Grand Seiko is known to design its watches based on nature and the elements surrounding us. From the best selling Snowflake to the Lake Omiwatari, there’s a watch to cater for everyone. The White Birch SLGH005 is no different from getting inspiration from the bark of the white birch trees in Shizukuishi. This watch captures the dynamism of the white birch tree forests near the studio in Shizukuishi, where all Grand Seiko mechanical watches are crafted.
The White Birch is one of Grand Seiko’s current best-sellers, and for good reasons. The dial work is nothing we have seen before on top of the new series 9 design. Though the snowflake manufacturing process is complex, the dial manufacturing process of the White Birch is just as complicated.
Before Grand Seiko could manufacturer the White Birch dial, a mould of the pattern was created, which took Grand Seiko six months to make. They have used a combination of traditional watchmaking and cutting-edge machinery and technology to make this happen.
The first significant step in production is stamping. Seven brass pieces are cut then stamped with the metal mould. Once the stamping process is complete, the base piece is trimmed to the size of the dial.
Next, the dial, hands and date window are cut. Index holes are punched, and any excess metal is shaved off.
Next, the dial is coated in four distinct processes: Metal brushing, silver plating, undercoating and wrap coating. The thick clear layer is applied first to the dial and then plated in silver. The surface is then smoothed out and dial text printed.
Lastly, the GS logo, date frame, and chapter ring are applied. Indices are fitted in fixing slots around 0.3mm in diameter; hence, exceptional training and skills are required for watchmakers. Special tools are also needed to pick up the indices, such as acrylic tweezers.
Creating a new dial design takes time and resources, but Grand Seiko is reaping what it sowed. Demand for the White Burch has exceeded supply that one must now get into the waiting list to get one. If you want to get a new hi-beat Grand Seiko, then this is the one to get.
More information can be found here (website in Japanese).