Home Featured Article Grand Seiko’s Revolutionary 9SA5 Movement Gets the Stainless Steel Treatment with the SLGH003

Grand Seiko’s Revolutionary 9SA5 Movement Gets the Stainless Steel Treatment with the SLGH003

by Zach Kazan

Approach again in March, when we told you about Grand Seiko’s solid gold SLGH002 with the all new 9SA5 high frequency movement with a Dual Impulse Escapement, a Grand Seiko invention that represents one of many small handful of true improvements in escapement design over the past a number of generations of watchmaking, we overtly speculated a few time sooner or later when this new motion would make right into a watch that was slightly extra approachable. It’s not that we didn’t love the SLGH002, however a stable gold gown watch that retails for over $40,000 isn’t precisely one thing you impulse purchase. Now, as Grand Seiko’s 60th anniversary 12 months involves a detailed, we’re getting our first style of the 9SA5 motion in a stainless-steel watch, a lot sooner than I’m guessing many observers anticipated. Let’s take a better take a look at the simply introduced SLGH003.

First issues first: whereas this watch is definitely extra attainable than the gold SLGH002, it will be exhausting to explain it as “inexpensive” with a straight face. The brand new SLGH003 will promote for $9,700, and is restricted to 1,000 items. Given the current rarity of the 9SA5 motion, this watch is more likely to be extremely wanted by collectors and troublesome to accumulate, but it surely’s genuinely nice information for followers of the model that Grand Seiko has already discovered a solution to get the 9SA5 right into a look ahead to lower than $10,000. All these technological developments have a method of trickling all the way down to the patron stage, but it surely normally occurs very slowly. To have this motion in a metal watch so quickly after its introduction is a good signal. 

Earlier than we go a lot additional, let’s shortly overview what makes the 9SA5 motion so particular. Grand Seiko, for many years, has been a pacesetter in excessive frequency actions. These calibers beat at a quicker charge than an ordinary motion, and are thus able to retaining extra correct and steady time. The problem, as at all times in watchmaking, is effectivity. With the next beat charge, you squeeze extra power out of the mainspring, leading to much less energy, and shorter energy reserve instances. Greater barrels can add hours to the ability reserve, but it surely prices you dimension. Grand Seiko, with the 9SA5, got down to construct a motion that operates at a excessive beat charge, with Grand Seiko accuracy, for as much as 80 hours, with out making sacrifices within the dimension division. 

Grand Seiko succeeded right here largely because of the invention of an all new Twin Impulse Escapement, which impulses the stability twice (straight and not directly) utilizing the identical quantity of power {that a} conventional escapement makes use of to impulse the stability simply as soon as. With the Twin Impulse Escapement, the escape wheel transmits energy to the stability straight when it swings in a single route, and not directly via a standard pallet fork when swinging in the other way. This makes the 9SA5 considerably extra environment friendly than a standard excessive frequency caliber. To take advantage of out of this saved power, Grand Seiko was in a position to match a second barrel into the caliber with out including vital weight to the motion (thanks largely to MEMS design rules), permitting for steady timekeeping to +5/-Three seconds per day with 80 hours within the tank. 

The twin impulse escapement of the 9SA5

So, that’s the motion in a nutshell (for extra, you should definitely take a look at our authentic story on the SLGH002 linked above, in addition to this piece on the Grand Seiko’s T0 idea motion, which is inextricably linked to the 9SA5 in some key methods). However what in regards to the SLGH003 as a watch? Grand Seiko, unsurprisingly, has created one thing particular to match the motion inside. The blue dial is a Grand Seiko hallmark at this level, and we’ve seen it seem a number of instances over the course of their 60th anniversary launch schedule. The case matches the unique gold watch from March, and has been completed with vast Zaratsu polished bevels. It’s fascinating to think about how the 44GS impressed case adjustments in character from gold to metal. The sooner SLGH002 had an look that was refined and traditional, however one thing in regards to the metal SLGH003 provides the identical design a extra imposing really feel. Whereas this watch may definitely work as a gown piece, as most Grand Seikos that aren’t explicitly a part of their Sport Assortment can, it actually feels extra like an quaint on a regular basis, each state of affairs form of timepiece. At 40mm in diameter with a thickness of 11.7mm, it’s positively versatile by way of dimension, and it has 100 meters of water resistance in addition. 

The bracelet has additionally been reworked and is now extra substantial, and options Grand Seiko’s folding clasp with a gold “GS” signature. This, together with the gradient blue dial, is a reminder that the watch is restricted in manufacturing, and an anniversary piece. Additionally notable is that the motion could be seen via the sapphire caseback. And after I say “seen,” I actually imply it. Grand Seiko has taken some honest criticism as of late for hiding their actions behind graphics that includes their very own logos. On the SLGH003 the emblem continues to be there, but it surely’s faint, and doesn’t appear to get in the way in which of observing the 9SA5. Not solely that, however the rotor of the 9SA5 is skeletonized, providing a view of the whole caliber. For this motion, it’s price it. 

The brand new SLGH003 might be accessible in December via choose Grand Seiko retailers and Grand Seiko boutiques. Extra info here.

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