Ever since the first watch in 1960, durability and longevity have been the North Stars that have guided Grand Seiko on its path to making the ultimate watch. With this in mind, Grand Seiko unveils a Brilliant Hard Titanium re-creation of the first Grand Seiko timepiece, reminiscent of the beloved profile from 1960. This limited edition exceptionally features an urushi lacquer dial with maki-e hour markers crafted to stand the test of time and captivate generations of watch connoisseurs with its uniquely Japanese beauty.
As a re-creation of the very first watch to emerge from the then-fledgling Grand Seiko in 1960, the anniversary limited edition cuts a striking vintage profile, one that many watch lovers will recognize instantly.
The case of the timepiece is made of the Brand’s proprietary Brilliant Hard Titanium, a less frequent alloy than the Snowflake’s High Intensity Titanium, featuring an even greater scratch resistance. It is also brighter than the latter, causing the Zaratsu-polished surfaces to appear even more radiant while commanding a hardness double that of standard stainless steel.
But the true singularity of this creation is genuinely its stunning urushi black dial.
The curved dial and Grand Seiko lettering are faithful to the original 1960 creation – which, like every Grand Seiko watch, was born of Japanese craftsmanship. But here, through the implementation of Japanese craftsmanship far older than watchmaking itself, a beloved design reaches a new level.
Urushi lacquer is synonymous with traditional Japanese craft, and its use can be traced back to Japan’s Jomon Period (13,100 BCE– 400 BCE). While today it is most often employed to add a level of restrained ornamentation, urushi’s utility through the ages caused it to be used for its antiseptic and preservative qualities.
The lacquer employed by Grand Seiko has the distinction of being sourced exclusively from the country of Japan, a rarity today, when the vast majority of the urushi is produced abroad. The jet-black color of the urushi in this watch’s dial was achieved through the addition of iron. The lacquer is further enhanced through a special treatment unique to Grand Seiko that prevents its color from changing over time.
The maki-e hour markers were brought to life by an outstanding artisan, urushi master Isshu Tamura, in his studio in the city of Kanazawa (literally “marsh of gold”), located on the West Coast of Japan.
The markers and Grand Seiko name are built up, layer upon layer, through the application of lacquer, endowing them with their trademark three-dimensional profile. Next comes the 24k gold powder – maki-e means “sprinkled picture” – which is applied and polished fastidiously with the special tools of the artisan. The process requires tremendous dexterity and precision to the micron level. Producing markers of uniform depth and width on a curved surface such as this watch dial is a challenge that requires a master’s touch.
Ticking away under this beautiful dial is the manually wound Caliber 9S64, which allows an accuracy to +5 to -3 seconds per day and the timepiece slim profile. Let’s recall here that 2023 will mark the 25th anniversary of Grand Seiko 9S mechanical caliber series, and this manual winding version was first introduced in 2011 to be embarked in an early re-creation of the first Grand Seiko.
Two leather straps accompany the new creation. The first incorporates a traditional Japanese weaving technique called yoroiori that was once used for making samurai armor. Thin strips of calf leather and fabric are interlaced by a skilled artisan to enhance the watch strap’s durability.
The second strap is leather sourced for its softness, unique texture, and comfort. This Tajima cattle comes from the well known Kobe beef, but is usually discarded. In this case, thanks to a new re-use process, this leather is tanned and turned into soft, high-quality leather.
A limited edition of 500 pieces worldwide, Grand Seiko SBGW295 will be available at selected Grand Seiko authorized stores from February 1st 2023.
Grand Seiko SBGW295
Recommended Retail Price : 14,700 €
Limited Edition of 500 pieces
Case & clasp : Brilliant Hard Titanium
Bands : Yoroiori leather & Tajima cattle
Dimensions : 38 mm diameter x 10,9 mm thickness
Manual winding mechanical caliber 9S64
Availability : February 1st 2023 from Grand Seiko Boutique and selected authorized stores