100 Years of Grand Seiko
It may be apparent that the pinnacle of haute horlogerie comes from the Swiss. With brand giants and history rich names such as the likes of Patek Philippe and Jaeger-LeCoultre commanding the helm of mastery on classic complications. In the Swiss dominated market, is it even possible for a non-Swiss maker to even compete? Enter the Grand Seiko.
The Grand Seiko, as the name implies, is Seiko’s pinnacle of watchmaking greatness. The name “Grand Seiko” is not to be confused with Seiko’s low end pieces and to be even comparing it with a low-end quartz piece is horological blasphemy. I respect the Seiko’s broad range of products, from the low end pieces, to the Premier line, to the coveted Ananta pieces, and all the way to the Grand Seiko. For the simple reason that is – they all are true manufactured Japan movements, own and made by Seiko.
This year, Seiko celebrates 100 years of Grand Seiko. 100 years? Most of you may not be even aware of such a timepiece exist, the reason is because the Grand Seiko was sold only in Japan. It is until a year or two ago that they began selling it overseas. Each piece of Grand Seiko is handcrafted to perfection, powered by a hi-beat movement of 36,000 vph to simply make the sweeping seconds hand as seamless as possible. So the question is ask, why would a person consider even buying one with Swiss counterparts making perfect strides in the market? If you’re a fan of chronograph pieces, and know about Seiko‘s patented spring drive movement, then that should be enough reason to even own one. This is the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT.
Just simply looking at the piece offers an awe similar to the Perpetual Chronos of Patek or the Duometre of Jaeger. That is a complication marvel, a technical feat showcasing the brand’s mastery on watchmaking and the history that goes with it. The piece comes in either black dial with gold hands or champagne dial. The champagne dial to me is the obvious choice, just to stay true with the Grand Seiko original. The piece is powered by a Seiko patented Spring Drive system with Caliber 9R86. The piece measures at around 43.5mm in diameter and 16.1mm in thickness. With chronograph sub dials located in the right side of the dial. The asymmetrical look of the piece is simply astounding, and the finishing is simply top-notched. The chronograph in itself is already a complication marvel, adding a GMT hand, with a date indicator and a power reserve indicator is simply Seiko telling the world that when it comes to layering complications on a timepiece, we certainly are at par with the Swiss.
Of course, with such movement powering the display, it would be waste to not have a clear display at the case back, and did the folks at Seiko delivered. The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph is probably the watch to own for any Seiko fan, even a grail watch for some, as the piece is not cheap, price starts at around 8,000 USD. But given the price range of the Swiss counterparts above, this piece is reasonably price. But at the end of the day, the Grand Seiko line may still be treated with the same watch snobbery from most people. The Grand Seiko watches are in fact, in a league of its own. The piece is simply genuinely good and for most buyers if not all, that should be enough to merit a purchase.
Don’t forget to check out the video posted along with the galleries of this magnificent piece below. Also check out Jikan’s blog for some live shots and close-up shots of the piece and of course the official site.