A tribute to the white birch trees of Iwate prefecture, the award-winning Grand Seiko SLGH005 introduced an exciting new reference to Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 Collection. Today, Grand Seiko announces SLGH017, the “Night Birch,” the latest iteration of one of the brand’s most popular designs. Embodying Grand Seiko’s The Nature of Time philosophy, SLGH017 takes the organic birch texture and renders it in a subtle black, giving a new dimension to the peaks and valleys of this highly dynamic dial. It is inspired by the atmosphere of the white birch tree forests on the Hiraniwa Plateau at night. In addition to the new dial color, the case is now made of High-Intensity Titanium, an alloy that is 30% lighter than stainless steel and has greater corrosion resistance.
The newest addition to the Evolution 9 Collection, SLGH017 features a design known as the Evolution 9 Style. Though it undoubtedly takes its cue from the brand’s past, Evolution 9’s design code is firmly planted in Grand Seiko’s future, enhancing the already robust watchmaking ideals that make Grand Seiko watches what they are: precise, legible, durable, and beautiful.
SLGH017 measures 40mm in diameter, 11.7mm in thickness, and has a lug-to-lug length of 47mm. In addition to the highly accommodating dimensions, the case form is designed to fit a variety of wrists, and it features a lower center of gravity to ensure day-to-day comfort.
The titanium alloy generally used in Grand Seiko, High-Intensity Titanium was introduced into the Evolution 9 Collection in early 2022 with five new Sport models, and SLGH017 marks the first titanium Birch model since the collection’s launch. The finishing quality is superb, with the titanium alloy featuring Grand Seiko’s mix of Zaratsu-polished and hairline brushed surfaces. This combination enhances the geometry of the watch, emphasizing sharp lines and angles where planes come together. The bezel is faceted with a top surface featuring hairline finishing, and the sides are polished to a distortion-free shine.
As with past Birch models, the dial here is immediately eye-catching. To create the highly textured dial of SLGH017, Grand Seiko presses the base metal seven times instead of just once to ensure depth without compromising the integrity of the dial’s structure. Multiple coating layers are also required to achieve the color.
The hour and minute hands are distinct and draw inspiration from the first Grand Seiko in 1960. The hour hand end is shaped to the exact width of the innermost part of the hour indexes. Experienced watchmakers carefully curve the second and minute hands to ensure the highest possible legibility. Each hour index is created via diamond cutting, giving them a perfectly flat mirror finish that reflects even the slightest bit of light, enhancing overall legibility under numerous lighting conditions.
Powering SLGH07 is the Hi-Beat 36000 9SA5 caliber, introduced in 2020 and produced by the skilled watchmakers of Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi. Caliber 9SA5 features numerous technical advancements, including the novel Dual Impulse Escapement, Twin Barrels, and a Free-Spring Balance with a distinct overcoil. A newly designed horizontal gear train also allows for a slimmer build, contributing to the watch’s overall comfort.
The new Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours “Night Birch” SLGH017 is a Salon model and will be available in August 2022 for $10,400.