Grand Seiko never fail to impress with their new releases. The brand’s incredible eye for design, arresting technological developments, and meticulously finished timepieces are a joy to behold. Altogether, these elements make Grand Seiko a staple brand for an ever-growing group of true watch fans. The manufacturer’s focus on excellence has resulted in a great number of novelties that have excited watch fans around the globe. For 2023, Grand Seiko is focussing on two major new releases. Let’s take a look at them.
The Grand Seiko SLGC001 Tentagraph
The first announcement is a spectacular one for Grand Seiko. The Tentagraph is the brand’s first mechanical automatic chronograph. You might wonder why they haven’t created one before now, but it’s really not that simple in practice. Chronographs require accuracy, and Grand Seiko has their own quartz-regulated mechanical Spring Drive technology, which offers greater precision than regular mechanical watches. This makes the movement an obvious choice for the brand’s chronographs, and is the reason why the Grand Seiko collection is already home to some amazing chronographs.
But if you challenge Grand Seiko to develop an impressive mechanical chronograph, the Japanese manufacturer is sure to create something special. The Tentagraph is part of Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 collection. This series focuses on integrating new case shapes with the latest caliber technology into a line of watches representing the design of Grand Seiko’s future developments. Last year, we saw the introduction of a number of new Evolution 9 models, including the brilliant Mist Flake GMT that has become one of my all-time favorite GMT watches. This year’s big Grand Seiko reveal is the Tentagraph, which comes with a 43.2-mm high-intensity titanium case and bracelet. The case is defined by angular shapes, and while it looks modern, it still manages to retain the classic design silhouettes we know and love. In combination with the textured dark blue dial and black bezel, the watch looks stunning. For people in the know, these design elements make the Tentagraph a competitor for the likes of the Daytona or Speedmaster.
Grand Seiko equips the Tentagraph with the newly-developed in-house caliber 9SA5. This Hi-Beat chronograph caliber ticks at 36,000 vph, resulting in greater accuracy than most modern chronographs, which beat at 28,800 vph. The movement has a daily accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds and a power reserve of 72 hours. That said, we know Grand Seiko is modest with their numbers, such that the actual accuracy may well outperform expectations. Overall, this latest chronograph is the full package: a great case and bracelet, stunning dial, and brand-new movement make for a compelling new timepiece. Add Grand Seiko’s unrivaled level of finishing, and the result is nothing short of amazing. At $13,700, the SLGC001 Tentagraph is a great addition to Grand Seiko’s lineup.
The Grand Seiko SBGZ009 Majestic White Birch
The second major release for Grand Seiko is a stunning piece that is more a work of art than a watch. The SBGZ009 belongs to the brand’s Masterpiece collection and is created by the craftsmen and women of the manufacturer’s Micro Artist Studio, located in the Japanese town of Shiojiri. Just outside the city, at the foot of the North Yatsugatake Mountains, is a white birch forest that inspired the engravings and colors for this piece. To be more precise, the case and dial get their look from the snow-covered white birch trees in winter time.
The concept is brought to life by a 38.5 × 9.8-mm platinum case, hand-engraved to imitate the bark of white birch trees in winter. The silver-colored dial features a similar pattern to echo the concept and create a coherent combination of white birch elements. It’s wild to see the actual look and feel of birch trees mimicked on a watch, but it works. The white gold indices and hands look ultra-sharp against the dial. But the dial itself is even more interesting: If you look closely, you’ll see that the individual minute markers, logo, and indeed all the text are carved out of the dial. Can you believe the incredible time, patience, and level of skill involved in creating a dial like this? A single mistake, and you’d have to start all over again.
Another great detail is the watch’s tempered seconds hand. Normally, tempered steel hands are blue. But for the Majestic White Birch, Grand Seiko made a dark gray tempered hand, better suited to the piece’s monochromatic look. The seconds hand is driven by the Grand Seiko caliber 9R02. This manual-winding Spring Drive caliber has 39 jewels and an 84-hour power reserve. The watch comes on a black alligator strap with a platinum buckle. The manufacturer will produce only 50 of these special pieces, which will go on sale for $79,000 each. What you get in return is more than just a watch — it’s a work of art, made to be displayed on the wrist.
More to Come From Grand Seiko in 2023
There you have it! The two major Grand Seiko releases for 2023. As you’d expect, the brand also unveiled a number of other timepieces at Watches & Wonders, mostly stunning new dial variants of existing models. But as stunning as they are, they’re nowhere near as special as these two new stand-out pieces. The Tentagraph and Majestic White Birch belong to a completely different class of timepiece, and showcase the great diversity the Grand Seiko brand has to offer.