Over the many years covering watches, we have seen quite a fair number of water/sea inspired dials but the new Grand Seiko Heritage Collection SLGA007 has one of the best we have ever seen. Through its past couple of launches, we have seen several interesting dial designs from Grand Seiko taking ‘Nature of Time’ inspiration quite literally. This gorgeous dial was inspired by the gentle sway of Lake Suwa’s surface, which many of the watchmakers pass on their way to the newly opened Shinshu Watch Studio in the Iwate Prefecture, Japan.
Just like the real thing, the tiny ripples on the dial’s surface will also catch the light in different ways as you move your wrist creating the effect of a shimmering lake. Combine that with the Grand Seiko insignia that was created in a gold shade that mimics the rising sun and you’ve got yourself one hell of a dial.
The SLGA007 is also special because it is the first watch to offer a brand-new automatic winding spring drive movement from Grand Seiko – The Calibre 9RA2. For those unfamiliar with Spring Drive, it is Grand Seiko’s proprietary technology that combines all the emotional appeal of a mechanical movement with an electronic regulating organ. You can learn more about the movement and how it works here, but without going into too much detail, one of the most visible differences of this movement is the smooth sweep of the seconds hand.
The Calibre 9RA2 is a big deal when it comes to Spring Drive movements if you consider the fact that its predecessor, the 9R65, was launched 17 years ago. And as with most modern mechanical movements, it strives to be thinner and more efficient in its design. The 9RA2 is 14 per cent thinner to be exact and works with a few design elements in the case to make the SLGA007 feel incredible on the wrist.
Aesthetically, the vertical distance between each of the hands was compressed down to make for an even more compact form factor. And this, Grand Seiko says makes it easier to read time as you look at your watch from an angle. They also subtly shifted the position of the crown further back to lower the centre of gravity. This makes the watch feel less bulky on the wrist the same way a backpack feels lighter when the load is strapped closer to your back. Another subtle detail that comes with the thinner movement is the date wheel now sits much closer to the date window eliminating any unnecessary shadows. The power reserve indicator has also been shifted to the back making for a cleaner, purer dial.
Additionally, the 9RA2 now uses a one-piece centre bridge giving the movement more rigidity, but the downside is that it obstructs slightly the view of the incredible spinning gear of the spring drive movement. Also, the movement is now finished with a matter surface inspired by Shinshu’s gentle frost that covers the trees in the early winter. In terms of performance, the watch offers an accuracy of ±10 seconds monthly and now features an additional temperature sensor that collects data and compensates for variations in the oscillator’s performance.
The Grand Seiko Heritage Collection SLGA007 is part of the brand’s 140th-anniversary celebrations and will be a limited edition of 2021 pieces.