Who are Grand Seiko?
Grand Seiko is a luxury watch brand consisting of timepieces that are created to be beautifully and precisely Japanese, inside and out. Each Grand Seiko watch is instantly recognisable due to its simple form and understated elegance. Here at Deacons Jewellers, we are proud to present the Elegance, Sport and Heritage collections of Grand Seiko watches. Browse our range online, or visit us in our Swindon Showroom. Get in touch to begin your Grand Seiko journey with Deacons!
The Grand Seiko Style - Eternal Values and a Uniquely Japanese Sense of Beauty
What is the origin of the Grand Seiko style?
‘Sparkle with Quality’ is an idea that the Grand Seiko style and design language is centred around. This perfectly reflects the essence of Grand Seiko’s characteristics that they are known worldwide for. These characteristics of precision, beauty, legibility and ease of use represent the harmony within the form and function of Grand Seiko watches. However, when the first Grand Seiko watch was produced in 1960, the focus was placed more on the precision of the watch movement, not on the exterior design.
It wasn’t until seven years after the first Grand Seiko creation, in 1967, that the Grand Seiko style was developed. In order to have a watch style that would stand out from the crowd, the chief designer of Grand Seiko spent much time in Ginza, Tokyo’s most exclusive shopping district. This was spent watching how people from all over the world interacted with the watches on the market at that time, which led the chief designer to conclude that to stand out, Grand Seiko needed a consistent and bold design that demanded attention. Soon after, Grand Seiko began to design watches with much sharper angles, and distortion-free surfaces so that they would ‘sparkle with quality’.
How was the Grand Seiko style developed?
The Grand Seiko chief designer had many inspirations, one of which was the numerous graduations between lights and shadow. He noticed that on a perfectly polished surface, the play of light and shadow creates perfect harmony and that this interaction could be seen in the traditional Japanese folding screens and Shoji sliding doors. Deeply valuing this harmony, the Grand Seiko designer saw the importance of light's interaction within design and paid attention to the beauty of these delicate graduations and their unique expressions of character.
The Grand Seiko style was formed to convey a truly Japanese sense of beauty. Focusing on straight lines and flat surfaces, these design elements work together to achieve a structured design with endless expressions of light and shadow. Today, the Grand Seiko style holds true to this original ideal and is a beautiful reflection of their heritage.
What are the three principles of the Grand Seiko style?
There are three design principles that are fundamental to the Grand Seiko style…
Principle 1 - The design should have flat surfaces and two-dimensional curves. This means that instead of using three-dimension curves, the Grand Seiko style is composed of extremely sharp and flat surfaces. The rich ‘sparkle of quality’ comes from the contrasts between the light and shadow that these strong surfaces create.
Principle 2 - The flat surfaces of the case, dial and hands should be as wide as possible. The lines on the case, dial and hands of Grand Seiko watches are multi-faceted. This heightens the contrast between the design elements, which increases the watch’s legibility.
Principle 3 - Every surface should be distortion-free and have a mirror surface. This mirror finish further increases the contrast between light and shadow, making the finish beautifully clean.
What are the design elements of Grand Seiko Watches?
Grand Seiko watches consist of nine design elements which are based around the three principles above. These give each watch its uniquely Japanese appeal. Working alongside each other, these nine elements guide the creation of every detail of the timepieces, from the angle of the case, to the shape of the 12 o’clock index and the flatness of the dial. In addition to these, some of the other design elements are a semi-recessed crown, a highly mirror-polished bezel, multi-faceted rectangular indexes and hands, and a curved side profile for the case.
Although this core aesthetic was established in 1967, it still guides Grand Seiko today. Passed on faithfully from generation to generation, whilst being subtly adapted to the changing times, the Grand Seiko style has been both enhanced and preserved. This can be clearly seen throughout all of Grand Seiko's exceptional collections of luxury timepieces!
Grand Seiko Watches at Deacons Jewellers
Here at Deacons Jewellers, we have a wide selection of Grand Seiko Elegance, Sport, and Heritage watches. Browse our range online, or visit our Swindon Showroom today. If you have any queries, please feel free to get in touch. Start your Grand Seiko journey with Deacons Jewellers today!
To learn more about Grand Seiko and their history, read our article, '10 things you don't know about Grand Seiko'. Discover the Deacons luxury watch journal for more guides here.