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The Grand Seiko brand, which spun off as an independent entity from its larger Seiko parent brand in 2017, started with a single model in 1960, which was positioned at the time as ticking proof that Japan could build watches at a level of luxury on par with the best of Switzerland. When the Grand Seiko finally launched internationally in 2010, the timepiece that had largely been Japan’s little secret gained a worldwide and rabid following. Since 2017, only the Grand Seiko logo, sans the Seiko logo, appears on the dial. Grand Seiko watches are lauded, even by Swiss watch connoisseurs, for their craftsmanship and understated style: the cases feature the brand’s signature Zaratsu polish,achieved by pressing the case against a rotating tin plate. The dials feature intricately textured surfaces, many inspired by the landscape, flora and fauna of Japan — a noteworthy example being the Ref. BGA011, affectionately nicknamed the “Snowflake,” whose dial texture evokes the snowy fields around the Grand Seiko manufacture in the Suwa region. As befits a brand at this level, Grand Seiko makes all its own calibers, including automatics, quartz, and the proprietary Spring Drive; it recently introduced the high-beat caliber 9SA5, outfitted with a new escapement, balance, and gear train, which has already found a home in the latest generation of Grand Seiko watches.

Founded: 1881 (Seiko parent company), 1960 (first Grand Seiko watch), 2017 (as independent brand)

Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Ownership: Seiko Holdings Corporation

Notable models: Heritage collection, Elegance collection, Evolution 9

Did you know: The word "Seiko" in Grand Seiko is derived from the Japanese word "Seikosha," which translates as "House of Exquisite Workmanship."


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