Grand Seiko has a history of taking inspiration from nature and applying these influences in its timepieces. In the past year alone, we have seen the Grand Seiko Ref. SBGR321, which celebrates the morning sky over Japan’s Mt. Iwate, and before that the Grand Seiko Toge Special Edition, recalling mountain passes through the slopes of the same mountain, to name just two of several examples. Today, we look at the latest nature-inspired piece from the luxury watchmaker, the new Heritage Hi-Beat “White Birch” ref. SLGH005
As its name indicates, the watch takes its foremost inspiration from the white birch tree forests which grow adjacent to the Grand Seiko Studio in Shizukuishi, Japan. According to the brand, white birch trees grow in abundance in this region, standing beautifully and mysteriously through each season, shimmering in each morning light and providing a glowing silhouette for each evening dusk. Grand Seiko’s ever-creative watch designers used this stately background as the template for the new model’s white-birch-patterned dial.
The watch’s 40-mm-diameter steel case is 11.7 mm thick and is finished, like all its brethren in the collection, in Grand Seiko’s signature “Zaratsu” style, with super-sharp alternating brushed and mirror polished surfaces. The shape of the case is relatively new, introduced by the brand specifically for its Heritage collection and dubbed the “Series 9” style. Among its unique traits, the Series 9 case design features wider lugs, a low center of gravity to sit tighter to the wrist, and a flat-topped, brushed bezel surrounding the dial.
The “White Birch” dial, with its tree-bark-inspired texture, is covered by a vintage-influenced, box-shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. Dials in the Series 9 style feature a more modern set of traditional dauphine hands, matched up with grooved, applied hour markers. Additionally, the outer edge of the dial has a curved minute ring punctuated at each 5-minute position. A steel-outlined date indicator is found at the 3 o’clock position, a partially-applied Grand Seiko logo occupies a spot atop the dial, and a simple blued steel seconds hand accompanies the Series 9 hour and minute hands.
Inside the SLGH005 is the Grand Seiko Caliber 9SA5, one of the Japanese watch maison’s “hi-beat” movements, produced in-house. Introduced in 2020, this automatic caliber is one of the brand’s most prestigious, offering a high frequency of 36,000 vph, 47 jewels, a very impressive power reserve of 80-hours, and an accuracy of +5/-3 seconds per day. Protected via a sapphire caseback that lends the watch a 100-meter water resistance, the movement is exquisitely decorated and topped with a skeletonized rotor.
The Grand Seiko Heritage Hi-Beat “White Birch” Ref. SLGH005 comes standard on a stylised three-link steel bracelet. Priced at $9,100, it is available now via authorised boutiques globally.