For centuries, most of the world has looked to Switzerland when it comes to luxury watches, but Japan is catching up. Seiko has been steadily growing the presence of its Grand Seiko line, which made its debut in 1960 and spun off into its own brand two years ago. Now, it celebrates its 60th anniversary by unveiling limited-edition watches, new movements and a new workshop in Japan dedicated to making high-tech calibers that power its watches. By combining high-precision mechanics with a clean yet highly detailed aesthetic, Grand Seiko regularly turns out some very alluring watches.
“Grand Seiko’s 60th anniversary is a significant milestone for our brand,” says Brice Le Troadec, president of the Grand Seiko Corporation of America. “Not only does the number 60 have great resonance in our industry as one of the fundamental numbers in horology, it is also an expression of a moment of new energy and rebirth.” After more than a year of research and development to create the most precise, durable and beautiful timepiece, a team of master watchmakers unveiled the first Grand Seiko in December 1960. That had a 14-karat yellow gold-filled case and a slim movement whose precision met the highest international standard of timekeeping. Today, the three new watches offer that same slim profile and super-chic aesthetic. One is in platinum, one in 18-karat yellow gold and one in Brilliant Hard Titanium, a proprietary metal that is twice as hard as stainless steel but as light as titanium.
Several anniversary pieces boast new mechanical movements, including the 9SA5 caliber, which the brand says is the finest caliber it has built to date. “The new movements are important for the future,” says Le Troadec. “These new calibers have managed to evolve something already mechanically impressive to a whole new level. This is the true evolution for us.” The new caliber powers the 100-piece, limited-edition Hi-Beat 80 Hours watch crafted in solid 18-karat yellow gold. The mechanical watch offers an unprecedented 80 hours of power reserve when fully wound—meaning you can put the watch down on a Friday night and it will still be running when you pick it back up on Monday morning. It is also incredibly precise, with an accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds a day. “We are always on a journey to create the best version of Grand Seiko, in craftsmanship, beauty, accuracy and precision,” says Le Troadec. Their hard work clearly speaks for itself.