Gentle natural themes and superior mechanical precision come together in two limited-edition commemorative novelties from the Grand Seiko Heritage Collection.
Back in 1881 when Kintarō Hattori established the company that would become Seiko, and then continued to lead it until he passed away in 1934 at the age of 73. Then, in 1960, Grand Seiko was established and became the best expression yet of Kintarō Hattori philosophy that his company should be “always one step ahead of the rest.”
Today, as the company celebrates its 140th anniversary, a number of commemorative timepieces have been released. As we come nearer to the end of the 2021, however, two more unique designs –both of them limited editions— are set to be released. One comes with a dial inspired by the natural beauty of tree rings, while the other is inspired by the serene blue waters of Lake Suwa. More importantly, both of them are powered by a new movement.
The Beauty of Shinshu
The two new, limited-edition watches highlighted today—namely the SLGA007 and SLGA008 models—are new additions to Grand Seiko’s Heritage Collection. Both are powered by the same new movement, the Spring Drive 5 Days Caliber 9RA2. This caliber inherits the performance characteristics of the Spring Drive Caliber 9RA5 introduced last year in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Grand Seiko.
Design changes for Caliber 9RA2 includes moving the watch hands and the power reserve indicator to the back of the movement, thereby giving the watch a more slender and elegant
feel. More importantly, the understated charm and beauty of the movement is revealed for the first time through the sapphire crystal case back and captures the uniquely Japanese aesthetic for which Grand Seiko is renowned. The delicate texture of the movement’s finish reflects the frost that winter brings to the forests in Shinshu— which is the traditional name for Nagano Prefecture—where all of Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive watches are made.
On a more technical note, the Caliber 9RA2’s design allows the new timepiece to be slimmer than any other current automatic Spring Drive model. It also boasts a power reserve of five days or 120 hours, and an enviable accuracy rate of +/- 0.5 seconds per day or +/- 10 seconds per month.
Besides its mechanical superiority, Grand Seiko watches are also renowned for the aesthetic qualities of their dials. The SLGA007 is, of course, no different. In short, this timepiece features a patterned dial that evokes the gentle sway of the water surface of Lake Suwa in the Kiso Mountains of Nagano Prefecture. Ripples and shallow waves create a pleasing sparkle at whichever angle the dial catches the light.
The smooth sweeping movement of the seconds hand—which is a unique feature of the Spring Drive movement—on top of this background beautifully captures the tranquil and seamless passage of time. The seconds hand and Grand Seiko letters in a gold color, meanwhile, echoes the reflection of a morning sunrise shimmering on the lake’s surface.
The SLGA007 is presented in a stainless-steel case and matching bracelet, and is made available as a limited-edition of 2,021 pieces starting from December 2021.
The Memory of Trees
The SLGA008 is, in a way, the heir to the SLGH007, which was introduced in February of this year and features a dial that captures the natural beauty of annual growth rings of the cedar trees in Shizukuishi Shrine near Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi. The new SLGA008 presents the same distinctive dial and case design, with the former’s brown tone perfectly matching the 18K rose gold material of the latter.
The dial, in particular, delights the eye with its organic feel. In a way, the design truly brings to life Grand Seiko’s philosophy of the Nature of Time. The miniscule but visible variations in the dial’s depth reveal the subtlety of the dark and light tones of the wood grain.
The SLGA008 is complemented by a crocodile leather strap and is a limited-edition model of only 140 pieces. is watch, however, will be available a little sooner than the SLGA007: It will make its way to Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected Grand Seiko retailers worldwide in November 2021.
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