Released in 1967, the original 44GS was the watch that first embodied the “Grand Seiko Style,” a design code driven by a set of nine principles developed to give Grand Seiko watches a distinctive look and feel. This design framework has proven itself everlasting, still inspiring watches in Grand Seiko’s catalog to this very day. In honor of the 55th anniversary of the 1967 44GS, Grand Seiko has announced a Limited Edition timepiece featuring a special dial and a remarkably accurate quartz caliber that pays tribute to this foundational model.
The case of SBGP017 measures 40mm in diameter and 10.7mm in thickness, and it is rendered in stainless steel. It is polished via Grand Seiko’s Zaratsu technique, and the result is an eye-catching, distortion-free finish that is exemplary of Grand Seiko’s case work. Water resistance is 10 bar, and the magnetic resistance is 4,800 A/m. Fitted to the case is a stainless steel, five-link bracelet on a three-fold clasp with a push-button release.
Underneath the dual-curved sapphire crystal is a beautiful dial with a light blue Iwao pattern—inspired by the sea of clouds that float around the mountains of Shinshu in the mornings. These dense clouds form only in special conditions when the air is still and humid over Shinshu’s lowlands, and their blue tinge comes from the clear skies above them. The sea of clouds only last for a short period of time, a perfect comparison to the brief moment captured between every second by the 9F Calibers second hand.
The driving system is a special version of caliber 9F85 that is accurate to ±5 seconds a year. This enhanced precision rate is achieved by using quartz crystals that are aged for three months and then specially selected for their performance traits. A golden five-pointed star over the six o’clock index on the dial symbolizes the enhanced ±5 second per year accuracy of the caliber.
High torque drives Grand Seiko’s large and heavy hands thanks to the Twin Pulse Control Motor, and the Backlash Auto-Adjust Mechanism removes any shudder from the second hand as it moves around the dial. The hour hand can be adjusted without stopping the seconds hand, preserving the watch’s high precision and making it easy to adjust the time when the wearer changes time zones. The eye-catching finish of the movement, with its tempered blue screws, are revealed through the sapphire case back. The integrated circuit in quartz watches is sensitive to ultraviolet rays, which generally requires a closed case back, Grand Seiko takes extra precaution to protect it. This is only the third Grand Seiko with a 9F quartz caliber to feature a sapphire case back, the second of which to feature tempered blue screws.
SBGP017 is a limited edition of 2,000 watches, and it will be available in July at Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide for $3,800.