Grand Seiko SBGD205 Masterpiece Spring Drive 8 Days Jewellery Watch
The Grand Seiko SBGD205 Masterpiece Spring Drive 8 Days Jewellery Watch combines a diamond-dust dial with numerous gems, a platinum case and an ultra-high-end movement crafted in the company’s famous Micro Artist Studio.
Several years ago, Grand Seiko products were seldom seen outside of Japan. Indeed, the firm’s watches were devoured by the brand’s domestic market and its legions of admirers, hungry for the exceptional blend of beauty, legibility and precision of the company’s models.
A few years ago, I acquired my first Grand Seiko model equipped with a snowflake dial. At the time some friends questioned my choice despite never having held one of the Japanese marque’s creations. However, courtesy of skilful marketing and widespread praise among specialist websites and magazines, Grand Seiko models are now coveted by vast numbers of admirers.
The Japanese watch company offers 4Hz and 5Hz movements as well as its unique, highly innovative, Spring Drive calibre. Complications encompass GMT models and chronographs, while aesthetic delights include velvety-smooth cases and sumptuous dials.
In 2018, Grand Seiko unveiled a gem-set automatic ladies’ watch, the STGK002. This was housed in 18-carat pink gold and equipped with the calibre 9S25. Despite having never seen a haute-joaillerie creation from the brand before, I was not surprised by the quality of its execution. After all Grand Seiko has always had a reputation for artistic crafts.
Now, for 2020, the high-end watch brand has unveiled a new gem-set creation, the Grand Seiko SBGD205 Masterpiece Spring Drive 8 Days Jewellery Watch. This model, marking the 60th anniversary of GS, is festooned with 96 diamonds, including a plethora of baguettes, and 25 blue sapphires. Furthermore, the model has a ‘diamond dust’ dial and a 43mm platinum case. Moreover, there is an additional gem within, the Caliber 9R01, produced by the company’s finest watchmakers, working in the Micro Artist Studio. This department also makes the ultra-high-end Credor models, hence the Caliber 9R01 shares a close likeness with these movements.
Evidently, Grand Seiko’s ambitions and continuing ascent show no sign of abating.
The brand’s press release
Ever since Grand Seiko was introduced in 1960, every creation has embodied the highest level of horological craftsmanship with the quiet and uniquely Japanese beauty for which the brand is now renowned. Today, in celebration of its 60th anniversary, a new creation is added to the Masterpiece Collection which reveals a different aspect of Grand Seiko. It is a platinum cased Spring Drive jewellery watch whose design takes inspiration from the winter mornings in Shinshu, the area where this and every Grand Seiko Spring Drive watch is made.
This remarkable timepiece has all the essential qualities that define Grand Seiko. It is high in legibility, extremely precise and striking in the serenity of its beauty. Diamonds act as minute markers and blue sapphires designate each hour so that the time can be read at a glance. It is powered by the Spring Drive 8 day Caliber 9R01 that delivers an accuracy rate of ±10 seconds a month and offers a power reserve of up to 192 hours or 8 days. In its elegant simplicity, it is perfectly designed for every occasion while its quietly dazzling dial marks it out as one of the most precious works of art yet created by Grand Seiko. It is offered in a limited edition of just 10 and will be presented in June 2020, at the Grand Seiko Boutiques.
Taking inspiration from the tiny ice crystals that shimmer on a cold, clear morning in the Shinshu region, the dial centre has a “diamond dust” texture that creates a subtle sparkle and a unique beauty. Carefully selected and tapered baguette diamonds and blue sapphires surround the dial as minute and hour markers, set over an 18k white gold base. The arrangement of the diamonds and sapphires side by side around the entire dial requires great dexterity; the gems are set between a very thin pair of rails with great precision by the most skilled of the jewellery craftsmen and women at the Shinshu Watch Studio. The diamonds and sapphires are placed exactly horizontally so that they catch the light evenly and the sapphire at twelve o’clock is slightly wider than others to ensure perfect legibility. Enhancing the beauty of the dial are 48 additional diamonds and 12 blue sapphires individually set around the markers. The case is made of Platinum 950 and is finished with a form of Zaratsu polishing that is specially adapted for working with platinum to create the brilliant look that defines Grand Seiko.
The watch is powered by the manual-winding 8-Day Spring Drive Calibre 9R01 made by hand by the elite team of watchmakers at the Micro Artist Studio which has its home in the Shinshu Watch Studio. The calibre incorporates three barrels arranged in sequence to deliver the extended power reserve. The exquisite finishing of the one-piece bridge, designed in the image of Mt. Fuji, and the rubies, which evoke the lights of Suwa city, can be seen through the case back.