Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver Titanium SBGA031

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver 200m Titanium SBGA031

With now over 100 years of watchmaking and over 50 years of manufacturing some of the finest timepieces in the world, Grand Seiko has continued to stick to its roots when it comes to creating the “ideal watch”.  With the birth of Grand Seiko, a new standard in watchmaking was created.  GS was to be more accurate, durable, legible, and easier to wear, than any other watch in the world.  The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver Titanium SBGA031 holds true to all these traits, and so much more.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver 200m Titanium SBGA031

The SBGA031 will surpass the accuracy of any other watch driven by a mainspring by incredible amounts.  Thanks to the Spring Drive 9R65 calibre, the accuracy rating on this piece is +/- 15 seconds a month (equivalent to +/- 1 sec a day).  The rating, however, is not the same as actual performance.  Realistically, most Spring Drives will only deviate 1-3 seconds a month, which is far superior compared to all mechanicals, and even some quartz.     The Spring Drive 9R65 is Seiko’s own, COMPLETELY in-house manufactured and designed, calibre (which took about 28 years to develop).  Utilizing only the power from the mainspring, the 9R65 is regulated by an electromagnetic brake, integrated circuit and quartz crystal to control the unwinding of the mainspring.  In turn, this gives it incredible accuracy, but also a gliding motion of the second hand that is as smooth and fluid as the natural flow of time itself.  With 276 parts and 30 jewels, you would think Spring Drive would be sensitive.  Because Spring Drive is a uni-directional motion (and there is no hairspring/escapement in the movement) there is less tension, making it more durable and service is required less frequently than a typical mechanical.  It is truly an incredible mechanism and has certainly proved itself over the many years we have carried it.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver 200m Titanium SBGA031

Seiko has thoroughly thought about the longevity of this piece.  As you will see in the picture below, the most frequently damaged parts are implemented in new designs, to ensure easy and inexpensive repairs.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive DIver SBGA031 SBGA029

Many ask, “Why not use a ceramic bezel to prevent scratching?”.  As you may well know, ceramic is scratch resistant, where the black hard coated bezel of the SBGA031 is not.  Ceramic, however, is delicate and can crack.  Should your ceramic bezel break, who would want to spend over $1,200 on the repair?  The bezel is a frequently damaged part in any watch, and Seiko has kept the consumer in mind, making a durable, but easily fixable, high quality bezel.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver 200m Titanium SBGA031

Legibility can make or break any watch, but with Grand Seiko, this is never the case.  Each design is thoroughly tested to ensure the hands and indexes are perfectly sized and shaped for easy reading.  The dial on the SBGA031 is made of a matte black Japanese lacquer to aid in its legibility, and the large hands are made of a brushed titanium as to keep down the weight of the hands, but still provide the time clearly.  For the diving aspect of the watch, they use Seiko’s highest quality Lumi-Brite to provide luminescence in the darkest of waters, for very long periods of time.  For those who don’t plan to be diving with this piece, the lume could easily glow strong through the entire night.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver 200m Titanium SBGA031

Also, the SBGA031 has a High-Definition Sapphire Crystal (which is also made in house) and uses its own proprietary anti-reflective coating.  The Super-Clear Coating used gives the benefits of AR coating, but without the blue glare.  All this is implemented to prevent any distortion in the dial.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver 200m Titanium SBGA031

As far as wearability goes…  This could easily be one of the most comfortable divers watches on the market.  The 44.2mm wide and 14mm thick case is designed to sit perfectly on just about any wrist.  The watch is very well balanced and the subtle curvature of the case gives an unbelievable comfort (especially considering its size). Of course, the use of Seiko’s proprietary alloy, High-Intensity Titanium adds tremendously to its comfort.  At only 137g, the watch has enough weight for you to know it’s there, but not to weigh down your wrist.  The finish applied to the titanium is an incredibly unique “Zaratsu” katana blade polishing technique that brings it to a mirror finish.  Only a handful of craftsmen are qualified to provide this finish to Grand Seiko.  The case and every individual link in the bracelet is hand finished, only by one of these few artists.  Many of our customers have compared this finish to that of a watch that costs well over $25,000.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver 200m Titanium SBGA031

In addition to its comfort, Seiko has incorporated an adjustable clasp that not only has micro-adjustments, but also a divers expansion clasp that can easily fit over a wet suit.  You can deploy this extension by pulling back on the locking mechanism of the clasp, and once to the desired position, will lock in place to ensure it will not extend any further.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver 200m Titanium SBGA031

Another question that is frequently asked about this piece is “Why is this diver only rated to 200m?”.  There is a simple explanation.  It is all that is necessary for a recreational diver.  In fact, most recreational diving will max out at 132ft.  This Grand Seiko is intended to be an everyday watch, that will work well for someone who enjoys diving as a hobby.  There’s no need for the watch to be rated to 3,900m, if its wearer will never go anywhere near that deep.  Seiko does make watches for professional divers that have much higher dive ratings.  Those are more so tool watches for professionals, as opposed to something you would wear everyday, like Grand Seiko.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver 200m Titanium SBGA031

In closing, the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver Titanium SBGA031 is a very well thought out, beautifully finished, and amazingly accurate timepiece.  Grand Seiko is second to none when it comes to quality and, without a doubt, one of the finest brands in the watch industry.

If you have any questions regarding Grand Seiko, please feel free to call us at 1-800-486-3996.

See our video review…

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Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

In 2010, Citizen introduced a new concept model that today has become a reality.  As a limited edition of only 25o pieces for the world, in two different styles, the Citizen Eco-Drive EYES is finally available to a lucky handful.  Today we review the black variation AO9010-02E.

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

The concept of the EYES is to play on light and shadow.  The incredible design of this timepiece is only done justice in person, but we can most certainly try to replicate with pictures and video.  The unique concept seems to engage the wearer, utilizing different angels of light making your watch change in character, either by lighting up the indexes or changing the depth of the shadows.  This also effects the legibility of the watch.  At some angles, the indexes almost blend together with the rest of the dial which makes the hands just about clear enough to read the time.  At other angles, you see the true depth in the dial, which my even appear more deep than it actually is, due to the dramatic size of the shadows.

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

The dial itself is made of ceramic and sapphire crystal.  The sapphire crystal is found at the center of the dial to allow light to pass through and power the watch.  All 13 ceramic indexes, the portion of the dial where they sit, and the “EYES” (day/date indicator) are completely finished by hand to ensure the evenness and perfection needed for this impressive dial to work.  Apparently, these hand selected ceramics tend to shrink in the manufacturing process, which makes it necessary to polish by hand.  As you could guess, ceramic is very fragile and  difficult to work with.   This is another attribute that makes the EYES so special.  They say the overall manufacturing time of the EYES is about 80 times longer than a typical product.

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

The inspiration for this incredibly deep and intricate dial was adopted from skyscrapers and historical monuments like Stonehenge.  The ceramic indicies are brought to a maximum height to fully utilize the natural shadows and show the beauty of light.  The “EYES” themselves are intended to symbolize clearness, sharpness and brilliance, while also conveying a sense of infinite light and time energy.

The deeply domed sapphire crystal protecting the dial is actually inspired by a botanical garden architecture and is utilized to allow light to come through from all angles.  From there, the dial is bowl shaped to bring the light to the center and power the Eco-Drive solar panel.  The sapphire crystal is polished to perfection ensuring maximum clarity.

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02EThe 43mm case design is incredible.  The body and portion with the lugs are made individually, and the “clamps” at the 3 and 9 o’clock position are brought in to fuse the case together perfectly.  One thing is for sure, the finish is immaculate.  The combination of brushed and beautifully high polished finish are protected by Citizens proprietary Duratect coating.  This coating allows the same exact finish as originally found on the steel, but also makes it about 3-4 times harder.  The case is virtually scratch resistant, preserving its extremely high quality finish and eliminating the worry that small scratches will dull down its shine.

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

The movement used in the EYES, is Citizen’s Eco-Drive Caliber 8676.  The caliber 8676 displays day, date, and has centralized time (hours, minutes, and seconds).  The duration of life from a full power reserve is 6 months, as with most Citizen products.  The accuracy is rated to +/- 15 seconds a month as you will also find in most other Citizens.

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

The strap on the EYES is a unique product.  This “liquid rubber” strap is stain resistant and also has an incredibly comfortable feel.  This is not your typical polyurethane strap you will find on most Citizens.  The cut to size strap has a black hard coated butterfly deployment clasp as well.

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

Overall, the Citizen Eco-Drive EYES Concept Watch AO9010-02E is not only extremely rare, but an amazing timepiece.  Utilizing light and shadow is something found in traditional Japanese culture and the EYES exhibits this trait to the full extent.  There is much to be said about this concept model brought to life, but you really need to see it with your own eyes.

Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E

The Citizen Eco-Drive EYES AO9010-02E is $4,700.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-486-3996, or check us out on www.AZFineTime.com.

Check out our video review below…

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Citizen Signature Grand Touring Automatic

If you received the latest issue of WatchTime Magazine, you may have seen this…

Citizen Signature Grand Touring Automatic

 

We heard there were going to be some new intro’s in the automatics, but this is the 1st time we’re seeing them!  This model will be 44mm, have domes sapphire crystal and the same 9010 automatic movement found in the Grand Classic.  These will be coming to AZ Fine Time in the near future (as they have not been released yet).  Not sure if it will be a spring or fall introduction, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

This is just a small taste of what Citizen will be debuting at Basel.  Be sure to follow our blog when we meet with Citizen at the Basel Fair on April 26th!

Seiko Celebrates 100 Years Of Making Wristwatches

Seiko 100th Anniversary of making wristwatches

In 1913, Kintaro Hattori launched what would be Japan’s first wristwatch, the Laurel.  For 2013, their 100 year anniversary, we are already starting to see new models in Seiko Japan’s press releases.  So far, here is what we have seen…

Grand Seiko SBGX103 Quartz Limited Edition

On Jan. 31st, Seiko announced the release of a new limited edition with the 9F Quartz movement.  Not only does this piece commemorate the 100th anniversary of Seiko’s 1st wristwatch, it also commemorates the 20 year anniversary of the 9F Quartz.  The SBGX103 is a new, very special, limited edition of only 2,000 pieces.

Grand Seiko SBGX103 Quartz Limited Edition

The SBGX103 has a specially selected Quartz crystal, and all 2,000 pieces have the even higher accuracy rating of only +/- 5 seconds a year deviation (as compared to +/- 10 sec a year as with standard 9F).  Some of the other attributes include an 18kt yellow gold Grand Seiko lion medallion on the case back along with engraved serial number “XXXX/2,000” and “Caliber 9F 20th Anniversary Since 1993”.  The dial itself is also quite unique.  It is embossed with a pattern to resemble “XX” (Roman numerals for 20) and small subtle GS lions throughout.  At the 20 minute index, you may notice that the lion is backwards compared to the rest.  This is also to signify the 20 year anniversary.  The final icing on the cake is the gold star above the 6 o’clock to indicate its special accuracy rating.  You may also notice this is not the typical oyster type bracelet you will generally see on the SBGX series.  This model will have the zaratsu polished attributes you will find on other GS.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar SAST015

On February 5th, Seiko announced some exciting new editions to their wildly popular Astron GPS series.  The series itself is incredible, being the 1st analog solar watch to actually pin point your location, and update the hands automatically to whatever timezone you are standing in, all at the push of a button.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar SAST015

The new Astron pieces will be the same size shape and case design as the original, with some new twists.  There will be 3 introductions in titanium, which will be Seiko’s proprietary High-Intensity Titanium along with a ceramic center links and a ceramic bezel (as the other models have), but this time they engraved the city codes into the bezel.  These new variations will also have the engraved/collapsed case side as the 2012 limited edition SAST001.  While they are not limited edition, I am sure they will be in high demand.  There is also a stainless steel bracelet variation in the works.  The piece pictured is the new SAST015, with black ceramic and red accents.

As you may know, Basel World is around the corner and AZ Fine Time will be there.  To see all the great new introductions hands on, be sure to follow our blog.  Our meeting with Seiko is on the 1st day of the fair, April 25th, which we will be posting all the new goods!

 

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