The 1960s had been an attractive time for watches. Horology was in its prime and the good names we all know and love right this moment – Rolex, Omega, Cartier – had been simply certainly one of many watchmakers churning out commodity merchandise to a world that wanted to inform the time. Their watches – easy, elegant, and mechanically complicated – had been the final word in mechanical effectivity and design and nobody did it fairly in addition to Seiko. This mechanical golden age ended within the late 1970s with the rise of the quartz watch however Seiko is resurrecting it with their Grand Seiko line of luxurious items.
Grand Seiko is particular for just a few causes. First, it’s Seiko’s haute horlogerie skunkworks, permitting the corporate to experiment with all the flamboyant supplies and strategies that Swiss watchmakers have labored with for years. The watches are made from treasured metals and have Seiko Hi-Beat actions. These watches “vibrate” 36,000 instances an hour or ten instances a second. This signifies that the stability wheel contained in the watch is shifting forwards and backwards far quicker than, say, an Omega Co-Axial 8500/1 sequence which is clocked at 25,200 vibrations per hour. What this implies in observe is that the seconds hand strikes with an virtually uncanny smoothness.
The remainder of the watch I examined, the euphoniously-named SBGH263G, is predicated on a chunk from 1968 that got here from Seiko’s mechanical hey-day. The $6,200 watch has a 39mm case and, based on Seiko, is type for max class. They write:
The dial has elegant and easy-to-see Arabic numeral for the hour mark. The idea colour “Shironeri” is a mirrored image of Japanese custom. The colour and texture of the dial come from the shiny white silk of the outfit worn by the bride in a Japanese marriage ceremony. It symbolizes purity and innocence.
This watch is a proper piece for carrying, presumably, to your personal marriage ceremony. That stated, it’s additionally very paying homage to 1960s type watches. The dimension, case form, and polished fingers and numerals all hearken again to an easier time in watchmaking when the whole lot didn’t should appear to be a robotic’s goiter or a pie plate.
It is kind of small and in case you’re used to Panerais or Nixons you’ll positively discover a grandpa vibe about this piece. Because it’s not very complicated – that’s it doesn’t have any actual issues like a stopwatch – it is vitally dear. However, realizing Grand Seiko’s dedication to a really misplaced artwork of non-Swiss horology, it’s nicely price a glance.
I’ve been following Grand Seiko for years now and the standard and care the corporate has been placing into these watches is palpable. This watch is not any commodity product. The case is polished to a excessive sheen and the whole lot – from the screws to the attractive domed sapphire crystal – is put along with nice care. Seiko additionally makes decrease finish items – my favourite is the Orange Monster – however that is far above that when it comes to construct high quality and worth.
Pieces like this Grand Seiko remind us that, earlier than Apple Watches and Fitbits, there was a complete universe of actually hanging timepieces made for the completely sole function of telling the time. I really like items like this one as a result of they’re no frills and but they’re stuffed with frills. The watch is so simple as may be – three fingers and a date window with none lume or extraneous buttons – and but it reveals superb technical talent. It is pricey however it is a handmade watch by a storied producer and it’s nicely well worth the worth of admission in case you’re a lover of the elegantly antiquated.