Many luxury watch brands have partnered with automobile brands and their racing teams, but one of these partnerships that is little known in the United States is the one between two Japanese marques: Grand Seiko and Nissan. The watchmaker has produced a handful of special-edition timepieces inspired by and paired with the automaker’s iconic Nissan GT-R racing cars, but up until this year, those watches were only sold in Japan. This week at the New York International Auto Show, however, Grand Seiko and Nissan unveiled their first collaborative timepiece that will be available in the U.S. and throughout the world. Fittingly, it is one that commemorates two anniversaries in 2019: 50 years of the Nissan GT-R and 20 years of the Seiko Spring Drive caliber.
The Grand Seiko Spring Drive 20th & Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Limited Edition (Ref. SBGC229), released in concert with the 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition car, is limited to 200 pieces and distinguished by its use of “Bayside Blue,” famously introduced in the livery of the 1969 GT-R automobile, for several elements on the case, dial, and strap. The color is reflected in the blue ceramic of the outer case and tachymeter bezel, the blue numerals of the dial’s chronograph counters, and the blue stitching on the alligator strap. The inner part of the case, which measures a stately 46.4 mm in diameter and 16.2 mm thick, is made of high-intensity titanium, offering 100 meters of water resistance. The Nissan racing livery, with its familiar white racing stripe, also finds homage in the silvery-white dial and the shiny white strap, which closes with a triple-folding, push-button-release clasp. On the dial, a center-mounted blue hand ticks off the stopwatch seconds, while the subdials on the right side tally up the minutes (30) and hours (12). Additionally, a date window appears at 3 o’clock, a power-reserve display at 7 o’clock, a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, and a central GMT hand highlighted with a blue tip.
Inside the case, and visible through a curved sapphire caseback with anniversary markings, is Seiko’s Spring Drive Caliber 9R96, which achieves its high level of accuracy (+/- 0.5 seconds per day, +/- 10 seconds per month) through its combination of a balance wheel, electro-magnetic energy, and a quartz oscillator instead of a traditional escapement; the Spring Drive system — which Seiko introduced to horology in does use a traditional rotor for automatic winding of the mainspring — here emblazoned with the Grand Seiko lion emblem in 18k yellow gold. The movement boasts 50 jewels and a 72-hour power reserve, and offers independent adjustment of the hour hand.
The watch will be available at select Grand Seiko boutiques and retail partners around the world, priced at $21,000. It joins an impressive 2019 collection for Grand Seiko, which will be among the 28 exhibiting watchmakers at the upcoming WatchTime Los Angeles event on May 3-4. If you will be on the West Coast, you are urged to check it out. Click here for tickets, event info, and a full list of sponsoring brands.
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Author: Mark Bernardo