In many cultures in East Asia the 60th birthday signifies new beginnings, a moment of rebirth. The Japanese embrace the tradition of Kanreki, which literally means your years completed in a circle and symbolises a return to the time you were born. And so it is for Grand Seiko too, the cult luxury Japanese watch brand that celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
Despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic this year, the brand has launched a clutch of new limited editions to mark the milestone and the emblematic blue of the brand was a common theme of most of these releases. The latest offering, a limited edition of just 2,500 pieces, the Ref. SBGR321 takes its inspiration from the brilliant blue sky over Mt. Iwate at dawn.
The picturesque landscape that surrounds Grand Seiko’s famed Shizukuishi studio in the Iwate Prefecture has often served as the inspiration for the brand’s watch designs. The deep red dial of the Ref. SBGJ021 was meant to evoke Mt. Iwate when kissed by the first rays of sunlight at dawn, the more recent SBGH283 was fitted with a green dial that pays homage to the verdant landscape around the studio. If you believe the PR spiel, the watch unveiled this week takes it cues from the deep blue morning sky which has a tinge of red – a sight that greets the watchmakers as they trot in to work every morning.
While the red tip of the central seconds hand really pops against the blue dial, the self-winding rotor is more evocative of the sky this watch is meant to represent. The titanium sections of the rotor have a glossy blue oxide film coating achieved through an anodic oxidation process. A red ring skirts the edges of the rotor, and the Grand Seiko lion logo and the 60th anniversary limited edition legend is printed in white on the blue bits. All in all, the business end of the watch makes for a pretty picture.
The watch uses a stainless steel case that’s 40-mm-wide and 13.0-mm-thick and is paired with a matching 5-link stainless steel bracelet with a threefold clasp and push-button release. Its beating heart is the Caliber 9S65, a self-winding movement with a power reserve of 70 hours. The 4 Hz movement (the balance wheel oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour) has an accuracy rate of +5 to –3 seconds per day. This watch will retail at €5,300 (Approx. AED 23,115) and will be available worldwide from October this year.