Embrace the Spirit of the Forest with the Grand Seiko White Birch

Inspired by Japan’s white birch forests, Grand Seiko’s SLGH005 is a fast-beat watch with immaculate design aesthetics
Embrace the Spirit of the Forest with the Grand Seiko White Birch
March 9, 2023
Embrace the Spirit of the Forest with the Grand Seiko White Birch

In the realm of horology, we get to know about the launch of new variants or movements, but, in 2020, Grand Seiko (GS) did someslimg unforeseen — it introduced a whole new escapement, called the Dual Impulse Escapement. Then, in 2021, Grand Seiko released the SLGH005 White Birch watch, featuring its latest high-beat movement, Caliber 9SA5. This movement operates at 36,000 beats per hour, which in turn allows for increased accuracy and a smoother sweep of the second hand. Needless to say, GS prefers to stay a step ahead of competitors. The decision to create a luxury-focused range of timepieces was driven by Seiko's desire to compete with Swiss watch brands that have been dominating the high-end market.

The introduction of this White Birch was done digitally due to COVID, and but this Hi-Beat caliber 9S85 was part of a new generation.

The ‘White Birch’ timepiece has all the right elements in one strong package. As the name suggests, it is inspired by the White Birch tree forests of Japan. The watch is being produced at a mass level. This means the timepiece maker is confident about the performance of not only the new movement, but also the Dual Impulse Escapement, which is here to stay.

The White Birch is also rather important as it’s the first time the Calibre 9SA5 finds its way in a watch from the permanent collection.

Let’s now look at this high-performance timepiece more closely. The watch comes in a 40 mm stainless steel case, which is a classic dimension for a performance-oriented watch, and a slim caseband. The SLGH005 variant feels modern, with perfectly brushed, polished surfaces and lugs that seem to be integrated in the bracelet. The dial isn’t all white, but it's more like a metallic silver, which ensures an appealing contrast with the overall look of the watch.

The big deal with this Grand Seiko is its dial, with a stunning texture and colour called Shirakaba, or White Birch

The monochromatic watch comes with bar-shaped applied hour markers and faceted and bevelled hands that are sharp on the edges. The only element that breaks the monotone is the blue-steel second hand. Grand Seiko’s logo takes pride of place at 12 o’clock while there is a white-background, black numeral date window at 3 o’clock. Since the watch doesn’t have any luminous material or coating, it may be difficult to view time in low light conditions or at night. 

The case shows the new design language of the brand, with slightly updated shapes, it is still superbly executed with brushed surfaces and distortion-free polished details

The signature Grand Seiko ‘Zaratsu’ polishing is super luxurious. The new in-house automatic movement with manual winding capacity, Hi-Beat Caliber 9SA5, is definitely a notch above the existing calibers. With the new Dual Impulse Escapement, the movement is slimmer at 28.4 mm and offers 80 hours of power reserve, making this watch’s accuracy range from +5 to -3 seconds per day. 

The Grand Seiko White Birch SLGH005 is worn on a brushed stainless steel bracelet, that is 22mm in width, making it comfortable on the wrist

The 9SA5 Caliber has actual anglage as well as a stainless steel skeletonised oscillating weight. This lets the wearer see a lion’s share of the movement through the stainless steel caseback with the lion emblem, the bridge of which has a gently curving outline inspired by the shape of Japan’s Mt. Iwate. Other updates include a free-sprung, adjustable mass balance, an overcoil balance spring, a balance bridge for better fine adjustment and shock resistance.

The watch is finished on a three-fold stainless steel clasp with a push-button release. It comes with 100 metres of water resistance. The watch can be bought from https://grandseikoboutique.in/products/slgh005

Image Credits: Grand Seiko