mechanism does not have the balance wheel/hairspring swinging back and forth, making the noise when the escapement wheel make contact to the pallet forks jewels.  Spring Drive is Seiko’s own proprietary in-house manufactured technology (which took 28 years to develop), that utilizes what is called a Tri-Synchro Regulator.  As the mainspring unwinds, the mechanical energy not only provides movement to the gear train, but also a small amount of that energy is used to generate enough electricity to power a quartz oscillator and integrated circuit.  The high frequency of the quartz oscillator (32,768 Hz) is translated through the IC to an electro-magnet which controls a uni-directional free spinning wheel (glide wheel-what would be the balance wheel) to turn 8 times per second and regulate the unwinding of the mainspring.  Because this wheel only spins in one direction, and does not have to make contact like an escapement would, the movement is silent, and does not contribute any sound to distract from the repeaters chimes.  You also end up with quartz like accuracy at a +/-15 second a MONTH accuracy rating (but tends to perform much better),  and a uniquely smooth, gliding second hand.

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998

The other characteristic of the Credor Minute Repeater that makes it so pure sounding is in the governor that paces the striking of the hammers is also silent.  The elimination of the buzzing sound found in some other repeaters is achieved by using a fan blade type system and uses the viscosity of air to create resistance and rotate the blades at about 300 times per second, controlling the speed of the mainspring unwinding, which causes the hammers to strike at precise intervals.  This again, allows the chimes from the gongs to be pure and have no other factors possibly effecting its sound.  While a silent governor is not completely unique, this method is completely unique to Seiko’s repeater (as well as their Sonnerie model).  The end result gives not only pure sound of the chimes, but a slightly slower pace then most other repeaters, allowing the chimes to linger for a longer time.

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998

The hand wound caliber has a unique barrel housing the mainspring.  A twin barrel system is used to share the power for the time keeping and repeater function.  With one barrel in front, and one in back, the GBLS998 has a power reserve of 72 hours when the repeater is not used.  Once engaged you can see the barrel unwinding at a faster pace.  The amount of chimes will effect the length of power reserve left with the chimes for 1:00 taking away the least, and 12:59 for the most.  The barrel visible through the dial is decorated in the motif of the bellflower, called Kikyo in Japanese.  This is the city flower of Shiojiri in the Nagano prefecture, home of the micro artist studio where this Credor is made.

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998  Another beautiful attribute to the design of the GBLS998 is the expression of an eagle (a native bird to Shiojiri) cut out of the skeleton dial starting from around the 7:00 reaching to the 10:00.  As the repeater is activated, you can see parts moving within the eagles shape giving a vague similarity to the wings of the bird in flight.  I truly enjoy the local and natural influences Seiko expresses in their timepieces.  I see it as showing great pride of where they are from, the natural habitat surrounding them and obviously, the intense labor and thought that goes into their watchmaking.

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998

The 112 jeweled, 660 part movement has caught very much attention in the watch industry.  Not only is it supremely complex, but is also tremendously finished.  The labor that goes into this piece is something not to be taken lightly, as nearly all 660 parts are actually finished by hand.  This extensive method is something you will only see in the most luxurious timepieces, and the Credor is no exception.  You can clearly see all bridges, mainspring barrel and various other parts are finished to the utmost detail.  Even items such as gears and screws are completely hand finished, with the smallest part as tiny as 0.3mm.  There is a lot to be said of the craftsmen in Seiko’s micro artist studio, all to the highest level of compliment.  You may notice unique shapes to the the bridges both front and back, with very precise beveling and chamfering that make you think of one of the most renowned Swiss watchmakers in the world, Phillipe Dufour.

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A couple of days after our meeting with Seiko and viewing the Credor, we were walking out from lunch and as we came out the door, we were fortunate enough to cross paths Mr. Dufour.  For those who don’t know of Phillipe Dufour, he is known as one of the finest watchmakers in the industry today, making his timepieces almost completely from scratch and has rightfully achieved what has become known as one of the finest movement finishes in the world.  To obtain his timepieces you have to be lucky and extremely patient.  With a waiting list measured in years, you can expect to pay in the high five figures for his least complicated piece (the Simplicity).  If you are fortunate enough manage to get your hands on any of his other pieces, the Duality or Grande Sonnerie, you can easily expect to pay much more.  We had a great conversation with the legendary watchmaker ranging of course from watches, to pipes and cigars, and even the world today.  A notable part of our conversation was when we explained to Mr. Dufour our strong relationship with Seiko, and especially Grand Seiko products.  Dufour himself seemed enamored with Spring Drive discussing how amazingly smooth and accurate they are.  Then, he said “but not just Grand Seiko… Credor!”.  We knew there was some tie with Dufour and the Micro Artist studio as you can see the influence, but we were not quite sure how.  We asked if Seiko had contracted him, but it did not seem as so.  He did say that he has visited the studio, and was raving about the quality of finish found on the Masterpiece models of Credor, the Minute Repeater and the long sold out and more simplistic “Eichi”.  To receive such high compliment from the likes of Mr. Dufour is incredible in itself.  The man is a legend (which is what I said as soon as I saw him), incredibly funny, and over all, extremely nice.  We’d like to thank him for his time, the great conversation, and let him know it was truly an honor to meet him.

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998Getting back to the Credor itself…  Another one of the most memorable parts of this trip (aside from meeting Dufor) was actually getting to try on the GBLS998.  It is amazingly gorgeous when worn, sounds impeccable, and was certainly a highlight of the trip.  I mentioned the size at 42.8mm wide, 14mm thick and as you can see in the picture above, has a beautiful curvature making it sit comfortably on my 7″ wrist.  The crown is fairly large, making it easy to wind (as this model is manual wind only), and this piece also has an added function that prevents the repeater from be activated with the crown out to set the time.  The band is a stunning high gloss burgundy brown with 18k pink gold three fold deployment clasp.  The dial is compelling, with a vast amount of artwork and craftsmanship to look at, and the beautiful broad blue steel hands adding great legibility to the skeletonized piece.  Of course, the motion of the second hand in any Spring Drive timepiece is mesmerizing, which is an added bonus to this repeater.

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998The Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998 has a retail price of 33,000,000 Yen before tax, roughly $325,000 USD at todays exchange rate, and is currently the most expensive Seiko timepiece ever produced.  The significant sum that this piece comes to is very common for this type of complication, as minute repeaters in general are considered to be one of the highest regarded complications in watchmaking.  The fact this Credor is the worlds most accurate piece of this complication driven by a mainspring as its sole power source (for both time and chime), and having the purest sounding repeater chimes with no distractions from the escapement or governor, alone puts it at a level no one can compete with.  The craftsmanship that goes into the finishing puts it to another level of art, easily proving its worth.  This is a completely unique and rare piece, with a maximum capacity of only 3 pieces that can be produced in a years time.  The Credor logo expresses reaching to the top of the highest mountain, and is fused with three stars to reach the heavens.  If one piece was considered to demonstrate the achievements as shown in this symbol, this piece would be the one.

Seiko Credor Masterpiece Spring Drive Minute Repeater GBLS998

We would like to thank Seiko for this tremendous experience and truly express our gratitude for allowing us to see their amazing achievement in horology.  It was truly an honor.

If you have any questions regarding the Credor Minute Repeater, please call us at 1-800-486-3996 or submit an inquiry through AZFineTime.com.

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