The history of Seiko reaches back to 1881, when Kintaro Hattori opened a shop in Ginza to repair and sell timepieces. In 1913, his company made Japan’s first wristwatch, the Laurel, and many watchmaking milestones followed, including the first Grand Seiko watch, which was released in 1960.
Today, Grand Seiko pays tribute to Japan’s first wristwatch by offering a recreation of the first Grand Seiko in a stunning 500-piece limited edition. Crafted in Brilliant Hard Titanium, the watch features a traditional urushi lacquer dial with raised maki-e markers and accents.
Ever since the first Grand Seiko came out in 1960, durability and longevity have been guiding principles in the manufacture of each watch. SBGW295 embodies the ambition to craft the perfect everyday watch thanks to its 38mm Zaratsu-polished Brilliant Hard Titanium case, which is brighter than traditional titanium and commands a hardness twice that of stainless steel. An elegantly sized dress watch SBGW295 may be, but thanks to its case material, this is a watch made to endure the rigors of daily wear without showing its age.
Derived from the natural sap of the lacquer tree, urushi is typically used to decorate and finish diverse objects such as traditional Japanese dinnerware, furniture, and musical instruments. The lacquer used by Grand Seiko is sourced exclusively from Japan, which is rare and noteworthy, as most of the lacquer that one encounters nowadays comes from foreign sources. The urushi’s jet-black color was ensured through the addition of iron. The lacquer was enhanced through a treatment unique to Grand Seiko that prevents its color from changing over time, once again in keeping with the brand’s mission to build watches that will endure for years to come.
The maki-e markers are the handwork of urushi master Isshu Tamura in his studio in the city of Kanazawa, a place where traditional Japanese culture lives on. Its poetic name translates to “marsh of gold.” There, Tamura builds up the lacquer indexes layer by layer, giving them their trademark three-dimensional profile before sprinkling them with gold powder – maki-e means “sprinkled picture.” Creating the straight lines of the indexes, particularly the parallel lines of the cardinal hours, requires the expert hand of the master and is further complicated by the fact that the dial is curved.
Visible through the see-through case back is the manually wound 28,800 bph Caliber 9S64. It allows the SBGW295 to maintain a slim and wearable profile of just 10.9mm from top to bottom while providing accuracy of +5/-3 seconds per day when static and a power reserve of three days.
The watch comes with a Brilliant Hard Titanium folding clasp and two supplied straps. The first features a weaving technique known as yoroiori, which was used to make samurai armor. The other is a supple leather strap chosen for its unique texture and comfort.
This watch will be $13,800 as a limited edition of 500 available at Grand Seiko Boutiques and select retail partners worldwide in February 2023.