Inspiration comes from everywhere and, often, it is what surrounds us that inspires to new heights. In its 40 years of existence, Grand Seiko has continuously furthered its strive for horological perfection and, this year, the watchmaker has indeed hit new heights with its recently unveiled collection.
The most eye-catching of the new releases would, undoubtedly, be the SLGH005, with its exquisite dial that is inspired by the strikingly beautiful white birch trees that thrive in northern Japan and that grow in profusion near the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi, where the timepiece is made.
The ‘White Birch’, or Shirakaba, dial is endlessly mesmerising, capturing the mood of the white birch tree forests, where in summer and winter, the tall, slender trunks and white bark of the trees present a shimmering vista that is at once beautiful and mysterious. To look closely at the dial is to experience the exact same feeling that any visitor to these forests enjoys and to be brought closer than ever to the true and eternal nature of time.
The overall look of the new 40mm stainless steel timepiece is known as the Series 9 Design and it will be an important part of the Grand Seiko Heritage Collection’s signature in the years to come. Its powerful hands and grooved, prominent markers ensure perfect legibility, while its Zaratsu polished, distortion-free mirror finish and delicate hairline finish alternate to give the case a quiet and harmonious glow.
The case has wide lugs and a low centre of gravity that ensure that the watch sits easily and securely on the wrist. The Series 9 Design is true to the Grand Seiko Style defined back in 1967 with the celebrated 44GS, but its heritage is combined with a powerful contemporary feel that points towards a new era.
Inside its 11.7mm thick case is the revolutionary Caliber 9SA5, which offers a power reserve of 80 hours thanks to its enhanced energy efficiency. First presented in 2020, Caliber 9SA5 incorporates three significant developments: the entirely new Dual Impulse Escapement, the Grand Seiko free-sprung balance and the horizontal gear train. Together, they set a new standard in high-beat horology, offering advanced functionality and, as the caliber is slimmer than ever, giving the watch a slender profile.
The best Grand Seiko mechanical movement ever created was born in the Studio Shizukuishi, the same place where the white birches grow in profusion. Like every single component of Grand Seiko’s watches, the Caliber 9SA5 is the creation of two important assets at Shizukuishi: the inheritance of the tradition and accumulated know-how built over decades and complete in-house control over every technical aspect of every single movement component as a fully integrated manufacture.
It is this synergy that gives life to Grand Seiko’s desire to build the world’s best watches. By pushing precision in mechanical watches to the limits of timekeeping technology and melding that with the finest aesthetical principles, the SLGH005 takes another step closer to horological perfection.