Grand Seiko's Ingeniously Powered New GMT Is Inspired by Eagles
Image Credit: Courtesy
Welcome to Dialed In, Esquire's weekly column that brings you watchmaking events and the most important news from the watch world since March 2020.
The surge in popularity of Grand Seiko in America continues with the launch of the USA GS9 Club last week, a community the brand created for owners of Grand Seiko watches. This means that you can only get in if you have already purchased one from a Grand Seiko Boutique or an authorized Grand Seiko dealer. With the debut of the USA component of the community, originally introduced as a physical hangout for Japanese owners, the USA GS9 will function as an effectively online private e-commerce website for Grand Seiko collectors for the time being - although non-members can purchase some of the offerings too in the GS9 shop.
Once you have your first Grand Seiko and have registered, members will receive exclusive access to events (currently virtual, but in person after the pandemic), launches and limited editions. The site also acts as an archive of all the things Grand Seiko has to offer. The good news is that it dates back to 2017. So, if you already own a Grand Seiko purchased on or after March 23, 2017, you can register online with a photo of your watch and a copy of your proof of purchase.
Image Credit: Courtesy
Just in time for the start of the GS9 Club in the USA, Grand Seiko also announced a new sports watch that can be pre-ordered now: the Grand Seiko Eagle GMT Limited Edition (the brown is inspired by the plumage of an eagle)). Although the outside is cool, the inside is downright fascinating. That's because it contains the company's ingenious Spring Drive movement.
This is relatively mind-boggling even with nerds, so take it with you. The movement is mechanical and, like all high-end watches, is driven by a rotor that charges a main spring. OK, so there is no battery. The pen is the battery. When the power is put on the drivetrain, things get strange. The release of this pent-up force in fully mechanical watches takes place via the escapement (the ticking part), which is also a mechanical matter. Not in Spring Drive. There, the mechanical force of the main spring generates electrical energy that is generated by a tiny rotor that is connected to the gear train. This tiny charge is passed through a crystal oscillator that vibrates at 32,768 Hz. This precise frequency is then converted into mechanical energy to drive the second hand forward with greater accuracy than any mechanical watch. Still with me
The advantage of this hybrid, in addition to the higher accuracy, is that a mechanical movement also generates a greater torque than a quartz movement, which means that the hands can be larger and longer. It is only when you dive deep into the clock that you realize that the microscopic weight of a second hand must also be taken into account.
The Spring Drive is basically a mechanical watch with a quartz-controlled escapement, but that hardly does it justice. Read more about it here. It is precisely this level of boffinry, combined with very high finishing standards, that makes Grand Seiko a unicorn in the watch world - and the new Eagle GMT Limited Edition is such an exciting release.
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