2022 marks the 55th anniversary of the 44GS, the watch that established the design code known as the Grand Seiko Style. In commemoration of this seminal timepiece, Grand Seiko presents the 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition reference SBGY009. Powered by Spring Drive caliber 9R31, SBGY009 features a slimmer 44GS case and a dynamic dark blue dial inspired by tsuki tenshin, the moment the full moon is at its highest point in the sky over Shinshu.
In 2013, Grand Seiko released the modern interpretation of the 44GS style, adapting the historical model to meet contemporary sensibilities. In 2017, the 44GS modern interpretation case was first used, featuring the Spring Drive caliber 9R15 automatic with a 3-day power reserve. These were in 18k gold cases and bracelets exclusive to Japan, while steel models were introduced in 2018 to the global market. With SBGY009, the modern 44GS design has been utilized again, this time made slimmer due to the thin manual wind Spring Drive 9R31 caliber.
Unveiled in 2019 alongside caliber 9R02, the release of 9R31 commemorated the 20th anniversary of Spring Drive. This slim, high-performance movement features a dual spring barrel structure, which helps to keep the movement compact, achieve a greater power reserve of 72 hours, and maintains the high torque necessary to power the movement and hands. Beautifully decorated with exposed jewels, tempered screws, and diamond-cut sinks, 9R31 features a single, hairline-finished bridge to maintain a high shock resistance and efficiency of the gear train. Altogether, caliber 9R31 has more than 200 components and is the second thinnest Grand Seiko Spring Drive caliber after caliber 9R02. It is produced by the Shinshu Watch Studio, located in the Shiojiri plant of Seiko Epson Corporation.
The skillfully finished stainless steel case measures 40mm in diameter, 46.2mm in length from one lug end to the other, and just 10.5mm in thickness. That is 2mm thinner than the caliber 9R65 Spring Drive Automatic 44GS modern interpretation. This case construction, along with the elegant box-shaped sapphire crystal, achieves a lower center of gravity that allows for a comfortable fit on the wrist.
The deep blue dial has a dynamic sunray press pattern that catches the light at every angle, recreating the sparkle the moon casts over the landscape at its highest point in the sky. The minute and seconds hands gently curve toward the minute track at the edge of the dial, improving overall legibility. Caliber 9R31 moves the power reserve off the dial and onto the case back side of the watch, creating symmetry on the dial without losing the utility of a power reserve indicator. SBGY009 is presented on a dark blue strap that complements the dial.
SBGY009 is offered as a limited edition of 1,500 for $8,100. Each individual serial number and the words “Limited Edition” are engraved on the case back. This new addition to the Heritage Collection will be available in August at Grand Seiko Boutiques and select retail partners worldwide.