Call +1 (317) 844-9003 to Inquire about Grand Seiko Watches.Moyer Fine Jewelers the only authorized dealer of Grand Seiko, a luxury Japanese watch brand, in Indiana. We are excited to be an official retailer of this highly coveted brand among watch connoisseurs. Below we've compiled a blog about Grand Seiko's history, its movements and the craftsmanship that goes into every watch- three characteristics that make Grand Seiko a strong player in the luxury watch market. To shop Grand Seiko, please click here.
HistorySeiko, the parent brand of Grand Seiko, was founded in 1881. The first Grand Seiko was introduced in 1960. Since then, a lion has been the symbol of the brand, gracing every case back. The lion was chosen because Grand Seiko strived to create the most advanced practical watch in the world, a watch that was "King of Watches". Having won all of the Japanese watchmaking competitions, Grand Seiko set their sights overseas. In 1964, Seiko entered the Neufchatel Observatory convention and didn't place. After three years of dedication to precision, Seiko took second place in the competition. In 1968, Seiko received the title of "Best mechanical chronometer", a feat normally awarded to Swiss watchmaking companies. The 1960's was the era of the hi-beat. The hi-beat movement was compelling because higher beats mean increased stability which leads to better accuracy. To be considered a "hi-beat" watch, the watch must beat at a rate higher than 28800 BPH. Most watches beat at a rate of 8 beats per second which comes in less than 28000 BPH. Hi-Beat watches beat at a rate of 10 beats per second which is 36000 BPH. In 1969, Seiko introduced the first quartz watch, marking the beginning of the quartz revolution. In 2009, Grand Seiko introduced the Caliber 9S85 Hi-Beat 36000, a hi-beat watch. It was the first hi-beat introduced to the industry in 40 years! Breguet and Chopard followed suit and are the only other watch brands to currently have a hi-beat watch on the market.
Manufacturing and MovementsThe mechanical watches come from the Morioka area of Japan, and the Spring Drive watches are made in Shiojiri. Grand Seiko operates under vertical integration meaning that they make the machines that build their watches. In-House movements are in every watch bearing the Grand Seiko insignia. Even the watch hands are produced by the company. Craftsmen do not work on an assembly line in the factories, but are taught to build the entire movement. Each of the craftsmen can make 4-6 movements per day. Craftsmen and women who assemble Grand Seiko watches have honed their craft to such an extent that they can adjust parts by hand to tolerances of one hundredth of a millimeter. There are three families of movements: Spring Drive (the world's most accurate watch within one second of the day), Hi-Beat Mechanical and Quartz.
Spring DriveSpring Drive generates energy like every other luxury mechanical watch but combines this with an electronic regulator to deliver a level of precision that no mechanical watch can match. Grand Seiko was able to create the Spring Drive because of their mastery in both mechanical and electronic watchmaking. The Spring Drive derives it's power from a mainspring and a tri-synchro regulator. The regulator uses three types of power (mechanical, electrical, electromagnetic) to assure that the mainspring doesn't unwind too fast (which would make the watch stop abruptly). The signature feature of the Spring Drive is that the hands don't tick but rather glide across the face.
Mechanical watches utilize an escapement, a self-contained device that draws its power from the motive force of a mainspring. It uses the same power to regulate the speed at which the spring unwinds. It is a system which has remained largely unchanged since moving hands were first used to tell time.
As part of the mechanism, a wound-up mainspring exerts force to turn gears at a set speed as it unwinds. The precision of the system as a whole is dictated by this speed and the escapement mechanism, comprising the balance, pallet fork, and escape wheel.
The pallet fork sets the pace for the revolving escape wheel, and it operates in accordance with the oscillating balance.
The balance rotates back and forth like a pendulum. This ensuring that the mainspring unwinds at an even speed and over an extended period of time. The balance effects the steady rotation of the hour, minute, and second hands. The weight of the balance spring is critical to achieving precision, and it can be adjusted within tolerances as low as one ten thousandth of a gram.
To assure that minimal power is lost when turning the gears, craftsmen and women are tasked with hand polishing each groove in the gears. This minimizes the friction and maintains the longevity of the gears.