About Grand Seiko SLGA021
Grand Seiko Spring Drive 5 Days Lake Suwa Before Dawn Evolution 9 Collection
A five-day Spring Drive watch inspired by Lake Suwa stirred by the breeze before dawn
To the southeast of the Shinshu Watch Studio, where Spring Drive watches are made, one will find the gently lapping waters of Lake Suwa, a constant inspiration for Grand Seiko. Take, for example, the dial of the Spring Drive SLGA021, which evokes the surface of this very body of water. When one looks upon it, they can’t help but see gentle waves wafting over the wind-swept lake in the pre-dawn stillness. And like a gentle wind on an otherwise tranquil body of water, the dark blue color manifests differently depending on the angle at which light catches it. The watch is powered by the Caliber 9RA2 Spring Drive 5 days movement, assembled by the skilled artisans of the Shinshu Watch Studio and engineered to run approximately 120 hours (5 days) when fully wound. Like flowing water, the seconds hand moves with the quiet, natural pace of time itself thanks to the Spring Drive movement just below the dial’s surface.
About 9RA2 Spring Drive 5 Days
At the birthplace of Spring Drive, the Shinshu Watch Studio, dedicated craftsmen and women meticulously assemble timepieces by hand part by part, from the case, dial, hands and indexes to all other components. At every step of the movement creation process, from development and design to manufacture, assembly, and adjustment, talented and expert craftsmen and women strive for the highest possible standards and maintain their complete dedication to the constant enhancement of their skills. Caliber 9RA2 is the Spring Drive movement that best embodies these skills and their passion.
About 9R Spring Drive
Spring Drive, one of the great innovations in modern watch making history, regulates a spring-driven movement with state-of-the-art electronic technology that functions without batteries or other external power source. Its sole power source is a mainspring, which drives a series of gears. A rotor, connected to the end of these gears, generates a small electrical charge that activates an electronic circuit and quartz oscillator. Its accuracy is unprecedented for a watch wound by a mainspring. The development of the 9R Spring Drive movement was possible only because Grand Seiko is one of the few manufacturers with expertise in both mechanical and electronic watches.
Grand Seiko SLGA021 Movement
Caliber 9RA2 achieves a high accuracy of ± 10 seconds per month in large part by using a high precision Spring Drive package IC, which is a vacuum-sealed package consisting of a carefully selected crystal oscillator aged for three months and an IC that is powered by an extremely small electric current. The oscillation of a crystal oscillator is susceptible to temperature fluctuations, so Caliber 9RA2 utilizes a temperature sensor located within its special silicon-on-insulator IC (SOI-IC) to collect temperature data 540 times daily, determine the influence of temperature changes within the IC and compensate for variations in the oscillator’s performance. Furthermore, placing both the crystal oscillator and the IC within a single, vacuum-sealed package eliminates temperature differences between the IC and the crystal oscillator, allowing for highly precise temperature adjustments. Installing all wiring connecting the crystal oscillator with the IC within the vacuum-sealed package also prevents changes in humidity from influencing the movement in addition to the shielding the movement from the influence of static electricity and light.
The exterior of the movement has a beauty that is uniquely Japanese and is inspired by the natural environment of the studio where it is made. The jewels echo the glittering stars that sparkle especially brightly during the early days of winter above the surrounding mountains and the delicate texture of the movement’s surfaces reflect the frost that winter brings to the trees.
A slim movement that allows the watch to sit comfortably
Caliber 9RA2 is 0.8mm thinner than Caliber 9R6 series. The slimming down of the components began with the oscillating weight, and the overall design reduced the distance from the bottom of the movement to the center of the crown from 4.2mm to 3.4mm. By moving the crown as far back as possible, the center of gravity of the watch is moved further down, achieving a comfortable and natural fit.
Achieving greater winding efficiency and a slimmer movement, “The Offset Magic Lever”
Caliber 9RA2 uses the newly developed Magic Lever with crank wheel, which is offset from the center of the movement to achieve a slimmer size. The magic lever with crank wheel was made in the Shinshu Watch Studio using original cutting techniques, and it allowed for the new magic lever structure to minimize the load of the crank wheel. Furthermore, relocating the transmission wheel allowed the Offset Magic Lever to further reduce the movement’s size while simultaneously improving its winding efficiency.
Achieving the 120 hour power reserve, “The Dual-size Barrels”
Caliber 9RA2 utilizes this mechanism together with a revised wheel train gear ratio to maintain the high torque achieved in Caliber 9R6 while simultaneously achieving a 120 hour power reserve. Inserting two barrels of the same size would have resulted in dead space, so a design was made with two barrels of differing sizes to utilize the limited space without any waste. Although barrels experience fluctuations in the transmission efficiency of kinetic energy based on their size, improvements to the Caliber 9RA2’s two barrels were made to ensure they would transmit energy from the mainspring at the same efficiency, resulting in the achievement of equal winding and unwinding.
Achieving significantly higher durability and improved transmission efficiency, “The One-piece Center Bridge”
Caliber 9RA2 features a bridge design that combines the previously separate barrel bridge, center wheel bridge, and winding stem cock into a single “One-piece Center Bridge” that forms the central pillar of the movement.
This structure within Caliber 9RA2 reinforces the main plate at 3:00 and 9:00 and, by making it possible to contain most of the gear train within the structure, the movement overall enjoys significantly better strength, durability and shock resistance. Combining three previously separate components into a single piece also simplifies stocking and assembly in addition to greatly contributing to the improvement of the transmission ratio between the gears.
The movement’s finishing reflects the natural beauty of Shinshu.
The exterior of Caliber 9RA2 is meticulously finished and reflects the natural beauty of its birthplace, Shinshu Nagano Prefecture. The design itself draws inspiration from the gentle frost that covers the trees in the early winter and the starry sky visible from between their branches. A unique feature of the frost that forms after temperatures drop below freezing is the hypnotic, all-encompassing glow emitted from the layer of frost due to its peculiar rugged texture. Within lies a mysterious beauty beyond description. Caliber 9RA2’s bridge design represents the frost and is finished with a neutral-toned sandblast coating that achieves a calm but elegant radiance. The ridgelines and edges of the bridges as well as the screws are finished with cut diamonds that represent the twinkling stars of the night sky. They can emit a sharp glow with light captured from any direction accenting the design with a vivid and profound brilliance.
Grand Seiko SLGA021 Features
- 38 jewels
- Case back with lion emblem
- Date display
- Power reserve indicator
- Screw case back
- Screw-down crown
- See-through case back
Grand Seiko SLGA021 History
Prior to 1960, to challenge the status of Swiss watches and change the perception of Japanese watches, Daini Seikosha and Suwa began the discussion of a product line that can match the quality of Swiss watches under the suggestion of the parent company. At the time, Suwa Seikosha Co. was in charge of manufacturing men’s watches, so it was decided that Suwa would be producing the first Grand Seiko (GS).
The first Grand Seiko was released in 1960, it was based on Seiko’s previous high-end watch, CROWN. This Grand Seiko has a 25-jewel, manual-winding, 3180 caliber, and only 36,000 units were produced. This was also the first chronometer-grade watch manufactured in Japan, and it was based on Seiko’s own chronometer standard.
The design language of the Grand Seiko was set in 1967, with the creation of Grand Seiko 44GS. The 44GS set the ground for all future Grand Seiko with nine elements. These elements help improve the legibility of the watch under different situations, and create a sharp, crisp visual impression:
- Double width index at 12 o’clock
- Multi-faceted rectangular markers
- Highly polished bezel
- Highly polished planes and two-dimensional surface
- Half recessed crown
- Flat dial
- Multi-faceted hour and minute hands
- Curved side line
- Reverse slanted bezel wall and case side
- Dress style with simple but beautiful design
- Zaratsu polishing
source : wikipedia