What is Grand Seiko?
This is probably a very common query since Grand Seiko appears to be the single-most elusive watch brand in the luxury timepiece industry and you will surely find at least one piece in every watch lovers’ collection. In simple terms, Grand Seiko is a watch brand that produces watch that offers convenience, brilliance and exotic designs.
But aren’t these features common with all the luxury timepieces? The best thing about Grand Seiko is their remarkable accuracy ratings. This means you can select any model at random, without any understanding of the movements, and lay your hands on the tremendously accurate watch. There’s no way you can go wrong.
The specifications of this watch are truly impressive but there is a lot more to its movements than mere numbers. They look great on the sales brochure but you need to comprehend them to understand what goes into its making. In this regard, it’s also important to know a bit about the Japanese culture and traditions since they are highly responsible for shaping the timepieces as they are today. It’s a blend of technology and tradition.
On both sides of the mainspring, there are some highly advanced quartz movements along with mechanical movements. In most cases, you will see that the quartz movements find a place in watches that are very commonplace and are hardly considered a subject of pride. But for Grand Seiko, the scenario is exactly the opposite.
The makers take pride in the quartz movements of their watches for two primary reasons. First of all, they belong to the best in class quartz ever made in the history of watches, and secondly, the Seiko heritage makes them truly the pioneers of quartz movements. It’s quite surprising that the division that constructed the first batch of quartz, still makes GS quartz today, even after 46 years. This, along with loads of other technical enhancements, imply that the quartz line of Seiko is next to none.
There are also mechanical movements that are very elegantly and cautiously designed to incorporate reliability, simplicity, and utmost accuracy. The layout of the movements is very thought-provoking since it depicts the dualistic nature of the manufacturer in terms of tradition and technology. You will never find any silicon components in the Grand Seiko watch. They are true to their traditions while looking for innovative means to make the heritage materials surpass the latest rivals. Take, for example, the escape wheel and pallet fork: they are made of steel but involves an MEMS construction process for good precision. The weight of these parts should be reduced and thus, the makers have finely skeletonized them.
The last aspect that’s very important for understanding the widespread love for Grand Seiko is the unique craftsmanship of the brand. Only a handful of brands could manage to stay as true to traditional watch polishing, adjustments, and assembling methods as Grand Seiko has. Every single part of these watches is polished using a specialized Japanese technique called Zaratsu. You may wonder why this even matters in the 21st century? But the polishing technique is derived from the Japanese sword polishing techniques that determined the performance of the blade. And when you invest in a Grand Seiko watch, you will see that every surface of the watch case is hand polished using the technique.
When you move beyond the aesthetics of this exceedingly fine finishing you can arrive at the process of assembling which is performed by expert watchmakers. The Grand Seiko watches are not adjusted in the five positions needed for the COSC but also in the accompanying sixth position for compensating the effects of gravity. This is truly a feature of elite watchmakers as the work of adjustments and testing alone takes 17 long days.
Is Grand Seiko Expensive?
By now you must have understood that Grand Seiko is a high-quality handmade watch. Moreover, the makers only choose the best materials like platinum and titanium for their durability and all these testify why Grand Seiko watches are so expensive. Have you have an idea about why this watches are sold at a premium? It’s now time to have an insight into the fine detailing:
This is the unique mechanism of a GS watch. The spring drive is a blend of electronic and mechanical watchmaking and is single-handedly responsible for the gliding motion of these timepieces.
The mainspring is self-sufficient in terms of the power requirements. Plus there is a tri-synchro regulator for keeping up the pace at which the spring unwinds and this level of accuracy is not seen in any contemporary watches. The mechanism is not as simple as it sounds and definitely adds to the grand feel of the watch.
Besides adding to the elegance, this gliding motion also curtails the pressure exerted on the mainspring. And when this is achieved, your timepiece is bound to last for a very long time. When taken proper care of, it could even outlast you.
Quartz and Mechanical Movements
The Grand Seiko also comes with the precise quartz movement, the 9F. It is accurate to only 5 seconds per year and in the worst case, can only reach up to 10 seconds per year. You can never see such brilliant accuracy in other quartz watches and this factor alone contributes to the high price point of these exuberant timepieces.
Next comes the mechanical movements which are also top-tier. They are extremely precise and named 9S. It’s worth mentioning that the spring drive movement is called 9R while the quartz movement is referred to as 9F.
Choice of Materials
You can only find high-end materials in your Grand Seiko watch including titanium, stainless steel, and yellow gold. Sapphire crystals are used for the glass of most luxury watches. They are extremely resistant to scratches which means they will not be tainted even when you drop them accidentally. Of course, you cannot afford to drop a Grand Seiko watch. And when the makers have paired all these top-notch materials with their meticulous craftsmanship, it’s understandable that the price will be on the higher end.
What you can call a luxury watch may sound a little confusing. Some brands are popularly regarded as luxury brands when they are not actually. And then there is Grand Seiko for which, the word luxury truly fits even though some may not understand why.
This is primarily because the GS watches are equipped with in-house movements and are meticulously crafted. There is utmost attention to detail. We have already mentioned that GS has its own movements along with the avant-garde spring drive technology. Moreover, each timepiece is crafted with a lot of dedication and patience for 17 days. Right from the casing to the inner parts, everything is made of exotic materials only. It’s safer to say that materials chosen for Grand Seiko watch themselves justify luxury at its best.
Where And How Can I Buy A Grand Seiko?
You will hardly find any other luxury watch brand so effortlessly weaving some amazing watchmaking traditions predating the makers with next-gen techs that no one can dare to reproduce. The revolutionary movement that all Grand Seiko timepiece is endowed with, has integrated a fine finish coupled with the assembling of mechanical aspects and high-end tri-synchro regulator.
As a result, the old is fused with the new to create a movement that doesn’t need any battery. The entire watch works on the mainspring and it is mostly mechanical. The only difference is that Grand Seiko is by far more accurate than most other watches. And each of the timepieces is a true reflection of the company’s motto.
Regardless of your choice and taste, the exuberant range of Grand Seiko timepieces is bound to sway you over. They can be broadly classified under four heads: Heritage, Masterpiece, Elegance, and Sport. Under these categories, you will get such a great variety of models that it may take over a year to know and learn about them all.
If you are willing to buy Grand Seiko watches you can opt for both online or offline modes as per your choice. There is a luxury watch boutique in almost all metro cities across the globe selling these precious watches. Alternatively, dedicated online stores are also presenting these timepieces.
The allure of Grand Seiko is undeniable and it is fast becoming a darling amongst the watch connoisseurs across the world. Those who are already introduced to this remarkable watchmaker, know that Grand Seiko is synonymous with spectacular timepieces that surpass all expectations. They are representatives of fine watchmaking craftsmanship and an unmistakable finesse that comes from Japan to all parts of the world, waiting to be explored by you.
Who Buys Grand Seiko?
An individual is allowed to discover Grand Seiko as a viable alternative to the popular Swiss-made watches. It’s made for the people who are more inclined to craftsmanship, detailing, and functionality rather than possessing a watch only because of its brand value. The brand offers some of the least complicated watches you can opt for. And a person who’s looking for only the best can afford it.
With that being said, someone choosing a Grand Seiko timepiece leaving alone all its rivals is not just a luxury watch aficionado. He or she is truly an iconoclast who doesn’t bother about other people’s views on their watches. It is for a person who is inherently attached to the quintessence of the Japanese brand. A person buying a Grand Seiko desires to be a cut above the rest without attracting attention towards themselves.
There is something staid and assiduous about the kind of watchmaking that Grand Seiko indulges in. And if you believe that you can associate yourself with it, then the watch is just meant for you. It’s been only a decade that Grand Seiko has earned some popularity outside its birthplace. Before that, it was preserved for the natives only and you could hardly spot them in magazines or the collection of A-listers. So since 2010, Grand Seiko came to be sold outside Japan as well. And an outlandish timepiece was presented before the world to savor. For the people already in possession of these exuberant watches, it’s relatable how the exemplary Japanese craftsmanship feels when you hold it in your hand. And it’s impossible to describe the feeling of it.
Only a truly fortunate individual can lay his/her hands on any of these timepieces. This is not because of the high price tag but because of the choice made. Within a very short span of time, Grand Seiko timepieces have managed to create some serious waves and the people choosing them are as quirky, exclusive, and distinctive as the watches are. And it’s entirely up to you whether or not you want to be tagged for your exclusive choice or lose yourself amongst the host of commoners.
How To Put A Leather Strap On A Grand Seiko?
A leather watch belt serves an indispensable function for formal occasions and outfits which may probe you to put a leather strap on your Grand Seiko. You will need a few things for this. First of all, you will require a replacement strap that should be at par with the quality and craftsmanship of your Grand Seiko. Next, have a soft surface where you will carry out the replacement and of course, your existing timepiece. Based on the strap that you have selected, you may also need a spring bar tool, spring bars, and a sharply pointed object.
Steps of Removing The Existing Strap
- You will have to place your watch on a soft surface, like a mouse mat for preventing your timepiece from getting scratched or dented.
- Analyze the kind of strap that is already fitted to the watch. Some of the leather straps built nowadays are equipped with quick-release tabs. If you have chosen a strap like that you can find the tab located underneath the strap close to the watch case. All you will have to do here is to push the tiny lever in a downward motion, far from the closest lug. This will help in releasing the strap from your timepiece.
- But in case your straps do not come with this, they will come with drilled lugs. These replicate small holes that are machined inside the lug while it extends from the primary watch case. Here you will need a sharp tool for prising the spring bar and taking the strap out. But you should be very careful so that the resulting recoil doesn’t end up firing the spring bar out of its place.
Replacing The Watch Strap
If the replacement straps come with quick-release bars, all you need to do is to compress the sides and slot it inside the dedicated place by focusing on one end at a time. You will have to maneuver the other end also to make sure that the bar clicks into the pinhole. Wiggle it quickly to check whether it’s seated in the right place. This is the phase where you are most likely to hurt the lugs and so, you must practice caution.
How Tough And Durable Is Grand Seiko?
Within the concentrated circles of watch connoisseurs and enthusiasts, where beauty is not restricted to the depth of the skin, no other brand has managed to take the world by storm as Grand Seiko did. Their intention of creating beautiful yet highly functional timepieces has remained unchanged since the time the first watch by Grand Seiko was created. Words like Spring Drive, Zaratsu, and Snowflake have now become an integral part of a modern watch collectors’ dictionary. So, an obvious question arises about the durability and sturdiness of Grand Seiko watches.
It is already accentuated that a Grand Seiko watch can outlast the test of time and can be passed on from one generation to the other. The manufacturer also boasts a five-decade service interval for their watch. Leaving aside the pressure testing, your watch can last for 20 years with ease before the inner parts show signs of wearing.
When you consider the quality, the Grand Seiko watch is deficient of nothing. The game is not just about keeping the watches look superlatively magnificent. The makers are quite ahead in their mission and their concentration on accuracy has only made the spirit and action of the watches stronger making them highly sturdy and durable. It is a peerless mechanism that tries to coalesce quartz-level precision within the sphere of mechanical watches.
Grand Seiko is amongst the few watchmakers who are vertically integrated in the truest sense of the term. This implies that their in-house working management is strictly maintained and it ensures the incorporation of the state-of-the-art technology and parts are designed to keep up their natural lubrication retention. According to Grand Seiko, the 9F quartz and its sealed movements do not require any lubrication for at least 50 years.
Needless to say, mechanical watches are typically associated with an underlining permanence and since Grand Seiko has combined them both, miracles are bound to happen. The makers have been crafting the watches with almost an obsessive devotion to their craft so that your watch is not just tough and wear-resistant but can be kept as a souvenir or an exclusive gift to your succeeding generation.
When The First Seiko Grand Seiko Produced?
According to a popular legend, there were only two Seiko factories in the 1950s. The first one was Suwa Seikosha, placed in Suwa and, the second was Daini Seikosha. The word Seiko itself translates to success or something exquisite. And when you think of the word �Grand Seiko’, it means grand success. The two factories served to be distinct entities operating within Seiko and this paved the way for intra-manufacturer innovation and rivalry. During this time, both the factories were given to conceive a watch design that could be a serious contender to the luxurious Swiss timepieces.
This project inspired the Suwa factory to present its first-ever Grand Seiko timepiece in 1960. The first generation was named 3180 or Grand Seiko First and was hailed as the foremost chronometer-grade timepiece ever produced in the Asian subcontinent. It was not certified by COSC that’s based in Switzerland, rather it had to go through a more stringent internal certification compared to the COSC.
The First Seiko Grand Seiko had the brand logo carved inside the dial, which is a labor-intensive process. It was produced in 18K gold-plated cases and some rare ones are also made with platinum. The first model also shines for its 25-jewel studded movements that oscillated at 18,000 BPH.
As Suwa was crafting its first-ever Grand Seiko model, Daini Seikosha also stepped its foot in this exuberant game. It resulted in the production of the King Seiko series between 1961 and 1964. They were made in stainless steel or gold cases and came with a 25-jewel studded manual winding movement. But it didn’t have to go through strict internal testing and thus, it never earned the status of a Chronometer. As a result, it is still considered as a lesser being to the Grand Seiko watches.
Grand Seiko released its second series named the 57GS in 1963 and called it the Self Dated owing to the added functionality of a date mechanism placed at 3’o clock. They were made with stainless steel but covered with thick gold. Even today, solid 18K gold cases are produced but you may not come across one easily. With time, the makers started incorporating sparkling factors to revamp the appearance of the watches so that they can give tough competition to their Swiss contenders.
The Bottom Line
When we think of quality timepieces, these are exactly the qualities that we look out for. We call this era an age of connectivity and there is a growing consensus that we consider our watches as a source of everlasting happiness and delight, which transcends the fundamental utilities that wristwatches serve. We want our watches to evoke inspiration and awe and this is where Grand Seiko stands out. Every time we glance at these elegant watches, the aesthetically pleasing designs, and superb artistry make us fall for the possession once again.