Grand Seiko has launched two new limited editions to mark the 25th anniversary of their superlative 9F quartz caliber. While the first pays homage to the 1993 original, the second one comes fitted with an exhibition caseback that showcases the splendor of the hand-finished movement.
Grand Seiko launched the Caliber 9F83, the first 9F caliber in 1993. This was no ordinary quartz movement. Five years in the making, it featured some major technology upgrades and was conceptualized by the Grand Seiko team in pursuit of the ‘ideal’ quartz watch – something that would be more precise, more durable and in keeping with the aesthetics of Grand Seiko.
The 9F base movement is equipped with a thermo-compensation mechanism that adjusts the watch’s rate in response to changes in ambient temperature. Ordinary quartz movements lose their precise ways in the face of such changes in temperature. While standard quartz watches are accurate to about +/-15 seconds per month, Grand Seiko quartz is good for +/-10 seconds per year. It also uses a special low-energy integrated circuit to lengthen the battery life (about three years).
Grand Seiko mechanical watches are known for its long, sword-shaped hands. However in a quartz watch, moving these heavy hands would be a drain on the battery life. So Seiko’s engineers developed a Twin Pulse Control Motor, which causes the seconds hand to make two jumps per second rather than one, as in a regular quartz movement. Smaller, more frequent jumps increases the output torque from the rotor enabling the fitting of the bold, easy-to-read hands that Grand Seiko used on the mechanical watches.
The calendar change was instantaneous and the durability and reliability was enhanced. Caliber 9F incorporated key innovations such as a backlash auto-adjust mechanism to eliminate any shuddering of the second hand, and a unique protective shield to minimize the risk of dust coming into contact with the gear train or stepping motor.
The first new limited edition (Ref SBGT241) pays homage to the 1993 original. Though the case and rice bead bracelet retain the soft contours of the original, the case size is now a more modern 39.1 mm and 10.9 mm thick. The Grand Seiko branding is now at the 12 o’clock position and a 5-pointed star at 6 0’ clock symbolizes the precision rate of +/- 5 seconds a year. The dial features a stamped recurring pattern based on the characters ‘GS9F’ and following the design of the traditional Quartz symbol. Above the five o’clock marker, the original ‘GS9F’ monogram has been replaced with a special ‘9F25’ design which commemorates 25th anniversary.
The closed caseback features the Grand Seiko lion emblem in 18k yellow gold. This watch is powered by the Grand Seiko Caliber 9F83. A limited edition of 1,500, it will be available in selected markets from April 2018 and is priced at $4,586.
The second limited edition (Ref. SBGV238) uses a 40 mm case that is inspired by the celebrated 44GS from 1967. It has an 18K yellow gold bezel, is 10 mm thick and is fitted with a sapphire crystal caseback. It has a gold toned dial that feature the GS9F pattern as seen in the Ref. SBGT241 and a date window at 3 o’ clock.
Thanks to the exhibition caseback, you can now see the finely finished Caliber 9F82, Tokyo stripes and all. It has a precision rate of +5/-5 seconds a year. Limited to just 600 pieces, Ref. SBGV238 will be available in May 2018 and is priced at $6,200.