Last Friday we organized an event together with Seiko Nederland and Dutch print magazine Watching for fans of Grand Seiko watches. When we announced this Grand Seiko event a number of weeks ago, our mailbox was flooded with messages from people who signed-up. However, we could only select 20 people as it was decided to keep it small and exclusive. In the end, it was stretched to 22 people that were invited to come to Amsterdam and join us for an afternoon packed with Grand Seiko.
Grand Seiko is something you still need to explain to people from time to time. The high quality is evident once you get to handle a Grand Seiko watch yourself, so we thought it would be a great idea to host a little event together with media partner Watching and Seiko Nederland, the Dutch distributor for Grand Seiko watches. We went to Japan to visit the (Grand) Seiko manufactures ourselves, in 2015 and 2017 (you can find our Grand Seiko manufacture visit reports here and here), and gained a lot of respect for the commitment and passion we saw in those places. It is also reflected in the high quality and finishing standards of the Grand Seiko watch. Because not everyone gets the chance or has the opportunity to go to Japan, it was decided to bring the watchmaker to Amsterdam. A ‘Meister’ watchmaker with a gold medal was flown in from Japan to demonstrate the Spring Drive movement to the guests.
All guests gathered in the Okura Hotel in Amsterdam, where the Grand Seiko event started in one of the ballrooms. After a word of welcome by Marketing Director Paul Daniels of Seiko Nederland, Robert-Jan talked to the guests about the Grand Seiko brand from 1960 till now, highlighting some of the unique characteristics for this manufacturer. After this brief talk about Grand Seiko, all guests enjoyed a Japanese lunch in the Okura in Amsterdam.
After the lunch, we all left to the centre of Amsterdam where the newly re-opened (Grand) Seiko boutique is located. A large touring car manoeuvred through the crowded city of Amsterdam, to get as close to our destination as possible on this rainy day.
The renewed boutique in The Netherlands is relatively small but has a 1st floor with a small conference room. The group of guests were divided in two and one group stayed downstairs to see the watches (including a few Credor models) that Grand Seiko brought in on top of the already available stock and the other group joined Robert-Jan upstairs for a presentation about the Grand Seiko manufacture in Japan. Basically, a recap of the trips to the Grand Seiko manufactures in Japan, one in Morioka responsible for the mechanical timepieces and one in Shiojiri where the quartz (9F) and Spring Drive timepieces are being developed and produced.
Of course, also upstairs were a number of watches available to observe more closely, including the very first Grand Seiko from 1960 and the 44GS reference from 1967.
On the ground floor, the Meister watchmaker from Japan demonstrated the mechanism and complexity of the Spring Drive movement. Perhaps one of the most innovative watch movement that has been introduced in the last few decades. You could say the Spring Drive movement is a hybrid movement, a combination of mechanical and quartz (but without a battery, as the energy is being consumed straight-away). The very popular Grand Seiko Snowflake was topic of discussion many times last Friday and was also the watch that the Meister from Japan worked on.
It was certainly an interesting event and we are happy with the support we received from Seiko Nederland and Grand Seiko. We were surprised that so many of the guests already owned a Grand Seiko and those who weren’t, certainly showed a lot of interest in the brand. It is always nice to see that a group of very different people, from different places, can get along so well and can easily spend hours talking about our most favourite topic: watches. Besides thanking Seiko Nederland, we also would like to thank all guests who turned up at our event in Amsterdam. We hope you all had a wonderful time last Friday and we would be happy to see you back at one of our other future events in 2019.
More information on Grand Seiko, please visit the official website.
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