Hands-On With the Seiko 130th Anniversary Commemorative Collection

Seiko remakes the original Grand Seiko ref. 3180 of 1960.
Grand-Seiko-130th-anniversary-Baselworld-2011-289291

I wrote about these in an earlier post but recently had the chance to see the whole collection in person, save for the Credor minute repeater, at Seiko Watch Corp. office in Tokyo. The crowd favourite, and also my personal preference (I will have one on my wrist by August hopefully), is the 130th anniversary Grand Seiko hand wind models, in steel, platinum and yellow gold (refs. SBGW033, SBGW039 and SBGW040 respectively). 1300 pieces in steel, and 130 each in gold and platinum.

Grand Seiko 130th anniversary watches from left: platinum, gold and steel

(Update Oct 2011: I just received the steel edition SBGW033 and these are my initial impressions. In short I love it.)

Of the three I like the steel and yellow gold best. The platinum looks slightly dull and monochrome, while the steel has a beautiful blued steel seconds hand that is perfect. And the yellow gold looks perfectly vintage. Interestingly the dial colour of all three are not identical – the steel has an ivory tone on the dial while the platinum is silver, and the gold in somewhere in between.

All three have a case diameter of 35.8 mm but do not look that small because of the thin bezel and white dial.

The yellow gold and steel
The platinum on the left and the steel

You will notice the lack of text on the dial, and also the lack of the GS and Seiko logo. This is a deliberate attempt to recreate the look of the original GS. Seiko has done a brilliant job, right down to the relief buckle which is identical to that on the vintage version. I loved the domed sapphire crystal as well.

The vintage style buckle

Mechanically the GS limited edition differs from the regular GS as well. It contains the new 9S64 movement with three day power reserve. In addition, the mainspring and balance spring of the movement are made from alloys developed by Seiko, while the skeletonised lever and escape wheel are made using an etching technique similar to that used to make silicon wafers. More photos of the GS 130th anniversary collection can be seen at the end of this post.

Grand Seiko SBGW040

Another watch I liked, and had not come across until now, is the Seiko Ananta Brightz NS_Concept (ref. SAEC013) limited edition designed by Naoki Sakai. He’s a well known Japanese industrial designer who has worked for Seiko before, as well as Nissan and Olympus. A limited edition of 1000 pieces, it is steel with a black hard coating (DLC possibly?) and the automatic 6R21 movement.

Seiko Ananta NS_CONCEPT

The watch obviously has some automotive instrument inspiration in its design, but what is really unusual is the perimeter around the dial and movement is mostly open, making it seem like the dial and movement and floating. And unusually for a Seiko this is large at 46 mm.

Note the cool ‘floating dial’

Also new is the Ananta Automatic Chronograph Diver’s watch (Ref. SAEK015 or SRQ013), launched for the 130th anniversary. The Kanazawa urushi dial is a deep, glossy black and is beautiful.

Ananta Diver’s Chronograph 130th anniversary limited edition

Black coated case with pink gold accents on pushers and bezel

However, the case and dial design are not to my taste. The black PVD case with pink gold accents looks a bit common and inexpensive; a dial like that deserves better in my opinion.

I was also shown a few new models from the Premier, Sportura and Ananta range. All well made and terrific value for money, if a little uninspiring.

Ananta Automatic Chronograph seiko SRQ011

Ananta Multi-hand Automatic SPB021
Sportura Kinetic Diver’s SKA511
Sportura Kinetic Diver’s SKA509
Premier with 24 hour Indicator SSA021

Many thanks to my good friends at Seiko for showing me the collection.

– SJX

The SBGW040 in steel with a Bright titanium GS SBGR059

The SBGW039 in platinum
The platinum on left, and the steel

And this is the official video for the 130th anniversary Grand Seiko watches

This is a great book covering 12 independent watchmakers, and one of those profiled is Kenji Shiohara of Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio.

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