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Micro Artist Studio
A team of master watchmakers
The Micro Artist Studio at Seiko Epson's facility, in Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture is located among the Northern Japan Alps, which include the Hotaka and Jonen mountain ranges. It is a high-end watch studio that makes the Masterpiece Collection, a series of individual watches that combine the best in horological technology with hand craftsmanship of the highest order.
This studio was established in 2000 with the purpose of “uncovering, examining, and mastering the technologies and skills passed on by our predecessors for the production of luxury watches so that world-class Japanese watches could be created.” Today, the team consists of over 10 people, each one an expert in their respective fields including a skilled technician, Masatoshi Moteki, and a master watchmaker, Katsumi Nakata, who was selected by the Japanese government as a Contemporary Master Craftsman, a title given to technicians who possess outstanding skills and are leading experts in their fields. Nakata was also awarded the Medal with Yellow Ribbon, which is given, by the government, to individuals who have become public role models through their dedication to their work.
With “the idea and culture to cherish quality products” as its inspiration, the Micro Artist Studio’s goals are to produce “watches that last until their grandchildren’s generation” and to pursue “watchmaking that Japanese people could be proud of.” These ideals are displayed on the walls of the studio, serving as a constant reminder to the watchmakers of the studio’s guiding principles.
In 2016, the Micro Artist Studio produced its first watch for Grand Seiko, the Spring Drive 8 Days Power Reserve. Powered by Caliber 9R01, it uses three barrels arranged in sequence to deliver a power reserve of 192 hours and is accurate to within 10 seconds per month. The elaborate layout and finishing of the movement are inspired by the scenery of Lake Suwa. In 2019, a second masterpiece was introduced, with a new manual winding movement, Caliber 9R02, which delivers a power reserve of 84 hours, thanks to a remarkable Torque Return System. It offers ± one-second-per-day precision and presents the understated refinement and quality that exemplify Grand Seiko’s uniquely Japanese sensibility while reflecting the natural and continuous flow of time with its signature glide motion seconds hand. The Micro Artist Studio’s pride in their creation is vividly expressed in the way that the design reflects its provenance. The 84 hour power reserve indicator is visible through the sapphire crystal case back, next to the barrel whose shape echoes the bellflower that is the symbol of Shiojiri, where the studio is located.
Spring Drive 8 Days
All Spring Drive movements already offer a remarkable 72 hours of power reserve. The challenge was clear. Could this be extended still further?
The team at the Micro Artist Studio thought so and the Grand Seiko 8 Days Spring Drive is the result. To maintain perfect timekeeping for up to eight days (192 hours) requires greatly increased power, which is provided by a linked series of three barrels. This remarkable caliber, 9R01, has also been designed throughout to maximize energy efficiency, reducing friction between parts that would otherwise lead to loss in the transmission of the energy derived from the mainspring.
Spring Drive 3.5 Days
A new Spring Drive masterpiece from the Micro Artist Studio.
The Micro Artist Studio made its first contribution to Grand Seiko with the 8-Day Power Reserve Spring Drive watch that was greeted at Baselworld 2016 with great acclaim. This same elite team of watchmakers then created Caliber 9R02, a new movement that has two mainsprings set in parallel within a single barrel and uses the unique Torque Return System to deliver a power reserve of 84 hours.