To mark the recent opening of its first store in continental Europe – and its biggest boutique in the world – Grand Seiko has unveiled the Paris Vendôme Limited Edition, either in platinum (SBGK011) or rose gold (SBGK013). With a dial motif inspired by the streets of Paris, the limited edition is powered by the 9S63 movement.
Located at the corner of the posh Place Vendôme famous for being home to jewellers and the Hôtel Ritz, the new Grand Seiko boutique is the brand’s largest store ever, with a floor area of over 190 square metres (or some 2000 square feet) spread over two floors. Distinctly Japanese in style and materials – the floors are tatami and the screens, bamboo – the is the work of Kengo Kuma, one of Japan’s leading contemporary architects.
If the limited editions look familiar, it’s for good reason – they are based on the Grand Seiko Elegance Collection introduced last year, featuring the same case, movement, and dial layout.
The refined dimensions of the Elegance Collection immediately made it one of my favourites of the Grand Seiko collection. Although Grand Seiko watches are well designed and equipped with great movements, the cases tend to wear large and thick, something the Elegance Collection managed to avoid.
Unusual dial textures, like the famous “snowflake” for instance, are often one of the main attractions of a Grand Seiko. The dials in the Paris Vendôme edition feature a cobblestone-inspired pattern that’s no less interesting than the dial decoration found on earlier models. However, I still prefer the Iwateyama finish found on some Elegance Collection models. Inspired by a mountain near Seiko’s workshop, it is an original motif that translates well onto the Elegance Collection case.
Another element that’s a reference to Paris is the green seconds hand. I am also not a big fan of the green seconds hand, which is a bit too quirky for a dress watch.
But being available only in precious metal, the two watches are pricey – €38,000 and €28,000 for the SBGK011 and SBGK013 respectively. Having a steel version would perhaps draw more attention to the boutique’s opening (making it probable that a steel model will be eventually offered).
The key feature that distinguishes the Paris edition from the standard models is the dials, which is finished with an intricate, radial pattern modelled on the cobblestone streets of Paris. Used for the first time on a Grand Seiko, the pattern has a silvered finish, which pairs better on the platinum case of the SBGK011 in my opinion, as well as hour markers and hands to match the case metal.
The blue-green seconds hand takes its cues from the oxidised surface of the Colonne Vendôme, or Vendôme Column, the bronze war memorial that sits in the centre of the square.
The rest of the watch is identical to the standard Elegance Collection hand-wind. Thanks to the 9S63 mechanical calibre inside, the cases are a slim 11.6 mm high, and 39 mm wide.
Key facts and price
Grand Seiko Paris Vendôme Limited Edition
Ref. SBGK011 (platinum)
Ref. SBGK013 (rose gold)
Case diameter: 39 mm
Case height: 11.6 mm
Material: Platinum or rose gold
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Cal. 9S63
Features: Hours, minutes,seconds and power reserve indicator
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Manual wind
Power reserve: 72 hours
Strap: Black crocodile (SBGK011) or brown crocodile (SBGK013); with additional blue green crocodile leather
Limited edition: Ten pieces each
Availability: Only at the Grand Seiko Boutique Paris Vendôme
Price: €38,000 (SBGK011) and €28,000 (SBGK013)
For more, visit Grand-seiko.com.
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