Baselworld 2018 Releases - Grand Seiko

Starting its second year as an independent entity Grand Seiko has a number of special and interesting models being announced at Baselworld. 

2018 represents the 20th Anniversary of the launch of the 9S calibre that is the basis for the modern mechanical Grand Seiko models. To commemorate this anniversary Grand Seiko is releasing three limited edition models. The first and most interesting model is the SBGH265. This is a limited edition of 15 pieces and is a Hi-Beat VFA model. It has a 9S85 (VFA) 36,000bph movement housed in a Platinum 950 case. The 9S85 Hi-Beat 36,000bph calibre is rated at +3 to -1 seconds per day, and this performance is achieved by the highest level of adjustment and a testing program of 34 days (double the Grand Seiko standard).

Model: SBGH265
Limited Edition: 20 pieces
Case Material: Platinum 950
Movement: 9S85 36,000bph
Accuracy: +3 to -1 seconds per day (VFA)
Jewels: 37
Power Reserve: 55 hours
Crystal: Dual domed sapphire
Diameter: 39.5mm
Thickness: 13mm
Price: (not available in Australia), JP¥5,500,000

The term VFA stands for Very Fine Adjusted and will be familiar to any fan of vintage Grand Seiko models. This represented the highest grade movements that were released by Seiko and first began in 1969 with the release of the 4520 based Observatory Chronometers. It was introduced to Grand Seiko models in 1970 with the 6185 014 (6185-8000), 6185 024 (6185-8010), 6185 046 (6185-7000) from Suwa Seikosha and the 4580 014 (4580-7000) from Daini-Seikosha. More information about the vintage VFA models can be found in this comprehensive article by Gerald Donovan here - A Detailed History of Grand Seiko V.F.A., the Pinnacle of Japanese Chronometers

The case for this Grand Seiko has a distinctive design and blends the differing textures of brushed and zaratsu polished surfaces. The dial surface has an intricate spiral pattern featuring the characters GS and the Daini logo. The movement’s automatic rotor features an 18K GS lion emblem. This model is a limited edition of just 20 pieces.

Another new model in the Grand Seiko line up is the SBGH266. This has the same shaped case as the SBGH265 but instead of a platinum case it has an 18K yellow gold case and strap clasp. The dial features the same pattern with the GS characters and the Daini logos as the VFA version but instead has golden markers and is marked Special. The watch has the same 9S85 calibre movement but is rated to the Special grade of +4 to -2 seconds per day. The movement’s automatic rotor features an 18K GS lion emblem. This model is a limited edition of 150 pieces.

Model: SBGH266
Limited Edition: 150 pieces
Case Material: 18K yellow gold
Movement: 9S85 36,000bph
Accuracy: +4 to -2 seconds per day (Special)
Jewels: 37
Power Reserve: 55 hours
Crystal: Dual domed sapphire
Diameter: 39.5mm
Thickness: 13mm
Price: (not available in Australia), JP¥2,800,000

The third model in the series is the SBGH267 that is provided with a stainless steel case. This watch is also provided with the same 9S85 movement but it has been regulated to the standard GS grade of +5 to -3 seconds per day. The watch has the same GS / Daini logo dial pattern but this time is in blue. The rotor is made of titanium and tungsten and has a blue anodic oxidation surface treatment.

Model: SBGH267
Limited Edition: 1500 pieces
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: 9S85 36,000bph
Accuracy: +5 to -3 seconds per day
Jewels: 37
Power Reserve: 55 hours
Crystal: Dual domed sapphire
Diameter: 39.5mm
Thickness: 13mm
Price: AU$9,100, JP¥650,000

Another new Grand Seiko model released is the SBGJ229 blue ceramic limited edition. This watch has a 9S86 GMT Hi-Beat movement that is regulated to the Special grade of +4 to -2 seconds per day. The movement is housed in a case that has a blue zirconia ceramic outer section and inner bracelet links, this material is seven times harder than stainless steel. The bracelet outer links and watch inner case is manufactured from high intensity titanium. The dial on the watch, like the other 20th anniversary 9S models, features a spiral pattern and shows the characters GS9S. The rotor is made of titanium and tungsten with a blue anodic oxidation surface treatment and golden GS lion emblem.

Model: SBGJ229
Limited Edition: 350 pieces
Case Material: Zirconia ceramic / high intensity titanium
Movement: 9S86 36,000bph GMT
Accuracy: +4 to -2 seconds per day (Special)
Jewels: 37
Power Reserve: 55 hours
Crystal: Dual domed sapphire
Diameter: 46.4mm
Thickness: 14.6mm
Price: AU$21,400, JP¥1,550,000, €15,000

The other new Grand Seiko model is the ladies STGK002 that features a new 9S25 33 jewel automatic movement. This caliber is just 19.4mm in diameter and 4.49mm thick with a 50 hour power reserve and numerous components, like the pallet fork and escapement wheel, that have been produced utilizing MEMS technology. The impressive ladies movement is housed in a rose gold 18K case that has a bezel set with 37 diamonds and a larger diamond in the crown. The silver lamé dial resembles the snow texture from Mount Iwate and it features diamond hour markers. Both black and white crocodile straps are provided. The watch is hand assembled at the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in Morioka and it undergoes the same rigorous 17 day testing procedure as the larger men’s mechanical Grand Seiko models. It is great to see Grand Seiko expanding their offerings and again offering a high end mechanical ladies models.

Model: STGK002
Limited Edition: 50 pieces
Case Material: 18K rose gold with diamonds (0.88 carat)
Movement: 9S25
Accuracy: +8 to -3 seconds per day
Jewels: 33
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Crystal: Dual domed sapphire
Diameter: 28.7m
Thickness: 10.8mm
Price:  approximately AU$60,000, JP¥3,300,000