NUMEROUS brands woo women with watches which are more jewelry or fashion accessory than actual time-tellers. Well, the first wristwatches were actually worn by women; these were considered bracelets which just happen to have some ticking mechanism fitted to them. So, there is actual centuries-old history behind this trend. Of course, some brands also make ladies’ watches which pack substance as much as they do style. Grand Seiko is among these brands, and recently it did not merely unveil a new line of women’s pieces, it brought out a new calibre for these watches as well.
Grand Seiko at Baselworld 2018 already brought out a new automatic movement specifically designed for ladies’ watches — the cal. 9S25. But apparently the watchmaker isn’t through yet. Because this year Grand Seiko introduced the cal. 9S27. Now while this new self-winding movement isn’t mentioned as a women’s watch calibre as the cal. 9S25 explicitly was, the cal. 9S27 was launched housed within five new ladies’ timepieces belonging in Grand Seiko’s Elegance collection.
Grand Seiko says what made the cal. 9S27 suitable for ladies’ watches is its petite size — the calibre measures only 19.4 millimeters across and 4.49 millimeters thick. This means the movement can be slotted within the svelte cases that define Grand Seiko’s new line of ladies’ watches. The brand’s ambiguity over whether the cal. 9S27 is strictly for ladies only, however, may mean the movement could find its way into slim, androgynous dress watches, too.
The cal. 9S27’s dainty dimensions — something Grand Seiko says could be created only by a true maison — belie its solid mechanical credentials. For starters, it is built, assembled and adjusted, all by hand, at the brand’s famed Shizukuishi Watch Studio in northern Japan. So its craftsmanship and construction are just like those in any Grand Seiko movement. It is also fitted with a balance spring made from the latest Spron 610 alloy. Its pallet fork and escapement wheel are built by MEMS Engineering, a leading maker of silicon bits. The watch within which it eventually slots then undergoes 17 days of demanding tests.
Oscillating at 28,800vph, the cal. 9S27 has a 50-hour power reserve. It is also accurate to within +8 or -3 seconds a day.
The first five watches that get to house this movement come in either steel or 18-karat gold — two are made of the former, three are garbed with the latter.
The two steel versions, STGK007 and STGK009, are the smaller among the quintet, measuring only 27.8 millimeters wide. Differentiating this pair are their dials. The STGK007 has a champagne colored one while its sibling opts for mother-of-pearl. The champagne dial, which has a faint linen pattern, is adorned by 11 diamonds serving as hour markers (blame the date window for the missing diamond). The STGK009 has beveled stick hour markers made of steel. But both have Grand Seiko’s trademark Zaratsu-polished cases, as well as second hands in blued steel. Their hour and minute hands are razor-sharp with hairline stripes in the middle. Both are mounted on steel bracelets.
The three gold models are rendered in three different types of gold. The STGK003 is in white gold. It flaunts 42 diamonds on its bezel, 12 more on its mother-of-pearl dial (there are two at 12 o’clock, none at 3 o’clock because of the date window), plus a large one set on the crown. A reddish alligator leather strap complements the bejeweled case.
The two other gold models have nearly identical elements. But the STGK004 has a yellow-gold case and a white leather strap, the STGK006 goes for rose gold and a dark brown strap.
The three gold models are slightly larger at 28.7 millimeters wide. All five pieces have sapphire crystal covers over the dial and the caseback, through which the cal. 9S27 can be seen.
With its finishing, this calibre could pass for jewelry, too.