BASELWORLD 2016 – NEW SEIKO PRESAGE

BASELWORLD 2016 – NEW SEIKO PRESAGE

Seiko made its first watch in 1913 and has been on a roll ever since. In 1956 they made their first automatic watch and introduced their proprietary shock resistant system called Diashock in 1958. Their next technological innovation was in 1959 when they invented the magic lever spring winding mechanism and was followed in 1964 by the in-house production of balance springs with their own specially created alloy. In 1967, Seiko manufactured Japan’s first hi-beat caliber and in 1969 they created the world’s first automatic chronograph with vertical clutch and column wheel systems.

Seiko Presage SRQ019, SRQ021

For over a century, Seiko has been pushing the technological envelope of it’s purely mechanical watchmaking skills. Today, they have taken the wraps off a new global collection of purely mechanical powered timepieces dubbed Presage.

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GRAND SEIKO MECHANICAL AUTOMATIC 42MM SBGR099 SBGR101

GRAND SEIKO MECHANICAL AUTOMATIC 42MM SBGR099 SBGR101

GRAND SEIKO MECHANICAL AUTOMATIC 42MM SBGR099 SBGR101

As a new modern introduction to the Grand Seiko line up, Seiko launched 3 new styles of 42mm mechanical automatic pieces featuring the no-date 9S61 caliber.  The first in the line up is the SBGR099 featuring a silvery white radial finished dial with blued steel seconds hand.

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GRAND SEIKO LADIES MECHANICAL AUTOMATIC STGR001 STGR003

Grand Seiko Ladies Automatic STGR001 STGR003

GRAND SEIKO LADIES MECHANICAL AUTOMATIC STGR001 STGR003

 

For the first time since the late 70’s, Grand Seiko has introduced a Grand Seiko mechanical automatic caliber in their ladies collection.  The new caliber is the 9S61 which is basically the same as the 9S65, but has no date window.  These new ladies Grand Seiko automatics will be in a 34.8mm stainless steel case that is 12.3mm thick.  The first in the line up is the STGR001 on stainless steel bracelet and with diamond markers.

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Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051

Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051

With many great movements to choose from in the Grand Seiko series, what is the appeal of the standard mechanical automatic as compared to Spring Drive, Hi-Beat or even Quartz?  To start, the mechanical series is for the purist, who would prefer NOT to have any kind of Quartz regulation in their watch.  This obviously eliminates the 9F Quartz, but also the Spring Drive movement.  While Spring Drive is a mechanically driven watch, it converts mechanical energy into electricity and utilizes a quartz crystal for timing regulation, therefore eliminating it for the purist (in some cases).

Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051

The Hi-Beat movement is purely mechanical, and an unbelievable movement.  While it has a higher heart rate that allows for finer advancements of the second hand, the price is substantially  higher and only has a 55 hour power reserve compared to the 72 hours found in the standard mechanicals.

Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051

The piece in todays review is for the purist who loves a true mechanical watch, that not only has amazing accuracy, but also has some of the finest components inside, making for some of the highest durability you can find.  The Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051.

Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051

The SBGR051 has a silver dial with a very finely detailed sunburst pattern.  While it can be difficult to see, the fine lines of this pattern give the subtle details you typically find on all Grand Seiko’s close up.  You would also think that a silver dial would hide the stainless steel hands and indexes, but that is certainly not the case.

Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051

The Zaratsu (Katana Blade) polishing technique used on the hands, indexes and even case give it a mirror like finish.  The effect of the high polish makes the hands and indexes appear black in most settings, but also offers a glimmer like a diamond.  The black look of the steel over the silver dial makes it incredibly legible, which is actually quite surprising.  The finish on the case and bracelet are immaculate, and has even been compared to the quality of Patek or Vacheron by avid collectors.  I have seen, heard, and even compared this 1st hand.

Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051

Inside this beautiful timepiece is Seiko’s in-house manufactured 9S65 movement.  This movement has a rate of 28,800 bph, contains 35 jewels, and has a 72 hour power reserve.  In 2010, the 9S65 was introduced and replaced the 9S55.  The new benefits of the the upgraded movement were the 72hr power reserve due to Seiko’s new proprietary alloy Spron 510.  The other advancements in the movement were in the escapement, utilizing their other top of the line Spron 610 alloy for the hairspring (which is more shock resistant, buoyant, durable and anti-magnetic) as well as MEMS (Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems) manufactured escapement wheel and pallet fork.  MEMS allows for smoother, lighter and stronger parts, that benefit not only longevity, but even accuracy.

Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051

Most importantly, Grand Seiko is rated to perform within a -3/+5 second a day deviation rate.  This is even more accurate than Swiss Certified Chronometer and even undergoes a more intensive testing process.  The GS Standard is one of the finest precision ratings you will find in any timepiece today.  This model does have a sapphire crystal to expose it’s caliber.  If you look close, you can see the illusive GS Lion hologram in the center.

Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051

These GS mechanical movements (as well as others such as Credor, Galante, Prospex, etc) are manufactured at Shizuku-Ishi Watch Studio in the Iwate Prefecture of Japan.  Shizuku-Ishi is one of the only fully integrated manufactures in Japan that makes luxury timepieces.  They are also one of the truest vertical manufactures in the industry, making nearly every component in house.  With only about 19 craftsmen working in the studio (who aren’t even all working on GS), it is easy to understand why Grand Seiko’s are such limited availability.

Grand Seiko Mechanical Automatic SBGR051

Overall, the 37mm, 140g stainless steel, SBGR051 is a beautifully designed.  Simplistic, yet extremely detailed.  Very subtle, but truly impressive craftsmanship.  I always have to explain… “I stare at Grand Seiko’s every day.  It is near impossible for me to find every minute detail that GS has implemented in order to make such an amazing piece. Once you wear it on your wrist, you will be sure to find them.  Sometimes in seconds, sometimes weeks.”

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Seiko Decor Clocks – Mechanical 8 Day -AZ222G and AZ222S

Mechanical clocks are coveted by very experienced collectors.  Most people probably wonder what use a mechanical clock could be in an age of cellphones, digit displays, and atomic time keeping electronics in almost every room of their house.  In reality, these clocks are more to be appreciated for their mechanical attributes, craftsmanship, as well as gorgeous designs.  Seiko has some of the most incredible clocks on the market, and today we will be looking at their Decor collection, models AZ222G and AZ222S.

Seiko Decor Clocks

To start, both of the clocks bodies are made of brass with gold plating, and the AZ222S also has some partial Palladium coating.  This is not the only coating added to these clocks.  Seiko’s own proprietary clear coating is also applied to help the scratch resistance.

Seiko Decor Clocks AZ222G

Seiko Decor Clocks AZ222S

The dials on both of these pieces are Cloisonne, and incredibly detailed.  Almost reminiscent of the Grand Seiko Snowflake in texture, the deep paterns also seem to sparkle like mother of pearl.  The AZ222G almost looks like it is coated in pearl dust, and is white/silver in color.  The AZ222S is a nice spectrum ranging from sky blue at the bottom up to a deep dark purple at the top.  Both are incredibly gorgeous and very detailed, and also have accents of Swarovski Crystals.  There are ornament plates on the dial which are Arabesque patterns that contribute even more uniqueness to its design.

Seiko Decor Clocks

Seiko Decor Clocks

Seiko Decor Clocks

The movement is spectacular to look at.  Just as many of us admire an open case back on our watches, these movements are fully exposed through beveled glass on all sides, as well as the top which exposes the movement.  The clock is manually wound by opening a door on the back and turning a key.  At a full wind, this clock can go 8 full days before the power reserve is drained.  Should your clock be losing or gaining time, there is a regulator for easy adjustments on the clock back.  Approximately 1 min a day can be adjusted by sliding the regulator 1mm.

Seiko Decor Clocks

Seiko Decor Clocks

These highly collectible heirloom pieces are $7,500 MSRP.  Please contact us at 1-800-486-3996 to find out our once in a lifetime price.

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Grand Seiko Mechanical GMT 10th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGM029

2012 commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the 1st Grand Seiko to posses a fourth hand, displaying GMT time.  To honor this achievement, Seiko has released 2 Limited Editions.  One, SBGM031 to pay tribute to SBGM003 (leather strap) and another SBGM029 to honor SBGM001 (bracelet).  Today, Arizona Fine Time has received the 1st small allotment of the new SBGM029, and much earlier than anticipated.

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

Arrival for these exquisite time pieces was originally planned for October.  Luckily, production was completed early and AZ Fine Time was one of the 1st to receive them in the US.  I am very happy to share this commemorative  piece for the 1st time with pictures of it in the metal.

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

The design of the  SBGM029 replicates the SBGM001 (the 1st GS GMT), with a few new changes.  The dial is a gorgeous deep blue with gold GMT hand, boasting the official Grand Seiko colors.  This is the 1st time a Grand Seiko mechanical GMT has ever been exhibited with a blue dial.

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

The blue dial is incredibly executed, with a pretty vast range of hue.  In bright lit settings, the dial is obviously a rich royal blue.  Take it to a slightly darker room and it deepens to a navy blue.  In a fairly dark setting, the dial looks black.  The nice part of the dial, is that you can get the range of all three shades,  depending on the angle you look at the watch.  As you will see in some of the pictures, the dial almost appears to be a gradient from certain angles.  Seiko has done a tremendous job (as they usually do) making the dial more than it appears.

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

The gold GMT hand has perfect contrast and compliments the blue perfectly.  Legibility is a key element to Grand Seiko and this watch lives true to the tale.  The combination of brushed and Zaratsu polished hands and markers only add to the legibility.  Even in dark settings, the non-luminescent timepiece will be legible.  The polished aspects reflect the most minimal amounts of light giving near an outline of the hands and indexes.  The more broad brushed attributes show contrast over the dark dial, so the hands and indexes do not reflect more of the night sky.  If the hands were fully polished and reflecting the dark, the hands would show no contrast to the dial and make it near impossible to read.

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

One of my favorite parts on this piece (as well as on any Grand Seiko) is the movement.  Seiko has taken the impressive 9S66 movement with 35 jewels, Spron 610 hairspring (for supreme durability and elasticity), and Spron 510 mainspring (for 72 hr power reserve as well as supreme durability and elasticity) and added something special to this commemorative Limited Edition.  The oscillating weight of the SBGM029 takes up near the entire case back is made of titanium, making the watch more resistant to corrosion and shock.  The titanium can actually  absorb 10 times the shock of the more commonly used brass, which will help in the prevention of movement damage if the piece is dropped.  Because the rotor is so lightweight and so large, one side is weighted with tungsten to ensure the rotor moves effortlessly.

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

The case and bracelet are the exact duplicate as the SBGM001.  Because Grand Seiko has only been available in the US only 2 years, I never had the opportunity to see the original SBGM001.  Now, after seeing the SBGM029 in person, I know why there was so much admiration for the 001.  It is a beautifully constructed design.  The 39.2mm case is a perfect size and shape, curving nicely to the wrist.  The engraved bezel looks spectacular.  Very detailed and precise.  The bracelet fits very comfortably and is built solid.  I like that the bracelet is mostly brushed, which will help hide signs of wear.

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

Overall, the SBGM029 is a truly gorgeous and collectible timepiece.  Only 700 were made and will surely sell out fast.  This is a piece that I would love to add to my collection, and I’m sure many others out there would agree.  Retail on this piece is $6,700 .

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

Grand Seiko GMT Limited Edition SBGM029

I hope you enjoyed  the read and pictures.  Please stay tuned for the delivery of SBGM031 at the end of August.

Thank you!