The joys of spring: Grand Seiko Spring Drive ‘White Birch’

The elegant design of Grand Seiko’s latest Spring Drive timepiece draws from the white birch forests of its native Japan

Watches & Jewellery 14 Jan 2022

Grand Seiko’s Shinshu Watch Studio is situated in the historic city of Shiojiri in Japan, nestled near the Jonen and Hotaka mountain ranges and benefitting from the cool, crisp air. These tranquil surroundings provide the ideal atmosphere from which to produce its Spring Drive watches, technically demanding works of art intricately designed, developed and produced in-house. 

The latest in the line takes direct inspiration from the distinctive streaked tree trunks of the white birch forests that thrive in the country, expressed to stunning effect in the delicately patterned silver dial. In a testament to the watchmaker’s attention to detail, this close connection to nature is also captured on the movement, viewable via the sapphire-crystal caseback, with a finish reminiscent of the frost that forms on the branches on a cold morning. Bringing together the best of traditional fine watchmaking with the enhanced precision of an electronic regulator, the Calibre 9RA2 is accurate to +/- 10 seconds per month and offers a sizable 120-hour power reserve. 

The silhouette of the watch is just as harmonious, a nod to the elegant aesthetic of Grand Seiko’s 1960s models while also guided by its Evolution 9 Style, a set of design principles that inform its modern creations. Centred not only around looks, but optimal legibility and comfort, these come through in key elements such as adjusting the case’s centre of gravity lower to improve wearability, and ensuring the bracelet is just the right width to fit securely on the wrist. Meanwhile, the prominent, grooved markers are as handsome as they are practical, and the multi-faceted case comes perfectly polished for an impeccable, distortion-free mirror finish.