Grand Seiko, for the first time in several years, has gone without introducing a new series of the Historical Collection and instead, introduced an entirely new concept for Grand Seiko.  Focusing on larger sizes and new modern designs and materials, Grand Seiko has entered a new era.

One of the first and most talked about models is the new Spring Drive 8 day Power Reserve, which is the first Grand Seiko to ever be made at the micro artist studio in Shiojiri, Japan.  This studio is renowned for such creations as the Credor Minute Repeater and Sonnerie, as well as the famed Eichi and Eichi II models.  These artists specialize in hand finishing, inspired and appreciated by the legendary Philippe Dufour himself, and do so completely in-house at their Seiko Epson facility.  The new SBGD001 uses a diamond dust dial that shimmers like snow in the morning light in the clear mountain air of the area around the Studio.  The 43mm Platinum 950 case has a special composition, allowing it to be finishing in their mirror like Zaratsu polishing technique.

This crowning achievement for Seiko features a single bridge caliber labeled the 9R01.  This movement utilizes three mainspring barrels unwinding simultaneously, but at 3 times more slowly than a traditional, to acquire an 8 day power reserve.  This single bridge caliber displays the power reserve on the movement as opposed to most Spring Drives doing so on the dial.  There are 307 components in the 8 day and the design for the bridge is inspired by Mt. Fuji, while there are 56 jewels, several of which are visible in the hand finished sinks on the outside of the bridge, that express the night lights of Suwa, the region where Spring Drive is made.  The reason for the large single bridge design is to ensure the precise position of each wheel in the gear train and maximizes the efficiency of the transmission of power from the three barrels.  This already incredible caliber will also have an accuracy rating of +/-10 seconds per month, as opposed to its equivalent in Credor, the Eichi II, which is +/-15 seconds per month.  Also, uniquely enough, the hour hand on this piece is independently adjustable as to not deviate the time when traveling.   A maximum of only 20 pieces will be made annually.  Price is estimated at $55,000.

Four new limited edition models in 46.4mm black zirconia ceramics and brightz titanium cases were launched introducing the Neo-GS design.  Two of the models will be Spring Drive Chronograph GMT's while the other two will be Spring Drive GMT's without the chronograph.  For each model, only 500 will be produced except for the green dial chrongraph below, which will be 600 pieces.

SBGC017 will feature a beautiful deep green dial embossed with small fir trees.  The trees are symbolic of the forests of Suwa and the Onbashira festival which occurs there every six years.  At this festival, where the fir tree logs are rode down the mountain side and carried to the shrine.  This 1200 year old tradition has also been expressed in another model, the SBGA005, the first limited edition Grand Seiko 9R65 Spring Drive model.  There will also be another chronograph model with black dial and brown leather strap, which is model SBGC015.

The GMT variations will be the same shape and size, aside from the thickness, minus the chronograph features.  There will be both the blue dialed model (pictured above) with a black croc strap and blue stitching (SBGE039), as well as a black dial on brown crocodile strap (SBGE037).  The long "Anvant-Garde" straps you see pictured above are prints from famous photographers from Japan.  Two are from Nobuyoshi Araki, and are flower themed, and and two from Daido Moriyama, which are high contrast pictures that are essentially black and (a bluish) white.  While these ceramic LE's will ship on the standard crocodile, straps with the prints are to be included with the purchase.

The movements used in these pieces are the 9R89 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT, and the new 9R16 Spring Drive GMT.  Primarily, the movement looks the same as the 9R86 and 9R66 counterparts found in regular production Grand Seiko models.  You will notice the gold Grand Seiko medallion on the rotor, which is not on the counterparts.  This symbolizes the specially selected quartz crystal that is tested has slightly higher performance than the on the production movements.  The difference in accuracy is +/- 10 seconds per month vs the +/- 15 seconds per month rating.  This quartz and electro-mangetically regulated self-winding movement also boasts a 72 hour power reserve off of one mainspring.  MSRP on the GMT models will be $10,500.  The chronographs will have an MSRP of $13,000.

Along with Grand Seiko, Seiko presents their Credor collection.  The highlight this year was in theme of the Great Wave of Kanagawa, by ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai.  The first model, FUGAKU GBBD963, uses the ultra thin skeleton caliber 6899, which is all engraved by hand by master craftsman Kiyoshi Terui.  The motif of the wave then adds mother of pearl pieces to urushi lacquer, which is also done by hand.  This time, the artist is renowned lacquer artist Isshu Tamura.

The movement itself is only 1.98mm thick, one of the thinnest in the world.  The engravings are done with micron level tolerances.  The case is white gold and 35mm wide, and the crocodile strap is in navy blue.  MSRP in Japan is 4,800,000 yen + tax, nearing $43,000 USD at todays exchange rate.  Only 30 pieces will be made.

With many luxurious Seiko's added to the line up this year, Seiko has impressed and amazed many.  The next piece on our list has set a new achievement in the category of "Seiko First's".  The announcement of the Credor FUGAKU Tourbillon was a grand unveiling, collaborating 4 of Seiko's finest artists to create a true masterpiece.  Based on the caliber 68xx series, the new 6830 is the first Seiko to ever be released with a tourbillon and is less than 4mm thick: at 3.98mm thick and 25.6mm wide, making it the world's current smallest by volume.

Only master craftsman Satoshi Hiraga assembles these intricate movements while the meticulous hand engraving is again brought to artist Kiyoshi Terui.  The extravagant lacquer work is again handled by Isshu Tamura, even hand painting the Credor logo in hand lacquer. These craftsmen are all brought together to create the FUGAKU by Nobuhiro Kosugi, who envisioned and designed this movement.  The great wave of Kanagawa is again represented in the design, while on the case back, more waves are expressed while the balance bridge is shaped as Mt Fuji in Hokusai's painting.  The waves engraved by Terui is only as thick as 1.6mm, with their thinnest point being .5mm.  The movement includes 153 components, 22 jewels, has a rate of 21,600 bph, and power reserve of 37 hours.

Even though the movement is incredibly small, the case itself is 43.1mm.  This is to express it's artistic side.  Its case consists of Platinum 950, white gold, and yellow gold in it's construction, with mother of pearl inlayed in columns on the case sides.  There are a total of 48 sapphires, one on each lug, one on the crown and the other 43 around the bezel.  The watch’s name, FUGAKU, is another way in which the Japanese language describes Mt. Fuji.  There will only be 8 of the Credor Tourbillon FUGAKU GBCC999 produced, being sold at Seiko Boutiques spread throughout the world, and will have an incredible price tag of 50,000,000 yen + tax, over $455,000 USD at todays exchange.