Grand Seiko: Giving Us What We Asked For

Oct 13, 2020,07:16 AM

Just what did we want?

GS fans on WatchProSite asked for thinner watch overall, better specifications for timekeeping (no more of this +15/-10 stuff), more innovation in the movement, and a micro-adjust bracelet. Whoops, can't have it all, they forgot the micro-adjust bracelet. But they delivered on thin, better specs and innovation. Oh, and one other thing (No Surprise) the price went up a bit ...

First revealed in March 2020, 9SA5 is an entirely new high beat mechanical movement.

Developed from scratch exclusively for Grand Seiko, Caliber 9SA5 will be the foundation upon which a whole new generation of Grand Seiko mechanical watches will be created. Nine years in development and deploying all the skills and experience that Grand Seiko has gained over the past 60 years, 9SA5 is without doubt the finest mechanical caliber Grand Seiko has ever created.

Today, a new addition to the 60th anniversary collection provides a perfect showcase for this revolutionary caliber. With a stainless steel case and a dial in a deep, shimmering blue, this new creation will be available in December in a limited edition of 1,000 at Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide.

The three innovations that set Caliber 9SA5 apart

9SA5 has a precision rate of +5 to -3 seconds a day and a power reserve of 80 hours and yet is 15% slimmer than the current Grand Seiko high beat caliber. The precision, power and slimness of Caliber 9SA5 are the result of the radical re-design of three key structures, and components within them, for which several patents are either already granted.

1. The Dual Impulse Escapement

The escapement is entirely new and was developed in-house. It enables the escapement wheel to transmit power directly to the balance, leading to a significant energy transfer efficiency increase. It is unique in that, in one direction, power is transmitted directly to the balance while, in the other direction, it is via the pallet fork, as in a traditional escapement. Both the pallet fork and the escapement wheel are made using MEMS technology.

2. The Grand Seiko Free-sprung Balance

9SA5 uses a new free-sprung balance, again developed especially for this caliber. It retains its precision for longer and is more resistant to shock and friction. While other 9S calibers uses a flat hairspring, 9SA5 uses an overcoil, whose curved shape was decided after more than 80,000 simulations, with the result that its performance is optimized in every possible position. Its unique design improves the isochronism.

3. The Horizontal Gear Train

The new caliber is 15% slimmer than the current Grand Seiko high beat caliber, thanks to the innovative horizontal layout of the barrel and gear trains -- utilizing 47 jewels for a 3-hand watch! The movement finish is inspired by the rippling waves of the Shizukuishi River near the studio where the watch is made.

The watch shares the same design as the first 9SA5 creation. Its powerful and distinctive look is true to the Grand Seiko Style that was defined back in 1967 with the celebrated 44GS but the hour hand has greater volume and the indexes are more prominent, just as they were, in fact, in the very first Grand Seiko of 1960. The dial is in Grand Seiko blue against which the red second hand provides a vivid accent. The case has all the design hallmarks of Grand Seiko and is Zaratsu polished to perfection. With its wide lugs and with a bracelet that is satisfyingly substantial, the watch offers perfect comfort and fits solidly on the wrist.

Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition

Caliber 9SA5 Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours
Driving system: Automatic
Vibrations: 36,000 vibrations per hour (10 beats per second)
Accuracy (mean daily rate):+5 to -3 seconds per day
Power reserve: 80 hours
Number of jewels: 47

Stainless steel case and bracelet
Box shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
See-through screw case back
Water resistance: 10 bar. Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m
Diameter: 40.0mm, Thickness: 11.7mm
Three-fold clasp with push button release

Retail Price: €10,000
Limited edition of 1,000

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Nice watch but 10k Euros? [nt]

 By: India Whiskey Charlie : October 13th, 2020-07:45

A lot to like here, but...

 By: darmatgre-1 : October 13th, 2020-07:54
I would also ask for a bit more creativity in GS' dials. I know their dials are well crafted and finished, but they always leave me wanting more. The few times they have actually used numerals or done something else interesting in a limited edition, the w... 

Fantastic Caliber .. But

 By: chintu : October 13th, 2020-08:08
Dual Impulse Escapement, 80 hour power reserve, Seiko’s own overcoil perfected after 80,000 iterations , a fantastic new design of balance wheel . Great stuff here. But the dials are cold; and virtually the same type of hands in model-after-model , are ju... 

Marketing? Design?

 By: cazalea : October 13th, 2020-08:27
What's that? GS reminds me a lot of a company called Frame that I used to work with (the product was FrameMaker and became part of Adobe & In-Design). They showed me around their Chicago facility and said proudly "We have over 100 engineers and programmer... 

A good effort from GS.

 By: jlux : October 13th, 2020-08:19
The price positioning is however ?????

Yes, I know, but they only have to sell 1000

 By: cazalea : October 13th, 2020-08:29
Who are we to say that they won't blow those out in a few months? And of course, with more dealers round the world there are more opportunities for discounts off retail. Somebody somewhere has to pay for all the R&D, and the 47 jewels... Cazalea

I am glad they are starting to cascade down this new movement ...

 By: Chronometer (aka yacomino) : October 13th, 2020-10:17
I will pass as I already bought of the 60th anniversary watch with a similar design. Also, I think GS should aim to do better then +5s to -3s with this new movement but that's just me...

I agree with you but I did have one of their “normal” automatic movement (not the high beat) which worked fine for a while ...

 By: Chronometer (aka yacomino) : October 20th, 2020-18:04
But then it started to performed to the limit of these ban and even outside and could never get it to work within these ban. I gave up and decided to sell that watch and only look for the spring drive from now on....I probably was impulsive there but my p... 

Cheers to reducing the thickness. Makes it much more wearable.

 By: Nicetomeetyou : October 13th, 2020-10:19
This is the reason why I like the SBGW033 (130th Anniversary watch). That was 11.6mm thick back in 2011 (yes, it has the advantage of being a manual wind).

Great photos. You are the definitely the Grand Seiko honcho around here.

 By: Nicetomeetyou : October 13th, 2020-16:50
The blued seconds hand really pops on the subtle off white dial... And yes, I know it well =)

I welcome all the improvements, but not for 10K and not with that GS layout

 By: PoyFR : October 13th, 2020-12:33
For my pleasure ;-) Seiko needs to work on dial designs and logo for their Grand Seiko watches The price seems like Seiko shouting do not buy me ;-) Perhaps a test to analyse how far the consumers will pay and finding out how and where to position against... 

Looks good,

 By: halkcb : October 13th, 2020-19:50
and a nice movement to boot. However,just too much print on the dial---no need for the 80 hours line,and the price is quite steep. Quite a few alternatives available at that price point.

All very well

 By: JTCL : October 14th, 2020-10:31
Not sure I buy the finishing inspired by some river as it looks like any other geneva stripes. And 10k euros? 😬

New hands are awesome

 By: ripper444 : October 20th, 2020-17:52
this was missing from the sports line. Hopefully these transfer over. What is odd is still no micro adjustment

My SBGM221 has -3 5 and 72 hours PWR so how is this really a significant improvement?

 By: hub6152 : October 20th, 2020-18:03
I do find these tech specs somewhat odd given that a hi beat movement should be more accurate than one running at a lower rate such as my 9S6 series movement yet is quoted at the same rate. Rolex specify-2 2 (which is the tightest specification of all man...