Baselworld, the biggest watch event of the year, is happening now at the Messe Basel in Basel, Switzerland. We’ve got a team on the ground there to bring you the most exciting releases. Follow our coverage here, and also be sure to check out Instagram. We’ll be posting to our feed throughout the week.
Price: $7,600 (SBGY003); $25,000(SBGY002); $57,000 (SBGZ003); $76,000 (SBGZ001)
Availability: July 2019; limited to 700 pieces (SBGY003) & 30 pieces (SBGZ001)
Case Dimensions: 38.5mm wide; 9.8mm thick with 9R02, 10.2mm thick with 9R31
Movement & Winding: Manual-winding; Spring Drive 9R02 & 9R31
Power Reserve: 84 hours for 9R02; 72 hours for 9R31
Quick Take: Four newly released high-end Grand Seiko Elegance watches celebrate 20 years since Seiko’s fascinating Spring Drive movements debuted in 1999. (While Spring Drive technology can be hard for consumers to wrap their minds around, suffice it so say for now that they which combine the best aspects of quartz and mechanical watches without the use of a battery.) The new Elegance watches introduce two new Spring Drive movements with long power reserves that allow for thin, elegant cases. The top-of-the-range, limited-edition model in platinum with a captivating texture across its dial and case is the standout piece, in our humble opinion.
Who It’s For: The “Snowflake” dial texture so popular on previous models returns here, which will be a draw for the veteran collectors who can afford as well as appreciate such high-end pieces from the Japanese brand. While recognition of Seiko’s impressive watch-production capabilities is growing, it probably requires a certain level of education and experience to understand what Grand Seiko is offering. This is all the more true with regards to the Spring Drive movement, which, as noted, can be thought of as a type of hybrid movement and is truly innovative and horologically interesting.
Key Features: Two new Spring Drive movements are represented here across the four watches. Both are thin with long power reserves, but the 9R02 is thinner and lasts a bit longer. This is the movement you’ll find in the two platinum models (both of which are just 9.8mm thick), one with a polished case and the other with a strangely awesome case texture described only as “hand carving” that also features in the look of the dial, resulting in a quite an unusual look. The other two watches are 10.2mm thick and feature the 9R31 movement, one in an 18k yellow gold case and the other with a sunburst-textured dial and steel case.
The new manually-wound Spring Drive movements feature a “Torque Return System” that uses energy not needed to maintain accuracy of the watch when fully wound in order to lengthen power reserve; they also feature excellent finishing, a power reserve indicator visible via the case back and are assembled by hand at Seiko’s prestigious “Micro Artist Studio” in Shiojiri, Japan. Available from July 2019, prices will start at $7,600 for the steel model (SBGY003) and run up to $76,000 for the “carved” model in platinum (SBGZ001).
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