2021 is the 140th Anniversary of Seiko, and with the celebrations, we see numerous new releases dedicated to it. This latest release is targeted at the top end of the market and celebrates the ever changing, yet eternal nature of the night sky. Introducing the Micro Artist Studio production – the new Grand Seiko SBGZ007.
Press Release information with commentary in italics
As mentioned, we expect to be seeing a slew of new Seiko and Grand Seiko Releases dotting the calendar. As early as December 2020, we already saw the release of the Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary & Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Editions. And earlier 2021, the release of the 5 Seiko watches in the Prospex (3 watches), Presage and Astron series.
For June, the new release is the Grand Seiko SBGZ007, a watch targeted at the very high end of the marketplace. This crown is normally worn by the Credor Eichi series over the last few decades, but more recently it has been shared with top of the line Grand Seiko watches produced by the Micro Artist Studio. An example of this is the SBGD 001. Seiko signals this top tier ambition by making the watches by the Micro Artists, but also in the platinum casing and premium pricing. In the case of this new SBGZ007, it tips the scale at EUR 80k.
The new SGBZ007 shares quite a bit with the Kentaro Hattori SGBZ005. Both are crafted in a platinum case. While the Tribute piece uses a respectful and very classically inspired case, the SGBZ007 is a bit more adventurous with the engraved case. Both watches offer a special dial, the SGBZ005 is a sober monotone silver on silver design for the dial, indices and hands with a radiating pattern in a geometric motif of differing depths. This dial also sports the Seiko Star, a symbol to denote that the indices are made of solid gold, a practice that has been in use since the 1960s. While the SBGZ007 has a deep blue dial which is made with a special process by combining stamping, plating and painting to give the dial an organic vibe and a different look and feel at every viewing angle. This dial is inspired by the skies over Achi, a village in Japan’s Shinshu region known for spectacular night skies. The blue dial is also blessed with the Seiko Star.
Both watches utilize the top of the line Spring Drive Caliber 9R02 which is adjusted and regulated to an impressive ± 1 second per day. We can expect to see superb finishing on the hand wound movement as well as spectacular work on the case, dial and hands.
The SGBZ007 is also a limited edition of 50 pieces only. A considerably restraint notably small limitation, given Japanese norms for such.
Introducing the Grand Seiko SBGZ007, 140th Anniversary Limited Edition in platinum
Retail price is set at EUR 80,000.
High up in the mountains of the southern part of Japan’s Shinshu region is Achi, a village that is famous for its spectacular night skies. Thanks to its high elevation, its remoteness and the crisp cleanliness of its air, the stars above Achi seem almost within touching distance and the immensity of the universe is brought into the sharpest focus. With its platinum case and with
the glide motion seconds hand that moves silently and continuously across the deep blue, starspeckled dial, this new Grand Seiko masterpiece brings to life both the majesty of the heavens and the ever-changing and yet eternal nature of time itself.
When the Spring Drive manual-winding caliber 9R02 was first presented in 2019 to mark the 20th anniversary of Spring Drive, it won favor among watch enthusiasts worldwide for its delicate yet understated refinement. With its hand-crafted quality and with the glide motion seconds hand that is the signature of Spring Drive, it exemplified Grand Seiko’s uniquely Japanese sensibility.
Today, in celebration of the 140th anniversary of the foundation of the company, Grand Seiko presents a new Spring Drive masterpiece powered by this caliber and made by the elite team of watchmakers at the Micro Artist Studio in Grand Seiko’s manufacturing facility in Shiojiri, located in the same Shinshu region as Achi. The watch will be available as a limited edition of 50 at the Grand Seiko Boutiques in August 2021.
The blue of the dial has a remarkable depth that is accentuated by the quiet and delicate sparkle of what appear to be distant stars. A unique manufacturing and finishing technique combining stamping, plating and painting gives the dial a different aspect at each and every viewing angle, just as does the sky above Achi. The Platinum 950 case is carefully engraved with a pattern which is replicated in different directions on the Zaratsu polished case, again capturing the exquisite order and ever changing aspect of Achi’s starry skies.
The watch presents a refined and slim profile with a diameter of 38.5mm and depth of 9.8mm. The hour and minute hands and hour markers are made of 14k white gold to ensure that their brilliance endures for decades. The Grand Seiko name, the minute markers and all the other markings are etched into the dial.
Every aspect of the movement is designed without compromise. The power reserve indicator is on the back side of the movement next to the barrel whose shape echoes that of the bellflower that is the symbol of Shiojiri. The rims of the bridges, the holes for the rubies and the screws are all expertly hand polished to a perfect mirror finish and the tempered blue screws stand out in contrast to the hairline finish of the bridges to heighten the perception of the perfection of the engineering. The caliber also incorporates an 18k yellow gold plaque on the lower bridge, which carries the engraved words “Micro Artist” but which can, if the owner so wishes, be replaced with a word of his or her choice.
The movement is assembled and adjusted by the craftsmen and women in the studio including Katsumi Nakata, who has been recognized as a Contemporary Master Craftsman and is now the third member of the Micro Artist Studio team to have received the Medal with Yellow Ribbon from the Japanese government.
The outstanding 84 hour power reserve of Caliber 9R02 is realized thanks to the Dual Spring Barrel, in which two mainsprings are set in parallel within a single barrel, and the Torque Return System. When the mainspring has been fully wound and the torque output is at its highest, approximately 30% of the available power is not needed to maintain the precision of the watch and is in effect wasted in a normal movement. The Torque Return System uses this energy to rewind the mainspring, resulting in an increase in the power reserve. In Caliber 9R02, this system is activated for 48 hours after the mainspring has been fully wound.
Grand Seiko SBGZ007 Masterpiece Collection Seiko 140th Anniversary Specifications
Limited Edition of 50
Driving system: manual-winding Spring Drive
Power reserve: 84 hours
Accuracy: ± 1 second per day (± 15 seconds per month)
Dual-Spring Barrel and Torque Return System
Power reserve indicator
Number of jewels: 39
Platinum 950 case and clasp
Dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
See-through screw case back
Water resistance: 3 bar
Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m
Diameter: 38.5mm, Thickness: 9.8mm
Crocodile strap with three-fold clasp with push button release
Approximate recommended retail price in Europe: €80,000