Introducing: The Grand Seiko Spring Drive 8 Day SBGD202, With 'Night Sky' Dial
Grand Seiko is as much an approach as it is a family of watches, and Seiko has applied this approach to both quartz and mechanical watches, with offerings ranging from the high-accuracy 9F quartz developments, to in-house mechanical developments which incorporate 36,000 vph high recurrence calibers as well. One innovation special to Seiko, notwithstanding, is Spring Drive. Seiko utilizes it in Grand Seiko watches, but also in the Prospex line as well as the Credor Eichi line of watches; it is the solitary kind of development that Seiko utilizes for its Credor tolling complications as well (the Spring Drive Sonnerie, and Spring Drive Minute Repeater).
The Credor Spring Drive Minute Repeater.
Spring Drive can be hard to “get” because it’s really a hybrid innovation. There are quartz watches that have a mechanical component, obviously – Swiss auto-quartz developments, as well as Seiko’s own Kinetic, utilize a rotor borrowed from an automatic twisting framework to generate electrical flow; this charges a rechargeable battery in what’s generally a standard quartz development. Spring Drive anyway is something different.
A Spring Drive development has a completely standard mechanical gear train going all the way from the mainspring barrel directly down to where you’d ordinarily hope to discover an escapement and balance wheel. Anyway instead of either, a Spring Drive watch has a “coast wheel” which contains a small, incredible permanent magnet. This rotates between two electromagnets, generating current to control a quartz timing package which thus, controls (via the same electromagnets) how fast the float wheel turns. This controls the speed at which the wheels in the going train turn under the driving force of the mainspring. There’s no battery or capacitor, and visually, the signature of a Spring Drive watch is a seconds hand that doesn’t bounce; instead it floats easily (and quietly) around the dial.
Grand Seiko Spring Drive caliber 9R65A.
The “skim wheel” (upper right).
This gold-cased Grand Seiko is actually the second to utilize the 8-Day Spring Drive caliber 9R01. The principal watch to house the development was a platinum 8-Day Grand Seiko Spring Drive watch, which was launched in March of last year. This new form offers a totally different tasteful from the narrow palette of the almost white-on-white platinum adaptation, with a 18k rose gold case, and black dial tidied with minuscule gold particles that Seiko says proposed to address stars gleaming in the night sky.
The caliber 9R01 has a number of special features. It’s adjusted to ±0.5 seconds of the day and the three mainspring barrels all altercation gems – there are 56 total in the development, and they’re made from single crystal manufactured rubies for more profound tone. Two barrels are stacked under the third and this configuration allows all three to be twisted from a solitary ratchet wheel. The single development bridge offers, says Seiko, better unbending nature and resistance to disturbance from stun; it’s made of maillechort (German silver) and hand beveled and decorated. The indication for the force save is on the development bridge, rather than on the dial, and the framework of the bridge is an adapted representation of Mount Fuji.
At launch the cost will be $42,000 which as with the platinum model (valued at about $55,000) is a considerable premium above most Grand Seiko models; anyway these are also clearly not typical Grand Seiko models. It is easy to assume that these are watches targeted specifically for very much obeyed Seiko fans but I believe they’re also a bit of a statement of goal – specifically to build up Grand Seiko as an extravagance brand, along with the ultra-rare top of the line Credor Eichi and tolling watches, but also to make a more extensive audience aware of what Grand Seiko represents.
The Grand Seiko Spring Drive 8 Day Power Reserve SBGD202: 18k rose gold case, 43mm x 13.2mm, with box-shaped sapphire crystal; screw down display back, 10 bar/100 meter water resistance. Development, caliber 9R01, hand wound 8 day Spring Drive adjusted to ±0.5 seconds of the day/±10 seconds out of every month, power save on the development bridge; bridge made of hand-decorated maillechort/German silver. Antimagnetic to 4,800 A/m (amperes per meter). 37mm x 7mm overall. Cost, $42,000. For more look at all the U.S. market Grand Seikos, here .