Grand Seiko Quartz Movements

The story of Grand Seiko is a long and winding road of countless innovations due to the distance from the remainder of the high-end Western “Swiss” watchmaking manufacturers. Grand Seiko is a manufacturer that remains true to their Japanese identity. They sacrifice nothing to stay true to there inherent values of simplicity, high performing, beautiful watches. As a fully vertically integrated watch manufacturer, they have complete control over their production assembly and still to this day hand assemble their movements, even their quartz movements. Their exceptionally skilled watchmen and women operate in spaces of just 2mm to place the hands of these movements and make adjustments to them within 0.2mm apart so that the watch can operate smoothly. This feature will look into the history of Grand Seiko as it pertains to quartz movements.

SBGN005 - Grand Seiko GMT
SBGN005 - The first 9F Grand Seiko quartz watch with a GMT function
1988 – developed, 95GS and exceeded all regular quartz watches by being accurate to within 10 seconds per year due to the manufacturer’s ability to grown their very own quartz crystals in addition to producing every component in-house. By using their own quartz crystals, Grand Seiko could choose oscillators that showed superior performance in terms of temperature, humidity and shock resistance.
9F Grand Seiko Quartz Movement
1989 – First Grand Seiko quartz watch with 100M water resistance (8NGS).

1992 – First Grand Seiko quartz model for women accurate to within 10 seconds a year.

1993 – Five years after introducing the exceptionally accurate quartz movements to the marketplace, Grand Seiko created the, “quartz that surpasses quartz” with the development of four innovations
  1. Backlash Auto-Adjust Mechanism: To prevent the slight vibration when each gear’s teeth engage with each other to move the watch hands, specifically the second hand, the Grand Seiko design team developed this mechanism. To stabilize the movement of the second hand, they used the spring power from the hairspring to counteract the shuddering from the advance of the second hand.
  2. Twin Pulse Control Motor: typical quartz watches use smaller, lighter and thinner hands because quartz movements are not able to create enough torque to move broader heavier hands. By increasing the number of pulse signals (two successive per second) to augment the output torque from the rotor, the 9F quartz movements from Grand Seiko are able to move the big, broad and beautiful hands that are associated with Grand Seiko watches.
  3. Instant Date Change System:  By building tension on the date when mechanism, as the lever spring rotates. Grand Seiko’s technicians align the mechanism to fire exactly at midnight. Grand Seiko was the first to pioneer this mechanism in a quartz movement.
  4. Protective Shield Construction: To provide ample protection of the rotor, Grand Seiko movements are encased in an airtight environment to prevent dust entering delicate parts and lubricating oil from the air to extend the life. This design is to minimize the harm when the caseback is opened. It is worth mentioning, that while many manufacturers to “service” quartz movements typically put a new movement in the watch, Grand Seiko actually repairs the current movement

1997 – 9F6 series applied traditional Zaratzu polishing to quartz model watch cases that results in the mirror finished, free of distortion, that is now a trademark Grand Seiko aesthetic.

2003 – A new quartz watch series with a magnetic resistance of 40,000 A/m

Grand Seiko SBGX261 - black dial, steel watch 37mm
SBGX261 - A straight forward, legible Grand Seiko quartz

Additional facts

  • Equipped on Grand Seiko quartz movements is a regulation switching for prevision control in a quartz movement allow technicians to quickly adjust the speed of the watch (regulation), although due to the robust nature of the movement, it is likely they will never need adjusting in this fashion.
  • Low-power IC (integrated circuit) to allow temperature control (which is checked 540 times per day) and to extend the battery life of upwards to three years!
  • Independent Axis Structure: by allowing the seconds, minutes and hour hands to move independent of each other, the twitching when adjusting the time is eliminated and the smooth and precise movement is gained while the watch runs.

Grand Seiko SBGN009 Limited Edition
SBGN009 - Limited edition Grand Seiko quartz celebrating 50 years of quartz movements
While many people frown upon quartz movements in high-end watch making, it is this attention to detail and servicing which truly validates the quartz movements produced by Grand Seiko. At Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers, we are the only authorized Grand Seiko retailer in the state of Wisconsin. Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers would like to invite you to our Whitefish Bay location to peruse our beautiful selection of Grand Seiko quartz movements (as well as Hi-Beat and Spring Drive) watches.