The name of the watch may be the Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition, but perhaps what makes the SLGH003 much more interesting is the newly developed 9SA5 hidden within. This brand new offering from Grand Seiko was made to celebrate six decades since the founding of Grand Seiko and this limited edition piece is one of the first timepieces to use the 9SA5 hi-beat movement.
It took them nine years of research and development to create the 9SA5 and the result is a movement which they are calling “the finest mechanical calibre Grand Seiko has ever created.” As the name suggests, the calibre is one that is capable of beating at a high rate of 36000 vibrations per hour but the true innovation in its design comes in a few key concepts found within. It is a movement that has a precision rate of +5 to –3 seconds a day with a power reserve of 80 hours. And to top it all off, it is even 15 per cent slimmer than its predecessor thanks to the horizontal layout of the barrel and gear trains.
One of the interesting innovations within this movement is the dual impulse escapement system. Unlike the conventional escapement that transfers the energy to the balance spring through the pallet fork, Grand Seiko has broken down this energy transfer process into two parts, with one interaction through the pallet fork as usual while in the other direction, power is transmitted directly to the balance wheel. Technical jargon aside, this just means that with this new escapement design, the energy efficiency is increased tremendously thus allowing the watch to have a long power reserve of 80 hours.
Another interesting bit is the new free-sprung balance used in the Calibre 9SA5. A free-sprung balance is not exactly a new technology, but it is the first for a 9S series movement. The free-sprung design is more resistant to shock and friction and thanks to a uniquely shaped overcoil, the performance of the balance spring is also optimised in every possible position.
To house such an important piece of Grand Seiko’s watchmaking innovation, the watch they put it in must mirror this importance as well. Thus, the SLGH003 was designed based on the Grand Seiko Style that was defined back in 1967 with the celebrated 44GS. The modern rendition of this design language, however, sees the addition of a wider hour hand. This was done to accommodate a grooved track in the middle of the hands, which lines up to the same feature on the hour markers thus promoting better legibility. The blue dial is in the shade of blue familiar to Grand Seiko and of course, the stainless steel case is Zaratsu polished to perfection.
The Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition (SLGH003) is priced at USD 9,700 (Approx. MYR 40,410) and is limited to only 1,000 pieces worldwide.