Seiko’s anniversary is an integration of innovation and tradition

SEIKO has plenty to celebrate this year, as it greets its grand 100th anniversary.

To mark the special number, its 2013 collection has several special editions. To begin with, the Ananta “100th Anniversary” Chronograph presents Seiko’s watchmaking innovation while tipping the hat to a uniquely Japanese facet — the Samurai tradition.

The chronograph has a hand-painted lacquer dial in deep blue, a colour never previously achieved with lacquer.

Making this watch unique is the crescent moon on the dial, which is inspired by the helmet worn by Masamune Date, an outstanding 17th century daimyo (regional baron).

At the heart of this creation is Seiko’s finest mechanical chronograph caliber 8R28. It incorporates the brand’s unique three-pointed hammer that ensures perfect synchronisation of the hands’ fly-back. This Ananta Chronograph is limited to 300 pieces.

Appropriately. the centennial collection also pays tribute to one of Seiko’s greatest technologies -- the Seiko Kinetic, a watch that converts kinetic energy into power to drive an electronic movement.

In 2013, there are three models to choose from. The Premier Anniversary contains the Kinetic Direct Drive caliber and has a resculpted case that makes it a contemporary classic, the Velatura marine sports collection, and the Sportura Anniversary featuring a perpetual calendar that is correct until February 2100.

If it is unworn for more than 24hours, the Sportura Kinetic Perpetual 100th Anniversary watch puts itself into sleep mode and -- even if it is only picked up four years later -- wakes to the correct time and date!

The passing of years has also not dimmed the popularity of the Grand Seiko. The classic 44GS established a new look for the collection when it first appeared in 1967.

The razor-sharp edges to the hands and hour markers are signature characteristics of a Grand Seiko. The cornerstone of the “Grand Seiko style” is the aesthetic consciousness among Japanese, of the beauty of light.

As Seiko Watch Corporation president and CEO Shinji Hattori said the company was expanding the Grand Seiko collection as its reputation as one of the world’s best-made watches grows.

“In addition to several new Spring Drive creations, we pay homage to one of the great designs from the 1960s with a new edition of the mechanical watch that helped define the character of Grand Seiko.

The new limited-edition 44GS uses a hand-winding movement and carries the emblem on the case back.

Bringing Seiko into the present is the brand’s newest pride and joy, which is at the centre of the 2013 collection

Giving one an inkling of its importance, Hattori describes the Astron GPS Solar as “on course to become the most important new development in a generation.

“This is a watch that I am certain our founder, my great-grandfather Kintaro Hattori, would have been proud of.”

The revolutionary Astron GPS Solar is able to show the local time anywhere in the world, to a precision of one second every 100,000 years. And no battery change is ever required, claims Seiko.

The extra special edition to commemorate 100 years of Seiko watchmaking, honours founder Kintaro Hattori via an inscription of his motto “One step ahead of the rest” on watches’ caseback. In addition, the caseback also sports the century-old tradition of Seiko’s original S-mark engraving.

However, Seiko fans and watch enthusiasts will have to cool their heels for a while. This is because the limited edition of 5,000 pieces will be launched simultaneously globally, only in September. — By Vicky Ooi

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