Every year for Baselworld, Seiko introduces a new series into their Historical Collection line up. This year, celebrating the 55th Anniversary of Grand Seiko, Seiko brought their first GS Automatic back to life in limited edition form as the SBGR095. The 62GS from 1967 was one of the most accurate mechanical self-winding watches of its time, and the new SBGR095 is no exception.
Five years ago in 2009, Seiko had introduced its first Hi-Beat caliber in nearly 41 years. For this five year anniversary, Seiko introduced a whole new caliber to this line up. The 2009 9S85 caliber with 36,000 bph escapement was evolved upon adding a new complication, a GMT, and labeling it the 9S86. With 2 production models and 1 limited edition already released, we would like to introduce you to 3 different and very “SPECIAL” models of this new Hi-Beat GMT. Today we bring you the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special GMT’s in 18k white, yellow and pink gold, SBGJ007, SBGJ008, and SBGJ010.
Click here to view the entire post GRAND SEIKO HI-BEAT SPECIAL GMT 18K GOLD SBGJ007 SBGJ008 SBGJ010 REVIEW
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for reading!
See our video review below…
See more pictures below…
In celebration of the arrival of the new Grand Seiko 44GS Manual Wind Limited Editions, we present one of the rarest LE’s to come out this year, the SBGW044. The SBGW044 is identical to the SBGW047 (stainless steel model) we reviewed yesterday, but with a beautiful 18kt yellow gold case.
The first variation of the 44GS debuted in 1967 and was the founding of what is known today as “Seiko Style”. Seiko Style is a very specific design element that takes traditional Japanese aesthetics and implements them to the watches design in numerous ways. The basic Seiko Style includes attributes like multifaceted-cut hands and indexes, an elegantly curved side line of the case, and super mirror polished surfaces.
The super mirror polish utilized is known as Zaratsu. This painstaking art form is a hand finish that originally derived from the katana blade. This 3 stage process provides a a distortion free finish that is quickly becoming known as one of the finest in the watch industry. There are only a small amount of highly experienced craftsmen capable of applying this finish to Grand Seiko.
To compliment the beauty of the exterior, and remain reminiscent of the original from 1967, Seiko uses their in house manufactured 9S64 caliber. In yesterdays review, I discussed the Spron 510 mainspring which provides the piece a 72 hour power reserve of only one barrel. Today, I would like to discuss the Spron 610 alloy, which is utilized for the hairspring.
The Spron 610 alloy is also manufactured in house by Seiko and is essentially made of the same materials as the 510. The hairspring is one of the most sensitive parts in any mechanical watch. The goal of the Spron 610 was to make a hairspring that was more durable, more shock resistant, longer lasting, and a less effected by temperature fluctuation, and Seiko did exactly that. The resilience of the 610 alloy is incredible and has already proven it can take a beating (no pun intended) and still perform like new after numerous years of use.
With such an elegant retro design and an incredible fit and finish the 44GS in 18k yellow gold is truly exquisite. This incredibly rare model is limited to only 70 pieces for the entire world only one of which came to the US. We are proud to say, this model (as well as the other 2 versions of 18k gold) are exclusively sold at AZ Fine Time in the US market.
The MSRP on the Grand Seiko 44GS Historical Collection Manual Wind SBGW044 is $17,500. Considering the case is solid 18k gold, and the movement has one of the most strict accuracy ratings in the world, this 44GS is actually very reasonably priced and well worth every penny. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-486-3996 and check us out on AZFineTime.com.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for our review tomorrow on the 18k Pink Gold 44GS, SBGW046.
See our video review below…
See more pictures below…
I write this article today for two reasons… 1. The Snowflake has been the No. 1 selling Grand Seiko out of the entire line up. I have been privileged enough to own this piece now for a year and a half, and wanted to share my personal experience with this amazing timepiece. 2. I want to introduce a new very special Snowflake that will be coming exclusively to AZ Fine Time in the USA.
With the Snowflake being a part of my collection for sometime now, I feel it is only appropriate to sing it the praise it deserves. This piece has become my everyday wear, and I almost never remove it from my wrist. It has been through thick and thin (and sometimes I feel I abuse it), but still manages to be by far my favorite piece I own with no exceptions. I currently own 19 watches, most have not seen my wrist in a long time. There is nothing but pride when I wear my Snowflake, and for many good reasons.
We were 1st introduced to the Snowflake during our 1st Grand Seiko Roadshow back in 2010. At the time, we had only seen pictures of the model and never had the watch hands on. Master watchmaker from Shinshu Watch Studio, Junya Kamijo, was in store building a Grand Seiko Diver. We noticed on his wrist the pure white dial and asked him to show off the beautiful timepiece. He did not speak very much english, so he had another gentleman from Japan (Kosuke “Reggie” Kiryu) explain how the piece had acquired the nickname “Snowflake” at the factory. The watches inspiration was, in fact, the winters of the Suwa Nagano region of Japan (where Shinshu watch studio was located). The dial resembled the snow fall in Suwa. Since it is in central Japan, with less humidity, the snowfall is light and airy and leaves snowdrift patterns as also seen in the alps surrounding. The titanium case is to make it as light as a snowflake, and blue second hand and text is to give it the cold feel. There was much pride in this piece and since one of the top Spring Drive watchmakers considered it his favorite, it was hard for the rest of us not to. Ever since then, I had been drawn to this piece and decided it was a must to have in my collection. Apparently, I was not the only one.
In my experience, my Snowflake has managed to maintain only gaining 1 second every seven weeks or so. It has been this way since I purchased it well over a year ago. There has been no change in its 72 hour power reserve, still maintaining perfectly. The most incredible part as that there has been no love lost since I first purchased the piece. I still find myself staring at its mesmerizing gliding of the second hand, as well as the beauty of the dial and finish on the case and bracelet. The “honeymoon period” of this watch has not gone away, nor do I think it will.
As a brief overview of the watch itself, it is a 41mm proprietary Seiko alloy of titanium, that is not only lightweight, but also has an incredible finish allowed by this alloy. The Zaratsu katana blade polishing technique is incredibly impressive and comes to a mirror finish. It is highly unusual to see titanium in this quality of finish. The 9R65 Spring Drive movement utilized is truly unique and extremely high quality. The uni-directional flow of Spring Drive is something incredibly unique, and something no one else in the industry has achieved. At its new MSRP of only $6,300, it is truly an amazing value.
With the popularity of the Snowflake SBGA011, a new, very special Snowflake has emerged. The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special has officially been announced, and will be delivering exclusively to Arizona Fine Time in the US towards the end of August.
Only one each of the SBGA089 18kt White Gold, SBGA090 18kt Yellow Gold, and SBGA092 18kt Rose Gold will be coming stateside, and AZFT is extremely proud to have all 3 exclusive. These new 39mm case with black leather straps will have a very special attribute never before seen in the US market. The Spring Drive 9R15 movement is an even higher accuracy rating than typical Spring Drive at only +/- 10 seconds a month deviation. The quartz crystals utilized in the Tri-Synchro Regulator have been specially aged, tested and hand picked to ensure the highest quality. Since there are very few of these crystals available, this model will be extremely limited availability. To show the uniqueness of this piece, Seiko has an 18kt gold GS medallion on the rotor of the 9R15, which will be visible through the exhibition case back.
If you are interested in reserving one of the 18kt Snowflakes, highly recommend acting fast. Due to the recent price decrease, these will be the least expensive 18kt gold pieces to ever hit the US market. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-486-3996 with any questions or check out AZ Fine Time to see more.
Thanks for reading!
See our video review below…
See more pictures below…
What watch do most people think of when they hear 18k gold? Probably a Rolex President, or maybe a Patek Calatrava. There are many brands that utilize the precious metal to make for an even more impressive (not to mention more expensive) addition to their roster. One brand that many might not often affiliate with 18k gold is Seiko, but for good reason. Seiko doesn’t make many 18k gold pieces. In fact, most gold tone pieces in their current line up are only gold plated. While this is the case at most stores across the globe, AZ Fine Time is not like most stores, and is proud to announce the release of the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special in 18k gold.
The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special is actually going to be available in 3 different shades of gold (white, yellow, and rose). So far, the white gold (SBGH019) & yellow gold (SBGH020) are the 1st to arrive, and the rose gold (SBGH022) to be coming soon. While this is not a limited edition of any particular number, they will be a limited production model with less than 2oo being made between all 3 shades per year. Not only will it be very small production, but the US allotment is very thin. So thin, that the white and yellow gold we have received are the only ones available in the country!
The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special is labeled in the name to be “Special”. So, what makes it special? 18k in a Seiko is incredibly unique, but not unheard of. The term “Special” used in the name is not in reference to the gold, but towards the movement.
The Grand Seiko standard was established in 1966 to serve as a new grading system since the term Chronometer was no longer allowed to be used outside of Swiss timepieces. Today, the GS standard rating is higher than Swiss Chronometer at -3/+5 sec a day deviation as opposed to the Swiss of -4/+6 sec a day. What makes the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Special so special, is that Seiko has taken their incredible 9S85, 36,000 bph movement and tweaked it, to have a -2/+4 sec a day accuracy rating. Not only beating Chronometer grade, but also beating their own GS Standard rating. This makes the movement one of the most accurately rated fully mechanical watches in the world! To help show off the uniqueness of this movement, Seiko has added an 18k Grand Seiko medallion to the rotor, which is the only watch to bear this in the US market.
I say that the 9S85 movement is incredible, and it truly is. You can not find many watches using a 36,000 bph movement but Seiko was actually one of the 1st to make them back in 1968. In 2009, Seiko introduced the 9S85 utilizing the latest technology to make the near perfect Hi-Beat movement. The hairspring material Spron 610, was developed in house by Seiko to withstand the high oscillation rate of the movement. Spron 530 is used for the mainspring and was also developed in house by Seiko to provide the extra torque needed and supply a 55 hour power reserve. MEMS (Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems) is used for the manufacturing of the escapement gear and pallet fork which allows Seiko to pay finer attention to detail in construction of the parts, making them smoother and longer lasting. Please feel free to read more HERE.
The cases are beautifully finished using a beautiful combination of brushed and Zaratsu polished cases. The mirror finish of the Zaratsu definitely sparkles like a diamond, especially on the hands and index markers on these pieces. It is something that no picture could ever do true justice for. Only a precious metal could compliment such a precious movement.
The dial appears to be a plain silver or white, but in person, is incredibly detailed. There is a metallic trait to it, but in most lights looks to be white. The dial also has a sunburst pattern that is hard to make out in most pictures, but can easily been seen when on the wrist. Subtlety is something Grand Seiko is best known for and the Hi-Beat Specials are no exception.
The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Specials are very unique and only the finest craftsmen at Seiko’s Shizukuishi Watch Studio are qualified to assemble them. Since there will be so few made, and even far less available in the US market, these pieces are sure to be collectors items. At a retail price of $27,000, they are quite expensive, but reasonable compared to it’s closest competitors. Even the competition can’t keep up with this highly accurate Hi-Beat!
I hope you enjoyed the look into one of the finest Seiko has to offer.
Please see below for all the pictures…