You are currently viewing The Beauty of Nature: Testing the Grand Seiko Heritage Collection Series 9 SLGH005 | Features

The Beauty of Nature: Testing the Grand Seiko Heritage Collection Series 9 SLGH005 | Features

The Grand Seiko Heritage Assortment Sequence 9 SLGH005, powered by the high-beat Caliber 9SA5, is impressed by the white Shirakaba birch bushes that develop close to the studio in Shizukuishi. Our check examines how nature and watchmaking are mirrored on this newest creation.

The phrase “birch” dates again to an Indo-European time period that meant shiny or shimmering — describing the white bark of this distinctive deciduous tree.
Regardless that nothing glows on the dial of the Grand Seiko SLGH005, our check watch, by day or night time, it produces a shimmering shine that was created particularly for this watch. it from any angle, the distinguished utilized markers all the time catch the sunshine, and even the smallest motion of the wrist displays it onto the subsequent polished floor. Reflections don’t detract from daytime legibility as a result of the deeply grooved, extremely polished markers and arms are giant and distinct sufficient to distinction with the matte dial background. The fragile texture of the dial suggests birch bark with giant and small grooves, greater ridges, and skinny strips peeling away from the trunk.

Grand Seiko engraves its initials even on components of the motion which might be hidden beneath the dial.

Within the figurative sense, the bark is peeled away a bit extra at 3 o’clock the place the massive silver-rimmed date opening is positioned. The date show’s black-on-white shade scheme works properly with the general look of the birch. The date advances instantaneously — occurring on our check watch at about seven minutes previous midnight. It may be rapidly adjusted utilizing the second pulled-crown place, and the arms could be moved ahead or again utilizing the outermost pulled place with out damaging the motion in any method.

The Basis of a New Era of Actions
The one contact of shade on the dial is the slim, blued seconds hand, which advances in 10 steps every second, due to the excessive frequency of Caliber 9SA5. The fragile tip glides over the slender dial flange with seconds and minutes markings. Pulling the massive, fluted crown totally to the outer place stops the watch to permit for exact, to-the-second time setting — an indispensable function, because the latest Grand Seiko normal specs for the SLGH005 with the Hello-Beat Caliber 9SA5 might solely acquire 5 seconds or lose 3 seconds per day at most. Our check watch meets this strict normal. Once we examined it on the digital timing machine, it gained between 2.5 and 4.1 seconds per day. The watch ran even higher in real-life situations, the place it deviated by solely about 1 second per day.

The twin impulse escapement: Vitality is transferred immediately from the escape wheel in a single route and from the pallet fork to the stability wheel from the opposite.

Grand Seiko developed Hello-Beat Computerized Caliber 9SA5, first launched in March 2020, completely in-house over a nine-year interval. In keeping with the corporate, it types the inspiration of a brand new era of mechanical Grand Seiko watches. The motion was first used within the gold SLGH002, which is restricted to 100 items, at a value of $43,000. This was adopted by the stainless steel Grand Seiko sixtieth Anniversary Restricted Version SLGH003, restricted to 1,000 items, priced at $9,700. Our check watch, the SLGH005, is the primary limitless manufacturing watch with the brand new caliber. It’s obtainable for $9,100 at Grand Seiko boutiques and choose watch sellers. That is nonetheless an formidable value when the Omega Aqua Terra, a Grasp Chronometer with a stainless-steel bracelet, prices $5,700, and the Rolex Datejust 36 in Oystersteel with a Jubilee bracelet is priced at $7,300.

MEMS: The method, which was tailored from microchip manufacturing, permits the light-weight building of the escapement for higher precision.

Excessive Frequency and Prolonged Energy Require New Applied sciences
Caliber 9SA5 integrates three key developments for which a number of patents have been awarded or are pending: the brand new twin impulse escapement, the free-sprung Grand Seiko stability and the horizontal association of the barrel and kit prepare. These mechanisms are designed for accuracy, sturdiness and aesthetics.

To be able to obtain the very best stage of precision, Grand Seiko determined to start growth on a high-beat motion with a price of 36,000 vph — an idea that the com-pany had been pursuing since 1968 with its extraordinarily correct Hello-Beat calibers. On the similar time, a contemporary 80-hour energy reserve was additionally the aim. Since each the stability frequency and the lengthy energy reserve require extra power, and the brand new motion was supposed to be 15 p.c thinner than earlier Grand Seiko high-beat actions, it was essential to revamp it from the start and apply new applied sciences. Because of the need to scale back the peak of the motion, two sequentially organized barrels had been used instead of a single giant barrel. Because of this, and the horizontal association of the gear prepare, the 9SA5 is now 15 p.c thinner than earlier Grand Seiko calibers.

The overcoil: Breguet found that it affected the speed. Grand Seiko used pc simulation to design its personal geometry.

Excessive precision can be supported by the free-sprung high-quality regulator, which was specifically developed for Caliber 9SA5. It has 4 weighted screws on the stability wheel, new to Grand Seiko. The square-headed screws are seated in slots (to forestall loosening), positioned on 4 inset sections of the stability wheel (to reduce air turbulence).

The stability wheel is extra proof against impacts and friction and exhibits a better price of accuracy. Contributing to that is the particular Grand Seiko hairspring, which has a particular overcoil and is product of a singular alloy referred to as Spron. Its tailor-made design improves isochronism, i.e., uniform oscillation. The information of the optimistic affect of overcoils on the speed of timepieces could be traced again to Abraham-Louis Breguet.

Twin Impulse Makes Energy Transmission Efficient
When energy is transmitted to the stability wheel by the brand new twin impulse escapement, the escape wheel transfers the impulse on to the stability wheel in a single route, which will increase the effectivity of your entire system by 20 p.c and reduces the power wants accordingly. Within the different route, energy is transferred by way of the pallet fork like a conventional escapement. This design is just like the Omega co-axial escapement, though it’s significantly extra advanced. Right this moment, these designs are solely capable of be produced utilizing trendy manufacturing applied sciences, such because the Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS), which Grand Seiko has already used for earlier calibers. This course of, which was tailored from microchip manufacturing, is used to provide each the escape wheel and the pallet fork of the 9SA5.

Caliber 9SA5 operates at a frequency of 5 Hz and gives 80 hours of energy.

Magnificence and Fantastic Particulars, Even on Hidden Elements
MEMS additionally permits the light-weight building of the escape wheel and pallet fork, which saves much more power and contributes to a better energy reserve. With this manufacturing methodology, first a mould is etched after which the steel is deposited into the mould utilizing a galvanic course of. This additionally permits one other specialty of Grand Seiko: tiny recesses within the escape wheel enamel enhance oil retention at bother spots.

Regardless that these options are usually not seen to the bare eye via the watch’s sapphire caseback, Caliber 9SA5’s excessive frequency makes them abundantly clear. Solely by stopping the watch does its extraordinary geometry reveal itself, with inset sections and angular screw heads. A sturdy stability bridge, as a substitute of a single-sided stability cock, gives stability — a structural function that’s gaining in reputation amongst Swiss watch producers, like Rolex, Tudor and Panerai.

The view additionally consists of the generously skeletonized bidirectional oscillating weight and an uncovered perforated bridge building. This reveals a big a part of the mechanism, like the 2 barrels beneath an arched bridge.
Quite a few ornamental finishes comparable to striping, perlage, sunburst finishes, polished screw heads, beveled edges, and the beautiful engraving on the winding rotor, require time and intensive effort. Even hidden surfaces of elements are lined with a wide range of decorations, just like the mainplate crammed with engraved Grand Seiko initials, that are additionally discovered on the barrel bridge, the screw-down crown and the folding clasp.

The polished stainless-steel case is sealed with a threaded caseback and has a sapphire viewing window, subtly engraved with a lion, which symbolizes “The King of Watches.”

Sensible General Look and Expression
The strong clasp completes a really engaging three-link bracelet that attaches to the case with mounted connections. It narrows towards the clasp with screwed hyperlinks for an adjustable bracelet size. It’s properly executed with beveled edges, polished lateral surfaces and brushed higher surfaces. It continues the look of the highly effective case, which has mirror-like Zaratsu polish on the slender bezel shifting to a brushed end on the broad case sides.

Grand Seiko designates the general look of this watch as its Sequence 9 design. It’s slated to turn into an necessary a part of the Heritage assortment within the coming years. Grand Seiko stays true to the fashion that was established in 1967 with the 44GS. Regardless of its highly effective impression, the Grand Seiko SLGH005 exudes concord, calm and stability — the identical feeling you get when strolling in a forest of birch bushes.

The dial was impressed by the birch bushes, which develop in each a part of Japan the place Grand Seiko manufactures its watches.

Producer: Morioka Seiko Devices Inc., 61-1, Itabashi, Shizukuishicho, Iwate-gun, Japan
Reference quantity: SLGH005
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Motion: In-house Caliber 9SA5, automated, 36,000 vph, 47 jewels, licensed by the Grand Seiko normal (-3 to +5 sec/day, check in 6 positions, 17 days), 4 regulating screws on stability wheel, Spron 610 hairspring with overcoil, Diachock shock absorber, twin impulse escapement, 80-hour energy reserve, diameter = 31.6 mm, top = 5.18 mm
Case: Stainless-steel, box-style sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on each side (prime), sapphire caseback, waterproof to 100 m
Bracelet and clasp: Stainless-steel bracelet with one-sided folding clasp with push button
Price outcomes (deviation in seconds per 24 hours, totally wound/after 24 hours):
On the wrist +1.2
Dial up +6.5/+6.0
Dial down +6.2/+5.2
Crown up +2.5/+0.7
Crown down +3.1/+0.9
Crown left +2.1/−0.2
Biggest deviation 4.4/6.2
Common deviation +4.1/+2.5
Common amplitude:
Flat positions 281°/ 261°
Hanging positions 262°/250°
Dimensions: Diameter = 38.87 mm, top = 12.04 mm, lug width = 22 mm, weight = 180.5 grams
Value: $9,100

Strap and clasp (max. 10 factors): Engaging, properly completed stainless-steel bracelet with sturdy, sensible folding clasp 9
Case (10): Prime quality, well-made case with attention-grabbing alternating polished and brushed finishes, sapphire crystals and screw-down crown. 9
Dial and arms (10): Outstanding markers and arms, distinctive aid dial design, well-matched arms 8
Design (15): The design follows the well-known 44GS with up to date modifications; distinguished numerals, arms, dial, iconic look. 12
Legibility (5): Straightforward to learn in the course of the day, no legibility at night time; giant date
show, good hand size 4
Operation (5): The screw-down crown is simple to know and loosen; screwed bracelet hyperlinks for straightforward adjustment, safe folding clasp. 5
Sporting consolation (5): Ergonomic case and bracelet mixture, snug regardless of appreciable weight, engaging bracelet, sturdy clasp 4
Motion (20): Fashionable in-house motion with progressive options and distinctive structural options, a few of that are patented; lengthy energy reserve, trendy escapement, excessive frequency, advanced and engaging ornamental finishes 18
Price outcomes (10): Excellent, particularly on the wrist; complies with the Grand Seiko requirements. 8
General worth (10): Bold pricing in comparison with different related watches, however justifiable because of the model’s desirabilty and iconic standing 8
Complete: 85 POINTS

This text initially appeared within the September-October 2021 concern of Options. Pictures are by Grand Seiko, Marcus Kruger, and Jennifer Wunder/Pexels.