I have to say, there is nothing like seeing one of the finest Grand Seiko watchmakers put together a 9S85 Hi-Beat movement right in front of you. The focus and attention it requires is much more than one can expect. Especially, when there are crowds of people around you taking pictures and talking to you. Even in these conditions, Mr. Ito from Shizuku-Ishi Watch Studio, kept a calm and steady hand when assembling this spectacular movement and even managed to crack jokes and explain the steps of what he was doing. If you have never attended one of the Grand Seiko Roadshows, start planning your trips to AZ Fine Time for next year!
The start of the day here was hectic. Cleaning and organizing for this event can be a bear, but was well worth it. The staff from Seiko USA and Seiko Japan came early to start setting up. We met with our friends from Seiko USA and were introduced to Mr. Tsutomu Ito from Shizuku-Ishi and to Mrs. Mari Oshikiri, the sales and marketing manager for the Seiko Watch Corporation in Tokyo. Both were very nice, humble and also seemed very happy to be in the beautiful AZ weather. Mari was fluent in English and translated for Mr. Ito during the event.
Once all the displays were set up and everyone was comfortable, people were floating around the store checking out all the exhibits showing off all of the incredible technology that Seiko utilizes to manufacture all the parts and alloys that come together to build a Grand Seiko mechanical. From the Spron alloys to the MEMS manufactured parts, Seiko not only proves they are one of the only true vertical manufactures in the watch industry, but also create some of the finest parts a mechanical movement can have.
Once Mr. Ito started building the movement, the jaws started dropping. I think everyone was impressed not only with how steady his hand was, but how quickly he was able to assemble it. The highlight to everyone in attendance was when the Spron 610 hairspring was dropped into place and Mr. Ito yelled, “It’s alive!”. This was a 1st to see at a Grand Seiko Roadshow as every other event, the watchmaker built a Spring Drive, which has a tri-synchro regulator as opposed to a traditional escapement.
One of my favorite parts of the event was when Mr. Ito demonstrated the resilience of the Spron 610 hairspring used in the escapement of Grand Seiko. In the pictures and video below, you can see how the Spron 610, retains its original shape after being stretched out, while the common hairspring becomes distorted after the stretch. Just another proving factor that GS has some of the finest quality hairspring on the market.
Check out the video below…
One of the other cool highlights of the evening was the accuracy testing machine. We put a bunch of different watches on the machine, to see how accurate, or in-accurate, other watches were. Needless to say, the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat was the most accurate of the bunch, testing between 0 and 3 seconds a day in different positions. Most others were in the range of 10+ sec a day.
We would like to thank everyone who attended in store, participated online with the live feed, and our great customers who purchased for the event. A big thanks to our friends at Seiko USA for coming out to visit and contributing to another success, and a very special thank you to Mr. Ito and Mrs. Oshikiri, our guests who traveled all the way from Japan to attend the event.
See all the pictures below…