Grand Seiko has released a new manual-winding Spring Drive masterpiece with a fully engraved case from the Micro Artist Studio. The latest limited edition, crafted individually and hand-engraved, does justice to its sylvan inspiration and the exacting standards set by Grand Seiko in its masterworks.
White birch trees cover a large area at the base of the North Yatsugatake Mountains in Shinshu’s eastern region. Grand Seiko watches, many of which are inspired by the local landscape and changing seasons, are handcrafted by master artisans in the nearby town of Shiojiri. Their newest work of art is a Platinum 950 wristwatch with hand-engraved detailing reminiscent of this white birch grove in winter.
The silver dial and Platinum 950 case capture the elegance of this woodland setting. The watch was handcrafted by skilled in-house watchmakers, engravers, and artisans using a comprehensive set of techniques. After being Zaratsu-polished to a flawless mirror finish, each case is painstakingly engraved with long, individual grooves by artisans at the Shinshu Watch Studio, which shares a building with the Micro Artist Studio. There are grooves all over the dial that perfectly mimic the design of the sea of white birch trees, bringing the dial to life.
This masterpiece’s dial is adorned with the renowned Shinshu white birch pattern beloved by Grand Seiko aficionados everywhere, but it has a slightly different tone and a more metallic texture, making it subtly shimmer in the light.
The minute track, the lettering, and the mark at six o’clock are all carved into the dial, while the hour and minute hands and each of the hand-applied diamond-cut markers are made of 14k white gold to ensure a sharp and brilliant finish. The seconds hand has been toned down, but not to the standard blue like most watches do. Its smooth motion across the textured dial is a representation of time’s inevitable progression. The hand’s effortless glide is due, in no small part, to the skilled craftsmanship that went into its creation.
Automatic winding Spring Drive 9R02 movement, introduced in 2019. Dual Spring Barrel, in which two mainsprings are arranged in parallel within a single barrel, and Torque Return System* contribute to its remarkable 84-hour power reserve. The hand-assembled Spring Drive movement is a perfect example of Grand Seiko’s renowned precision and quality.
When the watch’s mainspring is fully wound and its torque output is at its peak, about 30 percent of the available power is wasted because it isn’t required to keep the watch running precisely. The power reserve is increased as the Torque Return System rewinds the mainspring with this energy.
Caliber 9R02, like the case and dial, shows its roots through its design. The Shiojiri bellflower serves as inspiration for the design of the movement’s barrel. As an additional example of the meticulous attention to detail that has come to be expected from the Micro Artist Studio, the two hand-polished bridges feature highly polished edges that dramatically contrast the fine hairline finishing of their other visible surfaces. Plaqued in 18-karat gold on the lower bridge, the words “Micro Artist” can be personalised by the owner.
In June 2023, you can purchase one of only fifty pieces of this hand-engraved, manual-winding Spring Drive masterpiece at Grand Seiko Boutiques around the world.