Seiko is best known for its lineup of affordable, well-built watches that represent a great value in timekeeping. But, the beloved Japanese brand also dabbles in ultra high-end watchmaking, and nowhere is that effort more refined than in the company’s Micro Artist Studio in Shiojiri in the Nagano Prefecture of central Japan. There, a handful of employees craft Seiko’s most incredible (and expensive) timepieces, like the Credor Sonnerie, Eichi II and Spring Drive Minute Repeater.
The new Grand Seiko Spring Drive, just announced at Baselworld, received the Micro Artist Studio touch. The Studio’s efforts resulted in the addition of two extra power reserve barrels (along with some design flare). Normally, an automatic watch movement has a single barrel, storing energy that drives the watch. When fully wound, that provides two to three days worth of power on a high-end watch. By having three barrels that all wind and expire in a linear fashion, Seiko gave the Spring Drive a power reserve of 198 hours, or over eight days of operation.
In addition to the long power reserve, the Micro Artist Studio fitted the Spring Drive with subtle, elegant details. The movement is housed in a 43mm case (a 3mm bump in size from a normal Spring Drive, to accommodate the updated movement) made from platinum, while the dial is coated in diamond dust that, according to Seiko, glistens like the “sparkle of snow that shimmers in the morning light in the clear mountain air of the area around the Studio.” Sounds nice enough.