Following the launch of the all-new 9S Hi-Beat movement last April — available initially in a yellow gold watch case only — Grand Seiko announces the first stainless steel model equipped with the new caliber today.
The Grand Seiko Series 9 Design (Ref. SLGH005) comes in a 40 mm x 11.7 mm stainless steel 44GS style case with the company’s trademark Zaratsu distortion-free mirror finish polishing, which is alternated with what GS is calling a hairline finish. “The Series 9 Design is true to the Grand Seiko Style defined back in 1967 with the celebrated 44GS, but its heritage is combined with a powerful contemporary feel that points towards a new era.”
White birch trees inspired the look of the three-dimensional textured dial, which was created using a dial stamping machine. Grooved markers and thick Dauphine-shaped hour and minute hands (the hour hand is split to match the indices but the minute hand is not which creates somewhat of a mismatched look) and a blued needle-shaped center seconds hand display the time. The frame of the date at 3 o’clock cleverly doubles as the hour marker.
As mentioned above, Grand Seiko’s latest high-end high-beat caliber 9SA5 beats at 5Hz — driving the three-hands and date wheel for up to 80-hours. The 47-jewel automatic in-house movement has striped bridges, machine beveled edges with perlage on the mainplate. The traversing balance bridge robustly supports the free-sprung balance wheel and looks good doing it. Grand Seiko states the accuracy to be -3/+5 seconds per day, which is better than a standard chronometer -4/+6 and just under the -2/+2 rate that Rolex adjusts their watches to prior to leaving the factory. Go more in-depth and learn about the new caliber here.
A domed sapphire crystal protects the dial. The screw-down steel caseback features a sapphire crystal to view the good-looking movement which is an automatic with a skeletonized rotor the does not obstruct the views as much as a traditional rotor.
The Grand Seiko Series 9 Design Ref. SLGH005 — part of the Grand Seiko Heritage collection — in stainless steel (as shown) will be available next month for $9,100. There’s not an individualized name for the watch, instead, like with Seiko, they opt to use reference numbers. With the significantly upgraded movement, Grand Seiko pushes their watch prices further upscale, above even Rolex pricing for comparable models. Presumably, as watchmakers in general, sell fewer watches, many have raised their prices to offset the loss in volume. Moreover, Grand Seiko is likely trying to appeal to those who want a Rolex alternative, or cannot find one to purchase due to shortages and gray market speculation.