Grand Seiko’s style is defined by multiple elements, all gathered under an important set of rules known as the Grammar of Design. The device behind this series of guidelines is a watch called the 44GS, a sharp and clear GS watch born in 1967, and setting the stone for what the brand’s creations were going to look like in the future. We’ve seen several releases this year to celebrate the 44GS’s 55th anniversary, such as the Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ255 and, looking at things today, the Hi-Beat Automatic SLGH009. The latter, a limited edition, introduces GS’s latest automatic movement in an all-time classic design. And today, it’s time for this caliber 9SA5 to join the permanent 44GS collection with the new SLGH013 and its stunning ice blue textured dial. And there are a few more things to know!
The 44GS is a watch that is considered instrumental in Grand Seiko history. When it was released in 1967, it was the first model to apply designer Taro Tanaka’s Grammar of Design. His vision was global and covered the entire watch creation process. Taro Tanaka’s aim was to be simple and complex at the same time, and to give the Grand Seiko a true Japanese identity while retaining classic watchmaking codes. With such importance, the 44GS is still a great inspiration for the brand’s designers. And it now comes with innovation inside and out with this new SLGH013.
The motivation behind this new heritage model is clear, at least for the case. Everything about it screams 44GS, with its angular shape, strong sides, almost non-existent bezel and a dial that follows all the brand’s principles from the 1960s. As for the color and texture, it is again a classic and distinctive Grand Seiko, which is said to have “The shape of snow beginning to melt in spring at Mount Iwat, a 2,038-meter high peak overlooking the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi, where all Grand Seiko mechanical models are made.” But if the recipe is known, the result is very attractive.
No surprises with this new Heritage 44GS model. The shape is timeless, sharp and angular and the proportions are well known. 40mm diameter, 11.8mm height and 47.2mm very controlled L2L. Specifications; Convenient 100m water-resistance, screw-down crown, box-shaped sapphire crystal on top, see-through sapphire crystal on caseback. to complete; Zaratsu (distortion-free) is as stunning as ever with polished accents and brushed surfaces.
However, the use of the ever-brilliant stainless steel in this SLGH013… but the bracelet is also based on this particular material, making it a first for a Grand Seiko watch from the standard collection. As a reminder, Ever-Brilliant Steel is a high-grade alloy with a bright tone, high level of corrosion resistance and enhanced durability. This provides the watch with great luster and shine, which is also reinforced by the excellent polished parts around the case.
This 44GS Hi-Beat SLGH013 dial plays on trends with its ice blue color – discreet without being too stark, instead a metallic and ever-changing hue. This is combined here with a stamped, fine texture that adds depth and plays well with the ambient light. Detractors will say that it’s not really new from Grand Seiko, but still, the watch makes an impact and the dial is the only thing that makes this model stand out… the blue colored steel central seconds are heavily blued. The arms and markings, as usual, are very carefully executed and razor-edged. All are polished and faceted, which improves clarity at all angles – at least in daylight, as this model has no lume.
The modern Caliber 9SA5 under the sapphire caseback is also a movement with quite a few claims. Equipped with a proprietary escapement, Dual Impulse, it hit the market mostly with the White Birch SLGH005 and made some noise with its innovative geometry. In addition to its high frequency of 5Hz, this escapement also departs from the classic lever escapement with a solution closer to that found in Omega’s co-axial system – more on this GS innovation in this article. This 9SA5 is even slimmer than previous movements and now comes with two barrels for a solid 80h power reserve. Last but not least, the overall design and finish have been redefined to make the view through the caseback even more attractive.
As mentioned, the Heritage 44GS is worn on the Hi-Beat SLGH013 ever-brilliant steel bracelet. A 3-link construction that combines mostly brushed surfaces with polished accents. It measures 19mm at the lugs and closes by a classic three-fold clasp with a push-button release.
Availability & Price
The new Grand Seiko Heritage 44GS Hi-Beat caliber 9SA5 SLGH013 is released as part of the permanent collection and is not limited to production. It has a price EUR 9,300. For more details, please visit www.grand-seiko.com.