A Sparkling Anniversary Edition at Grand Seiko

In a tribute to the 1913 Seiko Laurel, a new limited-edition Grand Seiko is a re-creation of the very first Japanese wrist watch from 1960.

By Sony Thomas

The year 2023 is a significant one for Seiko, and for the Japanese watch industry in general. The year marks the 110thanniversary of the Seiko Laurel, which when introduced back in 1913 was Japan’s first wristwatch. While Seiko has already come out with a few limited-edition watches to commemorate this milestone, its luxury offshoot Grand Seiko has also announced a limited run of a special watch to mark the parent company’s big year. Limited to 500 pieces, the new SBGW295 is a re-creation of the first Grand Seiko watch released in 1960, and an elegant showcase of the finest in Japanese watchmaking craftsmanship and materials.

The special watch gets a deep black urushi lacquer dial, with an additional layer of intricacy infused by ‘maki-e’, a traditional technique of sprinkling the lacquer with pure gold powder. The urushi lacquer itself is a special compound made exclusively for Grand Seiko and sourced domestically adding to its aura of exclusivity. Grand Seiko says the lacquer has been mixed with iron to make sure that it stays the same black colour for many years to come. In sharp contrast to the dial are the Grand Seiko logo and the twelve pure gold ‘maki-e’ indexes handcrafted and applied by Isshu Tamura, the famed lacquerware artist from the city of Kanazawa.

Covering the exquisite dial is a dual-curved sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface that ensures the depth of the dial’s colour and its elegance shine through. The 38-mm case is made of Brilliant Hard Titanium, which adds twice the hardness of steel to the inherent lightness of titanium. This should lend the watch a level of wear resistance that is uncommon for a delicate-looking dress watch and add to its appeal as an everyday watch. The inclusion of traditional Japanese craft can be seen in the strap too, with one of the two supplied straps featuring a weaving technique called ‘yoroiori’ that was once used for making samurai armour. Grand Seiko says this process of interlacing strips of calf leather and fabric also enhances the watch strap’s durability.

Beating under the beautiful dial is the manual-winding Caliber 9S64 mechanical movement, which has a power reserve of 3 days and a claimed mean daily accuracy rate of +5 to -3 seconds and normal usage accuracy of +10 to -1 seconds per day. Around the see-through caseback is the Limited Edition serial number engraving.

The Grand Seiko SBGW295 Seiko Watchmaking 110th Anniversary Limited Edition is now available to purchase for $13,800.

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