While these values are still core to the brand, over the past 18 years — and especially since 2019, when the watchmaker introduced its brand philosophy, “The Nature of Time,” an ode to the importance that the Japanese culture places on seasonality and time — Grand Seiko has made it a practice to create dials that reflect its natural environment.
“For a very long time, our communication was focused on the technological superiority of our brand,” Akio Naito, president of Seiko Watch Corporation, said in an interview last month at Seiko House Ginza in Tokyo. (Seiko, the value-priced, volume-driven Japanese watchmaker that traces its roots to 1881, created Grand Seiko in 1960 to produce its most luxurious product. In 2017, the marque was spun off, becoming its own independent brand.)
“But as we started competing against the top Swiss luxury brands, who had already started emphasizing the heritage and craftsmanship as opposed to pure functionality,” Mr. Naito added, “we came up with this idea of ‘The Nature of Time,’ which captures the DNA of our brand from two different angles: craftsmanship and our beautiful surroundings.”
Few timepieces embody that dual mandate better than the Tentagraph, Grand Seiko’s first mechanical chronograph, powered by the Caliber 9SC5. Introduced at the Watches and Wonders Geneva trade fair in March, the model was the product of a yearslong effort to develop a chronograph with a 72-hour power reserve and a high-beat movement, which ticks 10 times a second as opposed to the standard six- or eight-tick calibers, producing more accurate time keeping.
The acrostic poem built into the model’s name reflects these attributes: Ten-t-a-graph is a combination of ten, for 10 beats; the letter t, for three days of power reserve; and the letter a and the suffix -graph because it is an automatic chronograph.
With its ceramic bezel complete with tachymeter scale and three subdials, or registers, arranged in the familiar triangular configuration used by most chronographs, the Tentagraph looks like a traditional model.