Nowadays, Grand Seiko’s reputation needs no introduction. The brand’s standards are among the toughest, with innovative and reliable calibres that offer outstanding accuracy, meticulous assembly and impeccable finishes. But using its Heritage and Elegance versions, and even more so with all the Sport lineup, Grand Seiko is better known for the men’s timepieces. There’s no getting round the fact that its women’s watches enjoy much less visibility.
Can Baselworld 2019 mark the start of a new direction for Grand Seiko, with a renewed push to attract female customers? The amount of versions for women unveiled this spring in Basel would certainly point in that direction. This past year, for its 20th anniversary of the Calibre 9S, Grand Seiko introduced just one girls’ watch at Baselworld.
Gold and steel
Any women who missed the chance to buy one of those will have yet another opportunity this year, as Grand Seiko has announced no fewer than five new versions. There’s a much wider selection, with watches in steel, in addition to yellow, white and pink gold, in different sizes. There’s also greater accessibility, because these are not limited editions. The pricing, which starts at EUR 5,400, is aimed at a broader audience.
Both steel versions come in a diameter of 27.8 mm, using a matching steel bracelet. The instances, finished to the high standard for which Grand Seiko is famous, are polished using the Zaratsu procedure, which generates clean edges and mirror-polished surfaces. Two dial choices are available: the first, in a silvery champagne color, is decorated with a weave pattern and 11 diamond markers (0.08 ct). At the 3 o’clock position is a window. The next dial, in mother-of-pearl, is punctuated with long, slim faceted markers. Both models share the same hour and minute hands with a central ridge and bevelled edges, and a blued steel seconds hand. These watches, perfect for everyday wear, are offered for between 5,400 and 5,800 euros.
Although the size difference isn’t immediately obvious, the 3 gold models are slightly larger, at 28.7 mm. Fitted with a crocodile leather strap, they possess the exact same mother-of-pearl dial carved using a diamond-inspired motif, over which sweep hands in the exact same colour as the case. There are diamonds put to the 12 indicators (according to the steel version, there’s no marker at 3 o’clock, but instead there’s a double index at 12), around the bezel (55 stones weighing a total of 0.73 ct) and on the crown.
New automatic calibre
Last but not least, these new ladies’ watches are driven by the automatic calibre 9S27, which is very much like the 9S25 calibre of 2018, and which compares favourably with the highly considered movements inside the men’s Grand Seiko watches. It incorporates the most innovative Grand Seiko technology, such as a balance spring made from Spron 610 alloy that is highly resistant to shocks and magnetism. The pallet, fairly flower-shaped escape wheel and precision parts are manufactured using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), making them very light and incredibly exact, with tolerances of one-thousandth of a millimetre. The 9S27 calibre, which measures just 4.49 mm deep, is entirely designed, constructed and adjusted by hand in the Grand Seiko workshops. It offers a precision of -3/+8 moments every day and a 50-hour power reserve. The movement finishes could be admired through the sapphire case back.