If there’s ever been a year in which we’ve all had the chance to pause, reflect and assess what’s important in life, it’s 2020. As a very unique Christmas season approaches, this traditional time of celebration, joy and rest takes on an even more significant meaning – and no-one understands this better than the watchmakers at Grand Seiko.
With its roots in traditional Japanese watchmaking, what sets Grand Seiko apart from its Swiss counterparts is its distinct understanding of the nature of time. In Japanese culture time is not simply an object to be measured with a timepiece, but a force in and of itself, to be explored and understood. Sometimes it passes quickly, other times slowly. It may be shared with others or remind you of a personal, private memory but one thing always remains true: to achieve perfection you must be patient with it.
It is the spiritual nature of time that Grand Seiko seeks to emulate with every one of its watches – and which makes them such a thoughtful gift for the festive season. This can be seen particularly in the spirit of Takumi (artisan craftsmanship) that runs deep in the company’s DNA. Every watchmaker, designer and artisan at the house uses each day to practice and develop their skills, creating a deeper understanding of their craft and pouring this love, care and attention into every timepiece they make.
The result is truly world class watches marked out by a thoroughly Japanese approach to design and aesthetics. The ‘Grand Seiko Style’ is defined by simplicity, purity and practicality with every visible element created to reflect the precision and quality of the mechanism inside. This is the philosophy that sparked the creation of the iconic Grand Seiko 44GS in 1967 and has continued to inform every Grand Seiko timepiece since.
Inspired by the traditional Japanese technique of juxtaposing light and shadow, Grand Seiko watches feature elegantly sculpted lines and faceted, highly polished hands and markers designed to reflect even the tiniest ray of light and highlight the intricate details that elevate these timepieces to the highest level. Each element is subtle yet perfect, with each doing its own small part to culminate in something truly magnificent.
Like all great artists, Grand Seiko’s watch designers also create pieces inspired by their surroundings near the stunning Mount Iwate. Take, for example, the Snowflake collection. Tasked with creating a watch that at once reflects the birthplace of the house’s signature Spring Drive movement while also expressing its respect for the nature of time, Grand Seiko’s designers had only to look out of the window for inspiration.
The snow which lays sparkling atop Mount Iwate for six months of every year was the perfect catalyst for a creative brainwave which would see Grand Seiko’s dial designers recreate the pure white but naturally uneven surface of fallen snow. Finished with bold yet elegant indices and hands in either silver or gold, it is the perfect culmination of the artistry, cutting-edge technology and refinement that characterises every Grand Seiko watch.
The elegance of the Snowflake, and its success upon release in 2005, in turn gave birth to the Skyflake. Utilising the same textured dial surface as its predecessor, the Skyflake reimagines the watch in an icy blue hue, finished with a luxurious blue crocodile leather strap and those signature highly polished metal elements, it offers a more contemporary take on this classic design.
Of course, these are all watches that couldn’t be better suited for wintertime gifting. And, should your loved one be lucky enough to find a Grand Seiko timepiece under the tree come Christmas morning, they’ll be getting far more than an elegant watch. They’ll be receiving an innate understanding of time itself.
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