Grand Seiko: Extreme Precision Timepieces From Japan

Nov 03, 2018
Precision and Design

Stemming from the well-known watch brand, Seiko, a line of high-functioning, elegant timepieces were born in 1960. Grand Seiko created a seamless integration of high-precision movements with the sleek elegance of luxury wristwatches. This was the reason behind placing the word “Grand” in front of the common Seiko brand. Over 50 years later, the ambiance that these watches radiate continues to captivate the senses of watch collectors around the world.

Pursuit of Japanese Beauty

Shade, shadow, and strong lines represent the three key elements that Grand Seiko embodies in each of their timepieces. The release of the original 44GS  in 1967 serves as the first model to embody the official Grand Seiko Style. They revamped this model in 2013 as a limited edition, featuring modernized case thickness, crystal, and a sharper three-dimensional form. However, the planes, straight lines, and case design remained unaltered. Above all, the casing on this watch is so high-polished that it gives off an undistorted, crystal-clear reflection.

Ultimate Mechanical Movement

Later, when the Daini Seikosha’s V.F.A. (Very Fine Adjusted) model was introduced, we recognize the manual winding movement of the Caliber 4580. Around the time of this release, precision trials and competitions enthralled watch enthusiasts. With a +5 to -3 seconds per day, Grand Seiko proved to be accurate 1/10,000th of the seconds in a day. In order to keep up with other watchmakers, Grand Seiko proved their dedication to precision by pushing the limits of supreme accuracy in their mechanical timepieces.

Quartz Watchmaking

Since it was the era of high-precision timepieces, Seiko released the world’s first quartz wristwatch! The Quartz Astron made a name for itself by changing the way the world told time. To illustrate, the hands of this masterpiece were longer and more narrow to enhance readability. Conversely, we recognize the classic sophistication and elegance of the thin casing to remain aligned with the well-known Grand Seiko style. The public was captivated by the rapid advancements in technology during this time. The Quartz Astron brought the innovative world into arms reach and the fascination of scientific advances continued to grow.

Re-Inventing Mechanical Movements

In honor of the brand’s 110th anniversary in 1991, they released a model called U.T.D. (Ultra Thin Dress). As a result, a new and refreshing generation of Grand Seiko mechanical calibers were born. In 1998, the SBGR001 was introduced, highlighting the brand new 9S caliber. This was the commencement of a new chapter in Grand Seiko history. Meeting a higher, more impressive precision standard, this watch went beyond the accepted global standards of accuracy.

Spring Drive is Born

A young engineer at Seiko Epson, named Yoshkazu Akahane, held onto a longtime dream of creating a hybrid of the best two timekeeping technologies. The goal was to perfect a watch that had the precision of a quartz movement without relying on a battery or any other natural power source. After about thirty of trials and errors, his dream came to fruition in the form of what is commonly known as Spring Drive. The Grand Seiko Spring Drive features an electronic regulator that controls a mechanical movement.

Beneficial Competition

There has always been a friendly competition between the two Grand Seiko factories, which on one hand created a few bumps in the road. On the other hand, this fueled both locations to improve and perfect their designs in a rivalry against each other. Thus, the performance, quality and technological scope widened drastically in a short amount of time. As a result, Grand Seiko became a leading competitor in the watchmaking industry.

Grand Seiko 10-Beat Movements

Not long after the release of the 9S mechanical movement, the engineers were striving to perfect an even higher accuracy and durability in their timepieces. In 2004, the idea of a new project was announced to construct a 10-beat movement that would outshine any watch Grand Seiko has ever created. Then came the birth of the Grand Seiko Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000. Not to mention, it was the first watch from the brand to demonstrate the 10-beat movement with the Caliber 9S85. It offers 55 hours of power reserve and has a precision of +5 to -3 seconds per day.


With such an impressive history and a number of technological breakthroughs, it’s no surprise that Grand Seiko was yearning to design a chronograph movement. Furthermore, such high-precision and legibility standards didn’t match up with the technology being used at the time. As a result, the company had to engineer a new technology that would allow a chronograph to meet their unfaltering standards. That’s when the first Grand Seiko luxury chronograph watch revealed itself.

Micro Artist Studio

In the facility that Grand Seiko quartz and Spring Drive timepieces were developed, a small studio was alotted to an elite team of the most skilled watchmakers. These engineers were designing watches that utilized the iconic Spring Drive technology. Going by the name of the “Micro Artist Studio,” it only took twelve years for the establishment to build a timepiece with a new caliber that featured a power reserve of eight days.  Not to mention this new wristwatch was accurate to 10 seconds per month.

Your Authorized Grand Seiko Dealer

Grand Seiko has gone through quite the journey to get themselves to the top of the watchmaking industry, where they reside today. Their determination and dedication to precision serve as the foundation of this elegant watch brand. Discover the world of Grand Seiko for yourself by visiting King Jewelers in Middle Tennessee or South Florida! For more information, feel free to give us a call or stop by our stores in Nashville and Miami.

Or come and hang out at Nashville’s 10th Annual Nashville Watch Fair from November 9th-17th at our location in Green Hills. Our elite team of watch experts is ready to answer any questions you may have!


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