A new chapter in the 60-year history of Grand Seiko opens with the inauguration of an entirely new studio dedicated to the production of Grand Seiko's mechanical watches, Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi. It will be home to the craftsmen and women who assemble and adjust each and every Grand Seiko mechanical watch.
July 20, 2020 marked the opening of Best Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi, a space devoted to producing Grand Seiko mechanical watches and other high-end timepieces. This workshop was effectively added to the Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio, a high-end watch and movement manufacturing site of Morioka Seiko Instruments (located in the town of Shizukuishi in Iwate Prefecture).
The new studio was completed on the milestone sixtieth anniversary of the birth of the Grand Seiko brand. The design is the brainchild of Kengo Kuma, a celebrated Japanese architect also famed for his work on the new Japan National Stadium finished in 2019.
Surrounded by a thicket of trees, the studio incorporates various areas. There is a workshop devoted to the assembly and fine-tuning of each product by expert watchmakers, and a display space where visitors can discover and appreciate the brand’s history and background. An adjoining lounge provides an invigorating view of a celebrated peak, Mount Iwate.
In every way, this site is fashioned for visitors to directly bask in the craftsmanship of Grand Seiko-a brand emerging from graceful symbiosis with the natural world. The new studio will be open to the general public on a reservation-only basis.
The spacious entrance hall displays the various parts used in the sophisticated mechanical movements of Grand Seiko watches, and also showcases the process used to produce these legendary timepieces. Visitors can get a close-up view of the fine components so integral to ensuring movement precision, and gain a keen sense of the passion that the master artisans express in their craft.
From the exhibition area aisle, visitors can watch the watchmakers absorbed in their work through glass barriers in a space bathed in bright sunshine. The tasks they can view include assembly, adjustment and the other high-precision steps of the watchmaker’s art.
Mounted in the display space in front of the glass, meanwhile, are displays presenting details of the Grand Seiko design philosophy, the “Grand Seiko Standard” detailing the brand’s original benchmark for accuracy, and other informative reference materials. Visitors can also see the tools and other instruments the watchmakers use during the assembly process, providing an overall awareness of the superlative skills these outstanding craftspeople possess.
On display and for sale here is the SBGH283-an original model available only at Best Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi. This high-end watch features the 9S85 high-performance movement, which harnesses high-speed performance of 36,000 vibrations per hour (ten beats per second) to ensure superbly stable precision. This is indeed an exceptional model, sporting a green-colored dial to reflect the image of fresh leaves on the trees around the studio and enhanced by a vertically striped motif.