THE NATURE OF TIME

The Grand Seiko Vision of the Beauty of Time

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

Only exceptional performance and
materials
result in exceptional
products

A newly born movement to pursue
the ideal

Broad elegant hands and an instant date-change calendar defied conventional wisdom about quartz movements. The Caliber 9F was born to create a finely detailed, lovely face that is unmistakably that of a Grand Seiko.

A quartz movement uses an integrated circuit to detect the vibrations generated by a crystal oscillator and activates a step motor to rotate the hands in precise timing. For this superb precision to last for a long period of time, however, power consumption has to be restrained to all possible extent; ergo the very weak torque of the motor, which made it difficult to move large hands and the calendar.

However, Grand Seiko also places much importance on the pursuit of legibility and luxury. Thus, in order to move the diamond-cut, broad, elegant and lovely hands, the Twin Pulse Control Motor, which moves the seconds hand twice per second, was developed, and an independent axis structure was conceived to prevent a quivering of the seconds hand when adjusting time. Moreover, the movement was designed to have the calendar change dates precisely at 12 midnight. Such attributes of Caliber 9F make for an extraordinary watch.

The form of aesthetic expression
unique to Japanese swords

The lovely hamon that gives expression to the sword, is born from change in the mechanical properties of steel when it is rapidly cooled. It is also an aesthetic feature that reflects the various individual characteristics of the swordsmith or school.

The beauty of Japanese swords is said to lie in the gradations that are formed by iron with different kinds of molecular structure. The hamon, the blade pattern resulting from differential hardening of the blade, which brings out the personality and expression of a swords, is also emblematic of the beauty of Japanese swords. The blade is quenched after clay is applied, with differences in time taken in the cooling process depending on where the clay is applied and not applied, or the type or thickness of the clay. This difference is what creates this unique gradation.

There is also a technique called utsuri (reflection), which creates a misty expression on the blade. This method was resurrected by master swordsmith Yoshindo Yoshihara. After conducting a great deal of research by poring over old technical books and papers, he was able to master this technique in 1972. Aesthetic expression is still pursued in this traditional world of Japanese swords.

The aesthetics of ridges
brought about by the handwork
of craftsmen/women

When viewing the case from the side, it can be seen that the flat surface is polished to a distortion-free sheen, and the slanting sides have a hairline finish. The resulting ridgeline runs down to the lugs for a sharp aesthetic form.

Caliber 9F, the ultimate quartz movement born from the investment of sophisticated technologies, is deftly assembled by craftsmen and women who place the hands of the timepiece in a space merely 0.2 millimeters wide. The form of the case that carries such a high-performance movement also demonstrates the unique aesthetic of Grand Seiko. The beauty of light and shadow born from a series of straight flat surfaces was used to express the unique Japanese sense of beauty.

The handwork of accomplished craftsmen and women is crucial in realizing such forms. By drawing out the beauty of stainless steel polished to a mirrored finish and the sharp-edged ridgeline, they make each timepiece a pleasure to gaze upon and one that provides the joy of ownership. Quartz movement watches tend to have attention focused on their high precision, but with a Grand Seiko you can also enjoy the craftsmanship of a luxury watch.