There’s a lot of national pride baked into the watch industry. Swiss watches are known for their precision and elegance, Japanese watches for their artistic beauty, German watches for their Bauhaus influences and so on. However, Grand Seiko have put aside their national pride to combine their Japanese horology with Swiss… sales and marketing.
I’m talking about the new Grand Seiko 62GS x Watches of Switzerland collaboration, a trio of special and limited editions exclusively available through Watches of Switzerland and their associated stockists, Goldsmiths and Mappin & Webb.
All three watches have the same case design, which is based on the 62GS from 1967, which was Grand Seiko’s first automatic wristwatch. It’s similar in style to the popular 44GS design except that it’s a little broader and flatter. That’s easiest to see when you look at the crown because on the 44GS the crown is flush with the bezel but here on the 62GS there’s a clear arc of metal running from lug-to-lug between the crown and the bezel. And really bezel is a generous term, it’s more of a slight lip where the sapphire crystal meets the case.
As for measurements, the 62GS case is 40mm x 46.2mm x 12.5mm and is made from stainless steel. It also has a combination of brushed and polished surfaces with those long flanks I mentioned above being nice and shiny. It really is a handsome case, especially on the three-link bracelet. However, what makes the 62GS x Watches of Switzerland collection special is the dial.
Each of the watches in the collection has the same textured dial pattern but in different colours depending on the reference. The regular special edition is the ‘Jōdogahama Beach at Night’ (SBGH333) in black, joined by the two limited editions ‘Nova Green’ (SBGH335) and ‘Nova Purple’ (SBGH337). I hope I don’t have to tell you what colours those latter two are.
The pattern itself is very interesting. On a watchmaking level I’d describe it as a stylised version of Clous de Paris guilloché, a radiating mosaic of diamond shapes. Conceptually it’s inspired by Jōdogahama Beach, a famous area of designated scenic beauty on the Japanese coastline.
The beach is known for its white rock as well as the dramatic cliffs and islets that rise forth from the water, a sense of which is captured by the sheen of light playing across the dial. The dial can also be interpreted as the dark, starry sky above, hence the name ‘Jōdogahama Beach at Night’ for the SBGH333.
That night sky theme is also borne out on the two Nova limited editions whose bright colours are inspired by supernovas. Supernovas are the bright and violent explosions of stars with green and purple being common colours associated with them. Alternatively, I think the vibrant tones are more reminiscent of the Aurora Borealis, another phenomenon of the night sky. It makes for a particularly striking pair of watches that’s for sure.
Beneath the surface of all three watches is the Hi-Beat 36000 Calibre 9S85, a very impressive calibre with 55-hour power reserve and accuracy of +5/-3 seconds per day. You can learn all about the Hi-Beat and its horological rival the spring drive with this handy video.
All that remains is pricing and availability. The ‘Jōdogahama Beach at Night’ (SBGH333) is £6,300 available from Watches of Switzerland, Goldsmiths and Mappin & Webb boutiques. The ‘Nova Green’ (SBGH335) and ‘Nova Purple’ (SBGH337) are the same price with the added restriction of each being limited to 200 pieces globally. With their intricate dials, heritage cases and high end movements, this is Grand Seiko doing what they do best, they just happen to be Watches of Switzerland exclusives.
Price and Specs:
More details at Watches of Switzerland.