The Luxury Watch Proving Quality and Quantity Aren’t Mutually Exclusive

Commemorating the 55th birthday of Grand Seiko’s trademark GS case, the SLGH009 shows the brand’s commitment to detail.

Article by Luke Benedictus

The Grand Seiko SLGH009 55th Anniversary Limited Edition deserves its moment in the spotlight. Photography courtesy of Grand Seiko.

There can be a downside to being a non-stop whirlwind of super productivity. Sure, you may nail your daily to-do list, ensure your inbox hovers close to zero and even succeed in only forgetting your partner’s birthday very occasionally.  The problem is that if over-achievement is your default setting, then specific accomplishments may not always get the recognition they deserve.

Grand Seiko could be in danger of succumbing to exactly this fate. In the first month of this year, they have already released seven brand new watches. Bear in mind, too, that at the end of March, the brand will also be appearing at Watches and Wonders, a glamorous trade show in Geneva where many of the world’s top brands jostle for attention as they unveil their new timepieces for the year amid much horological hoopla. In other words, despite exploding out of the gates with terrifying energy, Grand Seiko is actually just warming up.

Such formidable output can mean that certain timepieces get overlooked due to their sheer flurry of hyperactivity. But sometimes you need to stop for a moment of appreciation. And the Grand Seiko SLGH009 55th Anniversary Limited Edition deserves its moment in the spotlight.

The historic case design of the GS is combined here with cutting-edge mechanics. Photography courtesy of Grand Seiko.

The hardware

Last year, Great Seiko released the SLGH007, a platinum-cased watch with mesmerising swirls etched into its black dial. This was a genuine showstopper of a watch. The only snag was that its palpable quality was reflected by its $88,000 price tag.

The SLGH009 offers a more realistic alternative for those of us with tiresome things like mortgages, children and responsibilities. Its midnight-blue dial presents a similar textured effect with its gentle curves delivering a pleasing contrast against the sharp edges of the hour and minute hands. Out of this inky backdrop the gold-tone seconds hand positively gleams.

The watch commemorates the 55th birthday of Grand Seiko’s trademark GS case that has become a towering benchmark of the brand’s design language with its highly reflective polished surfaces, wide facets, sharp angles and masterful finishing. The 40mm case of this piece is made of Ever-Brilliant Steel, Grand Seiko’s in-house material that is purportedly the most corrosion-resistant form of steel in the world. Aesthetically, this metal is distinguished by a whiteish tinge that further highlights the dark charm of the dial.

The historic case design of the GS is combined here with some of Grand Seiko’s most cutting-edge mechanics. Under the bonnet, the SLGH009 is powered by the Hi-Beat 36000 Calibre 9SA5 movement, whose slim form belies its formidable durability, accuracy and 80-hour power reserve. Thankfully, this mechanical feat is on full display courtesy of a sapphire-crystal caseback that reveals beautifully finished bridges with undulating curves – apparently inspired by the Shizukuishi River that winds close to the Grand Seiko studio.

The verdict

Grand Seiko’s productivity levels may be utterly relentless, but this watch betrays absolutely no sign of any shortcut. Instead every aspect of the SLGH009 shows the brand’s almost pathological attention to detail.  Available in a limited edition run of 550 pieces for the price of $15,695, this is a watch that is certain to be snapped up fast. By which time Grand Seiko will have no doubt moved on to their next blitzkrieg of head-turning releases.