One moment it is a beautiful sunny day, the next there are freezing winds and slashing rain; we call this bizarre weather pattern; ‘spring’. Yet, when there is warm sunshine with light rain falling at the same time; we call that ‘spring’ too. It’s confusing that two completely different types of weather have the same name.
The Japanese on the other hand have long realised that a mere four seasons is nowhere near enough to accurately describe what’s going on outside our windows. They still have the same basic four seasons – or sekki – of spring, summer, autumn and winter yet each sekki is also broken down into six sub-seasons which makes a total of 24 completely different periods of the year. Each one of these sekki notes the subtle changes nature makes from week to week rather than in clumps of months; thus telling a far more accurate tale of where we are in the season.
For example; Keichitsu is the time when the earth warms enough for the hibernating insects to emerge and Seimei is when flowers and trees go into bud. Always great fans of accuracy in timekeeping, Grand Seiko have taken inspiration from each tick of this celestial clock and have brought out a range of timepieces to celebrate a number of the twenty-four sekki. Each one of these beautiful creations features a unique dial whose design draws inspiration from a different sekki and celebrates the beauty of nature at its particular moment in the annual cycle.
Here are some of Grand Seiko’s expressions of the very nature of time itself:
SHUNBUN, The Spring Equinox (SBGA413)
Hana-Ikada is the Japanese name for the moment soon after Shunbun – or the spring equinox – when cherry blossom petals scattered by the wind cover the surface of a river. The pale pink colour and texture on the Grand Seiko Shunbun (SBGA413) dial capture the magic of this very special moment in the calendar and what it means to every Japanese person.
The timepiece itself is a modern re-interpretation of the celebrated Grand Seiko 62GS from 1967 which was also their first watch with an automatic movement. It also was the first to express the famous Grand Seiko Style design that still graces all Grand Seiko timepieces today. Like its predecessor, this modern re-interpretation has the characteristic sharp edges and perfect distortion-free surfaces that only Zaratsu polishing can create together with a wide dial opening which was achieved thanks to a bezel-free construction.
KISHUN, The First Days of Summer (SBGW283)
As summer begins, the colour of the skies above Mount Iwate takes on a delicate shade of pale blue, a colour reflected in the dial of the Grand Seiko Kishun (SBGW283).
The dial appears simple and clean but, when viewed through the sapphire case back, the intricate perfection of the engineering of the hand-assembled and adjusted movement is abundantly and satisfyingly clear. Powered by the slim, hand-wound Calibre 9S64 movement, this watch is the epitome of simple refinement. Thanks to a long mainspring and a balance both made of proprietary metals, this watch has a high and stable accuracy rate and a power reserve of 72 hours.
Of course there are many more sekki to discover like; Bōshu (Grain in ear); Shōso (small heat); and Sōkō (frost descent) as Nature has so many different moods throughout the year. For more on these sekki and how Grand Seiko are capturing these moods on elegant timepieces, check out Grand Seiko sekki on their website.
RIKKA- Spring Has Passed, Summer Approaches (SBGH271)
The increasing warmth of the sun each day is the tell-tale sign that spring has passed and summer is about to begin. This is also the time when Japan’s plants take on a much deeper green hue that has been lovingly recreated on the dial of the Grand Seiko ‘Rikka’ (SBGH271).
Like the Shunbun, the Rikka is a modern re-interpretation of the celebrated Grand Seiko 62GS and its famous Grand Seiko Style design. Like its predecessor, this modern re-interpretation has the characteristic sharp edges and perfect distortion-free surfaces that only Zaratsu polishing can create together with a wide dial opening which was achieved thanks to a bezel-free construction. The Rikka is powered by a hi-beat automatic calibre 9S85 and has been hand assembled by the skilled craftsmen and women of the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi.
Find out more about Grand Seiko here.