To celebrate 100 years of watchmaking and 20 years of the 9F Quartz Movement, the introduction of the new Grand Seiko SBGX103 Limited Edition has had precision infatuated collectors drooling. We first saw this spectacular timepiece hands on at the Basel World Fair back in April and were very excited to see such a gorgeous commemorative piece. As of last night, this piece is officially available at AZ Fine Time. With many special attributes and characteristics, lets see what makes the SBGX103 such an impressive timepiece.
To start, the SBGX103 is the essentially the same movement as the standard 9F62, but the difference lies in the quartz crystal utilized. Seiko actually grows, ages (for 90 days) and tests all quartz crystals found in Grand Seiko extensively for about 6 months. This ensures a standard 9F62 to perform within a +/-10 second a year deviation rate. On the SBGX103, an even more rare quartz crystal is used, that has been thoroughly tested and is guaranteed to perform within a +/-5 second a year deviation rate. Because these crystals are so limited, this particular model is restricted to only 2,000 pieces for the world.
The 9F62 movement itself is incredibly impressive. Seiko’s technology and technique used to make the 9F the ultimate quartz movement vary on many levels. One of the reasons the 9F is so accurate is that it is thermo-compensated. As I mentioned, the quartz crystal utilized has to be thoroughly aged and tested to make for superior accuracy, but the real precision falls on compensating for temperature deviations. All 9F Quartz detect internal temperature variations 540 times a day and fine tune the oscillation to compensate for these variations. Each quartz crystals characteristics are programmed to the watches integrated circuit, ensuring its high precision on each individual timepiece, despite the way the quartz crystals react to temperature variants.
Some other incredible feats of the 9F are its twin pulse control motor, its backlash auto-adjust mechanism, and its super-sealed cabin. The twin pulse control motor provides the extra torque necessary to move the larger and heavy second hand used in GS. By sending two signals per second, the watch is provided the extra torque needed without effecting the battery life. The backlash auto-adjust mechanism controls the vibration of the second hand by using a hairspring (yes, the same one found in a mechanical watch). This allows for the perfect second hand alignment without the vibration throwing it off. Finally, its super-sealed cabin protects the rotor and gear train and increases the life of the lubricants used, making for a 50 year service life. The watches battery does need to be changed every three years, but since it is on the outside of the movement, it can be done easily without allowing any dust or debris to enter the movement.
With the SBGX103, there are many attributes to the dial that while subtle, add for tremendous detail in tribute to its anniversary. The white dial seems to almost have the “snowflake” texture to the background, which is hardly noticeable without looking close. This would make sense though as it is also made at Shinshu watch studio where the Snowflake SBGA011 is made. On top of that is an embossed pattern resembling “XX”, (Roman Numerals for 20) to indicate the 20 year anniversary. You will also notice the small Grand Seiko lions spread the across the dial. All of which are facing West, except for the lone lion at the 20 minute indicator, also paying tribute to the 20 year anniversary. The final icing on the cake is the 5 pointed star located above the 6:00, to signify its +/- 5 second a year accuracy rating.
Along with the other special attributes, the SBGX103 also has an 18k gold medallion on the center of the case back with engravings of both the serial number and “Caliber 9F 20th Anniversary Since 1993″. The bracelet on this piece also differs from the standard quartz, using the Zaratsu blade polishing technique on the in-between links of its 5 piece construction. The overall fit and finish of this piece is exquisite on the 37mm stainless steel case.
With such limited availability in the US, it is certain to sell out fast. The MSRP is set at $3,450 and is now available for order at AZ Fine Time. Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-486-3996.
See our video review below…
For the 9F 20th Anniversary, we have 20 pictures for you to check out…