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Event Report: First person account of new releases: Couture Time 2018

Special report on the Grand Seiko Limited Edition for the USA.
by Peter Chong on June 7, 2018

Couture Time is a trade show specializing in designer fine jewellery and luxury. This year, the show was presented at Encore in Las Vegas, and we attended the show to bring you this report. With a special report on the US limited editions from Grand Seiko. Live from Las Vegas.

 

 

We attended the show as our Chief Editor was in the US for his family vacation, and we thought it will be a good idea to bring you a sneak peek of the Couture Time show.

 

The Exhibitors

A quick walkthrough of the show:

Corum was in a room within the general exhibition area.

 

 

We were given a peek at the latest Corum piece. The watch is so new that Corum is not yet been named except that it is the Admiral. We published the first photographs of this novelty on May 31 on our Instagram @Deployant. The complication is developed in collaboration with Frédéric Jouvenot. The hour markers rotate radially on the centrally mounted flags. On during the day, the bars show flags in the style of the Admiral. and in the evening, the markers flip to show the signature Corum skull and bones.

 

 

In another room, TAG Heuer was showing some vintage museum pieces together with the Baselworld novelties.

 

 

The general exhibition area where the smaller booths are, showing a view of Junghans, and Chronoswiss.

 

 

Grand Seiko

We receive a private invitation to Grand Seiko in one of the Villas:

 

 

Master Yoshifusa Nakazawa of the Micro Artisan Studio was in attendance. Nakazawa-san is a specialist in the studio who hand assembles the Credor watches by hand.

 

 

When we arrived, he was assembling the Eichi 2.

 

The 9R14 being assembled. We reviewed this watch in detail here.

 

We were also shown the special US Limited Editions by Brice Le Troadec, the Grand Seiko Brand President of USA, and Joe Kirk. The first limited edition Grand Seiko for the US market, and we were the first to publish this on our Instagram account @Deployant on the morning of May 31.

And were totally captivated by the new models. The case design is based on the 44GS, and the movement is the Spring Drive 9R. The overall aesthetic is similar to the Grand Seiko Snowflakes. With one important difference. Instead of a snowflake dial, it features a magnificent dial which plays with light in a very special way. The video shows this easier than more words…

 

 

Here is the most tantalising of the lot. Spring Drive Caliber 9R65 in a stainless steel case with an amazing baby ice dial.

 

 

The watches have not yet been given designations or reference numbers by Grand Seiko when we saw it, and Brice encouraged us to give it a nickname. We dub it the new “Starlight”, as the dial reminds us of the Ref. 6145-8030 shown below:

 

Reference 6145 Starlight, from the late 1960s. This watch is owned by our Chief Technical Elf.

 

The Ref 6145 is from the late 1960s and is delivered in the amazing dial and a hammered gold case. The movement used in the Starlight is the high beat movement. As mentioned, the new US LE will be fitted with the 9R Spring Drive movement.

The SS pieces with the blue dial is a limited edition of 300 pieces and intended to retail for between US$6500-US$7000. Each watch is delivered with a stainless steel bracelet and two straps.

Also announced and shown are the limited editions in rose gold (50 pieces) and in platinum (20 pieces). The movement on the precious metal cased watches will be the higher accuracy 9R15, while the 9R65 is fitted on the SS versions.

In platinum, the same textured dial in a rhodium/silvery colour.

 

 

The Grand Seiko Caliber 9R15, shown here in the display back of the new LE in rose gold.

 

The medallion on the rotor signifies that this is not the regular 9R65 movement but the higher tuned 9R15.

 

Concluding thoughts of the show

Overall it was a rather manageable show. It was not as large and comprehensive as Baselworld or SIHH, but it certainly packs an interesting punch, especially for the US market.

Several brands released new pieces, and we found at least 2 which were so new when we got our hands on session that the watches did not yet have names. The Corum Admiral and the Grand Seiko are two of those. We also managed to have a quick hands-on with the new Chronoswiss Bitcoin watch (news release soon).

We were most impressed by the efforts made by Grand Seiko. This gives us good confidence that Grand Seiko is serious about this market and intends to make a powerful impact with their quietly beautiful watches. A long way since they started tentatively on their journey some 8 years ago. A story we are intimately familiar with. We wrote an article for Chronos Japan on the rise of Grand Seiko which is found here.

 

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