Grand Seiko has long been giving the Swiss a run for their money in the arena of watchmaking. Since 1960, the Japanese maker has strived to realise the ideals of precision, durability, beauty and ease of wear in its various timepieces. This philosophy continues today as Grand Seiko persists on improving on its watches and movements.
From mechanical marvels such as the Spring Drive movement to the impeccable dial work that the brand is famous for, Grand Seiko has taken full advantage of its time to carve out a rock-solid niche and an unmistakable identity. Its latest offering, the SLGH003 Hi-Beat 60th Anniversary LE, commemorates Grand Seiko’s 60th anniversary while also presenting its latest movement – the 9SA5 – in a steel-cased offering.
Something truly special
The limited-edition SLGH003 Hi-Beat 60th Anniversary LE adopts a more sporty guise and presents itself in a 40-millimetre steel case. Eye-catching Zaratsu polishing further highlights the watch’s clean geometric lines, extending to the bevelled lugs and three-link steel bracelet. Dial-wise, the SLGH003 Hi-Beat 60th Anniversary LE captivates with a blue-ish hue that comes radially-brushed, resulting in a slightly muted sunray effect. Contrasting elements come by way of a red seconds hand as well as a gold signature and marque, which serve as points of visual interest. Meanwhile, bold multi-faceted hour indices catch ample light to assist with legibility, as do the broad angular handset.
Powering the SLGH003 Hi-Beat 60th Anniversary LE is Grand Seiko’s latest hi-beat calibre, the chronometer-certified 9SA5. This new movement brings several innovations to the table, the most notable being a dual-impulse escapement. A typical lever escapement sees the escape wheel impulsing the balance wheel indirectly via the pallet fork. Grand Seiko’s dual-impulse design employs a starfish-like escape wheel that contributes an indirect impulse of the balance wheel’s counter-clockwise oscillation and a direct impulse (via the balance roller) during clockwise oscillation.
Aside from increased energy efficiency, the new design also limits the sliding friction up to when the balance wheel is impulsed in one direction (counter-clockwise). As a result, the 9SA5 achieves greater long-term rate stability. It also translates to less wear over time ﾐ a common concern with most hi-beat movements.
Personifying Grand Seiko
The mantra “execution is key” is often repeated within horological circles. Yet, few brands embody this as well as Grand Seiko. Limited to 1,000 releases, the SLGH003 Hi-Beat 60th Anniversary LE is a perfect example of the brand’s classic appeal: timeless design, mechanical ingenuity and attention to detail.