The Story of Light: Grand Seiko’s Aesthetic Artistry


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This ‘Japanese-ness’ is articulated by the brand as the ‘Sparkle of Beauty’ that each watch must demonstrate. The Grand Seiko Style has three components, which combine to give ultimate control over the execution of light and shadow in the aesthetic of the watch. First, the design must combine flat surfaces and two-dimensional curves, with the greatest focus on the flat surfaces. Second, the case, dial and hands should have as many flat surfaces as possible. Third, as many surfaces as possible should be mirror-polished and distortion-free. The artistry comes to the fore in the interplay between the mirrored and brushed, or hairline to use Grand Seiko parlance, surfaces. The technique used to create the mirror finish is called Zaratsu polishing and this pairing with the hairline finishes, aims to give the wearer the best possible time-reading experience. It is this depth of thought and design that makes Grand Seiko unique.

Grand Seiko Elegance Collection

At its most subtle and refined, this aesthetic is channelled through the Elegance collection, one of the three distinct Grand Seiko collections. These watches are built to the very highest standards and robust enough to be worn daily but are truly in their element on the rarefied occasions that demand a beautiful dress watch. The designs have that timeless look that genuinely could have been born in any decade of the past 60 years and yet, at the same time, look current, modern and very much in tune with today’s market. And like most things that are truly beautiful, these watches are understated, which is again the perfect embodiment of the Grand Seiko mantra of understatement as artistry.

Central to the beautiful execution of these watches is the curve. The curve of the case, the dial, the crystal; even the minute hand is curved by hand to compliment the curve of the sapphire crystal. The power reserve even echoes the curves and lines of the case and crystal. And going back to the idea of light and shadows, one cannot overlook the way the case line and bezel create interplays of bright and dark. And my personal favourite element? The small detail in the finishing where the inside of the lugs meets the case body. A small but key part of the visual impact, where small pockets of shadow form to draw the eye…stunning! It is the simplicity of these watches that makes them so alluring.


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