Early this spring Grand Seiko introduced the Ref. SLGH002 — a limited edition of 100 pieces cased in 18K yellow gold and featuring a new haute horology movement — to celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary. The movement, with a new escapement that riffs on the direct impulse escapement, represents the next generation of Grand Seiko’s high-beat calibres and now makes an appearance in a more accessible (well, relatively speaking) steel cased-version. Without further ado, here is the new Grand Seiko Ref. SLGH003 limited edition.
The star of the show is, of course, the new Calibre 9AS5. It features a new escapement wherein the escape wheel transmits power directly to the balance eschewing the lever escapement of conventional movements. However, unlike the co-axial escapement, the direct impulse happens only in one direction of the balance wheel’s motion. When the balance wheel moves in the opposite direction, it transmits the impulse through a pallet fork like in traditional movements. Grand Seiko calls this a Dual Escapement. The result is greater energy efficiency and reduces the wear and tear of parts used in the watch’s regulation organ.
The balance wheel also uses an overcoil hairspring as opposed to the more conventional flatspring. The big benefit to the user here is isochronism and better resistance to shock and friction. Calibre 9AS5 is also 15 percent slimmer than existing in-house high beat movements, thanks to the innovative horizontal layout of the barrel and gear trains. The movement has a precision rate of +5 to –3 seconds a day and a power reserve of 80 hours. As you would expect from Grand Seiko, the movement is hand-finished to a very high standard.
The design of the steel Ref. SLGH003 is identical to that of the yellow gold Ref. SLGH002. It has wide lugs and the case is fitted with a box-shaped sapphire crystal. While the majority of the case has a brushed finish, the wide faceted bezels feature mirror-polished sides. The “anniversary blue” dial has the Grand Seiko logo, facetted indexes and the characteristic dauphine hands, now redesigned just like in the SLGH002. The hour hand is wider now and has a groove running through the middle.
The watch is paired with a matching steel bracelet; the folding clasp has an 18k gold badge carrying the Grand Seiko initials. Limited to 100 pieces, the watch will be available from December this year and is priced at €10,000.