By Nancy Olson
Grand Seiko’s timepieces are as well respected for their aesthetics as they are for their utility, featuring memorable dials inspired by nature and the picturesque environs the Japanese company calls home. The new SLGH013 shown here, impelled by the pivotal 44GS from 1967, is the newest model within the Heritage Collection. Its subtly shaded dial is a handsome counterpoint to the notable mechanics that drive its functions. The watch is fitted with the latest Grand Seiko Hi-Beat movement, Caliber 9SA5, offering enhanced precision and 80 hours of power reserve.
Grand Seiko SLGH013
The 40mm watchcase and bracelet are crafted from Ever-Brilliant Steel, a high-grade metal that is known for its bright appearance and increased corrosion resistance. The luster of the Zaratsu-polished case enhances the tone of the light blue textured dial, which is designed to suggest melting snow on Mt. Iwate in Japan. This 2,038-meter peak overlooks the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi, where all Grand Seiko mechanical models are made.
Multi-faceted indexes and hour and minute hands decorate the dial, as does the deep blue of the central seconds hand; the date window is at 3 o’clock. The signature 12 o’clock index is twice as wide as the other indexes to make the time immediately legible from any angle. A screw-down crown helps ensure water resistance to 10 bar.
Grand Seiko Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 9SA5
The Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 9SA5, visible through the sapphire crystal caseback of the watch, was first introduced in 2020 after nine years in development. It incorporates several significant improvements, among them: a dual impulse escapement, free-sprung balance, and a horizontal gear train that sets a new standard in high-beat horology—all within a slim profile. Amazingly, given its new and enhanced proficiencies, the twin-barrel Caliber 9SA5 is slimmer than any existing Grand Seiko high-beat movement, allowing this watch’s case to measure in at a comfortable 11.7mm. The movement’s accuracy is +8 to -1 seconds per day.
The free-sprung balance system was incorporated for the fine-tuning of the escapement’s precision: four screws on the side of the balance may be turned for adjustment, to make the watch faster or slower. And since there is no regulator, the durability of the hairspring is increased, as is the overall precision of the movement. The new overcoil, which was created especially for this movement, has a unique curved shape that was adopted after more than 80,000 simulations to ensure the watch’s performance in all positions.
Finally, a new date mechanism was created to ensure that the date changes much more quickly. It incorporates MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) technology, which increases the precision and reliability of its operation. It retails for $9,500.
Final Thoughts on Grand Seiko
I am a fan of Grand Seiko’s ongoing quest for watchmaking innovation, forever pushing the boundaries of accuracy and technology. And I am also enthralled by its lyrical dial designs, which are intimate representations of the company’s geographical origins and the talents of its artisans. The new Seiko SLGH013 is, I think, another great melding of function and form, watchmaking and poetry.