Today, Grand Seiko introduces a new manual-winding Spring Drive masterpiece from the Micro Artist Studio featuring a fully engraved case. Made one by one and engraved by hand, the latest limited edition lives up to its sylvan inspiration and to the highest standards that Grand Seiko has set in its masterpiece creations.
At the foot of the North Yatsugatake Mountains in the eastern part of Shinshu lies an expansive forest of white birch trees. Nearby, in the town of Shiojiri, elite craftsmen and women ply their trades in the production of handmade Grand Seiko watches, a number of which find inspiration in the local sites and seasons. Their latest masterpiece is a meticulously hand-engraved Platinum 950 watch inspired by this white birch forest as it appears during the height of winter, blanketed by freshly fallen snow.
The majestic white birch forest evoked in every detail
Both the silver-colored dial and Platinum 950 case express the natural beauty of this forest. Created by expert watchmakers, engravers, and artisans, the watch is the result of a meticulous set of processes performed entirely in-house. First polished to create a distortion-free mirror surface through the Zaratsu method, each case is then painstakingly hand engraved with long individual grooves by the skilled engravers of the Shinshu Watch Studio, which is in the same facility as the Micro Artist Studio. Each groove brings to life the sea of white birch trees in a pattern that seamlessly echoes a similar pattern found on the dial.
The dial features the celebrated Shinshu white birch pattern familiar to Grand Seiko fans, yet this masterpiece’s dial has a slightly different tone and a more metallic texture, causing it to shine subtly under light.
The hour and minute hands, as well as each of the hand-applied diamond-cut markers, are made of 14k white gold to ensure a sharp and brilliant finish, while the minute track, the lettering and the mark at six o’clock are all carved into the dial. The seconds hand is tempered – but rather than to the customary blue, to a harmonious shade of grey. It glides across the textured dial to reflect the natural flow of time.
The smooth glide motion of this hand is, of course, all thanks to the meticulously crafted manual winding Spring Drive Caliber 9R02, first presented in 2019. Its outstanding 84-hour power reserve is the result of the Dual Spring Barrel, in which two mainsprings are set in parallel within the single barrel, as well as the remarkable Torque Return System*. Accurate to one second per day, the hand-assembled Spring Drive movement exemplifies the understated refinement and quality of Grand Seiko watchmaking.
*Torque Return System: When the mainspring has been fully wound and the torque output is at its highest, approximately 30% of the available power is not needed to maintain the precision of the watch and is in effect wasted in a normal movement. The Torque Return System uses this energy to rewind the mainspring, increasing the power reserve.
Like the case and dial, Caliber 9R02 reveals its heritage in its detail. The movement’s barrel, for example, is decorated to echo the bellflower, the symbol of Shiojiri. And the two hand-finished bridges have high-polished edges that serve as a dramatic counterpoint to the fine hairline finishing of their other visible surfaces, demonstrating the exquisite craftsmanship that is the hallmark of the Micro Artist Studio. An 18k gold plaque set on the lower bridge is engraved with the words “Micro Artist,” but if the owner wishes, this plaque can be customized.
About the Micro Artist Studio
The Micro Artist Studio is a luxury watch atelier in Shiojiri, located in the Shinshu region, which makes a series of exclusive Spring Drive watches that combine the best in horological technology with hand craftsmanship of the highest order. The 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.” The team consists of craftsmen and women, each an expert in their respective fields, such as movement design, assembly, and movement finishing.
Hand-engraved Manual-winding Spring Drive Limited Edition:
- Driving system: Manual-winding
- Power reserve: 84 hours
- Accuracy: ± 1 second per day (± 15 seconds per month)
- Dual Spring Barrel and Torque Return System
- Power reserve indicator
- Number of jewels: 39
- Platinum 950 case
- Dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
- See-through screw case back
- Water resistance: 3 bar
- Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m
- Diameter: 38.5mm, Thickness: 9.8mm
- Crocodile strap with three-fold clasp with push button release
- Platinum 950 clasp (partly 18k white gold)
- Limited edition of 50