Featured Grand Seiko Hands-On

Hands-On: Grand Seiko Spring Drive 8 Day Power Reserve

The Grand Seiko Spring DriveSpring Drive A Spring Drive movement, pioneered by Grand Seiko, is a type of mechanical watch movement that combines the traditional mechanics of a mechanical watch with the precision of a quartz watch. It uses a mainspring as the source of energy, just like a mechanical watch, but instead of using a traditional escapement, it uses a quartz crystal to regulate the release of energy. The Spring Drive movement is considered to be highly accurate, and is known for its smooth, gliding seconds hand. [Learn More] 8 Day Power ReserveRéserve de marche Also known as Power Reserve. A watch's power reserve refers to the amount of time a mechanical watch can run without being wound. The power reserve of a mechanical watch can vary depending on the size of the mainspring, the efficiency of the gear train, and the rate at which the mainspring releases energy. If a watch has a Power Reserve 'complication' it simply means that the status of the power reserve can be seen on the watch itself (either on the dial or movement side of the watch). [Learn More] (SBGD201) is a bit of a tour the force by Grand Seiko. And by that, also a bit of a statement piece. Despite being a statement piece, it isn’t loud, it isn’t brash, it isn’t ostentatious, instead it is just about as polished & stylish a watch can get. Very much a Grand Seiko and it really does tell you everything you need to know about Grand Seiko.

I’m not going to wax on all lyrical about all that is fantastic about Grand Seiko. I’d be here for hours. Instead, I invite you to just look at the above picture. Look at that. The 9R Spring Drive 8Days was the first Grand Seiko to be produced at the Micro Artist Studio in Seiko’s facility in Shiojiri. And as we’re about to see, in Shiojiri they take the watchmaking craft very serious. Now, look back up again to that dial picture. What you see is that this is a Grand Seiko with a Spring Drive movement. Very Grand Seiko. Then, you will see the by now well-known uber finished watch hands. Very Grand Seiko. Then, move towards the multifaceted indices and how polished and finished those look. Very Grand Seiko. Finally, look at that gorgeous textured dial. Very Grand Seiko. And then there is the eight day (!) power reserve, absolutely NOT mentioned on the dial (who else would do such a thing).I wasn’t kidding when I said, this is Very much a Grand Seiko. 

You’ll have to flip the watch over to see it mentioned. 3 Barrels, 8 Days. Simple as that. Also casually mentioned is that the 9R01 uses a whopping fifty six jewelsJewels Watch jewels are small, synthetic sapphire or ruby bearings that are used in mechanical watches to reduce friction and wear on moving parts. They are typically made from corundum. They are used as bearings for a.o. the pivots to reduce friction. [Learn More]. How about that.

Now notice how much metal is on display here on the bridgeBridges The bridges of a watch movement are the metal plates that hold the wheels and other components of the movement in place. They are attached to the main plate of the movement with screws. Bridges are used to support the balance wheel, the escapement, the mainspring barrel and other elements. Combined with the main plate they are the foundation of any watch movement. [Learn More]. Now let’s be honest for a second. Had this watch been made in that other watch country, Switzerland, you know that bridge would have been drowned in Geneva StripesGeneva Striping Geneva Striping is a decorative technique used in the finishing of mechanical watch movements, it's also known as "Côtes de Genève". It is a type of linear graining that involves making small, parallel lines on the surface of  movement components, such as the main plate using a specialized tool. [Learn More]. Drowned. Here however, nothing of such. Instead they have this cool &  sober horizontal brushed pattern. The result is that all the delicately finished edges and the smaller pieces (and the fifty-freaking-six jewels) really pop against the backdrop of the sober bridge. All of this  makes the calibre 9R01 one that is very, very, pleasing to the eye.

Grand Seiko could have engraved the movement, as many would, with some special reference to a special place. Instead, they subtly shaped the bridge with 3 arches, which combined will create a silhouette of Mount Fuji. 

Before I forget, and keeping in line with the less is more principle, the power reserve indicator is nicely displayed on the back as well. J’adore! 

Seriously, this watch is about as cool as it gets and is a massive proverbial mic drop by Grand Seiko. 

Before letting this one go. Let’s quickly head back to the watch face & case. Did I mention the case is made out of platinum? And did I also mention it isn’t just *any* platinum? No it is a special alloy more resistant to scratches. Very Grand Seiko. And you know what else, it’s polished in that uber Grand Seiko way, with their famed ZaratsuZaratsu Polishing Zaratsu polishing is a type of polishing technique used in watchmaking, specifically for the polishing of steel components, such as the case, lugs, and bracelet. It is a process that uses a spinning circular disk with an abrasive surface. The craftsperson, holding the watch part, applies a certain level of pressure and uses a specific angle to ultimately achieve a mirror-like finish. [Learn More]  technique. Very Grand Seiko. The watch case measures in at 43mm, a bit on the larger side for some, but it does have to store 8 days worth of power reserve. Oh, and it’s water resistant to 100 meters. 100 meters. Very. Grand. Seiko.

One last shot to take it all in: 

Sadly not visible in pictures, is of course the smoothly gliding blue seconds hand, so typical of the Spring Drive. And yes, you guessed it: Very Grand Seiko.

The one thing, which might not be very Grand Seiko to some, is the average retail price of approximately EUR 60.000,00. That’s right up there in Patek & Vacheron territory. But then again, so is this watch. 



  1. Hah what a fantastic way of describing this piece of art. Thank you for your open take here! 🙂 A very beautiful watch for sure

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