Chapter 5

Grand Seiko Spring Drive watches are designed for comfort.

The objective of the original Grand Seiko team was to create the very best watch of which they were capable. To this day, Grand Seiko follows this vision with every watch it creates through the pursuit of accuracy, legibility, durability, and comfort on the wrist.

In addition to often-cited figures such as diameter and thickness, factors such as the length of a lug or the curvature of a case can dramatically impact the experience an owner has when wearing a watch. Therefore, these considerations are weighed by Grand Seiko designers and product developers as they strive to create the most comfortable watches they can.

Another factor that impacts comfort is the choice of material. Since 2004, the year the 9R series was introduced, Grand Seiko has used high-intensity titanium in Spring Drive watches. High-intensity titanium allows the creation of watches that are 30% lighter than they would be if their cases and bracelets were made of stainless steel. The first Grand Seiko Spring Drive model to feature high-intensity titanium was the limited-edition SBGA005 of 2004 with its “fir tree” pattern dial, a watch that debuted at a time when titanium’s use in high-end horology was less common than it is today. The next year, Grand Seiko followed it up with the SBGA011 with the “snowflake” dial. Though the SBGA011 became known for its signature white textured dial inspired by wind-blown snow, this model’s high-intensity titanium case and bracelet provided a light and comfortable presence that made it a pleasure to wear on the wrist.

Another major factor that influences watch proportions and wearability is movement size. Grand Seiko has endowed its next-generation Caliber 9RA2, which powers the SLGA021 of the Evolution 9 Collection, with a remarkable level of functionality. Not only does it have an increased power reserve of 120 hours and an accuracy of ± 10 seconds per month, but 9RA2’s profile is significantly thinner when compared to the mainstay 9R65 movement with 3 days of power reserve and accuracy of ± 15 seconds per month. Whereas the 9R65 measures 5.8mm from top to bottom, the 9RA2 is an even 5mm. This allows the SLGA021 case to measure just 11.8mm from top to bottom.

This watch’s wearable profile can be attributed to more than just the slender 9RA2 Spring Drive movement inside. The space between the hands has also been reduced, which further enhances legibility.

The watches of the Evolution 9 Collection have become renowned for their comfort and wearability. This quality comes down not only to dimensions and weight but also to the center of gravity and balance on the wrist. In the case of Evolution 9 Spring Drive models like SLGA021, the Caliber 9RA2 was designed not only to be thin but also to have a lower center of gravity, which was accomplished through a lowering of the crown attachment toward the watch’s case back. Though difficult to notice at first glance, this innovative design lowers the center of gravity of the whole watch and makes for a balanced, stable feeling on the wrist. The functionality of the crown has also been carefully considered. When setting the time, each rotation of the crown advances the minute hand by 20 minutes.

The Evolution 9 Style is a design language based on the Grand Seiko Style of 1967. In creating the Evolution 9 Style, the aim was to evolve this design code in terms of aesthetics, legibility, and wearing comfort. Thanks to a lowered center of gravity and a widening of the bracelet, the watch rests firmly and securely on the wrist, adding another dimension to the comfortable wearability and stable fit that Grand Seiko continually seeks in its wristwatch designs.

The watch’s lower center of gravity is, of course, connected to advancements in movement design achieved with the 9RA series of movements. But because this revolutionary movement series, the cases that house it, and even the dials and hands that form the interfaces of the watches are all made at one location, the Shinshu Watch Studio, there are tremendous collaborative synergies at play.

Grand Seiko watches equipped with 9R Spring Drive movements reflect the natural flow of time while also being comfortable to wear. Grand Seiko’s pursuit of the qualities of accuracy, durability, legibility, and wearing comfort could be succinctly described as the brand’s drive to create the ideal wristwatch.