Ten beats per second, a Three Day power reserve and an Automatic Chronograph. Voila – The Tentagraph. That’s how the name came about and quite accurately defines the watch. Seeped in Japanese tradition this is also Grand Seiko’s first mechanical chronograph in the Evolution 9 Collection powered by the 9SC5 Caliber and using the 9SA5 caliber at its base. And if this wasn’t enough to make it compete against several other luxury watches in this price range, together with this Dual Impulse Escapement, Caliber 9SC5 incorporates two barrels allowing the watch to run for three days even when the chronograph is in operation, making the Tentagraph the 10-beat chronograph with the longest power reserve in the industry today (as of March 2023). Based on Grand Seiko’s research as quoted by Akio Naito, President of Seiko Watch Corporation.
The heritage and reputation of a brand can significantly impact customers’ perceptions. How does Grand Seiko leverage its legacy and reputation to compete with the other players in the luxury watch market?
To this, Akio Naito, President of Seiko Watch Corporation said, “We have been communicating our high-quality watchmaking and the uniquely Japanese qualities of Grand Seiko to watch fans worldwide to differentiate ourselves from our counterparts. Grand Seiko is deeply rooted in its Japanese heritage and this is expressed in our timepieces. For example, Grand Seiko’s brand philosophy, The Nature of Time, reflects the Japanese respect towards nature, which is at the center of Grand Seiko’s watchmaking. It celebrates the Japanese spirituality of time that is deeply inspired by nature and brought to life by Takumi, or Japanese craftsmanship. The harmonious interplay of light and shadow is central to the Japanese idea of beauty and is true to the ideals of Grand Seiko. The beautiful mirror surface finishing made possible by the “Zaratsu” polishing technique, side by side with the hairline finished surfaces of the case, creates expressions of light and shadow that emit beautiful sparkles and illuminate the whole watch. Grand Seiko is also the only Japanese watchmaker that is a true, fully integrated “manufacture”. We have our own R&D, design, and production capabilities, as well as over 100 years of experience in high-level watchmaking. Every component in every Grand Seiko movement is made in-house, including the mainspring and hairspring in the mechanical movements.”
Reviewing the watch, the deep blue color was inspired by the night sky above the mountain and is part of Grand Seiko’s “Mt. Iwate pattern,” which is called after the mountain seen from Studio Shizukuishi. The subdials at three, nine, and twelve are recessed, giving the dial even more depth. The hands and grooved indexes are lumed for visibility.
To achieve a watch of this caliber, what were the technological advancements incorporated into the Tentagraph that differentiate it from other high-end chronograph watches?
“The Tentagraph is powered by the high-beat automatic chronograph movement, Caliber 9SC5. Beating ten times per second, the movement ensures high accuracy when measuring elapsed time as well as the time of day. The movement features the revolutionary Dual Impulse Escapement, which efficiently transfers energy to the free-sprung balance wheel indirectly through the pallet fork and also directly from the escape wheel. MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technology ensures extremely precise, lightweight, and highly durable escapement parts and also endows the escapement with increased energy efficiency to achieve a long power reserve. Furthermore, the Tentagraph is subjected to a new and longer testing procedure. As with all Grand Seiko mechanical movements, the Tentagraph’s time-of-day accuracy is assessed in six positions and at three temperatures over 17 days but, in addition, there are three more days of testing during which the accuracy is assessed in three positions while the chronograph is in operation. Thus, in total, each Tentagraph movement is tested for 20 days to ensure that it meets the Grand Seiko Standard of +5 to -3 seconds per day”, he further added.
At first glance, the watch features the traditional 3-6-9 dial layout with the date at 4:30, surrounded by trapezoid hour markers, a ceramic bezel, and mushroom-style chronograph pushers. Asking him about his views on the aesthetics of this timepiece, he said, “Just like all Grand Seiko creations, the watch’s aesthetics and function are in perfect harmony, with the ideals of a Grand Seiko sports watch reflected in the Tentagraph’s design. The powerful hands and prominent, grooved indexes of the Evolution 9 Style ensure supreme legibility. The case and bracelet are made of high-intensity titanium, which is about 30% lighter and more scratch-resistant than stainless steel to maximize durability, and the bezel is made of ceramic to protect the watch from scratches and enhance durability.
The two convex pushers ensure the operability required for measuring elapsed time at the highest level. The overall design pursues legibility and wearability that Grand Seiko must meet. For Tentagraph, the motif comes from this majestic mountain peak at night, when the stars are shining brightly, and when we can feel the natural flow of time through the serene night sky.”
Just like all Grand Seiko creations, the pursuit of precision is at the heart of the Tentagraph whose chronograph movement features the revolutionary high-beat Caliber 9SA5 as its base. Grand Seiko will continue to push our watchmaking boundaries in pursuit of high-accuracy mechanical watchmaking to maintain a competitive edge. Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi is open to the public so that visitors can experience the world of Grand Seiko. So please visit us and see how our craftspeople pursue the high quality of watchmaking and feel the spirit of Takumi.
What message would you like to convey to watch enthusiasts who may be considering the Grand Seiko Tentagraph as their next luxury timepiece over other comparable options?
The Tentagraph is the result of Grand Seiko’s uncompromising pursuit of high-accuracy watchmaking and succeeded in creating not only a highly accurate chronograph with a 72-hour power reserve, but a watch with the highest levels of legibility, durability, and wearability. Also, the intricately textured dial of the Tentagraph’s Mt. Iwate pattern takes the wearer to the area in northern Japan where the Tentagraph is created. Grand Seiko watches are designed for long-lasting use. We hope you will try the watch for yourself to feel our watchmaking spirit within.
Final thoughts: The Tentagraph is one of those watches that you need to physically see and try on before passing any judgements. While to many it may seem like a block on the wrist, it is a large watch with a beautifully engineered chronograph that is extremely light on the wrist. A wrist presence as strong as Grand Seiko’s domineering presence in the space of luxury watches.