2018 is a big one for Seiko and Grand Seiko. We’re talking 4 Anniversaries, new breakthroughs, new dials, new materials and whole lotta Japanese love. Seiko practically changed the game back in the 1960s and 2018 seems to be a recap of the same, courtesy their new releases. Following Seiko’s official press conference and of course our extensive product presentation with the boys at Seiko Australia which practically lasted an hour, we present to you our top Seiko and Grand Seiko releases at Baselworld 2018.
Shippo Enamel Limited Edition
The 2018 Presage collection is a vivid demonstration of Seiko’s ability to explore new avenues. Shippo is a particular type of enamel that was developed in Japan in the 17th century. Its main difference from porcelain enamel lies in the way it is polished after firing, a process that is particularly challenging on a watch dial that is no more than 1 mm high. The dial on this new Presage creation is in a deep blue that mirrors the color of the ocean. Seiko proudly shows its respect to the role of the ocean in shaping Japanese traditions in the Presage Shippo Enamel Limited Edition. The deep, long-lasting blue of the enamel reflects the everlasting blue color of the seas around Japan and the dial pattern echoes the continuous motion of the waves that break on our shores. The new Shippo Enamel Limited Edition is offered in a 40.6mm stainless steel case and limited to 2,500 pieces each. Choose between an Automatic and an Automatic with Power reserve Indicator model.
The Presage Shippo enamel dial is made by Ando Cloisonne, a specialist manufacturer in Nagoya with over 100 years of history. Craftsman Wataru Totani paints the glaze by hand onto the surface of the dial. To ensure that the dials comply with Seiko’s high ecological and safety standards as well as the EU’s RoHS Directive, he uses a lead-free glaze specially developed for these watches. The dial is then fired at 800 degrees Celsius. The painting and firing processes are repeated several times to ensure the evenness of the enamel. Only when Totani is completely satisfied is the dial polished so that the delicate pattern emerges and a perfect, smooth surface is achieved.
Yakushima Inspired 1968 Automatic Diver’s Commemorative Limited Edition
Inspired by ancient cedar trees on the island of Yakushima at the southern end of the Japanese archipelago, the signature feature of this limited edition release is the deep green color of the dial and bezel. In addition to being a World Natural Heritage Site, Yakushima is a much loved destination for the diving community, thanks to its crystal clear waters, coral reefs and abundant marine life. Durability and strength are the watchwords; the zirconia ceramic bezel is highly resistant to scratches and shocks, the 44.3mm stainless steel case has a super-hard coating and the sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating both inside and out. The 5, 10, 15 and 20 minute markers on the bezel are painted with a specially powerful Lumibrite to increase the legibility of the rotating bezel. In addition to the steel bracelet, a high strength silicone strap also accompanies the watch. Limited to 1968 pieces.
1978 Quartz Saturation Diver’s Recreation Limited Edition
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Seiko’s invention of the world’s first professional quartz diver’s watch, this landmark timepiece is faithfully recreated in design but re-invented with Seiko’s latest technology and materials. The case construction and dial layout are loyal to the original, as are the unique hour markers and the crown, while the water resistance has been increased to 1,000m. The outer case material is zirconia ceramic which is seven times harder than steel protecting the case from shock. It features all the innovations that Seiko brought to diver’s watches in the 1970’s, including the double layer construction with one piece inner case, the L-shaped gasket for helium resistance and the accordion-style strap. This new commemorative version is offered with a high-strength silicone strap for enhanced wearability both outside a wetsuit and directly on the wrist. Seiko has fitted this watch with Caliber 7C46 which is accurate to +/- 15 seconds per month.
Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 V.F.A (Very Fine Adjusted)
After the launch of the very first Grand Seiko watch in 1960, the creation of the 9S mechanical caliber in 1998 was perhaps the most important moment in the history of Grand Seiko. The 9S caliber was entirely new and designed from scratch to deliver the high precision and excellent durability for which Grand Seiko was renowned.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this caliber, the Grand Seiko team has created a series of three limited edition timepieces, each of which, in different ways, pays homage to the high precision that caliber 9S achieves.
V.F.A in Grand Seiko Terminology simply means Very Fine Adjusted. First used in 1969, it defined a Grand Seiko watch that was adjusted so skillfully that it achieved a precision rate far in excess of the Grand Seiko Standard. This new 2018 creation proudly carries on the V.F.A. tradition thanks to the extraordinary precision rate of its 9S85 Hi-Beat 36000 caliber, +3 to -1 seconds per day, a level achieved by the highest level of adjustment and a testing program extended to 34 days. The watch is offered in a 39.5mm platinum 950 case which is a new interpretation of the most widely admired Grand Seiko design, created by Nobuhiro Kosugi, the designer of the first 9S watch in 1998.
Two surfaces of Zaratsu polishing extend to the very edge of the lug where these curved surfaces meet the hairline finish to create a perfect triangle that only the most skilled Grand Seiko craftsmen and women can achieve. The dial, too, is exceptional; its design incorporates the special mark that was used to designate the watches made by the team at Daini Seikosha, the company now known as Seiko Instruments Inc., which developed its first Grand Seiko hi-beat watch in 1968, 50 years ago this year. This long-remembered mark alternates with the GS initials in a delicate mosaic that radiates out from the center of the dial in a geometric pattern.
The watch is limited to 20 pieces and has a power reserve of 55 hours.
This Gold and Steel model also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the 9S caliber. It shares the same case design as the V.F.A. creation, the same caliber 9S85 and the same dial design. The gold version, however, is adjusted to the Grand Seiko Special standard and offers a precision rate of +4 to -2 seconds per day. As with the V.F.A. version, the oscillating weight carries the Grand Seiko lion emblem in 18k gold as a symbol of the enhanced accuracy. Limited to 150 pieces with a power reserve of 55 hours.
Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-beat GMT “Special” Limited Edition
This new Ceramic Hi-Beat limited edition speaks of both the past and the future and does so in the spirit of the 9S caliber that it celebrates. The inner case and outer bracelet links are crafted from the very light high intensity titanium. The outer case and the center links of the bracelet are made of the new Grand Seiko blue zirconia ceramic, a material that is seven times harder than stainless steel so that the watch is virtually impervious to scratches. Behind the sapphire case back, titanium and tungsten combine in the oscillating weight to resist distortion even when the watch is subjected to shock. The titanium section of the weight is treated with an anodic oxidation* process that creates a new, rich and vivid blue that complements the Grand Seiko blue of the ceramic and the dial. In its use of these advanced materials, this remarkable watch echoes and celebrates the advanced watchmaking that made possible the first 9S caliber twenty years ago. It boasts a 55 hour power reserve.
Its performance is as remarkable as its construction. The hi-beat movement has been specially adjusted to the Grand Seiko “Special” standard and offers a precision rate of +4 to -2 seconds per day, a level even higher than the Grand Seiko standard itself. The “SPECIAL” mark on the dial and the 18k rose gold Grand Seiko lion insert in the oscillating weight bear witness to this high precision achievement.
This watch is offered in a limited edition of 350 and will be available in July 2018 at the Grand Seiko and Seiko boutiques worldwide as well as at other selected Grand Seiko retailers.