The Grand Seiko Tentagraph SLGC001 is the model’s first-ever mechanical chronograph, and we might not have missed going hands-on with it at Watches & Wonders 2023. Constructed across the cutting-edge 9SA5 base caliber, it’s a true Grand Seiko on the within, whereas on the surface, it marks a definite departure with reasonably toned-down styling.
For some 20 minutes of intense Grand Seiko immersion, hearken to the one and solely Joe Kirk of Grand Seiko USA reveal all of the inside secrets and techniques of the SLGC001 within the video above whereas we give attention to the necessities and, in fact, our hands-on impressions.
Generally, what the world desires is a extra regular and, in methods, worse model of one thing that’s already been obtainable. It’s a phenomenon relevant to vehicles, cameras, and positively watches. You see, the Spring Drive Chronograph SBGC001 from 2007 is a greater watch in each method save for the metallic — that was metal and that is in titanium, which in itself would have been a simple repair. The SBGC001 was so good that I reviewed it twice — first right here, after which a long-term assessment right here and have praised its Spring Drive know-how in what was the primary complete take a look at Spring Drive historical past and know-how right here.
The Grand Seiko chronograph of 2007 was a free-roaming train, the expression of nearly all the pieces that’s so particular about Grand Seiko. Alas, the watch attracted greater than its fair proportion of criticism directed primarily at its giant screw-down chronograph pushers and odd dial format. How broadly the advantages and genuinely unequalled technological development of Spring Drive had been understood is harder to evaluate, however it has probably confused greater than it has impressed.
The brand new-for-2023 Grand Seiko Tentagraph SLGC001 ought to be evaluated within the context of the Grand Seiko chronograph watches that got here earlier than it, as that is one of the simplest ways to know the hows and the whys of its execution. As such, the SLGC001 appears decidedly extra generic with a standard 3-6-9 dial format with the date at 04:30, surrounded by trapezoid hour markers and a ceramic bezel. Look a bit additional and also you’ll discover that the chronograph pushers are mushroom-style, most likely so as to add a little bit of playfulness into the combo, and are set right into a fantastically arched case profile.
On the wrist, the Grand Seiko Tentagraph SLGC001 wears like many different cumbersome chronographs do. The SLGC001 is 43.2mm-wide and 15.3mm-thick and its lugs, though gracefully curved and proportional to the remainder, will not be precisely quick, both. Regardless of the comparatively low weight of titanium — “high-intensity titanium,” as Grand Seiko calls it — you gained’t be forgetting about having the Tentagraph in a rush. This isn’t to say it’s uncomfortable, as a result of it isn’t that, however it’s going to get caught up on sleeves, that a lot is for sure. Extra importantly, look down at your wrist and also you’ll discover a common chronograph in Grand Seiko taste — which is seemingly what so many have been asking for and, in the end, Grand Seiko has come to reply their request.
A part of the explanation for the delay was that Grand Seiko selected to develop a brand new motion with a standard dial format — once more, to reply the numerous pleas it has obtained for one. Constructed across the 9SA5 base motion, the Tentagraph is powered by the Grand Seiko Caliber 9SC5, the model’s first-ever self-winding mechanical chronograph. It runs at 5Hz and has an influence reserve of 72 hours, which is the longest by a substantial margin of all different 5Hz chronograph watches presently available on the market. That is thanks, in no small half, to the super-efficient new dual-impulse escapement of the 9SA5 — you may study extra about that right here.
Flip the Tentagraph round and gaze via the sapphire crystal caseback to find that the 9SC5 is a stunning-looking motion with an amazing feeling of high quality and refinement. We’ll say this very quietly — it appears reasonably extra Swiss in its styling and does so in the very best method. You’ll be able to tell us within the feedback under whether or not you agree or disagree with that evaluation. Anyhow, no Tentagraph proprietor will really feel shortchanged within the motion division, because the polished screw heads, bevels, and even countersinks assist create a jewel-like impression for the 9SC5.
The gathering of neat and valuable particulars doesn’t finish with the motion; they lengthen onto the outside, too. The aforementioned chronograph pushers have neat little beveled edges, the crown options the GS emblem in aid in opposition to a frosted backdrop, and the titanium case is as fairly as any on this value section — and an entire lot extra spectacular than what Rolex has managed to attain with the just about identically priced, but comparably under-equipped, Yacht-Grasp in RLX Titanium (hands-on right here). Equally spectacular within the metallic — and unassuming in photos — are the beveled and polished subdial surrounds. These frames are among the many most distinguished and expensive-looking options of the dial, and never the hardly seen Mt. Iwate-pattern impressed by the ridged contours of the mountain seen via the home windows of the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi.
In abstract, the Grand Seiko Tentagraph SLGC001 is simply odd in its title, however not in its styling and presentation. The Tentagraph is a fantastically made, light-weight, high-tech chronograph that’s crafted to larger specs utilizing extra fashionable supplies than what you will see that in a metal Daytona and but manages to value lower than that benchmark. Nonetheless, for a few of us, the Tentagraph might be overshadowed by its quirky predecessor, the Spring Drive Chronograph, a novel watch that, albeit earlier than sky-high inflation, retailed for nearly half as a lot. The Grand Seiko Tentagraph SLGC001 is priced at $13,700 and might be obtainable from June 2023. You’ll be able to study extra on the model’s web site.
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