By Karishma Karer
Grand Seiko, now there’s a collector’s watch to reckon with. Although it may not be your first prestigious buy, a Grand Seiko will most certainly find its way to your collection at some point. To begin with, let’s get one thing clear, a Grand Seiko is not a Seiko! Yes, they do have the same parent company but are very different genres in terms of accuracy, craftsmanship and finishing.
This doesn’t take away from the precision of a Seiko at all, however, a Grand Seiko is in a league of its own. One might even call it the “Grand” declaration of Seiko. From the exquisite finishing to the magnificent craftsmanship, Grand Seiko has outdone itself time and again amongst its peers. Unattached to the Swiss-made tag, this Japanese gem will astound you under a loop.
So why haven’t we heard so much about Grand Seiko? Until around 2010 Grand Seiko was basically reserved, although not deliberately, for the local market which means you didn’t see it on the wrist of too many collectors outside Japan. Today Grand Seiko is available at all key markets and at most globally recognised Watch Boutiques such as Monards in Melbourne and Watches of Switzerland and Harrods in London to name a few.
But why would you pay that extra buck for a Grand Seiko? Well for starters, when Grand Seiko says “hand-made” they mean hand-made. From the individually finished cases to the indexes being hand applied with a stamping machine to the blued hands being individually heated and the hand-assembled movements, everything about a Grand Seiko is handcrafted. From manufacturing the first quartz watch (Astron) in 1969 to the 9F calibres with an accuracy of +/- 10 seconds per year and finally the hybrid quartz mechanical movement – the Spring Drive, the watchmakers at Grand Seiko are driven by precision and perfection.
We caught up with a few members of the RedBar Bombay Crew to hear their thoughts on their personal Grand Seiko’s and well, the ones they aspire to own someday.
“SBGM221 for me, the cream dial with Zaratsu polished hands and a contrasting heat blued GMT hand is an eye candy. It represents best of both words a sport GMT watch and a Classic dress watch. This watch reminds me of the vintages of the 60s-70s but with a modern touch”, Adhiraaj Ghosh, Member, RedBar Bombay.
“The reason I bought a Grand Seiko is because my Father owned a Seiko. In a form of connection and bonding, I bought one for myself as well. What drew me into this particular reference was the way Grand Seiko has captured the soft hue of the famous Sakura flower in such a delicate yet refined way”, Jehangir Readymoney, Member, RedBAr Bombay
“The watch with the cream dial and the sharp hands, heated blue GMT hand is all in perfect symphony with the Japanese perfection and an amazing movement ”, Punit Mehta, Founder & Chapter Leader RedBar Bombay.
“The SBGN003 is the ultimate travellers watch. I absolutely love mine for it’s crazy accuracy and the fact that I can literally pick the watch and get going without bothering to set the time. Not to mention the ability to track two time zones is fantastic, especially when I am away from home. There is no watch in my collection which comes close to genuine utility as this one”, Aprit Verma, Member, RedBar Bombay.
“As a surgeon, I believe that precision, timing and finesse are the most important attributes for favourable outcomes for my patients. My Grand Seiko GMT SBGN 003 gives me the precision of a fine surgical instrument. Robust for day to day use, a phenomenal cosmetic appeal with its explorer type Bezel and the pure artistry of the chamfers at the case-bracelet junction captivates my attention when I open my watch box to choose my watch for the day. The 9F86 movement is the beating heart at the core of its operations and features like the ability to set the watch to local time without stopping it and the full lume, make it my favourite precision companion”, Dr Swapnil M Keny, Member, Redbar Bombay.
“SBGA011 for me. It’s the Gen 1 Snowflake and features both the Seiko and Grand Seiko logos. It’s quite an understated watch which just pops with its blue seconds hand. I find the dial slightly lighter in texture on this from the SBGA211 and other ones; almost linen like.The two logos kind of make it feel like an evolution from a normal Seiko to something artistic. That’s why this one stands out for me”, Rudra Jog, Member, RedBar Bombay.
“While choosing my favorite Grand Seiko watch, I am torn between the gorgeous “Shunbun” (SBGA413) and the iconic “Snowflake” (SBGA211G). Both have spectacular dials, are made of High-intensity titanium, and run on the Spring Drive. Besides how they fit on my wrist, I think the tie-breaker may end up being the transparent case back on the Snowflake which allows a peek at one of horology’s biggest inventions of the 21st century”, Sid Sarvankar, Member, RedBar Bombay.
These are just a few of the Grand Seiko loyalists from RedBar Bombay. With its opulent pieces and expert craftsmanship, Grand Seiko watches are gradually yet surely making their way to coveted watch wardrobes globally and India is no exception.