SLGA021 is the latest Grand Seiko watch borrowing from Lake Suwa. Looking upon the dial, one immediately recalls gently lapping waves wafting over wind-swept water. This “Lake Suwa” pattern was initially seen in 2021’s SLGA007. For SLGA021, it is finished in a deep blue that reads nearly black in lower light settings, capturing the look of Lake Suwa just before dawn. Against this dark base are broad markers and hands, all faceted and beautifully finished to emphasize clarity, beauty, and overall legibility.
Press Release information with commentary in italics.
New: Grand Seiko SLGA021
Expanding the Evolution 9 SLGA collection, Grand Seiko has announced the new SLGA021 spring drive Lake Suwa before dawn. While similar to the earlier SLGA007, also named Lake Suwa, the newer model is a regular production model with a darker blue dial. The earlier model is limited to 2021 pieces and priced at US$8700 vs the newer model at US$9,100. Apart from the dial color, the GS logo and seconds hand is now in a silver tone rather than the contrasting gold in the earlier model.
The SLGA021 will be available from Feb 2023.
To the southeast of the Shinshu Watch Studio, where Spring Drive watches are made, one will find the gently lapping waters of Lake Suwa, a constant inspiration for Grand Seiko. Take, for example, the dial of the Spring Drive SLGA021, which evokes the surface of this very body of water.
When one looks upon it, they can’t help but see gentle waves wafting over the wind-swept lake in the pre-dawn stillness. And like a gentle wind on an otherwise tranquil body of water, the dark blue color manifests differently depending on the angle at which light catches it.
The stainless steel case measures 40mm in diameter, 11.8mm in thickness, and 47.6mm in length from the lug to lug. The overall form features a lower profile and center of gravity, ensuring a comfortable fit that considers how the case lays against the wrist and the weight distribution.
The faceted mid-case has broad lugs and a distinct geometry that takes full advantage of Grand Seiko’s Zaratsu polishing and hairline finishing. This contrast in finishing, which can be seen directly along the lugs and bezel, brings the design to life with its dynamic light play. It takes a tremendous level of skill to attain such a high level of finish on a design as complex as this, and it is something that can only be executed by hand.
The bracelet features a five-link design, integrated beautifully against the 22mm lugs. This wider bracelet – which tapers down at the clasp – further contributes to on-wrist stability and the overall contemporary look of the case.
Inside the watch is Grand Seiko Caliber 9RA2, a Spring Drive movement with a 120-hour (5 days) power reserve and an improved accuracy of ±0.5 seconds per day, or ±10 seconds per month. Unlike most Grand Seiko Spring Drive movements, 9RA2 takes the power-reserve indicator off the dial and moves it to the case back side of the watch.
Numerous innovations in the development of Grand Seiko’s 9RA series of movements allowed for an overall slimmer form, here at 5mm. Using dual-size barrels on the same plane makes the extended power reserve possible while keeping the movement thin by making use of the dead space that would occur if the barrels were the same size. Furthermore, the Offset Magic Lever, positioned beneath the rotor, shaves another 0.8mm off the movement’s height. Lastly, the gear train was redesigned to fit along the central horizontal axis and stabilized with a one-piece center bridge.
Due to this state-of-the-art Spring Drive caliber, the seconds hand glides across the SLGA021’s textured blue dial with the natural flow of time, evoking a placid lake stirred by an early breeze. This latest iteration of “Lake Suwa” in the Evolution 9 Collection will become available at Grand Seiko Boutiques and select retail partners starting in February at the price of $9,100.