On the first day of Baselworld 2017 at 10am Seiko conducted their press conference. It was a very well visited event as many are interested in Seiko and they always have some surprises to show at Baselworld, like for instance the insanely cool 8-days Springdrive, SBGD001, that had its debut in 2016.
It started with Mr Shinji HATTORI (President & CEO Seiko Watch Corporation) letting us know that Grand Seiko will from now on be a brand of its own. For the consumer the main effect of this will be a wider and deeper spread of Grand Seiko around the world (as an example there will be specific Grand Seiko only Shops started) and a visually different appearance of Grand Seiko dials. As can be seen below all new Grand Seikos will no longer have the bold SEIKO name at the top, instead there will be a prominent GS logo just below the 12 o’clock marker (exceptions, such as the Chronographs, will exist) with Grand Seiko in the typical gothic-inspired font just below. Any informative text such as “AUTOMATIC”, “SPRING DRIVE” etc. will be placed below the center of the dial. And all the existing models in production will get updated dials conforming to the new order. There will be a change of reference as well, e.g. SBGA011 –> SBGA211. The 2 might be seen as GS generation 2 :-).
Mr Hattori was followed by presentations of the new models from Grand Seiko, the Presage and PROSPEX lines as well as new Astorns.
Personally the new re-editions of the first GS, 3180, in SS (SBGW253), 18K (SBGW252) and Platinum (SBGW251) along with the new HI-BEAT GS divers (e.g. SBGH257) were the stars of the show. The diver is big (46.9x17mm) but knowing GS and their way of designing well sitting watches I am not worried at all by the size. The first gen re-editions has been done a couple of times in the past (SBGW004 in 2001 for Seiko 120 years) and in 2011 to celebrate Seikos 130’s birthday (SBGW033, SBGW039 and SBGW040). The biggest difference with the ones this time is the size which has grown to a perfect 38mm, the gold medallion on the back of the steel variant and the use of the 8-pointed star beneath the “Diashock” text that I believe is the designation for a Special Dial (SD) which means that precious metal has been used for the indexes (the SBGW004 also had this). A modern version of the first Grand Seiko is the SBGR305. It is keeping, to some extent, the lines of the first model but has an automatic caliber (the completely new 9S68), a hard titanium case and a diameter of 40.5mm.See the new Grand Seiko site for details.
The anticipation for the new re-edition of the first Seiko diver (6217-800x a.k.a. 62MAS) from 1965 was huge. Leaked information and photos have been discussed for months on the various forums. To many fans liking it was now finally and officially confirmed that the SLA017 (SBDX019 in Japan) is indeed happening. Unfortunately there will only be 2000pcs (total for both refs) available as it is a limited edition piece. It has more or less already sold out. It is a very nice watch, but owning a very nice example of the original I actually was more intrigued by the SBP051 and SBP053 (blue) which are the modern interpretations of the 62MAS. These are not limited and will be in regular production (release late autumn 2017). More details on the other news in the PROSPEX line here.
There was also many new nice watches in the Presage (do have a look at the tasty cocktail series) and ASTRON lines.
Please watch the official SEIKO footage below:
Seiko & Grand Seiko Baselworld 2017 press releases: