Introducing Three New Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 GMTs, Including a Limited Edition

Seiko facelifts the classic Grand Seiko GMT with two new Hi-Beat models, plus a limited edition with a deep red dial and psychedelic rotor.

Three new models have joined the twin time zone Grand Seiko GMT line-up, including an unusually coloured limited edition. All three additions are powered by the top of the line calibre 9S86, an automatic that runs at 36,000 beats per hour.

Morning light

The limited edition Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT (SBGJ021) draws on the “colours of sunrise on Mount Iwate”, the volcanic mountain visible from Shizukuishi Watch Studio, the workshop where all mechanical Grand Seiko watches are made. Meant to evoke the morning sun as it hits the mountain, the dial is a deep red with a radial motif that’s inspired by the ridges of Mount Iwate.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ021 dial

The back of the watch, however, does away with the typical conservative Grand Seiko style. Graduated tones in multi-hues cover the spiral-shaped rotor, a look inspired by the colours of the spectrum that makes up the sunlight.

Made of titanium on top – the alloy is used for its rigidity and shock resistance – the rotor is weighted with a hidden tungsten mass below. The psychedelic colours are produced via anodic oxidisation: the titanium is subject to electrolysis that creates an oxide film on its surface. That’s essentially an electric current that causes a chemical change on the surface of the titanium, with the different colours achieved by varying the current and resulting oxide layer.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ021 back

The SBGJ021 has a 40mm stainless steel case with wide polished flanks taken from the 44GS, the same case found on the first Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT unveiled in 2014. It’s limited to 500 pieces.

Two more additions to the GMT range – the silver dial SBGJ017 and black dial SBGJ019 – are part of the regular collection, featuring a dial that’s a slight tweak to that found on the original Grand Seiko GMT. Both are stainless steel, 39.5mm in diameter and 13.9mm high, making them exactly the same as the basic Grand Seiko GMT (the SBGM021 for instance).

SBGJ017 (left) and SBGJ019

Pricing and availability  

The limited edition SBGJ021 is priced at €7300 or  ¥700,000. It will be available mid November in Japan, and end November internationally.

And the SBGJ017 and SBGJ019 are both €7200 or  ¥680,000. They will reach stores late September in Japan, and a month later in other countries.

Addition September 8, 2016: Delivery dates included.

Correction September 23, 2016: Diameters of the SBGJ017 and SBGJ019 corrected to 39.5mm.


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Introducing the Urwerk EMC TimeHunter X-Ray

Urwerk's unique, self-monitoring EMC TimeHunter that fuses tradition and electronics is endowed with a skeleton dial.

Fusing traditional watchmaking and electronics, the latest iteration of the Urwerk EMC features a skeletonised dial that reveals the mechanics of the movement.

First introduced in 2013, the EMC attempts to perfect the old fashioned mechanical wristwatch with high-tech: an electronic rate monitor powered by a hand crank, which indicates whether the movement is running fast or slow, as well as if the movement is beating healthily (via the amplitude).

Urwerk EMC TimeHunter X-Ray 4

If a rate error is detected, the wearer can then regulate the movement via a screw on the back, eliminating the need to visit a watchmaker as would be the case for ordinary movements when something is amiss. That being said, if something is wrong with the amplitude then the skills of a watchmaker are still required.

Urwerk EMC TimeHunter X-Ray 3

Despite being high-tech, the EMC is unusual for being the only Urwerk model that tells time the old school way: with a pair of hands. The Timehunter X-Ray is functionally identical to the earlier versions of the watch, with its key novelty being the open-worked dial.

The time is shown on the central dial, while the rate monitor is at 11 o’clock, with the seconds at one o’clock. A small, fan-shaped scale at eight o’clock is the power reserve indicator for the 80-hour, hand-wound movement.

Urwerk EMC TimeHunter X-Ray 5

The case is steel on the front with a titanium back, both coated with a matte black ceramic layer. It measures 43mm wide and 51mm long.

Urwerk EMC TimeHunter X-Ray 1

Price and availability 

The X-Ray is a limited edition of 15 pieces, priced at SFr125,000 before taxes, or S$220,900 including Singapore taxes.

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Bell & Ross Introduces the Tattoo-Inspired BR 01 Burning Skull

Decorated with inked engravings, the BR 01 Burning Skull blends two recently fashionable motifs: a skull and tattoos.

One of the hottest watches in the mid-2000s, the BR 01 has now entered maturity, and so has to go further to stand out. While keeping the aviation instrument-inspired watch case, the BR 01 Burning Skull is elaborately decorated with inked engravings. Covering all faces of the square case, the Burning Skull radically different look from the clean and geometric original BR01-92.

Inspired by tattoo art, the case of the Burning Skull is stainless steel and laser engraved with an intricate flame motif. The lines are then filled with ink via a stylus, and the case is fired in an oven to set the ink.

Bell & Ross BR 01 Burning Skull 2

Bell & Ross BR 01 Burning Skull 1

The dial features a stamped skull in relief that rises out from the matte black Super-Luminova surface, while the hands are shaped like a dagger and sword. This is a nod to the skull and crossbones insignia of the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, which boasts the motto “Death From Above”.

Bell & Ross BR 01 Burning Skull 3

The stainless steel case is 46mm in diameter, and equipped with the BR-CAL.302, a rebadged ETA 2892 automatic.

Price and availability 

Limited to 500 pieces, the Burning Skull is available starting October 2016, and priced at US$7700 or S$11,300.

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