When Seiko created the world’s most accurate watch movement, the technological marvel they constructed almost spelled the end for the Swiss watch industry. Cheaper than yet infinitely more precise than the best regulated mechanical timepieces of the era, it would have been easy to dismiss the nascent Quartz movement as a purely commercial, money-making enterprise, however, the critics would be wrong. Today, Grand Seiko makes some of the most accurate, immaculately decorated quartz-powered watches on the market.
Yes, there are “cheap” quartz watches but Grand Seiko timepieces bearing the Caliber 9F, are not among them. Commemorating its 140th anniversary, the brand is releasing a series of new GMT models in its Sport Collection, casting light on the immense dedication to practicing the utmost levels of watchmaking techniques and artisanship in what Grand Seiko’s President Aiko Naito calls “道” (dao) in a previous interview.
道 is the Quintessential Essence of Grand Seiko
“道” is a fundamental philosophy referring to a tradition and the transmission of the values of that tradition throughout the history and belief systems of the people who follow it and it says much that Grand Seiko is showcasing a quartz-powered watch alongside its popular mechanical cousins like the Spring Drive Chronograph limited editions.
During this monumental occasion, three new watches are joining Grand Seiko’s collection of quartz GMTs: The SBGN019, SBGN021, and SBGN023 – all powered by the 9F86 movement. It’s hard to imagine, but despite being almost 30 years old, the 9F series is still one of the finest movement series in its class; demonstrating robust qualities and utilising specially selected, thermally compensated Quartz crystals to achieve unprecedented precision of ‒10 to +10 seconds per year for serially produced high-precision quartz timepieces.
140th anniversary limited edition Grand Seiko Sport Collection Quartz GMT SBGN023
Codified in the mid 1960s, the “Grammar of Design” aesthetic has been a recurring leitmotif in Grand Seiko design. Angular, faceted, highly polished contrasting satin-brushed aesthetic has come to define the Japanese brand in contrast to its competitors in Europe. The brand’s latest releases with showcasing ceramic bezels, a new sharply faceted case, and exacting finishing, are emblematic of this design philosophy: Where previous generations of the 9F86 featured sporty aesthetics, the latest run of Grand Seiko 9F86 GMT models including the Grand Seiko SBGN019, the Grand Seiko SBGN021, and the Grand Seiko SBGN023 140th Anniversary Limited Edition, retain its overall sporty feel but adds a more refined and dressy outlook.
The 140th anniversary limited edition SBGN023 in particular quickens the heart. Exhibiting a jet black polished ceramic bezel and signature Zaratsu polishing, the fine “sun-ray” guilloche dial is remarkably eye catching thanks to its sword hands, gold GMT indicator and faceted applied hour indexes endowed with luminous material.
The 9F series debuted in 1993, and almost 30 years on, the Grand Seiko Sport Collection Quartz GMT stands as an exemplary icon as the world’s standard for precision quartz watchmaking – features like a backlash auto-adjust mechanism, allow high precision quartz watches from Grand Seiko to avoid the typical shudder than accompanies your run-of-the-mill seconds hand as it “ticks” from second to second. The motion you see here is precise and controlled, like a skilled samurai hitting his marks. A high-torque stepping motor also operates the sword hands, adjusted accurately, you’ll never find the indicators “in-between” minutes, they land exactly at the time they’re supposed to indicate, at 4 ‘o clock the instant date mechanism is also timekeeping ballet as the date switches precisely at midnight.
The Grand Seiko Sport Collection Quartz GMT and its limited edition anniversary cousin is a sports watch and more. Typically, one expects 200 metres resistance from a regular sports watch but with magnetic resistance of 200 Gauss and its undeniably sophisticated design, the Grand Seiko Quartz GMT is just more than “just a sports GMT”, it’s your everyday, all occasion timepiece.