Photos by Juanito Vinluan and Press
Last January 31st, Grand Seiko in cooperation with Lexus Manila celebrated its 60th anniversary at the Lexus showroom in BGC. It was in 1960 when Seiko introduced the first Grand Seiko timepiece. Once Japan’s well-kept secret, Grand Seiko is now more than ever sought after by timepiece collectors, including the watch collecting community here in the country. In celebration of this first-ever event in Manila, Timeplus Corporation, Seiko Watch Corporation’s long time business partner in the country represented by Seiko’s Director and Director and Senior Vice President, Yoshikatsu Kawada arranged this master craftsman event to give local watch aficionados a taste of the rich legacy of this iconic timepiece brand.
Grand Seiko Craftsman Takuya Nishinaka, the special guest of the evening capped off this immersive Grand Seiko experience by inviting two special guests, Sam Valenciano and Aya Cojuangco, who were asked to assemble the Grand Seiko Snowflake on stage with the assistance of Craftsman Takuya Nishinaka. Their hand-eye coordination and dexterity skills were tested as they were given a quick lesson on how to assemble a high precision watch movement.
Dubbed as The Nature of Time : The Grand Seiko Master Craftsman Event, the Lexus’ expansive and minimalist showroom penned by Yuji Hirata was probably the best choice for the venue, since both Lexus and Grand Seiko share similar core product values. Both brands also have parent brands (Toyota and Seiko) that represent Japanese ingeniuity, practicality, reliability and value-for-money proposition for all its products. Lexus and Grand Seiko are their respective luxury brands and share a similar history that emphasizes on passion for excellence, craftsmanship and attention to detail. Lexus’ takumi craftsmen has to go through 10,000 hours to become an expert then another 60,000 hours to become a takumi master. For Grand Seiko on the otherhand, it is largely the responsibility of master craftsman Takuya Nishinaka. From initial hiring to training, he is responsible in training and selecting the next generation of Grand Seiko artisans, craftsmen and watchmakers.
During the event, the Lexus Manila Showroom welcomed its guests as they stepped into a space lit by the rich shade of Grand Seiko blue, the brand’s iconic identity and complemented with the swooning melody of the Koto. Inside its walls was an LED tunnel that elaborately introduced Grand Seiko’s product timeline. To further enhance the event’s artisan theme, organizers invited Japanese calligraphist Oj Hofer who personalized guests’ names and performed Ensō calligraphy, a traditional form of Japanese art.
The event was well-attended by both car and watch enthusiasts, celebrities and other VIP guests of both Lexus and Grand Seiko. Yoshikatsu Kawada, Seiko’s Director and SVP shared the brand’s story and was followed by an introduction by Timeplus Corporation President Karl Emmanuel Dy.
“We know how big the watch collector community has grown in the Philippines, with many enthusiasts going for luxury brands that have a long, proud heritage such as that of the Grand Seiko. We are proud to bring in the Grand Seiko concept store to the country, especially with the expertise that has been shared with us by Craftsman Nishinaka, to demonstrate the technology that goes inside each timepiece. Aside from the Snowflake, we are planning to bring in more styles in the future for our collections from the proud 60-year history of the brand.” Said Dy.
Dy gave an introduction of its three collections, the Heritage, Elegance and Sports Collection. One of the highlight models that evening was the Grand Seiko Snowflake. Known as the SBGA211, it features a distinct dial that is inspired by the beauty that surrounds the dial workshop of the Grand Seiko Shinshu Watch Studio in Japan. This unique pattern resembles the snow surface blown by the rough wind in the severe winter of the Shinshu area, where the watch is made. According to Seiko, this aesthetic, in addition to the Japanese precision movement that Grand Seiko is known for, offers a beautiful timepiece that has a glide motion which mimics graceful movement.
Visit Seiko boutiques located at the Ground Floor of Glorietta 1, Second Floor of SM Aura Premier, and Third Floor of SM Seaside Cebu. Or follow them on social media on Instagram – @grandseikophilippines and Facebook – Grand Seiko Philippines