Horological Perfection

Grand Seiko is in a continual pursuit of mastering and perfecting watchmaking. The Japanese term shokunin best reflects this — mastery of one’s profession.
Words by Sandy Lindsey | Photos courtesy of Grand Seiko | September 28, 2020 | Luxury

Grand Seiko was born in 1960 out of the vision of Kintaro Hattori (1860-1934), who aimed to create the ideal and ultimate timepiece. A select group of the firm’s watchmakers came together to develop a watch that would offer extreme precision, supreme legibility and a uniquely Japanese aesthetic. Over the last six decades, Grand Seiko has continued to create high-quality timepieces while pushing the boundaries of technical innovations such as Spring Drive, a cutting-edge movement that delivers one-second-a-day precision, using just the power of a mainspring. 

“As a watch manufacturer, Grand Seiko embodies an uncompromising commitment to innovate through its technically unique and distinctively Japanese approach to the art of watchmaking,” says Brice Le Troadec, President, Grand Seiko Corporation of America. “The brand strives to create the most aesthetically refined timepiece at every touchpoint — from the specific designs of the watch cases and movements to the unique polishing technique called “Zaratsu” which produces distortion-free mirror finishing, one of Grand Seiko’s signatures. We also utilize the most reliable technologies, thanks to the exceptional standards and proprietary processes that ensure that our watches maintain their precision over many decades.”

When Grand Seiko became an independent brand in 2017, part of their strategy has been to bring the brand’s universe to their clients through a positive and unique experience when visiting their flagship boutiques, highlighting their Japanese heritage, authentic craftsmanship and value in precision. “The creative and artistic nature of the Miami Design District made it an obvious choice for us to open a boutique,” he says. “The art-filled backdrop of the area suits Grand Seiko’s design-forward aesthetic perfectly.” Their goal for the boutique is to bring an educational, exploratory, and accessible experience to watch aficionados who are interested in learning more about fine timepieces. “Our mission for the past three years has been to educate our consumers on the specifics of Grand Seiko,” he says. “It takes an extra effort for our consumers to understand the subtle but deep values of Grand Seiko. Our team, thanks to the deep level of knowledge of the brand, focuses on communicating its core values, such as the cultural and artistic inspiration based on the natural elements of Japan. The experience offered in a Grand Seiko boutique is very respectful to the traditional Omotenashi, or selfless Japanese hospitality.”

In honor of their 60th anniversary, the company has introduced two new ultra performing calibers, the 9SA5 High-Beat 3-Day power reserve, featured first in the Heritage model reference SLGH002, an 18ct yellow gold limited edition of 100 pieces, and the 9RA5 Spring Drive Diver 5-Day Power Reserve, featured in the Sport model SLGA001, a professional Divers 600m stainless steel limited edition of 700 pieces. This year, they also proudly introduced two new U.S. exclusive models, SBGA427 and SBGA429, as a continuation of the Grand Seiko Japan Seasons collection. These timepieces embrace the brand’s roots and express the uniquely Japanese moment in nature known as soko, or the end of Autumn, when the first frost embraces the forest. “Grand Seiko’s 60th Anniversary is a significant milestone for our brand,” he says. “Not only does the number 60 have great resonance in our industry as one of the fundamental numbers in horology, it’s also an expression of a moment of new energy and rebirth. In America, we are embracing this wholeheartedly. Introducing the Grand Seiko boutique to the Miami Design District is a significant step for Grand Seiko as a global brand, but also for the American market specifically. The neighborhood caters to individuals who align with our ethos and appreciate craftsmanship.”

As they move forward, Grand Seiko plans to continue creating more exciting and engaging new experiences for consumers. For example, they recently launched The Nature Of Time Experience in SoHo, New York. The new exhibition redefines luxury retail by putting an emphasis on the individual guest experience: more innovative, highly immersive, meticulously personalized and safe. The space itself was inspired by Japan’s magnificent seasons and the spirit of takumi, or craftsmanship. The company also recently launched Grand Seiko timepieces virtually through an Augmented Reality (AR) experience for consumers to try on the watch in the comfort of their homes through an Instagram and Facebook filter. The AR component of the launch embodies the pioneering spirit of Grand Seiko and their mission to deliver an exceptional experience to consumers. “We’re always looking to expand and elevate our presence in the U.S.,” says Le Troadec. “Our new Design District storefront will not only satisfy the demand for high-luxury products, but also broaden awareness of our inimitable design and craftsmanship. Our intention is to fuel the market for collectible design and provide an exciting yet accessible destination for collectors and enthusiasts in the South Florida area. We are also excited to educate consumers in the area about the art of Japanese craftsmanship that makes Grand Seiko so unique.”

The company is a true manufacturer in the most stringent sense, making all its movements, key parts and components in house, and controlling every aspect of the watchmaking process including design, manufacturing and quality control. It is one of the only luxury brands that is still led by an original founding family member. The current CEO, Shinji Hattori, is the great-great-grandson of founder Kintaro Hattori. “The Grand Seiko team in Miami really focuses on the client’s interests and needs,” he says. “It’s fair to say that in Japan, acting on the needs of others without being asked to do so is at the height of their savvy. Our team really understands that and it is reflected in the time that we spend educating customers of their purchase and creating honest relationships.”
Grand Seiko is located at 130 NE 40th St. in the Miami Design District; 786.360.6869;