Defining a model id might be one of the vital complicated duties. As a watchmaker, creating problems and actions is definitely not one thing straightforward and it requires investments and time, however the definition of a mode that’s distinctive and instantly recognizable is likely to be much more vital. And consistency is vital on this path to a signature design. Despite the fact that it was offered to the world in 1960, it took a number of years for Grand Seiko to outline the fashion that may, inevitably, related to the model. To be extra exact, this occurred in 1967 with the presentation of an vital mannequin, the 44GS. 55 years later and to have a good time this particular watch, Grand Seiko has launched a limited-edition timepiece that’s immediately impressed by this classic mannequin. And at the moment, we go hands-on with this Grand Seiko Heritage Hello-Beat GMT SBGJ255.
Defining a design for the many years to return – the 44GS and the Grammar of Design
If there was one phrase to remember when speaking concerning the design of Grand Seiko watches, it could be consistency. Magnificence being within the eye of the beholder, it’s all the time arduous to evaluate if a watch is profitable or not. What is much extra goal is how a model manages to make this design its personal, and for the years to return. Grand Seiko was created in 1960, at a time the place the main target was definitely extra on mechanical issues than on the definition of the fashion. Keep in mind that Grand Seiko outcomes, along with King Seiko, of an inner competitors for the creation of essentially the most exact watch potential.
The definition of the design, latter named “Grammar of Design” occurred a number of years later, within the mid-Nineteen Sixties, and includes one man specifically, Taro Tanaka. Previous to his arrival, Seiko was not likely about consistency and creativity. In reality, there was not even a design division earlier than the mid-Nineteen Fifties and, even after its creation in 1956, this group of designers was principally chargeable for the creation of the dials. Issues modified in 1959 when Seiko employed Tanaka, a freshly graduated designer, to deal with the design division of the model. His imaginative and prescient was international, and can cowl the method for the creation of a complete watch. The mission of Taro Tanaka was easy and sophisticated on the identical time, and it was to offer Seiko and Grand Seiko a real Japanese id, whereas retaining basic watchmaking codes. The issue he needed to surpass was that, in response to folks he questioned when displaying them the watches, Grand Seiko watches didn’t have a transparent and customary id. They have been engaging as particular person designs however not instantly recognizable.
In 1962, Taro Tanaka outlined the design of future watches to be offered with a sequence of guidelines, to be utilized on all creations, underneath the title “Grammar of Design”, a densely written design information that outlined exacting requirements for each seen element, from hour markers to case. Moreover the notions of precision, legibility, magnificence and ease of use so that type follows operate, this design language is all concerning the delicate use of sunshine, reflection and shadow. First, surfaces and case traces are polished to a distortion-free mirror end (the well-known Zaratsu sprucing approach). Second, all traces of the case and dial must be flat and graphically sharp, so to mirror mild in the very best manner. Fingers are polished to razor-edge sharpness in order that they catch even the faintest ray of sunshine and the lugs mix polished and hairline finishes in a manner that lets mild create a delicate and uniquely Japanese impact. Lastly, bezels must be flat and have easy, two-dimensional designs.
Going deeper into the main points, this definition of the fashion by Taro Tanaka gave beginning to a sequence of 9 completely different guidelines, which could be seen under. And the primary watch to combine this “Grammar of Design” in an entire manner was the 44GS, offered in 1967, and now thought to be one of the vital vital watches within the model’s historical past, and a turning level within the manufacturing of Grand Seiko. Moreover, this watch remains to be at the moment an excellent supply of inspiration for the model’s designers. Because the mannequin is celebrating its Fifty fifth anniversary this 12 months, Grand Seiko has determined to pay tribute to this emblematic design by releasing a brand new restricted version mannequin, trustworthy to the unique design but modernized.
The Grand Seiko Hello-Beat GMT SBGJ255
This new Hello-Beat GMT SBGJ255 has been offered formally a number of weeks in the past and whereas it shouldn’t be thought to be a real classic re-edition of the 44GS – this has been achieved by Grand Seiko in 2013, with the SBGW047, SBGW043, SBGW044, and SBGW046 – it should be seen as a real case examine in design consistency. In reality, it’s not even about re-creating a design, since this form of case has been seen fairly often within the assortment. It’s actually concerning the coherence and longevity of the model’s id. As you possibly can see for your self, the 44GS stays an vital supply of inspiration for the model with a number of watches following the Grammar of Design.
Visually, and if not really revolutionary since this watch is predicated on already present fashions such because the SBGJ235 (additionally a GMT) or the SBGH281, this watch reveals the dedication of Grand Seiko’s design workforce to its id and to the tradition that has been carried out inside the groups for a number of years. Trying on the illustrations above, and evaluating it to the precise watch we’re testing at the moment, the resemblance is uncanny. Proportions, shapes, general there isn’t a single side of this watch that doesn’t respect the foundations outlined within the Nineteen Sixties. What’s much more spectacular is how trendy the SBGJ255 feels even supposing its design is predicated on a sequence of tips which are 55 years outdated. I feel timelessness is an acceptable phrase right here…
What we’re , as mentioned, is a contemporary interpretation of the design outlined by the 44GS, right here expressed with trendy mechanics and supplies. Certainly, this new watch is manufactured from Excessive-intensity titanium, the model’s title for a selected alloy with larger corrosion resistance and scratch resistance (Vickers hardness of about 300-350, versus 180-200 for chrome steel). This alloy is indispensable for the model so as to respect its design language, as quite the opposite to basic grade 2 titanium, it may be polished. As such, it implies that the signature distortion-free surfaces are properly current. Being manufactured from Excessive-intensity titanium brings a number of benefits. First, clearly, is a discount of the burden, inherent to all titanium alloys. Second is the flexibility to withstand scratches higher than stainless-steel (not a foul factor with all of the Zaratsu polished space). Final is the color, recognized to be brighter than conventional titanium alloys utilized by different manufacturers.
The SBGJ255 is a watch of nice proportions, with a diameter of 40mm and a case lenght of 46.2mm, making it comparatively straightforward on the wrist, and for many wearers. It’s mild and cozy, with its curved profile, however do understand that the particular form of this watch – and of all 44GS-inspired fashions – makes it comparatively current on the wrist, because of the massive and stable shoulders giving the case a big floor. All of the basic parts of the Grand Seiko Grammar of Design are reutilized right here, such because the curved sideline, the extremely polished but easy bezel, the flat and distortion-free surfaces on the perimeters of the case and the lugs, the reversed slanted bezel wall and case facet and at last, the half-recessed crown. All of that isn’t solely respectful of the model’s codes but additionally offers the watch its sheer character, one thing distinctive that solely GS can do… Our solely grievance, one thing we’ve mentioned repeatedly when reviewing Grand Seiko fashions, considerations the peak of those watches. At 14mm, the SBGJ255 is pretty thick and if the model has began to work on this matter with the Evolution 9 assortment, different fashions aren’t there but.
Transferring to the dial, as soon as once more its makes little question relating to the producer of this watch. Identical to the case, the dials produced by Grand Seiko are outlined by a sure variety of guidelines, which embrace notions of symmetry however principally of textures and floor finishings. Information by magnificence but additionally by legibility issues, the hour and minute arms, in addition to the hour markers, are multi-faceted, to allow them to mirror mild in numerous instructions to stay extremely seen in all angles. On this watch, the bottom of the dial is a discreetly textured (vertical sample) silvery-white floor. Probably the most noticeable ingredient, which has been extraordinarily properly acquired by the group when the watch was first offered, is the addition of luminescent materials to the arms and markers, making for a extra versatile watch. The remainder of the dial is conventional, with a number of darkish blue accents on the logos, GMT hand, and on the 24h scale.
Beneath the sapphire crystal again is a widely known motion, the in-house Calibre 9S86. An computerized engine with hi-beat regulation, it beats at 5Hz or 36,000 vibrations/hour and is rated at an accuracy of +5 to –3 seconds per day (surpassing basic chronometer requirements). The 55h energy reserve is comfy regardless of the excessive frequency and the GMT operate is a real traveler’s one, that means that the native time hour hand is adjusted by one-hour increments, not the GMT hand like for many entry-level watches. Taking a look at this motion, you’ll instantly discover the particular ornament, with a rotor executed in an uneven gold color, which is achieved by means of an anodic oxidation course of, the place the titanium is subjected to electrolysis in order to generate an oxide movie.
This Grand Seiko Heritage Hello-Beat 36000 GMT 44GS reference SBGJ255 is worn on a Excessive-intensity titanium 3-link bracelet, completed principally with brushed surfaces and a few polished accents. It’s closed by a three-fold clasp with push-button launch. And entire the general execution of the bracelet and its consolation are to not be mentioned, GS may take into consideration including a micro-adjustment system so as to even enhance the expertise.
Availability & Value
The Grand Seiko Heritage Hello-Beat 36000 GMT 44GS Fifty fifth Anniversary SBGJ255 is launched as a restricted version of 1,200 items, and is now accessible at Grand Seiko Boutiques and chosen retail companions worldwide. It’s priced at EUR 8,500 or USD 8,500. For extra particulars, please go to www.grand-seiko.com.