SPARKLING SNOW

World of Watches (Singapore) - - Basel Report | Highlights -

seiko’s high watch­mak­ing depart­ment fi­nally makes its first Grand seiko time­piece, the spring Drive 8 Day power Re­serve (Ref. sbgd001)

The Grand Seiko Spring Drive 8 Day Power Re­serve is the first Grand Seiko watch to be pro­duced by the man­u­fac­ture’s Mi­cro Artist Stu­dio, lo­cated in Shio­jiri within cen­tral Ja­pan’s Nagano pre­fec­ture. Al­though “Mi­cro Artist Stu­dio” isn’t a mis­nomer per se, the name is an un­der­state­ment through and through – the team of spe­cial­ists there rep­re­sents the ab­so­lute best from Seiko, and are more than ca­pa­ble of go­ing toe-to-toe with the best from Europe, whether in terms of move­ment as­sem­bly/fin­ish­ing or metiers d’art tech­niques.

The Mi­cro Artist Stu­dio’s cre­ations run the gamut from the three-hand, time-only Cre­dor Eichi II to the ul­tra-com­pli­cated Cre­dor Spring Drive Minute Re­peater. What’s com­mon to these time­pieces has al­ways been their im­pec­ca­ble qual­ity both in­side and out­side, and the new Grand Seiko Spring Drive 8 Day Power Re­serve is no dif­fer­ent. From the front, one im­me­di­ately no­tices the mir­ror pol­ish on the plat­inum case, which was achieved us­ing an adapted zaratsu tech­nique orig­i­nally used in pol­ish­ing Ja­panese blades. In con­trast with it, the dial sports a fine speck­led tex­ture that sparkles like freshly fallen snow, a fin­ish­ing that Seiko calls di­a­mond dust. The usual hall­marks of a Grand Seiko time­piece have been pre­served here, from the facetted hour and minute hands, to the sec­onds hand that is shaped like a ta­pered lance.

Flip the watch over, and the new 9R01 Spring Drive cal­i­bre presents it­self, with the power re­serve in­di­ca­tor at three o’clock. At 37mm, the move­ment is rather large, and fills the case prop­erly with­out the need for spacer rings. Cal­i­bre 9R01 uses three bar­rels con­nected in par­al­lel to achieve a power re­serve of eight days and, as a hy­brid Spring Drive move­ment, is ca­pa­ble of be­ing ac­cu­rate to +/- 10 sec­onds a month.

In the 9R01, Seiko has opted to use a sin­gle large plate in lieu of in­di­vid­ual bridges and cocks. This makes as­sem­bling the move­ment far more chal­leng­ing, as all the com­po­nents un­der­neath the plate must fit per­fectly. A sin­gle plate, how­ever, pro­vides a rigid plat­form that’s al­most like a se­cond main­plate – all the move­ment parts are thus sand­wiched more se­curely with no play be­tween them. Al­though the plate blocks the view into the move­ment, much can still be seen. Note, for in­stance, how the out­line of the plate from nine to one o’clock has been shaped to re­sem­ble Mt. Fuji. Jewel bear­ings and blued screws aside, the move­ment plate also has holes that ex­pose the wheels un­der­neath it, all to evoke the lights of the city of Suwa, which is near the Artist Mi­cro Stu­dio’s home. MOVE­MENT Man­ual-wind­ing Seiko 9R01 Spring Drive with power re­serve in­di­ca­tor; 192-hour power re­serve

CASE 43mm in plat­inum, wa­ter re­sis­tant to 100m STRAP Black al­li­ga­tor with plat­inum de­ploy­ant buckle PRICE Un­avail­able

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