The Japanese powerhouse Seiko’s history began in 1881 when Kintaro Hattori opened his first shop in Ginza to repair and sell timepieces. Fast forward 30 years and his company in 1913 produced the very first wristwatch to be made in Japan: the Laurel.
After the creation of the Laurel timepiece, there were many advancements in the art of watchmaking. Each new watch creation bought with it more ideas and many achievements. One of these achievements was the first Grand Seiko watch created in 1960. This year is one of historical importance, as it marks the 110th anniversary of the release of the Laurel timepiece. This milestone is being celebrated by the brand with a series of commemorative timepieces, including a Grand Seiko limited edition that draws design inspiration from the brand’s extensive design and technological heritage.
This brand new limited edition model is a re-creation of the first Grand Seiko made in 1960. The original model’s standout characteristic was durability and longevity, which is the central theme behind this timepiece as well. The new Grand Seiko SBGW295 comes with a Brilliant Hard Titanium shell whilst still retaining all the elements of what made the original 1960 model so loved.
The watch comes in a 38mm Brilliant Hard Titanium case which offers a water resistance of 3 bar (30m). The dial is protected by a high-definition dual-curved sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. The dial is made from Urushi lacquer which is synonymous with traditional Japanese craft. Urushi lacquer can be traced all the way back to Japan’s Jomon Period (13, 100 BCE – 400 BCE). While Urushi lacquer is most commonly produced abroad, Grand Seiko has sourced the lacquer straight from Japan. Grand Seiko has also given its own treatment to the Urushi lacquer to prevent its colour from fading or changing over time.
The hour indices and Grand Seiko logo on the dial are also done with hand-applied lacquer. These beautiful elements were created by Urushi master Isshu Tamura in his studio in the city of Kanazawa (which translates to “marsh of gold”). The markers and logo were created by adding layer upon layer of lacquer to give them a three-dimensional profile. Therefore when you look at these elements on the dial, they don’t just look like simple two-dimensional applications but rather an elevated appearance. Creating these elements on the dial is certainly no easy task as requires incredible precision to the highest level. Producing it with such accuracy, especially on a curved surface is only something that can be done with a master’s touch.
Grand Seiko has given this anniversary limited edition the manually would Calibre 9S64 movement. The movement carries a slim profile which allows the timepiece to only be 10.9mm thick and works at an accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds a day. The movement operates at a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and gives out a fairly decent power reserve of 72 hours. This essentially means that the watch will need to be re-wound fully after three days of wear. Grand Seiko has given this SBGW295 an open case back, and even though much of the manual wound movement is covered, the beautiful finish on the plate can still be admired.
The Grand Seiko SBGW295 is offered with two leather straps. The first strap incorporates a traditional Japanese weaving technique called yoroiori which back in the day was used for making Samurai armor! To enhance the watch strap’s durability, a skilled artisan has interlaced thin strips of calf leather and fabric together. The second strap of choice is a leather which was chosen for its softness, comfort, and unique texture.
This new anniversary limited edition by Grand Seiko retains many elements from the first model released by the brand back in 1960, whilst incorporating new design elements, movement, and materials to give it a modern touch. The curved dial and Grand Seiko lettering are all faithful to the original, while the Urushi lacquer gives it the contemporary look. This masterful creation of an iconic timepiece is limited to 500 models and can be purchased through Grand Seiko boutiques and select retail partners worldwide from February 2023.
- Case: 38mm
- Case Material: Brilliant Hard Titanium case
- Dial: Urushi lacquer black dial with gold Urushi applications
- Crystal: High-definition dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
- Water resistance: 3 Bar (30m)
- Movement: Manual-wound Calibre 9S64
- Power reserve: 72 hours
- Bracelet/Strap: Leather/ frabic strap with three-fold Brilliant Hard Titanium clasp with push button release. Additional leather strap also included.