The 9R Spring Drive seconds hand and the natural flow of time

Spring Drive is a watchmaking technology that reflects the true nature of time with a uniquely Japanese aesthetic. Crafted within the Shinshu Watch Studio, located in a Seiko Epson facility in Nagano Prefecture, it uses a mainspring as its power source, just like a mechanical watch. It does so while maintaining the precision of an electronic watch with an integrated circuit and a crystal oscillator. Forged through the blending of technologies and crafts, this rare advance in watchmaking could only have come about through a mastery of both mechanical and electronic watchmaking, in which the drive to select the best attributes of each was unleashed.

The story of Spring Drive began in 1977 with Yoshikazu Akahane, a young engineer at Suwa Seikosha (now Seiko Epson Corporation) whose dream was to create an ideal watch combining the accuracy of an electronic timekeeper with power derived from a mainspring. After more than 20 years of development, the dream was realized in 1999 with the first commercially available Spring Drive movement. In 2004, enhancements to the platform allowed the first Grand Seiko Spring Drive, which featured automatic winding and three days of power reserve.

In 2024, Grand Seiko celebrates the 20th anniversary of its landmark 9R movement series, which uncannily reflects the natural, silent, and continuous flow of time in a manner that calls to mind the motions of the very celestial bodies from which humans first derived the notion of time.

Poetic yet technical, handcrafted yet advanced, full of power yet efficient in its use thereof, Spring Drive has captured the imagination of watch enthusiasts through its many seeming contradictions. It has the nostalgic charm, beauty, and soul of a spring-powered mechanical watch, yet it brings the precision and accuracy of modern electronic watches that receive power from a battery.

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