Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT – SBGJ001 – SBGJ003 – Limited Edition SBGJ005

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Limited Edition SBGJ005

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Limited Edition SBGJ005

In 1968, Seiko introduce their 1st 36,000 bph caliber in Grand Seiko in the 61GS.  For 20 years, this rate of movement was a staple in the Grand Seiko collection.  In 1988, however, the decision was made to make all Grand Seiko watches with a quartz movement.  They did bring back the mechanical movements to Grand Seiko in 1998, but only in 28,800 bph.  In 2009, Seiko re-introduced its 1st Hi-Beat caliber in over 21 years, the 9S85 movement.   The advancements in technology allowed Seiko to tremendously improve on the resilience of the hairspring. MEMS and CAD/CAM manufacturing allowed them to build smoother, stronger, lighter and more precise escapement gears and pallet forks, and the alloys for the mainspring were able to provide enough power and torque to supply the faster rate, as well as extending power reserve.  All of these factors came together to build a superior movement at a fast rate, eliminating some of the most prevalent issues of wear and tear with a 36,000 bph caliber.  For the 5 year anniversary of the 9S85 caliber, Seiko has expanded the series of calibers by adding the 9S86, with new GMT feature.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Limited Edition SBGJ005

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Limited Edition SBGJ005

To celebrate this new release, Seiko introduced 3 new models with the new 9S86 caliber.  1st, we introduce the Limited Edition, SBGJ005.  The dial of the 005 is a beautiful dark green with gold accents to symbolize the summers surrounding the Shizuku-Ishi watch studio in Morioka Japan.  During the summers, the trees are a beautiful green surrounding Mt. Iwate, which is visible outside of the windows of the studio.  The detailed texture in the radial finished dial express the ridges of Mt. Iwate, giving a beautiful texture as only seen once before on the SBGH005.  The entire line up of new Hi-Beat GMT’s will have the same textured dial.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Limited Edition SBGJ005

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Limited Edition SBGJ005

This limited edition will be the only in the series to feature a unique titanium rotor with weighted with tungsten that covers nearly the entire movement, with openings to expose the beautifully striped and decorated caliber.  The wing motif of the rotor expresses the leap to the next level of the 9S8 caliber.  The titanium rotor is treated by anodic oxidation to create its gold tone.  The titanium not only has high corrosion resistance, but also acts as a shock absorber which reduces the chance of distortion to the rotor and the its bearings.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Limited Edition SBGJ005

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Limited Edition SBGJ005

For the new SBGJ005, only 600 pieces total will be made for world wide distribution.  The watch expresses strength and growth (of which Grand Seiko has gone through a tremendous amount of over the last 4 years), and has a tremendous deep look to the dial.  There is much meaning that goes into Grand Seiko as a brand, with the SBGJ005 expressing many great things in Grand Seiko’s history, heritage and evolution.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ003

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ003

The next piece in the new 9S86 series is the SBGJ003.  This model will have the same ridge textured dial as the SBGH005 with red GMT hand and accents.  The stainless steel case on all three models is 40mm, inspired by the 1st Grand Seiko to come out of Daini Seikosha (now SII/Shizuku-Ishi), the 44GS.  While it is not quite the same as the SBGW047 released last year, it is more comparable to the SBGR081/083 automatics.  The case on the SBGJ series will be slightly thicker then last years automatic LE, at 14mm.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ003

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ003

The finish is of the case exposes a significant amount of the Zaratsu blade polishing technique.  This mirror like finish is considered to be one of the finest in the industry, and dates back to 1964 when Seiko first started using it on the Grand Seiko wrist watches.  These also have a beautiful slightly domed sapphire crystal with Seiko’s proprietary anti-reflective coating, eliminating 99.9% of glare.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ001

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ001

The final piece in the new Hi-Beat GMT’s is the SBGJ001.  This model will have a white dial, again textured with the ridges of Mt. Iwate, and blue steel GMT hand.  The texture is easiest to see of the 3 new models, as the darker colors texture tend to fade into the shadows, making them more subtle.   The GMT movement features an independently adjustable hour hand, making for quick timezone adjustments without deviating the watches -3 to +5 second per day accuracy rating.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ001

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ001

The look of the white dial with blue accents is very reminiscent of the Snowflake model, due to texture, crossed with a slight bit more silver as you would see in the SBGH001.  The design on all 3 are gorgeous making for difficult decisions between the 3.  Of course, the limited model will be in the most high demand for obvious reasons, but all 3 are outstanding.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ003

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ003

For core production models (SBGJ001 and 003), the rotor will be the same as on the SBGH series.  Striping can be found throughout the movements, with all the same special manufacturing methods as on the original SBGH series. The sapphire crystal case back will also have the subtle Grand Seiko Lion hologram visible at certain angles.  Another beautiful and subtle detail as always found in GS.  Official pricing on the SBGJ001, 003 and 005 is still being finalized.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Special 18k Gold SBGJ007 SBGJ008 SBGJ009

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Special 18k Gold SBGJ007 SBGJ008 SBGJ009

There are also a set of Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT Special’s coming this year in 18k White Gold (SBGJ007), Yellow Gold (SBGJ008), and Pink Gold, SBGJ010.  These will feature a specially adjusted movement with higher accuracy rating then the Grand Seiko Standard (+5/-3 seconds per day).  The Grand Seiko Special Standard models will have a +4/-2 second a day deviation rating, making them one of the highest accuracy mechanical movements available.  The case size on these will be 39.5mm wide and 13.9mm thick.  These are estimated to retail from $20,000-$21,000 and only 200 pieces will be produced between all 3 colors annually.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special Stainless Steel SBGH035

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special Stainless Steel SBGH035

Finally, this year will also introduce a stainless steel Hi-Beat Special (non-GMT) model labeled as SBGH035.  This will also have the +4/-2 second per day deviation rating and come in a 38mm case with back crocodile strap.  Only 300 pieces will be made world wide, and are estimated to retail at about $7,500.

All models are currently available for pre-order.  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!

See more pictures below…

 

 

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Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

2014 marks the 10 year anniversary of the revolutionary Spring Drive movement in Grand Seiko.  The appearance of the 9R caliber truly pushed the envelope for accuracy not just in any mainspring driven watch, but then combined with the fit, finish and build quality of GS, started a whole new level of watchmaking.  To pay tribute to the introduction of Spring Drive into Grand Seiko in 2004, Seiko has released a limited edition model dubbed the SBGA109.

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

The SBGA109 will be in the same 41mm titanium case and bracelet as found on the now iconic “Snowflake” model, as well as the hands and indexes.  The dial will also be a pure white, yet the texture is completely different.  Both the second hand and power reserve hand are in blue steel, with a different power reserve display texture as compared to the Snowflake.

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

You can see the texture is a weaved square texture exposing little frames which contain small “GS” logos.  They, of course are very subtle, and at different angles of light become more noticeable.  The weaves condense from the 12:00-6:00  portion of the dial as well as from 9:00-3:00, creating smaller rectangular frames, without GS logos.  This gives the dial a far more complex look and reduces the amount of logos, creating a very interesting look.  The railway track type minutes and seconds counters at the outer edge of the dial is a great touch as well.

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

Grand Seiko is know for their subtle details and the SBGA109 is no exception.  Some may recall last years 9F 20th Anniversary model SBGX103 with small GS Lions found scattered throughout the dial, with the lion at the 20 minute marker facing the opposite direction as the rest.  The SBGA109 is similar, but with only one lion, located at the frame nearest the 10 minute marker.  This, of course, will signify the 10 year anniversary of the 9R Spring Drive caliber.

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

The movement featured in the SBGA109 is one that we are quite excited to see more of… The high accuracy Spring Drive 9R15.  This will have the same +/- 10 second a month accuracy rating as the new “Self-Dater” Limited Edition models.  A notable difference in the 9R15 vs. the 9R65 is the 18k gold GS Lion medallion on the rotor and instead of having radial sating finish on the rotor, it is coated in striping.

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA109

The 9R 10th Anniversary Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGA109 is slotted for delivery this fall, and has an estimated retail of $7,000.  There will be 700 pieces made for the world with less than roughly 3% of production coming to the US market.

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA111

Grand Seiko 9R 10th Anniversary Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA111

The 109 will not be the only anniversary model for 10 years of the 9R movement.  The slightly smaller 40.5mm stainless steel SBGA111 will also be released this fall.  The case is slightly more faceted, has oyster type bracelet and the 9R65 movement as opposed to the 9R15.  While we did not see this piece hands on, this will provide a chance to be a part of the 10th anniversary of the 9R Spring Drive, at an MSRP of $5,000.  This model will be limited to 1,500 pieces for the world.

Both models are currently available for pre-order at AZ Fine Time.  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!

 

Citizen – Pre-Basel Debuts

Citizen Altichron Cirrus Limited Edition BN5044-01E

Citizen Altichron Cirrus Limited Edition BN5044-01E

Last year at Basel World 2013, we had the opportunity to see the Citizen Altichron both in the standard form and the limited model, the Altichron Cirrus.  After almost a year, Citizen will be launching the Citizen Altichron Cirrus Limited Edition BN5044-01E this April!

Citizen Altichron Cirrus Limited Edition BN5044-01E

This new limited edition will have titanium case with both Duratect and DLC coating, anti-reflective coated and domed sapphire crystal, liquid rubber strap and the unique colorful design.  The functionality will be the same with compass, altitude and power reserve display.  The size will be even larger than the core models at 51.5mm wide and 18mm thick.  Only about 20 pieces will be available in the US and will retail at $2,650.  We are currently taking pre-orders for the BN5044-01E with an estimated delivery sometime before the end of April.

Citizen Signature Grand Touring Sport Diver Automatic

Citizen Signature Grand Touring Sport Diver Automatic

If you received this months issue of Watchtime magazine, you most likely saw this ad.  Without anyone having a clue on what may be new to come from Citizen this year, they ran this ad for their new Grand Touring Sport model.  This model will have a 44mm stainless steel case with uni-directional rotating bezel, sapphire crystal and Citizen’s 9012 automatic movement.  There is really no other information on this model as of yet as far as price and availability is concerned.  This will most likely become available sometime this fall, maybe even earlier.

To see a whole lot more exciting Citizen products released at Basel World, be sure to follow our blog and various social media sites HERE!

Thanks for reading!

Grand Seiko Roadshow at AZ Fine Time – Highlights

Mountains in Suwa near Shinshu Watch Studio in 9R65

Ahhh, the wonders of the Grand Seiko Spring Drive.  We have here the 9R65 caliber, produced at Shinshu watch studio in Japan.  This movement, and its variants, are truly special in many ways.  Not only the worlds most accurate movement driven by a mainspring, but completely in-house manufactured and assembled by hand at Shinshu in Suwa, a part of the Nagano prefecture.  The Japanese alps surrounding the studio are expressed in the top plate of the movement, which is one of many subtle attributes to Grand Seiko that collectors admire.  Last Friday, Dec 13th 2013, Arizona Fine Time was fortunate enough to share the tremendous skill it takes to build a Grand Seiko Spring Drive movement during our 4th annual Grand Seiko Roadshow featuring Master Watchmaker Junya Kamijo!

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

Mr. Kamijo assembled the 9R86 Spring Drive Chronograph movement here in our retail store, which consists of 416 parts and 50 jewels.  Customers watched in amazement as Mr. Kamijo built the 9R86 right in front of their eyes, making it appear easy.  As one of only 3 watchmakers actually assembling the chronograph GMT movement, you could imagine his qualifications are far above standard.

9R86 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT movement assembly watchmaking

9R86 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT movement assembly watchmaking

9R86 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT movement assembly watchmaking

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

Grand Seiko movement assembly

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

9R86 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT movement assembly watchmaking

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC001 Dial

9R86 Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT movement

9R86 Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT movement column wheel

9R86 Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT movement

The party was a tremendous success with customers visiting from all over the country just to see the “behind the scenes” magic that is Grand Seiko.  We couldn’t have asked for a better turn out and sincerely appreciate everyone who attended the event.

Grand Seiko Roadshow 2013 at AZ Fine Time

Grand Seiko Roadshow 2013 at AZ Fine Time

Grand Seiko Roadshow 2013 at AZ Fine Time

Grand Seiko Roadshow 2013 at AZ Fine Time

Grand Seiko Roadshow 2013 at AZ Fine Time

Grand Seiko Roadshow 2013 at AZ Fine Time

Grand Seiko Roadshow 2013 at AZ Fine Time

Customers who made purchases during the event received autographs from Mr. Kamijo.  I have to say… He gave out a lot of autographs that evening!

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo

Grand Seiko Watchmaker Junya Kamijo autograph for customer

Another great aspect of the night was the presentation table, where you get to see Grand Seiko’s parts, literally under a microscope.  Here’s a shot of the integrated circuit that is used to translate the frequency of the quartz oscillator to the electro-magnetic brake, which regulates the glide wheel, providing the supreme accuracy and smooth gliding motion of Spring Drive.  A lot of technology in a tiny little piece.

Integrated Circuit  for Grand Seiko

And a slightly less close up of the IC.

Integrated Circuit  for Grand Seiko Spring Drive The quartz oscillator itself.

Grand Seiko OscillatorBelow is theglassy metal core of the coil which is 18 layers of 25 micron thick amorphous.  The coil wound around the core is perfectly aligned wound around the coil block an amazing 25,00o times.  This along with the difficult to manufacture amorphous core is what makes Spring Drive so efficient when it comes to electrical energy.

25 micron thick amorphous core and coil block

The 9R65’s mainspring is made of an in-house developed alloy called Spring 510, giving it an impressive 72 hour power reserve off of only one barrel.

Spron 510 mainspring for 9R65 movment

Barrel for Spron 510 mainspring for 9R65 movment

Spron 510 mainspring for 9R65 movment

The shots below are of the 9R65 caliber, from many different angles, giving you a slightly better idea on placement of parts as well as quality of finish.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive 9R65 Movement

Grand Seiko Spring Drive 9R65 Movement

Grand Seiko Spring Drive 9R65 Movement Glide Wheel

Grand Seiko Spring Drive 9R65 Movement

Grand Seiko Spring Drive 9R65 Movement

Grand Seiko Spring Drive 9R65 Movement

Grand Seiko Spring Drive 9R65 Movement

A close up shot of the 9F62 high accuracy quartz movement.  This rarely seen movement boasts a +/- 10 second a year accuracy rating due to thermo-compensation of the quartz crystal (which it checks and corrects 540 times a day), 50 year service life internally due to its “super sealed cabin”, increased toque to drive heavy metal hands and still maintain a 3 year battery life due to its twin pulse motor, has a backlash auto-adjust to ensure the hand stops exactly on the marker with no vibration, and even a “pacing switch” to manually adjust accuracy.  This movement is also made at Shinshu.

Grand Seiko 9F62 HAQ Quartz Movement

Next we get into the insides of the 9S mechanical movements made at Shizuku-Ishi Watch Studio in Morioka Japan. First is the 9S65 Mechanical Automatic with a rate of 28,800 bph.

9S85 Grand Seiko Mechanical Hi-Beat Automatic movement

The mainspring utilized is the same Spring 510 alloy used in Spring Drive.  This ultra resilient alloy also allows for a 72 hour power reserve on the 9S65.

Spron 510 mainspring for 9S65 mechanical movment

The hairspring used is also labeled as Spron, but the 610 instead of 510.  The alloy is so durable, we actually saw it stretched to its limits at last years Roadshow and it recoiled perfectly flat, where as other hairsprings become completely uncoiled and deformed.

Spron 610 Hairspring Balance Wheel

Here is the 9S85 Hi-Beat caliber.  This 36,000 bph movement brings the highest accuracy in a purely mechanical watch, while still maintaing its durability.

9S65 Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic

The hairspring on this model is the same Spring 610 utilized in the 9S65, but swings much faster.

Spron 610 Hairspring Balance Wheel - MEMS Pallet Fork Escapement Gear

The escapement system all by its lonesome.  Truly incredible technology has allowed for the immaculate construction of the pallet fork and escapement wheel.  The use of MEMS (Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems) allows the manufacturing of parts that are 10 times the durability of traditionally machined parts.
Spron 610 Hairspring Balance Wheel - MEMS Pallet Fork Escapement Gear

The mainspring used is the Spron 530 alloy.  This material provides a 55 hour power reserve on the higher torque, higher frequency movement.

Spron 530 mainspring for 9S85 mechanical Hi-Beat movmentBelow you will see the case assembly for the SBGH001 9S85 Hi-Beat.  The mirror finished polish is thanks to the very few craftsmen who spend an abundance of time polishing by hand.

Case for SBGH001

The bezel is also finished in the katana blade hand polishing technique called “Zaratsu”.

Bezel of SBGH001

Seiko also manufactures the sapphire crystal in-house.  A good majority of this ultra clear, distortion free crystal is thanks to Seiko’s optics division Seiko Optical Products Co. LTD.

Seiko in-house Sapphire Crystal

Seiko in-house Sapphire Crystal

Seiko in-house Sapphire Crystal

Seiko in-house Sapphire Crystal

The case back of the SBGH001 (as well as many others) use sapphire crystal with a very subtle hologram of the Grand Seiko lion logo.

SBGH001 Case Back with Grand Seiko Hologram

The hands of Grand Seiko’s are also polished by hand and brought to the mirror Zaratsu finish.  The 5 facet diamond cut hands provide greater legibility at night, catching the slightest bit of light, and making it glimmer like a diamond.

Diamond Cut hands for Grand Seiko

a close up of the dial of the SBGH0o1, which uses the same multi-faceted, Zaratsu finish technique to add to legibility on the indexes.  The dial process itself is incredibly elaborate, with 12 steps to complete its unique silvery radial sunburst finish.

Dial for SBGH001

Towards the end of the night, Seiko gathered a group of people in the room and Regional Vice President Rick Rowlands started to make a speech.  Much to my surprise, the boys from Seiko awarded me with the new Seiko Astron GPS Kintaro Hattori Limited Edition for “outstanding support”.   The watch was presented to me by Mr. Shunji Tanaka, who from what I understand is in charge of global sale of Astron.  All I can say is that I am still surprised, incredibly honored, and truly grateful!  From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU SEIKO for this wonderful gift!

Seiko Astron GPS Kintaro Hattori at AZ Fine Time

Seiko Astron GPS Kintaro Hattori at AZ Fine Time

The picture below is with Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Yosh Kawada (President of Seiko USA), myself, and Mitchel Hirsh (owner of AZ Fine Time).  If you can’t tell, I’m incredibly excited with that huge goofy grin on my face!

Seiko Astron GPS Kintaro Hattori at AZ Fine TimeWe’d sincerely like to thank all of Seiko for putting on such an amazing event.  A very special thank you to all the great guys from Seiko who attended the event (from left to right) Mr. Keith “Don Kiki” Oda, Mr. Rick Rowlands, Mr. Yosh Kawada, Mr. Junya Kamijo, Mr. Shunji Tanaka, Mr. Shu Yoshino, and Mr. Kinya Iwami.  All of your hard work is truly appreciated!

Staff from Seiko USA and Seiko Japan

We’d also like to thank our friends Jessica from TimeZone.com and Paul Hubbard from ABlogtoWatch.com for attending the event.  Always a pleasure!

Most importantly… I would sincerely like to thank all of our customers who attended the event, participated in the event online, and who have supported us over the years… Your support and friendship means the world to us!!!

Staying “ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE REST”!!

Staff from Seiko USA, Seiko Japan, and AZ Fine Time

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!

Please check out our video below of Junya Kamijo working on the 9R86 movement…

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Limited Edition Brown Dial SBGA095

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA095As a new Limited Edition for the 2013 Grand Seiko line up, the SBGA095 is a part of continuing series adapting part of Japan’s elements of nature to theme the timepieces.  Today we review the SBGA095 which is limited to only 300 pieces for the world.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA095We 1st found out that the SBGA011 “Snowflake” was a tribute to the snowfall during the Suwa regions winters.  We then saw the Spring Drive GMT SBGE021, with beautiful green dial, symbolizing the luscious plant life found in the area.  Last year, the blue dialed SBGA071 was released with the inspiration of the sea.  This years model features a rich earthy brown dial to symbolize the land of Japan.  With a tremendous amount of detail in a subtle brown dial, you can catch glimpses of the near spider web type guilloche embossed into the dial.  The amount of light exposed to the dial determines the amount of brown and texture seen, almost looking black in low light settings.  Sunlight will bring out the true beauty of the dial, but as with all Grand Seiko’s, subtlety is key.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA095The stainless steel case on the SBGA095 is the new smaller 39mm wide, by 12.3mm thick design found on both SBGA083 and SBGA085.  The bracelet is also an oyster type, with only a brushed finish, giving a slightly sportier appearance than the 5 piece with polished attributes.  The case, hands and indexes use the incredible zaratsu katana blade polishing technique, giving it the beautiful mirror like finish.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA095

The movement utilized is the 9R65 Spring Drive movement, manufactured in-house, and assembled at Shinshu Watch Studio in Suwa Japan.  As many of you know, Spring Drive is an amazing technology, that took 28 years of development to achieve perfection.  The solely mainspring powered, self-winding winding movement has a 72 hour power reserve (which is displayed on the dial) due to Seiko’s in-house developed alloy, the Spron 510 mainspring.   Replacing the traditional escapement system is Seiko’s Tri-Synchro Regulator, which uses a quartz crystal, integrated circuit and electro-magnetic brake to control the uni-direction glide wheel, which replaces the traditional hairspring and balance wheel.  The smooth gliding motion of the Spring Drive second hand is due to this glide wheels rotation in one direction and The frequency from the quartz crystal allows for incredible accuracy.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA095The new series of 39mm Grand Seiko Spring Drives all have closed case backs with the Grand Seiko Lion logo on the caseback.  The SBGA095 is no exception, but will be engraved with “LIMITED EDITION” and the individual serial number “XXX/300”.  With such a small supply of this model, not to mention at an incredible price point, these will surely be gone quick.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGA095The MSRP on the Grand Seiko Limited Edition SBGA095 with Earthy Brown dial is only $4,000, which is one of the lowest prices found for any Spring Drive.  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.

Grand Seiko Roadshow 2013 at AZ Fine TimeDon’t forget!!  This Friday, Dec. 13th is the 4th annual Grand Seiko Roadshow at Arizona Fine Time!  Master watchmaker from Shinshu Watch Studio, Junya Kamijo, will be here assembling a 9R Grand Seiko Spring Drive movement.  He will be autographing watch boxes for customers who make purchases for the event, and we will also have a special promotion with the Astron GPS, where President of Seiko USA, Yosh Kawada, will autograph boxes for purchases of Astron during the event.  If you cannot attend the event, you can call in orders to get the autograph and watch it live on AZFineTime.com‘s homepage from 3-7pm MST.  The live feed will also be able to play back the recorded version, and will be on our site all weekend.  Don’t miss out!

Thanks for reading!

See our video review of the SBGA095 below…

See more pictures below…

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

For our second installment of reviews on the Grand Seiko 18 gold Snowflakes, we introduce the yellow gold variation, SBGA090.  As I mentioned in yesterdays review of the white gold SBGA089, this piece is a limited production model that pays tribute to one of the best selling styles of Grand Seiko, the SBGA011.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

The dial for the SBGA090 is just like the dial found on SBGA011, replicating the snowfall in Suwa, where Seiko manufactures their Spring Drive movements.  This 18k yellow gold model adds yellow gold to the hands and indexes, as well as the SEIKO and GS logo, and the 72 hour power reserve indicator.  The hands and indexes are diamond cut at multiple angles, brought to razor sharp edges and finished in the Zaratsu katana blade polishing technique making light reflect at every angle.  These little glimmers of light make for easy legibility in low light settings.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

The case width is only 39mm (which is slightly smaller than the SBGA011 at 41mm).  The case is also finished in the blade polishing technique, which is only entrusted in a small amount of craftsmen.  This hand applied finish is done by pressing the case gently against a rotating tin plate over and over again at specific angles until the case has reached its mirror like finish.  It takes tremendous experience and skill to achieve this distortion free finish.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

In our previous review of the white gold we discussed Yoshikazu Akahane and the near 30 years it took him to develope Seiko’s Spring Drive movement.  Today, the discussion lies more in how it actually works.  First, Spring Drive is solely powered by the mainspring, as with any other mechanical watch.  The power from the mainspring (Seiko’s proprietary alloy Spron 510), drives not only the movement of the hands, but also a very small amount is used to propel a magnetic rotor.  This provides the electricity to power what Seiko calls a Tri-Synchro Regulator.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

The Tri-Synchro Regulator replaces the traditional escapement found in mechanical watches.  Instead of the balance wheel bouncing back and forth on a sensitive hairspring, Seiko has a glide wheel that rotates in one direction.  This is what allows the unbelievably smooth gliding motion of Spring Drives second hand as well as relieving tremendous stress on the movement.  The electricity from the magnetic rotor powers an integrated circuit and high quality quartz crystal.  The frequency from the crystal is transferred through the IC tells an electromagnetic brake to allow the glide wheel 8 rotations per second.  This is what allows for the quartz like precision in a mechanically powered watch.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

For the 18k Special Edition Snowflakes, the quartz crystal utilized is very unique.  After extensive testing and aging, only a small amount of crystals are qualified to go into the special 9R15 movement utilized.  These crystals give the 9R15 an astonishing +/- 10 second a month accuracy rating.  This is symbolized in the 18k gold medallion on the rotor.  Spring Drive already has the highest accuracy rating for a spring powered watch, and apparently, only Seiko can out do themselves.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

Only one of each color (white, yellow and pink gold) came to the US market, and are exclusively sold at AZFT.  The SBGA090 is $18,000 MSRP.  If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-486-3996 or submit an inquiry through AZFineTime.com.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

Thanks for reading!

 

See our video review below…

 

See more pictures below…

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake 18k White Gold Special SBGA089

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake 18k White Gold Special SBGA089As a special tribute to one of the most popular Grand Seiko’s in the line up today, the SBGA011 “Snowflake”, Seiko has introduced a series of limited production models in 3 shades of 18k gold.  Available in white, yellow or pink gold, with the very special 9R15 caliber, only one of each color came to the US market and can exclusively be found at AZ Fine Time.  Today we bring you the white gold, SBGA089.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake 18k White Gold Special SBGA089The Snowflake was made to pay tribute to the winters of Spring Drive’s hometown and birth place, the Suwa Nagano region of Japan.  In Suwa, the Shinshu Watch Studio manufactures and assembles Spring Drive movements.  The winters in this central region of Japan produce light and airy snowfall, which creates snow drifts on the ground and mountainous area.  The dial of the snowflake is made to mimic this, but still retain the subtlety and beauty you find in Grand Seiko.  From a distance the dial appears to be a plain white, but up close, the intricate details can easily be seen.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake 18k White Gold Special SBGA089   The concept of Spring Drive conceived in 1977 by a young engineer at Seiko’s Suwa plant, Yoshikazu Akahane.  The thought of a perfect watch, having the craftsmanship and details of a fine mechanical but the accuracy of the best quartz, was something Akahane became devoted to.  After 28 years, 600 prototypes and 230 patents, Seiko’s Spring Drive was finally introduced to the market in 2005.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake 18k White Gold Special SBGA089

The Spring Drive caliber found in this special Snowflake is the rarely seen 9R15.  This caliber is only used in limited edition/production type models as its Tri-Synchro Regulator utilizes a specially selected quartz crystal that endures vigorous testing and aging to ensure it is of the finest quality.  These rare quartz crystals are what provide the 9R15 with an even higher accuracy compared to the 9R65 found in most Grand Seiko’s.  The 9R15 is rated to only +/- 10 seconds a month deviation as compared to the 9R65’s +/- 15 seconds a month (equivalent to 1 second a day).  As you will find with the 9R65, the actual accuracy of the 9R15 is likely to be much better than its rating.  This is the 1st and only 9R15 caliber to come to the US market.  This movement, which is manufactured completely in house, has a 72 hour power reserve and an 18k gold medallion on the rotor to express its uniqueness.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake 18k White Gold Special SBGA089The SBGA089’s 18k white gold case is slightly smaller than the SBGA011’s case at only 39mm wide but the same thickness of 12.5mm.  The finish is brushed at the lugs but mostly composed of the impeccable Zaratsu “Blade” polishing technique, giving the mirror like finish that is truly stunning in person.  The hands and indexes also utilize this polishing technique on their multifaceted, diamond cut design, which gives a brilliant sparkle from every angle.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake 18k White Gold Special SBGA089As I mentioned before, only 1 of each color of gold came to the US market and are exclusively sold at AZ Fine Time.  The MSRP for the white gold SBGA089 is $19,000.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-486-3996 or submit an inquiry through our site.  Stay tuned for our reviews on the yellow gold SBGA090 and pink gold SBGA092.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake 18k White Gold Special SBGA089

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