What watch do most people think of when they hear 18k gold? Probably a Rolex President, or maybe a Patek Calatrava. There are many brands that utilize the precious metal to make for an even more impressive (not to mention more expensive) addition to their roster. One brand that many might not often affiliate with 18k gold is Seiko, but for good reason. Seiko doesn’t make many 18k gold pieces. In fact, most gold tone pieces in their current line up are only gold plated. While this is the case at most stores across the globe, AZ Fine Time is not like most stores, and is proud to announce the release of the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special in 18k gold.
The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special is actually going to be available in 3 different shades of gold (white, yellow, and rose). So far, the white gold (SBGH019) & yellow gold (SBGH020) are the 1st to arrive, and the rose gold (SBGH022) to be coming soon. While this is not a limited edition of any particular number, they will be a limited production model with less than 2oo being made between all 3 shades per year. Not only will it be very small production, but the US allotment is very thin. So thin, that the white and yellow gold we have received are the only ones available in the country!
The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special is labeled in the name to be “Special”. So, what makes it special? 18k in a Seiko is incredibly unique, but not unheard of. The term “Special” used in the name is not in reference to the gold, but towards the movement.
The Grand Seiko standard was established in 1966 to serve as a new grading system since the term Chronometer was no longer allowed to be used outside of Swiss timepieces. Today, the GS standard rating is higher than Swiss Chronometer at -3/+5 sec a day deviation as opposed to the Swiss of -4/+6 sec a day. What makes the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special so special, is that Seiko has taken their incredible 9S85, 36,000 bph movement and tweaked it, to have a -2/+4 sec a day accuracy rating. Not only beating Chronometer grade, but also beating their own GS Standard rating. This makes the movement one of the most accurately rated fully mechanical watches in the world! To help show off the uniqueness of this movement, Seiko has added an 18k Grand Seiko medallion to the rotor, which is the only watch to bear this in the US market.
I say that the 9S85 movement is incredible, and it truly is. You can not find many watches using a 36,000 bph movement but Seiko was actually one of the 1st to make them back in 1968. In 2009, Seiko introduced the 9S85 utilizing the latest technology to make the near perfect Hi-Beat movement. The hairspring material Spron 610, was developed in house by Seiko to withstand the high oscillation rate of the movement. Spron 530 is used for the mainspring and was also developed in house by Seiko to provide the extra torque needed and supply a 55 hour power reserve. MEMS (Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems) is used for the manufacturing of the escapement gear and pallet fork which allows Seiko to pay finer attention to detail in construction of the parts, making them smoother and longer lasting. Please feel free to read more HERE.
The cases are beautifully finished using a beautiful combination of brushed and Zaratsu polished cases. The mirror finish of the Zaratsu definitely sparkles like a diamond, especially on the hands and index markers on these pieces. It is something that no picture could ever do true justice for. Only a precious metal could compliment such a precious movement.
The dial appears to be a plain silver or white, but in person, is incredibly detailed. There is a metallic trait to it, but in most lights looks to be white. The dial also has a sunburst pattern that is hard to make out in most pictures, but can easily been seen when on the wrist. Subtlety is something Grand Seiko is best known for and the Hi-Beat Specials are no exception.
The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Specials are very unique and only the finest craftsmen at Seiko’s Shizukuishi Watch Studio are qualified to assemble them. Since there will be so few made, and even far less available in the US market, these pieces are sure to be collectors items. At a retail price of $27,000, they are quite expensive, but reasonable compared to it’s closest competitors. Even the competition can’t keep up with this highly accurate Hi-Beat!
I hope you enjoyed the look into one of the finest Seiko has to offer.
Please see below for all the pictures…