2015 marked not only the 55th Anniversary for Grand Seiko, but also the 5 year anniversary of the introduction of the 9S65 caliber. The advantage of the 9S65 as compared to the previous 9S5 series was the use of Spron 610 for the hairspring. They also had a 72 hour power reserve (which was originally introduced in the 9S67 in 2006), due to their in-house manufactured mainspring, Spron 510. Today we introduce you to a model that commemorates both anniversaries… The SBGR097.
Life for Nick & Giles English changed significantly one clear day in March 1995. Nick was practicing for an air display with their father Euan. But the 1942 WWII Harvard aircraft they were flying was involved in an accident. Giles, waiting to take off for the next sortie was told that his father had been killed. His brother had broken over 30 bones and probably wouldn’t make it.
Six months later, however, Nick was back in the air and being flown by Giles. But things would never be the same again. Life was too short to waste. The two brothers decided to pursue what they enjoyed most: a life crafting beautifully engineered mechanical devices.
When they weren’t flying old aircraft, Nick & Giles had spent most of their childhood making things in the workshop of their gifted father – an ex-RAF pilot with a PHD in Aeronautical Engineering. Models. Restored cars. They even helped him to build an aircraft they still fly to this day. Euan was also passionate about mechanical timepieces. He would often bring home an old clock from an auction for the brothers to try and get going again. The passion lives on in the classic curve of a Bremont timepiece.
In the late 1990s, Nick & Giles were flying across France in their 1930’s biplane. The weather was closing in. A rough-running engine forced them to make an emergency landing. Keen to avoid the French authorities, the brothers were more than happy to accept the gracious help of the farmer whose field they had landed in. They stayed in his home, the aircraft took cover in the barn. It transpired their host had flown aircraft during the war, as well as being a gifted engineer. Half-restored wall clocks lay everywhere, together with numerous engine parts. The farmer still even wore his own father’s wristwatch. The brothers promised that his warm hospitality would never be forgotten. His name? Antoine Bremont.
On December 5th, Arizona Fine Time hosted its 5th annual Grand Seiko Roadshow, which needless to say, was another tremendous success! This year was very special indeed as we welcomed Mr. Ikukiyo Komatsu who has been with Seiko for 32 years, worked on Spring Drive for over 10 years, and is one of few talented craftsmen who can assemble the complex 9R86 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT caliber and make it look easy!
It’s that time of year and we invite you to join us as we host Arizona Fine Time’s 5th annual Grand Seiko Roadshow! Starting back in 2008, when Grand Seiko was still exclusive to the Japanese market, we hosted our first Roadshow with Seiko featuring Ms. Chitose Masuda from Shinshu watch studio in Japan, who was brought to our store to assemble Seiko’s innovative Spring Drive movement in front of our eyes for the very first time. With all the amazement and incredible response we had, a new trend developed after Grand Seiko was released, bringing a Grand Seiko Roadshow to our store every year since it launched in 2010. We first met Mr. Junya Kamijo who not only assembled a 9R65 caliber, but was one of the first to introduce us to the SBGA011 Snowflake. Then, in 2011 Mr. Hideo Fukai, who assembled the 416 part 9R86 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT. The following year, we met our first Hi-Beat watchmaker from Shizuku-Ishi watch studio, Mr. Tsutomu Ito who assembled the 9S85. Last year we were revisited by Mr. Kamijo, who assembled the 9R86, while wearing his SBGC003.
This year we invite you to meet a very special guest, Mr. Ikukiyo Komatsu, a master Spring Drive watchmaker from Shinshu studio in Shiojiri Japan. Mr. Komatsu is a winner of the World’s Skills Competition for his work with Spring Drive. I would like to share an interesting article from Komatsu from this years Basel Brand Book, discussing Spring Drive and Mr. Komatsu’s thoughts…
View the entire post by clicking https://www.azfinetime.com/azft/blog/grand-seiko-roadshow-returns-to-arizona-fine-time-/
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
And a slightly less close up of the IC.
Below 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The hairspring on this model is the same Spring 610 utilized in the 9S65, but swings much faster.
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.
The mainspring used is the Spron 530 alloy. This material provides a 55 hour power reserve on the higher torque, higher frequency movement.
The bezel is also finished in the katana blade hand polishing technique called “Zaratsu”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
We’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!
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”!!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!
Please check out our video below of Junya Kamijo working on the 9R86 movement…
A friendly reminder that December 13th from 3-7pm, Arizona Fine Time will be hosting our 4th annual Grand Seiko Roadshow! For those who have not attended, or seen in the past, Seiko USA brings out one of their master watchmakers from Japan, to actually assemble a Grand Seiko movement here in our retail store. This year is very special indeed, as Seiko is bringing back one of their top Spring Drive watchmakers, Mr. Junya Kamijo!
Mr. Kamijo was the 1st Grand Seiko watchmaker to visit us for our Roadshow in 2010. Thanks to the watch he wore on his wrist, the Snowflake SBGA011, everyone discovered the inspiration of this timepiece and it has now become the most popular Grand Seiko model in the collection. Mr. Kamijo will be autographing watch boxes for those who purchase a Grand Seiko during the event. If you cannot attend, but wish to make a purchase and get the autographed box, please call us to make arrangements. We are very proud and excited to have him back and show off his tremendous skill at AZFT once more!
On top of the amazing event we will be hosting for Grand Seiko, we will also be doing demonstrations on the latest and greatest technology from Seiko, known as the Astron GPS Solar. We will have great presentations, interactive displays, and even be raffling off about 40 free Seiko XNY watches to people who “Test Drive” the Seiko Astron GPS. We will also be presenting a group of very limited release models, that are typically not sold within the US market. Another great treat for all in attendance!
Another very special guest who has visited our store many times before as Senior VP of Seiko USA, is coming back in his new role as President of Seiko USA, Mr. Yosh Kawada. We’ll be looking forward to his visit along with many others from Seiko USA and Japan!
For the event, we will have complimentary food and drink, complimentary cigars by Diamond Crown, and some other great bonuses. We hope you join us, our other guests, and Seiko enthusiasts from all over the world. One thing we know for sure, this will be a night to remember for watch collectors!
If you plan on visiting our store in Scottsdale, please feel free to contact us for discounted rates at nearby hotels, suggestions for dining, and any other possible thing we can help with. Please call 1-800-486-3996 for information.
We will also have live feed of the event, videos, pictures and much more to keep those who couldn’t make it entertained with all the Seiko goodness.
Thank you and hope to see you there!