2013 is the 100th anniversary of Seiko watchmaking. Bet you didn’t expect that, did you? It’s true. Seiko has been in watches longer than most of those Swiss guys who, within the past 25 years, bought the name of a dead watchmaker and called themselves important. As such, this year at BaselWorld, Seiko released a bevy of impressive mechanical timepieces, none more attractive to us than the Grand Seiko 44GS limited edition.
The Grand Seiko Heritage 44GS Manual-winding is a limited edition tribute to one of Grand Seiko’s most historical references, the 1967 44GS. Seven years after the successful introduction of the original Grand Seiko reference (you know, the one I almost bought on top of a church in Ginza), the 44GS was conceived by a young university student who was believed that luxury watchmaking was more than simply producing a fine movement, which Seiko was already doing, but also about creating a beautiful and interesting case. Thus, the Grand Seiko Heritage 44GS Manual-winding was producing with multiple polished angles and a case shape totally unique to Grand Seiko. It is this case that has come to define Grand Seiko to this day.
2013’s limited edition remake of the Grand Seiko Heritage 44GS Manual-winding is completely faithful to the original, with a 37.9mm case. It also holds the Grand Seiko seal on the caseback, just like the 60s model. Inside is the manually wound Grand Seiko 9S64, with a frequency of 4 hertz and power reserve of 72 hours. The limited edition 44GS will come in four metals, all in limited numbers. The steel example, which has a dial and handset that mimic the original model exactly, will be sold in 700 examples worldwide, with a US retail price of $6000. The 44GS will also be made in yellow, rose, and white gold, each in 70 examples at a price of $24,000. You can read more about this new limited edition Grand Seiko here.
In 1967, Grand Seiko introduced the Grand Seiko Heritage 44GS Manual-winding. With its distinct case, distortion-free finishing, and mesmerizing dial, the 44GS came to embody the Grand Seiko Style. In 2013, Grand Seiko unveiled the modern interpretation of the design, adapting the brand-defining model from ‘67 to more contemporary standards. In 2022, we saw the release of a new mid-size 44GS design with the smallest case diameter at 36.5mm of the series. This Grand Seiko introduction presents two new mid-size Grand Seiko Heritage 44GS Manual-winding references in the Heritage Collection, SBGW297 and SBGW299. At 36.5 mm in diameter, 11.6 mm in thickness, and just 42.7mm in length from lug tip to lug tip, the cases of SBGW297 and SBGW299 feature proportions closer to that of the ’67 original, even coming in a bit smaller in width, though slightly thicker than the historical model. To achieve this, every aspect of the case’s construction had to be reconsidered to take full advantage of Grand Seiko’s slim, manual-winding Caliber 9S64.