Introducing Three New Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS Katana USA-Exclusive Watches
The three new Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS USA exclusives look sharper than any Grand Seiko watch has before. The 44GS case is already edgy, but the dials of the new watches make them look as sharp as a Japanese sword. The black SBGA489, dark green SBGA491, and deep red SBGA493 were made with the katana as a source of inspiration. The world-famous Japanese blade is the expression of exquisite craftsmanship but also of a sublime metal that has a very special allure.
Crafting a katana is no mean feat. It’s an ancient craft that can now be seen as an art form. Yes, a katana made by a master swordsmith is still a formidably sharp weapon, but the days of the samurai are long gone. Therefore, the katana is now a decorative object with a deep cultural meaning. In the distinctive and sophisticated process of crafting the Grand Seiko 44GS Katana models, this world-famous sword functioned as a source of inspiration.
Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS Katana USA-exclusive watches: the black SBGA489
A katana starts with melted sand that forms the Japanese steel known as tamahagane. And from tamahagane, two variations can be made. There’s kawagane, the high-carbon steel used for the outer sharp edge, and then there’s shingane, the strong inner core of the blade. The different shards of metal are stacked, folded, and quenched in water until the inner core is welded within the hardened exterior.
Polishing the katana is a specialized craft. And the Zaratsu polishing that Grand Seiko has used since 1967 to make watch cases shine is also a special technique. This type of polishing shines brightest when applied to the famous 44GS case. For these three new models, we have a 40 × 12.5mm case with a lug-to-lug length of 46.2mm. And when that case contrasts with a black dial like in the SBGA489, the polished steel shines ever so bright. Grand Seiko says that the black dial symbolizes the hardness and beauty of kawagane.
The dark green SBGA491
The resilience and strength of shingane reflect in the dark green dial of the SBGA491. The dial pattern mimics the texture in the variations of tamahagane, the jewel-like steel that is the core material of a traditional katana. Under the dial of all three Heritage Collection 44GS Katana watches beats the Spring Drive automatic caliber 9R65. This 30-jewel hybrid movement has a power reserve of 72 hours, and the accuracy of ±1 second per day (or ±15 seconds per month) is very impressive.
The deep red SBGA493
The deep red SBGA493 is a limited edition of 500 pieces. This version takes inspiration from the forge, and that translates to a red-hot dial with yellow gold-tone accents. The pattern of the dial tries to mimic the sparks that fly when the swordsmith hits the heated blade with his hammer. You be the judge of whether you see that.
Protecting all three dials of these 44GS Katana USA exclusives is a dual-curve sapphire crystal. The watches also have an exhibition case back, revealing the Spring Drive automatic caliber 9R65 within. As mentioned, all three models come in stainless steel, and the case measures 40mm in diameter, 12.5mm in thickness, and 46.2mm in length. Each watch variation features a stainless steel bracelet with a deployant clasp and dual-pushbutton release. The limited-edition SBGA493, however, also comes with an additional strap made of kimono fabric. Grand Seiko hasn’t provided any images of this strap yet, but it will hopefully make for a nice bonus.
Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS Katana editions — pricing and availability
The recommended retail price for the deep red limited-edition SBGA493 is US$6,000. Both the black SBGA489 and dark green SBGA491 have a price of US$5,600. The non-limited models are available now, and the limited edition should hit stores in September. All three models will be available exclusively at Grand Seiko boutiques, the Grand Seiko Boutique Online, and select Grand Seiko authorized retailers in the United States.
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