Grand Seiko is presenting another rendition of their Hi-beat movement, the 9SA5. And what better way to do it than in an over-the-top gold Grand Seiko restricted to 100 pieces only?
At least Grand Seiko presently has our (and your) attention with this new reference SLGH002 with a retail cost of €45,000. Besides the awesome looks of the 44GS case and the utilization of gold, what is it that makes it so special?
For Grand Seiko’s 60th anniversary, the brand has created a beautiful watch that appears as though the 44GS plan from 1967 and they’ve made it of 18K yellow gold. On the off chance that that’s not amazing already, Grand Seiko also utilizes this (relatively) small batch of restricted release watches to present something pretty important. The new Grand Seiko Hi-beat caliber 9SA5 movement. Let’s have a more intensive gander at this unusual caliber.
Grand Seiko has a long history with high beat movements (or howdy beat, as they call their own 36,000vph movements). In 1969, the brand presented its first hello beat movement in quite a while 61GS model. The 9S caliber was been presented a lot later, in 1998. But not as a Hi-Beat. That debuted (again) in 2009, as the 9S85. In 2014, the 9S86 was released. It was based on the 9S85 but with a GMT complication. The main reason to go for a Hi-Beat movement is the better accuracy that can be achieved (especially during shocks).
This comes to the detriment of the force save and the life span of movement components (because of the greater workload). Grand Seiko compensates for that potential shortfall by utilizing special materials for the mainspring (SPRON610) and the MEMS innovation for creating an escape haggle fork that are lighter and smoother, bringing about better performance. A fascinating break-down of the 9S85 movement can be found .
So far, so great. But the current 9S Hi-Beat movements do come with a slight disadvantage. They’re very thick. I have a Grand Seiko SBGJ201 ( read my article on my personal watch here ), and it isn’t a flimsy watch by any means. Enter 9SA5. According to Grand Seiko, it is the best mechanical movement they’ve created to date. Since Grand Seiko is known to be humble (to say the least) with regards to advancing their own watches, it is a serious bold statement, in any event, while considering they are talking about the best Grand Seiko mechanical movement (and not in general).
The Hi-Beat caliber 9SA5 has a number of cool features that make it the best Grand Seiko mechanical movement, without a doubt. For starters, it is slender. It is 5.18mm thick (the diameter is 31.6mm). That’s 15% slimmer than the brand’s current 9S Hi-Beat movements. This is achieved by utilizing a special, super-flat gear train.
Also fascinating is that the Grand Seiko 9SA5 movement offers 80 hours of force hold, utilizing two barrels. That’s significantly more than the (approximately) 55 hours of the current 9S Hi-Beat movements. That’s not all with regards to new features. It also offers an instant date change at 12 PM. My own Grand Seiko with caliber 9S86 doesn’t change date instantly at 12 PM but, rather, needs an hour in advance. It’s not something I care about something over the top, but rather an instant date change is always nice(r) to have.
Dual Impulse Escapement
The biggest technological innovation, however, is Grand Seiko’s Dual Impulse Escapement. A few group compared it to the Co-Axial escapement, and I get the association, but it is very unique. The idea of the Co-Axial is two escapement wheels on one axis. The Dual Impulse Escapement has one. The similarity between these two escapement mechanisms is in the drive given in two ways. One way the force is transmitted straightforwardly to the balance while the other way it is via the pallet fork.
But the Direct Impulse Escapement is new and created in-house by Grand Seiko. This new escapement guarantees the wheel transmits energy straightforwardly to the balance, increasing effectiveness. Strangely, the idea of this kind of escapement has been attempted and tried before, by exceptionally regarded watchmakers like George Daniels (in fact the designer of the Co-Axial). He came up with the hypothesis for a Double Impulse Chronometer Escapement but never realized it in a wristwatch. Additionally, Charles Frodsham formulated the Double Impulse Chronometer Wristwatch. It is this escapement mechanism that is the biggest achievement in this new Grand Seiko Hi-Beat movement, and it ought not go unnoticed.
It doesn’t stop here however. The Grand Seiko caliber 9SA5 comes with a free-sprung balance. The 9SA5 uses an overcoil rather than the flat hairspring in the current 9S movements. According to Grand Seiko, the overcoil’s bend shape was chosen after more than 80.000 simulations, guaranteeing the most improved performance in each possible position.
Grand Seiko SLGH002
All this has been placed into this beautiful 18-karat gold Grand Seiko reference SLGH002. A 40mm diameter gold watch with the famous (and praised) 44GS case that has its underlying foundations in 1967 and was completely planned according to the Grand Seiko Style definition . I love this kind of case, thus my decision for the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT a number of years ago. The SLGH002 comes on an alligator strap, with a 18-karat yellow gold collapsing buckle. In the caseback, you’ll locate a sapphire crystal that allows you to see the beautifully completed caliber 9SA5 movement. This more slender 9S movement brings about a total case stature of 11.7mm, which isn’t bad, at all.
Now, just the fortunate few (100!) will actually want to purchase this €45,000 Grand Seiko in gold and I bet that these watches are gone in a flash to their new proprietors. Fortunately Grand Seiko communicated to us that this restricted release Grand Seiko SLGH002 will be the first to be controlled by this new caliber. It means that there’s more to come, and I can’t imagine they won’t (gradually) turn out other and more affordable Grand Seiko watches with this new 9SA5 movement. More information via Grand Seiko .