Grand Seiko Heritage Series 9 Gets 2 Additions: The SLGH007 & SLGH005
Before we start on the new collection that Grand Seiko has named the Heritage Series 9, we must first speak about the brand’s 60th anniversary last year, and a remarkable movement that was launched for the occasion. A new high beat movement was introduced with the intention of it serving as a foundation for Grand Seiko’s coming generation of watches, the Caliber 9SA5 Hi-Beat 36000.
Grand Seiko told the world that the Caliber 9SA5 measures in at a thickness that is 15% less than Hi-Beat Calibres that are presently in production. They managed to do this by using a new approach to their gear train layout, which has all of the components laid out on a single horizontal plane. Its barrels are in series followed by the wheels, again in series, and finally the escapement assembly. From barrel to escapement, every component relates to one another in series, with nothing that receives power by transmission type gearing.
The next innovation in the movement comes courtesy of a brand-new escapement design. The new mechanism allows for the escapement wheel to directly transmit power to the balance wheel. But there is still a traditional pallet and fork assembly. So what happens is that when the escapement wheel spins in one direction, it hits the balance wheel directly and when it spins in the opposite direction it gives impulse to the pallet fork.
The pallet fork and escapement wheel are made using MEMS technology, which includes specific notches onto the components where lubricants are better held and for longer. Therein, making the Caliber 9SA5 Hi-Beat 36000 not only a more efficient movement, but also one that will require maintenance less often.
Summing up the Caliber 9SA5 Hi-Beat 36000’s list of innovations is a new free-sprung balance developed for this calibre. Preceding Hi-Beat movements used flat hairsprings, while the 9SA5’s hairspring includes an overcoil, the shape of which was engineered after having put initial prototypes through 80,000 simulations.
“The finishing on the caliber nine, a five is inspired by the ripples of the Shizukuishi River, near the Grand Seiko Studio,” shared Director, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Akio Naito at the Grand Seiko 2021 Summit, held digitally. The nature inspired movement has now been amplified in 2021, with dials that draw from the very same spirit.
“The Japanese affinity for and respect for the natural environment, also lies at the heart of every Grand Seiko. Our view of the nature of time is expressed in the precision of its [Grand Seiko] movements and in the artistic design of each piece,” said Naito-san.
Heritage Collection Series 9 SLGH005
With this in mind, Grand Seiko announced that the brand has created a new family, the Heritage Collection Series 9, which will be powered by the groundbreaking calibre 9SA5. The first watch to be added to this Collection Series 9, showcased at the Summit, is a watch that was launched a little earlier in February 2021: the Heritage Collection Series 9 SLGH005. Said Naito-san, “This beautiful design was inspired by the profusion of white birch trees that grow near the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi in the northern part of Japan, where this watch is made. Throughout the seasons, that rows of tall, slender snow-white birches present a shimmering vista that is [all] at once, beautiful and mysterious.”
Naito-san went to share more about the new case and dial design of the SLGH005, which will define the Heritage Collection Series 9. He went on, “The series nine design was based on the Grand Seiko style defined back in 1967 with the celebrated 44GS. But this heritage is now combined with a contemporary feel that points towards a new era.
“It’s powerful hands and grooved prominent markers are designed to enhance Grand Seiko’s already excellent legibility. Zaratsu polished, distortion free mirror finish and the delicate hairline finish, open it, to give the case, a quiet, harmonious look even more prominent than the original Grand Seiko style design. This new design will be an important part of the Grand Seiko signature in the years to come.”
Technical Specifications: SLGH005
Self-winding Caliber no. 9SA5 with manual winding capacity; hours, minutes, running seconds; date; approx. 80-hour power reserve; mean daily rate +5 to -3 seconds per day; normal usage accuracy +8 to -1 seconds per day
Stainless steel; diameter: 40mm; thickness: 11.7mm; boxed sapphire crystal screw-down crown; see-through screw caseback; water-resistant to 100m
Stainless steel; Three-fold clasp with push button release
Availability & Pricing
Available in March 2021 at the Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected retail stores worldwide
Approximate recommended retail price in Europe: €9,500
Heritage Collection Series 9 SLGH007 — 140-piece Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition
Before we speak about the second watch to join the Heritage Collection Series 9, a disclaimer: IMHO, that black dial is drop dead gorgeous. Explaining the watch Naito-san shares, “We wanted to create something that expresses our long history and harkens back to our roots. What could better represent a living history than a dial design that captures the natural beauty of tree rings. As a series of organic rings show each year’s growth on a tree trunk, a series of delicate lines [on the dial of the watch], equals 140 years of our own growth.”
The Grand Seiko Heritage Collection Series 9 SLGH007 is a 40mm platinum timepiece powered by the Caliber 9SA5 Hi-Beat 36000 movement. The watch being in platinum and finished with Zaratsu polishing, means that a specially adapted polishing method had to be devised for the quality of end result that would be acceptable for the brand.
But all of the power under the hood aside, what will ultimately hold most people’s gaze is that dial. During the Q&A session following the Grand Seiko Summit, the question was asked as to how the dial on the Heritage Collection Series 9 SLGH007, and as well the Heritage Collection Series 9 SLGH005, are made. And the reply came from a Christopher, from the Marketing & Communications Office of Seiko Watch Corporation, who said, “They [the dial two dials in question] perfectly demonstrate the craftsmanship of Grand Seiko’s craftsmen and women. Both the white birch and tree ring inspired dials are made using a specially pressing process in which the dials’ original mould pattern is used to make all the other dials.”
He adds, “These mould patterns are painstakingly crafted to perfection by the craftsmen and women. Perhaps you know the internationally acclaimed Snowflake dial? The white birch and tree ring dial’s original mould pattern, and the painting, the plating and coating processes that follow are all made with very careful consideration, to make these dials seem very natural and organic.”
The Heritage Collection Series 9 SLGH007 will be made in limited run of 140 pieces and will be available at Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected Grand Seiko retailers worldwide in July 2021.
Self-winding Caliber no. 9SA5 with manual winding capacity; hours, minutes, running seconds; date; 80-hour power reserve; accuracy (mean daily rate): +5 to –3 seconds per day
40mm platinum 950 case; thickness: 11.7mm; boxed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating; see-through screw down caseback; water-resistant to 100m
Crocodile strap with platinum 950 three-fold clasp with push button release
Availability & Pricing
Available at Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected Grand Seiko retailers worldwide in July 2021; limited edition of 140 pieces
Approximate recommended retail price in Europe: €60,000