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SpotlightA Dual Celebration—Introducing Two New Grand Seiko Caliber 9R Spring Drive Timepieces

To mark the 20th anniversary of the first automatic 9R Spring Drive movement, Grand Seiko have launched two new watches to celebrate this technical marvel that derives power by combining mechanical watchmaking with electronic technology

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One of the leading voices in the watch industry when it comes to precision and technical innovation, Grand Seiko’s mechanical watchmaking prowess is a subject that every horology lover is well-versed with. Their watches are imbued with Japanese technology and a distinct design aesthetic, which is par excellence and difficult to replicate. One of their groundbreaking technologies—the Spring Drive—developed in the 1970s was a concept that combined the power derived from a mainspring with electronic watchmaking technologies to deliver unmatched precision that no regular mechanical watch could offer. Grand Seiko kept innovating to finally launch the 9R movement in 2004, which drives all Grand Seiko Spring Drive watches found on the market today, offering an impressive power reserve of at least 72 hours.

Grand Seiko Caliber 9R Spring Drive 20th Anniversary
To mark the 20th anniversary of the first automatic 9R Spring Drive movement, Grand Seiko have launched two new timepieces to celebrate this technical marvel that derives power by combining mechanical watchmaking with electronic technology

This unique watch technology generates energy like every other luxury mechanical watch but combines this with an electronic regulator. Grand Seiko were able to develop this, thanks to their mastery of both electronic and mechanical watchmaking. Here, 80 percent of the components were exactly the same as found in a top-notch mechanical watch and the only differentiating factor was the regulator—aptly named the Tri-synchro regulator—highlighting the manner in which three forms of energy—mechanical, electrical, and electromagnetic—were harnessed to power the movement. This gave birth to the first generation of the Spring Drive model in 1999, which used a manual-winding Caliber 7R68 and had a power reserve indicator positioned at 10 o’clock. However, the brand didn’t rest on its laurels, and in 2004, launched the automatic version powered by the Caliber 9R, where the movement of the wrist winds the spring and the energy is then converted to electricity. This highly ingenious and high-precision movement bridges the great divide in the haute horlogerie arena and holds a pride of place for the Japanese watchmaker.

Grand Seiko Caliber 9R Spring Drive 20th Anniversary
Featured here is the original Grand Seiko Caliber 9R automatic model launched in 2004—a groundbreaking innovation that completes 20 glorious years

To mark the 20th anniversary of this feat, Grand Seiko have launched two new timepieces that celebrate this technical marvel. The first model is the Heritage Collection Caliber 9R 20th Anniversary ‘Pink Snowflake’ (SBGA497), which is a tribute to the original watch from 2004, which features the same case design and their signature ‘snowflake’ patterned dial that debuted in 2005. This exquisite pattern is an ode to nature and the new watch showcases a pink gradation that captures the beauty of a sunrise against the snow-covered Hotaka mountain range in Nagano Prefecture—where all Grand Seiko Spring Drive watches are manufactured.

The Watch Guide

The first model is the Heritage Collection Caliber 9R 20th Anniversary ‘Pink Snowflake’ (SBGA497), a tribute to the original from 2004, which features the same case design

The Watch Guide

It also features Grand Seiko's signature ‘snowflake’ patterned dial that debuted in 2005

The Watch Guide

Available in a limited-edition of 1,500 pieces, the 41mm watch is presented on a matching titanium bracelet and offers a water-resistance of 100m

The Watch Guide

It is driven by the highly precise and reliable Spring Drive Caliber 9R65, an automatic movement with 30 jewels, with an accuracy of ± 1 second per day (± 15 seconds per month)

The 41mm case is crafted from high-intensity titanium—which is about 30 percent lighter and more scratch-resistant than stainless-steel, thereby increasing comfort on the wrist and durability when it comes to preventing wear-and-tear. Available in a limited-edition of 1,500 pieces, the watch is presented on a matching titanium bracelet and offers a water-resistance of 100m.

The Watch Guide
The second timepiece to join the celebration is the new Sports Collection Spring Drive GMT Caliber 9R 20th Anniversary (SBGE305), showcasing a dark red dial, which takes inspiration from the hues of a vibrant sunrise as it bathes the landscape near the Hotaka mountain range in peak summer

The second timepiece to join the celebration is the new Sports Collection Spring Drive GMT Caliber 9R 20th Anniversary (SBGE305), showcasing a dark red dial, which takes inspiration from the hues of a vibrant sunrise as it bathes the landscape near the Hotaka mountain range in peak summer. Highly utilitarian, the watch offers a GMT function and is replete with a local hour hand, which can be set independently—forward or backward—while the watch is running, thereby ensuring accuracy even while changing time zones. There is a 24-hour ring on the ceramic bezel, which is black—a nice contrast against the red dial. Here, the power reserve indicator is positioned between eight and nine o’clock. The 40.5mm timepiece is crafted in high-grade stainless-steel and comes with a matching bracelet. Water-resistant to 200m, it showcases the prominent features that are intrinsic to a Grand Seiko sports watch. The crown and the caseback are secured by screw-down mechanisms, which further enhance the waterproofness of this watch, which comes in a limited-edition of 1,300 pieces only.

The Watch Guide

The watch has a GMT function and is replete with a local hour hand, which can be set independently—forward or backward—while the watch is running, ensuring accuracy even while changing time zones

The Watch Guide

The 40.5mm timepiece is crafted in high-grade stainless-steel and comes with a matching bracelet. Water-resistant to 200m, it comes in a limited-edition of 1,300 pieces only

Both versions are driven by the highly precise and reliable Spring Drive Caliber 9R65, an automatic movement with 30 jewels, with an accuracy of ± 1 second per day (± 15 seconds per month), offering a power reserve of at least 72 hours.

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