One of the coolest looking exhibition spaces at Baselworld is the double booth by Seiko.
Since Grand Seiko became a different brand the Japanese powerhouse shares a twin booth, between their two major brands, Seiko and Grand Seiko. On the one side, you have the displays for the latest Seiko timepieces, while the other side belongs to the Grand Seiko novelties. Writing a run-down on both brands would be a too long article so this time we will only take a closer look at the 2019 novelties of the “other” Seiko brand, Grand Seiko. GS has some seriously cool watches to show us this year, both for men and for women. For the sake of gender equality, I think it is time to talk about the ladies’ models too from Baselworld 2019. As a matter of fact, let’s start our overview with those ones.
As the brand (not a model line by Seiko, but as a separate company / entity) is relatively new the main focus was not necessarily on women’s watches. Until this year. Last year Grand Seiko introduced us their caliber 9S25, a movement they designed specifically for ladies’ watches. Another year, another caliber – you could say. For this year’s Baselworld Grand Seiko did not only create yet another caliber, the 9S27, they also built it into 5 new models. We have 2 watches in steel and 3 is much more sophisticated (looking) 18K gold cases. The steel models (STGK007 and STGK009) are the smaller versions at 27.8mm. They are Zaratsu polished, staying true to the exceptionally high-quality Grand Seiko standards. The second hands are hand-blued steel, while the other two hands have a central hairline stripe decoration. The dials are either mother-of-pearl or silver with a weave of linen pattern with raised or diamond-cut indexes.
When it comes to the precious metal versions, we have one model in every type of gold; rose (STGK006) yellow (STGK004) and white gold (STGK003). They are all 28.7mm so a tiny bit larger than the 2 steel Grand Seikos. To sparkle of the case, each version has a special bezel with 42 diamonds are set into them. As well as an additional 12 into the mother of pearl dials and one larger stone is in their crowns. Unlike the steel models’, the gold versions all have the same mother-of-pearl dials. The hands of all 3 models here are matching to the case material. All of the lady Grand Seiko models have display case backs and water resistance to 10 bars or 100 meters. The steel version comes on bracelets, the gold models on crocodile straps with folding clasps in the same precious metal as the case.
Lastly a few words about the new Grand Seiko 9S27 caliber. It is an automatic movement with +8 to -3 seconds a day precision, 50 hours of power reserve and 35 jewels. The Vph is 28,800, all this in a miniature 19.4mm wide and 4.49mm thick movement. The calibers are handmade, adjusted and assembled in Japan with the same high Grand Seiko standard as the brand uses for their other models. The watches will be available from 2019 June onwards. If you’d like to surprise your loved one, or yourself, with a steel version the price is €5,800 for the one STGK007 and €5,400 for the STGK009. Regarding the gold versions, the white gold (STGK003) is the most expensive at €30,000, the rose and yellow gold timepieces are equally €29,000 each.
While the technology is “only” 20 years old, the idea of Spring Drive is 40. Seiko launched the Spring Drive in 1999 after 20 years of research and development. It is safe to say that this development is one of the most significant ones in the recent history of luxury watchmaking. To commemorate this milestone’s anniversary Grand Seiko launches 4 models in their Elegance collection. The brand equips said timepieces with 2 new manual-wind Spring Drive calibers as well. All four watches offer a one-second-a-day precision and long power reserve. The latter is the result of a dual mainspring that both new calibers possess. The models will be available from July 2019 at Grand Seiko and Seiko Boutiques and some retailers as well. 9R02 is one of the first new calibers with 39 jewels, which offers 84 hours of power reserve and a power reserve indicator.
The other movement is equally brilliant. The 9R31 just like the 9R02 is a manual wind Spring Drive caliber. Also, the same dual spring barrel results in a long power reserve of 72 hours. Just like the 9R02, the accuracy is one-second-per-day although the number of jewels is lower at 30-jewels. Grand Seiko builds the 9R31 into 2 watches, as I have mentioned before. One has an 18k gold case with the iconic “Snowflake” dial (read RJ’s take on the Grand Seiko Snowflake here), the other comes in a steel case with sunray dial. The thickness of both cases is only 10.2mm. when it comes to design, the is classically Gran Seiko at 38.5mm width and 30 meters of water resistance. Crocodile straps, deployant clasps in matching metal and display case back. Suggested retail prices are €27,000 for the gold (SBGY002) and €8,200 for the steel (SBGY003) models. The steel version is also limited to 700 pieces.
However, this is not the only limited edition of the 4. One of the two new models equipped with the 9R02 also has a limitation. But let’s see them from the beginning. Both models come in a platinum 950 case (and clasp) that are only 9.8, thick and 38.5mm wide. White gold indexes, white gold hour and minute hands and blued steel second hands make these models more elegant. We can find a snowflake dial among these 2 as well, this time it is the limited edition. The number is very low at 31 pieces which will only be available at Grand Seiko Boutiques. Just like before, the watches come on crocodile straps, have 30 meter of water resistance and display backs where the power reserve is visible. For the regular platinum model (SBGZ003) one would have to pay €58,500. For the limited edition the price is (SBGZ001) €78,000.
Grand Seiko does not only wish to celebrate the Spring Drive anniversary with elegant timepieces. As Seiko stands for quintessential sports watches a more daring, a sportier line came to existence. 1 new design, 3 models, 2 new Spring Driver calibers. The inspiration for the look comes from the lion which has been the emblem of Grand Seiko since 1960 when the very first GS was born. For this the cases are larger, the claw-like edges are sharper, and the lion is etched into the oscillating weight of the movement. All 3 models’ cases are Zaratsu polished. 2 models share the same Chronograph GMT Spring Drive caliber (9R96) their difference lies within the case material. The SBGC230 has an 18k rose gold case, while the SBGC231 is titanium. There is a time-only version as well (SBGA403) with the time-only caliber 9R15 also in a titanium case.
What we need to know about the movements that are inside these intriguingly different models are as follows; self-winding calibers with 72 hours of power reserve, 50 jewels for the chrono and 30 for the time only. The accuracy is astonishing 0.5 second-per-day, yes you read it correctly. Water resistance on all 3 models is 200 meters, the diameter is 44.5mm. as you’d have it with the previous models, the gold comes on a croco leather strap with matching deployant buckle. The titanium cased timepieces have titanium bracelets. All 3 models are limited editions. 100 pieces will come out of the gold chronograph (SBGC230) 500 of the titanium chrono (SBGC231). Lastly 500 pieces of the time-only version (SBGA403). Price-wise you are looking at €44,800 for the gold chrono, €13,700 for the steel chrono and €11,200 for the 3rd model.
If you’d like to know more about these or any other Grand Seiko models please visit their site, click here.
Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up... read more