With 2021 marking the 140th anniversary of Seiko, the company founded by Kintaro Hattori, Grand Seiko continues its release of commemorative watches that honor Hattori’s groundbreaking vision. Today, Grand Seiko unveils SLGA007, a timepiece featuring a new Spring Drive caliber and a dial design inspired by the calm waters of Lake Suwa, the body of water that lies close to the Shinshu Watch Studio where this watch, and all Spring Drive watches, are made.
The pattern of the rich blue dial evokes Minamo, the gentle sway of the water surface of Lake Suwa, with ripples emulating the water’s shallow waves that sparkle whenever the dial catches the light. Combined with the smooth sweeping movement of the seconds hand, a feature tied to the mechanics of Spring Drive, the dial captures the tranquil and seamless beauty of the passage of time. The large hands and grooved, prominent markers ensure perfect legibility, and the seconds hand and Grand Seiko letters are in a gold color that echoes the morning sunrise shimmering on the lake’s surface.
The 40mm case features complex architecture, and it embodies an evolution of Grand Seiko’s design language that was first introduced in early 2020. Broad, faceted lugs and a low center of gravity anchor the mid-case. At just 11.8mm in thickness with a length of 47.6mm, the case has a versatile form and a pleasing lower profile, and it hugs the wrist while retaining Grand Seiko’s distinct geometry.
The mid-case has a beautiful mix of Zaratsu-polished and hairline surfaces. One area of note is the bezel, the top of which is done with a hairline finish, contrasting the mirror-polished bevel along the side. This complex contrast in finishing brings the watch to life as it catches the light. The bracelet has a five-link design with flatter links that give it a distinct look, and the clasp has an 18k gold plaque with the Grand Seiko logo.
The new 9RA2 movement builds on what was first introduced in 2020 with caliber 9RA5, with the major point of differentiation being the placement of the power reserve indicator. Normally, Spring Drive watches, but for a few exceptions, feature a power reserve somewhere on the dial. 9R65, for example, places the indicator at 7 o’clock, and 9RA5 has it around 9 o’clock. With 9RA2, however, the indicator is off the dial entirely, moved to the movement so that it is visible through the exhibition case back.
Those familiar with the specifications of 9RA5 will be happy to know that they are also in 9RA2.
To achieve the 120-hour (5 days) power reserve, Grand Seiko implemented the use of dual-size barrels on the same plane in the movement. Because the barrels are two different sizes, they are both able to fit inside the area without sacrificing performance, all the while contributing to the thinness (5mm) of the movement.
To further trim the movement height, an Offset Magic Lever was devised to position the mechanism flatter beneath the rotor, which ultimately removed about .8mm in height. To ensure robustness, an important consideration when making any movement thinner, the gear train was redesigned to fit along the central horizontal axis of the movement and locked under a one-piece center bridge. This better stabilizes the wheels in the event of shock.
9RA2 is also thermo-compensated via a shielded thermal sensor, allowing the movement to better measure temperature and ensure that the reading matches the ambient temperature affecting the quartz crystal. As a result, accuracy is improved to +-0.5 seconds per day, or +-10 seconds per month.
This commemorative limited edition timepiece is true to the Grand Seiko Style defined in 1967, but its heritage is combined with a contemporary approach that pushes the brand forward, embodying Kintaro Hattori’s motto, “Always one step ahead of the rest.”
Case: Stainless steel
Dimensions: 40mm in diameter x 11.8mm in thickness x 47.6mm in length x 22mm lug width
Movement: 9RA2 Spring Drive
Availability: Limited edition of 2,021 watches; available at Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected retail stores worldwide on December 2021