This week we bring you Grand Seiko model SBGJ003, part of the caliber 9S86, the Hi-Beat 36000 GMT. The Hi-Beat 36000 has been developed from the very first automatic 10 beat caliber produced in 1968. Grand Seikos goal was to create the best practical mechanical watch in the world. As time has moved on, new, even greater standards have been established.
This model has the elegance and looks of other Grand Seiko models.The core values durability, accuracy, legibility and wearability are maintained in every beautiful piece.
A textured black dial and red 4th hand (more on that later) gives an overall sporty look. As you would expect with any Grand Seiko watch you have those precision polished and faceted batons which allows legibility of the time no matter the angle. Long, heavy sword-shaped hands give way to a second hand that sweeps elegantly around the dial in a fluid motion. A polished date window sits at the 3 o’clock position.
The stainless steel casing and bracelet are expertly polished, as with the batons and hands to give a beautiful and luxurious finish. The diameter of the case is 40mm with a thickness of 14mm. The clasp has a tri-fold button release so it is hidden yet comfortable, and is embellished with “Grand Seiko”. A high definition dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating protects the innards. Water resistance is 100m. At the back of the watch you will find a screw back exhibition case were you can view the movement with ease.
The GMT function is very practical for travelling abroad, allowing you to see two different time zones at once. The GMT scale sits around the chapter ring. The red hand, mentioned earlier, points to the second time zone you require. What’s great about this feature is that the second hand continues to sweep the dial even when the crown is pulled to adjust the hour hand to a different time zone, so there is no interruption to the accuracy of the high-beat caliber.
In 2009, 44 years after the high-beat was first introduced, Grand Seiko introduced Caliber 9S85. A new generation of the high-beat. These watches used a newly created alloy by Seiko, SPRON500 which helped deliver a longer power reserve and superior durability. The caliber 9S86 we are talking about today uses the same platform but with the added GMT feature. The watch beats 10 times per second resulting in 36,000 vibrations per hour, hence the name Hi-beat 36000. This high oscillation results in high resistance against outside impact, in turn, reducing any discrepancy in precision due to position (just like when a spinning top stabilizes). Difference in daily accuracy rate is reduced as a result and precision stabilizes.
Now, high oscillation creates some problems which Seiko had to overcome. It places increased burden on the gear train, and because the escapement moves at high speed the durability of these parts are greatly reduced. This movement also uses a higher level of mainspring energy than the mainspring they had previously been using. Seikos solution to these problems was to develop a new mainspring and an entirely new system MEMS, or Micro Electro Mechanical System.
The new mainspring is made from Seikos newly developed SPRON500 alloy which is very light and flexible, which enhances spring power and offers durability. MEMS have been developed over a long period of time by Seiko and is a cutting edge technology which allows it's technicians to work on parts that can be smaller than 1mm in size. This was particularly useful when manufacturing the escapement wheel.
With an increase in transfer rate speed comes increased contact between the escapement wheel and pallet which leads to the loss of lubricant oil.This process allowed technicians to alter the teeth which helped to retain the lubricant oil and also gives improved measurement precision, smoother part surfaces, reduced weight and decreases abrasion or damage.
All of these advances have lead to this wonderful time-piece which has an accuracy of -1/+8 seconds per day when worn and a power reserve of over 55 hours.
It is worth noting that only a handful of manufacturers worldwide are capable of developing and producing the high-beat movement. It is a testament to the forward thinking, ingenuity of Seiko that they are able to deliver solutions to these watch-making challenges.
This stunning time-piece can be purchased directly through our website here http://www.james-porter.co.uk/watches/grand-seiko/sbgj003.html