QP got a sneak preview of the newly opened Seiko and Grand Seiko London boutique – these are just two of the many brilliant watches you can now buy in the UK for the very first time
By Chris Hall
If you hadn’t cottoned on so far, there is a new Seiko boutique in London (in Knightsbridge, just down the road from Harrods). This wouldn’t necessarily be scintillating news – other than a welcome mark of confidence in the UK watch market as a whole – were it not for the fact that the really interesting watches from Seiko have always been nearly impossible to buy in this country.
Well, not any more. By “really interesting” we mostly mean Grand Seiko and Credor, and that’s what I gravitated to immediately on reaching the shop, but it’s worth noting that if your budget is a little lower, there are plenty of cult favourites on offer as well – a whole host of the coolest dive watches (monsters, turtles, samurais, buzzsaws, you name them).
Grand Seiko and Credor have only been available outside Japan since 2010, and this is the first time Seiko has really brought them to the UK. It is well worth a visit if you’re even half-interested in Seiko – there are dozens of watches that you almost certainly won’t have seen up close before. Perhaps most excitingly the London boutique is home to a couple of Credor “masterpieces”, including the Spring Drive minute repeater. Here are some close-up, hands-on pictures with that very watch, and with one of our personal favourites from Baselworld 2017, the Grand Seiko SBGW253 aka the reissue of the very first Grand Seiko made in 1960. Enjoy!
Seiko Credor Spring Drive Minute Repeater
The minute repeater was released in 2011; only three watches are produced every year
The depth and detail of the openworked movement are comparable to pieces by Patek Philippe or A. Lange & Sohne
Powered by Calibre 7R11, the watch is hand-wound and claims accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per month
The large single barrel, complete with crown-shaped openworking, provides 72 hours of power
The finishing is deliberately plain, but the chamfering, bevelling and countersinking is all to a very high standard
The repeater hammers are made from Myochin steel, the same used in traditional Japanese wind chimes, and come from a family with 52 generations’ of blacksmithing history
Like the A. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk, the Credor is a decimal minute repeater, striking the hours, tens of minutes and minutes
The 18k rose gold watch measures 42.8mm across and 14mm thick
The Grand Seiko SBGW253
This is the other end of the simplicity spectrum: a reissue of the very first Grand Seiko from 1960, cased in stainless steel
The watch is 38mm across as opposed to its 36mm forebear, but is otherwise highly faithful to the original
Zaratsu-polished hands and hour markers are incredibly sharp. There’s a glassbox-style sapphire crystal that gives the watch extra depth
On the wrist, it is pretty much perfect. It only weighs 58g – barely more than some high-tech carbon lightweights.
Only 1960 pieces will be made. The watch houses the hand-wound calibre 9S64, but you won’t see it as each one comes with a solid caseback and Grand Seiko gold inlaid plaque.
The 18k yellow gold inlay does have a nice hammered effect to its base, however
Share the post "Hands on: two highlights from the new Seiko London boutique"