Defining a model id might be one of the crucial complicated duties. As a watchmaker, creating issues and actions is definitely not one thing simple and it requires investments and time, however the definition of a mode that’s distinctive and instantly recognizable is perhaps much more vital. And consistency is vital on this path to a signature design. Regardless that it was introduced to the world in 1960, it took a number of years for Grand Seiko to outline the type that may, inevitably, related to the model. To be extra exact, this occurred in 1967 with the presentation of an vital mannequin, the 44GS. 55 years later and to have a good time this particular watch, Grand Seiko has launched a limited-edition timepiece that’s straight impressed by this classic mannequin. And in the present day, we go hands-on with this Grand Seiko Heritage Hello-Beat GMT SBGJ255.
Defining a design for the a long time to return – the 44GS and the Grammar of Design
If there was one phrase to remember when speaking in regards to the design of Grand Seiko watches, it could be consistency. Magnificence being within the eye of the beholder, it’s all the time exhausting to evaluate if a watch is profitable or not. What is way extra goal is how a model manages to make this design its personal, and for the years to return. Grand Seiko was created in 1960, at a time the place the main target was definitely extra on mechanical issues than on the definition of the type. Do not forget that Grand Seiko outcomes, along with King Seiko, of an inner competitors for the creation of probably the most exact watch doable.
The everyday and instantly recognizable profile of a Grand Seiko watch
The definition of the design, latter named “Grammar of Design” occurred just a few years later, within the mid-Sixties, and includes one man specifically, Taro Tanaka. Previous to his arrival, Seiko was not likely about consistency and creativity. Actually, there was not even a design division earlier than the mid-Fifties and, even after its creation in 1956, this group of designers was largely liable for the creation of the dials. Issues modified in 1959 when Seiko employed Tanaka, a freshly graduated designer, to deal with the design division of the model. His imaginative and prescient was world, and can cowl the method for the creation of a whole watch. The mission of Taro Tanaka was easy and sophisticated on the identical time, and it was to present Seiko and Grand Seiko a real Japanese id, whereas retaining basic watchmaking codes. The issue he needed to surpass was that, in line with individuals he questioned when displaying them the watches, Grand Seiko watches didn’t have a transparent and customary id. They had been engaging as particular person designs however not instantly recognizable.
The 1967 Grand Seiko 44GS
In 1962, Taro Tanaka outlined the design of future watches to be introduced with a sequence of guidelines, to be utilized on all creations, underneath the identify “Grammar of Design”, a densely written design information that outlined exacting requirements for each seen element, from hour markers to case. Moreover the notions of precision, legibility, magnificence and ease of use so that kind follows perform, this design language is all in regards to the refined use of sunshine, reflection and shadow. First, surfaces and case strains are polished to a distortion-free mirror end (the well-known Zaratsu sharpening method). Second, all strains of the case and dial must be flat and graphically sharp, so to replicate gentle in the very best manner. Arms are polished to razor-edge sharpness in order that they catch even the faintest ray of sunshine and the lugs mix polished and hairline finishes in a manner that lets gentle create a refined and uniquely Japanese impact. Lastly, bezels must be flat and have easy, two-dimensional designs.
Going deeper into the main points, this definition of the type by Taro Tanaka gave start to a sequence of 9 completely different guidelines, which may be seen under. And the primary watch to combine this “Grammar of Design” in a whole manner was the 44GS, introduced in 1967, and now thought to be one of the crucial vital watches within the model’s historical past, and a turning level within the manufacturing of Grand Seiko. Moreover, this watch continues to be in the present day a fantastic supply of inspiration for the model’s designers. Because the mannequin is celebrating its Fifty fifth anniversary this 12 months, Grand Seiko has determined to pay tribute to this emblematic design by releasing a brand new restricted version mannequin, trustworthy to the unique design but modernized.
The Grand Seiko Hello-Beat GMT SBGJ255
This new Hello-Beat GMT SBGJ255 has been introduced formally just a few weeks in the past and whereas it shouldn’t be thought to be a real classic re-edition of the 44GS – this has been achieved by Grand Seiko in 2013, with the SBGW047, SBGW043, SBGW044, and SBGW046 – it should be seen as a real case research in design consistency. Actually, it’s not even about re-creating a design, since this form of case has been seen fairly often within the assortment. It’s actually in regards to the coherence and longevity of the model’s id. As you’ll be able to see for your self, the 44GS stays an vital supply of inspiration for the model with a number of watches following the Grammar of Design.
Visually, and if not actually revolutionary since this watch relies on already present fashions such because the SBGJ235 (additionally a GMT) or the SBGH281, this watch reveals the dedication of Grand Seiko’s design group to its id and to the tradition that has been applied inside the groups for a number of years. Wanting on the illustrations above, and evaluating it to the precise watch we’re testing in the present day, the resemblance is uncanny. Proportions, shapes, total there isn’t a single facet of this watch that doesn’t respect the foundations outlined within the Sixties. What’s much more spectacular is how fashionable the SBGJ255 feels although its design relies on a sequence of tips which are 55 years previous. I feel timelessness is an acceptable phrase right here…
What we’re , as mentioned, is a contemporary interpretation of the design outlined by the 44GS, right here expressed with fashionable mechanics and supplies. Certainly, this new watch is manufactured from Excessive-intensity titanium, the model’s identify for a particular alloy with better corrosion resistance and scratch resistance (Vickers hardness of about 300-350, versus 180-200 for stainless-steel). This alloy is indispensable for the model with a view to respect its design language, as quite the opposite to basic grade 2 titanium, it may be polished. As such, it signifies that the signature distortion-free surfaces are effectively current. Being manufactured from Excessive-intensity titanium brings a number of benefits. First, clearly, is a discount of the load, inherent to all titanium alloys. Second is the flexibility to withstand scratches higher than chrome steel (not a nasty factor with all of the Zaratsu polished space). Final is the color, identified to be brighter than conventional titanium alloys utilized by different manufacturers.
The SBGJ255 is a watch of nice proportions, with a diameter of 40mm and a case lenght of 46.2mm, making it comparatively simple on the wrist, and for many wearers. It’s gentle and cozy, with its curved profile, however do take into account that the particular form of this watch – and of all 44GS-inspired fashions – makes it comparatively current on the wrist, because of the massive and stable shoulders giving the case a big floor. All of the basic components of the Grand Seiko Grammar of Design are reutilized right here, such because the curved sideline, the extremely polished but easy bezel, the flat and distortion-free surfaces on the perimeters of the case and the lugs, the reversed slanted bezel wall and case aspect and eventually, the half-recessed crown. All of that isn’t solely respectful of the model’s codes but additionally provides the watch its sheer character, one thing distinctive that solely GS can do… Our solely grievance, one thing we’ve mentioned repeatedly when reviewing Grand Seiko fashions, considerations the peak of those watches. At 14mm, the SBGJ255 is pretty thick and if the model has began to work on this matter with the Evolution 9 assortment, different fashions are usually not there but.
Transferring to the dial, as soon as once more its makes little question relating to the producer of this watch. Identical to the case, the dials produced by Grand Seiko are outlined by a sure variety of guidelines, which embrace notions of symmetry however largely of textures and floor finishings. Information by magnificence but additionally by legibility issues, the hour and minute arms, in addition to the hour markers, are multi-faceted, to allow them to replicate gentle in numerous instructions to stay extremely seen in all angles. On this watch, the bottom of the dial is a discreetly textured (vertical sample) silvery-white floor. Essentially the most noticeable ingredient, which has been extraordinarily effectively obtained by the neighborhood when the watch was first introduced, is the addition of luminescent materials to the arms and markers, making for a extra versatile watch. The remainder of the dial is conventional, with a number of darkish blue accents on the logos, GMT hand, and on the 24h scale.
Underneath the sapphire crystal again is a widely known motion, the in-house Calibre 9S86. An automated engine with hi-beat regulation, it beats at 5Hz or 36,000 vibrations/hour and is rated at an accuracy of +5 to –3 seconds per day (surpassing basic chronometer requirements). The 55h energy reserve is comfy regardless of the excessive frequency and the GMT perform is a real traveler’s one, that means that the native time hour hand is adjusted by one-hour increments, not the GMT hand like for many entry-level watches. this motion, you’ll instantly discover the particular ornament, with a rotor executed in an uneven gold color, which is achieved by means of an anodic oxidation course of, the place the titanium is subjected to electrolysis in order to generate an oxide movie.
This Grand Seiko Heritage Hello-Beat 36000 GMT 44GS reference SBGJ255 is worn on a Excessive-intensity titanium 3-link bracelet, completed largely with brushed surfaces and a few polished accents. It’s closed by a three-fold clasp with push-button launch. And entire the general execution of the bracelet and its consolation are to not be mentioned, GS might take into consideration including a micro-adjustment system with a view to even enhance the expertise.
Availability & Worth
The Grand Seiko Heritage Hello-Beat 36000 GMT 44GS Fifty fifth Anniversary SBGJ255 is launched as a restricted version of 1,200 items, and is now accessible at Grand Seiko Boutiques and chosen retail companions worldwide. It’s priced at EUR 8,500 or USD 8,500. For extra particulars, please go to www.grand-seiko.com.