Grand Seiko might have been founded way back in 1960 but as far as we’re concerned it only really came into its own much later. Oh, there were plenty of decent pieces but something was missing: 1998’s Grand Seiko 9S.
The likelihood is that if you know Grand Seiko, you know the 9S. Since its creation it’s formed the basis of their entire collection, a watch emblematic of the modern Grand Seiko. That means the watch’s 20th anniversary was never going to be a quiet one.
To mark the occasion Grand Seiko has released three new limited edition pieces. The first pair are relatively straightforward. In steel and gold they have a case subtly reinterpreted by original 9S designer Nobuhiro Kosugi. It’s so subtle in fact that you might miss the unique Zaratsu polishing. The dial however is unmistakably new.
A swirling mosaic of esoteric letterings, the arms of the engraved galaxy alternate with the GS initial and the mark of Daini Seikosha – now Seiko Insruments Inc. – who developed the original hi-beat watch 50 years ago. If you’re enamoured by Seiko’s history, that’s all good to know. If you’re not… well, it still makes for a cool dial.
The last of the three anniversary pieces has everything the steel and gold versions do but with the addition of three letters – V.F.A. Very Fine Adjusted is… not the most interesting phrase in the world, but it’s worth taking note of. Essentially it means that the watch has been manually adjusted to an extraordinary level of accuracy.
Needless to say it takes a hell of a lot to achieve the necessary precision – +3 to -1 seconds per day – and the addition of a 950 platinum case makes the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 V.F.A. the guest of honour to the anniversary celebrations. We’ve already sent our RSVP.
Price & Specs:
Name: Grand Seiko Caliber 9S 20th Anniversary Limited Editions
Diameter: 39.5 mm, Thickness: 13 mm
Movement: Caliber 9S85
Power reserve: 55 hours
Water-resistance: 10 bar
Hi-Beat 36000 V.F.A. (SBGH265)
Case: Platinum 950 case and clasp
Price and availability: €53,500, limited edition of 20
Hi-Beat 36000 Special (SBGH266)
Case: 18k yellow gold case and clasp
Price and availability: €27,000, limited edition of 150
Hi-Beat 36000 (SBGH267)
Case: Blue dial, stainless steel case and bracelet
Price and availability: €6,300, limited edition of 1,500
More at: www.grand-seiko.com