The Grand Seiko Vision of the Beauty of Time

Vol.4Fine craftsmanship
resonates with
the swords
of Yoshindo Yoshihara

The unique evolution and
the Japanese craftsmanship

The exceptional Japanese culture
of swords

This sword made by Yoshindo Yoshihara has an exquisite blade pattern. While it is amazingly sharp—a true weapon by no mistake—it possesses both artistic value and a deeply moving, divine appeal.

Influenced by his grandfather and father who were swordsmiths, Yoshindo Yoshihara began making swords at a young age. As one of the foremost swordsmiths in Japan, he is entrusted with making the sword offered as a sacred treasure at the sengu ceremony at Ise Jingu Shrine, which takes place once every 20 years when the structure is rebuilt. The swords created by Yoshihara have a value that go beyond that of a weapon.

It seems that this adulation of swords is exclusive to Japanese swords. In Europe, where metallurgy was a well-developed technique, swords were simply weapons. Since it wasn’t until the Nara period (710-794 AD) that this technology came into Japan, it was considered a special treasure of the developed nations. Swords were thus regarded in Japan as having high cultural value. They were weapons, of course, but they were also items with a divine appeal; they empowered those who carried them and were also items to be appreciated as a work of art.

The keeping of accurate time gives
birth to irrefutable value

Grand Seiko SBGV205 has a clean, functional design for enhanced legibility. While it is obviously a beautiful watch, the movement should also be enjoyed as the long, slender seconds hand marks each second with unerring precision.

From days of old, the proof of quality in the world of timepieces has been accuracy—the barometer of the watch’s precision in telling time. Seiko took that level to astonishing new heights. Ever since Seiko’s 1969 release of the world’s first quartz watch, the Quartz Astron, it has become commonly accepted that watches are highly accurate.

The watch industry today, which is increasingly focusing on luxury, may be inclined to favoring mechanical movements just because they are mechanical. At Grand Seiko, however, the unwavering value of high precision is also pursued. The high-performance quartz movement Caliber 9F embodies Grand Seiko’s culture and tradition of treasuring quality. The precise seconds hand marking time on the simple dial, visualizes the passage of time and makes you want to value the moment.

Japanese swords are works born
from the materials

The sharp edge of the kissaki, the fan-shaped point of the blade, and the yokote, which separates it from the body of the blade. Superior quality materials and highly precise artisan skills come together to create a tense beauty.

Japanese swords are produced from iron, but not your regular iron. A highly pure form of steel called tamahagane is always used in Japanese sword production. This is a material that is not fully melted, made by heating sand iron at a relatively low temperature. The essential point is that the iron never becomes molten.

Just as ice frozen from water and glaciers made from compressed snow differ in their appearance of density, by using tamahagane in the production of the sword, the blade has a sharp edge while also retaining the flexibility to absorb impact. The tamahagane is heated, hammered and then heated again, with this forging process done repetitively to increase the toughness of the blade, while gradually finishing it into a Japanese sword. This is a peerless method to make Japanese swords that has not changed a single bit since swords were first introduced to Japan.