The Grand Seiko – Not just an expensive timekeeper

I’m not sure how many of you got into the Caliber 9F. As for me, I didn’t feel an urge for the same till this friend of mine got down one GS last week. Last Sunday, I borrowed the manual for him out of curiosity and to my surprise, I found out it’s the limited edition model; one those Seiko brought out to celebrate the 20-years of the Caliber 9F. I learnt it is ultra-precise this time, more than its 1993 predecessor and never runs any more than +10 seconds, every year. The movement stands out due to a lot of factors, the most visible of which is the gothic-styled GS/Grand Seiko logo engraved. Technically, the 9F is highly accurate, shielded magnetically and can definitely be honored as the king of quartz movements, also for its attention to details.

To a lot of people it’s still a mystery how this fellow bagged something entirely meant for the Japanese domestic market. Credits go to creation Watches for that; even my Citizen chronos came from them. However, that’s beside the point; we are here to talk on the GS as well as its movement.

Now, many will think what’s there to talk on the GS apart from its sky-high price (even the design is traditional and unassuming); just any low-profile watch will have a simple stainless steel body and a thin, polished bezel around. Correct! But they do not look half as elegant as the GS; nor are they built as solid. It looks Swiss from every angle and that’s no deliberate forcefulness.

After reading through the manual, I found my perceptions on high-precision quartz watches changing. It’s a very particular appeal that I came cross now and I guess chronometry is incomplete without it. That’s because the quartz crystals are grown in in-house autoclaves and pre-aged (for six months) to stabilize the rate. It has been made to stay dimensionally stable across a range of temperatures and their changes to resist frequency drift; Seiko programmed every response curve individually into the CMOS integrated circuits. This ensures the voltage going to the oscillator is never thrown out of balance. The voltage fed to the crystal is adjusted according to the ambient temperature inside the movement, measured 500+ times throughout the day.

In plain words, each quartz crystal is custom-matched to its IC and completely sealed to avoid any sort of contamination.

The rest of the movement is jeweled, has a special anti-backlash spring (to stop the seconds hand exactly on the indices – now, if all that doesn’t make you call the caliber 9F the most advanced quartz movement in the world, nothing will. Excellent and unostentatious, it doesn’t fake perfection unlike many of the high-end Swiss stuff.

Now I’m urging this fellow to get down a GS automatic. Hopefully, I’ll be successful by this time next year.

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