Posted by JoeAZFT on 12th Dec 2014

Grand Seiko Roadshow 2014 : Report

On December 5th, Arizona Fine Time hosted its 5th annual Grand Seiko Roadshow, which needless to say, was another tremendous success!  This year was very special indeed as we welcomed Mr. Ikukiyo Komatsu who has been with Seiko for 32 years, worked on Spring Drive for over 10 years, and is one of few talented craftsmen who can assemble the complex 9R86 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT caliber and make it look easy!  

Mr. Komatsu was an amazingly interesting person to talk to.  With all his knowledge and experience, he was able to explain the components of Spring Drive comprehensively which lead us as well as our customers to have an unbelievable understanding of what makes these machines on our wrists so special.  He also knew Mr. Yoshikazu Akahane, the creator of Spring Drive, which made for some interesting conversation as well!

We've been fortunate enough to have 2 other craftsmen attend our Roadshows in the past.  Mr. Hideo Fukai, who visited us once back in 2011 and Mr. Junya Kamijo who who first visited our store in 2010, then again in 2013.  Coincidentally, when talking to Mr. Komatsu, we learned he was actually the one who trained Mr. Kamijo and remembers the first day he walked in.  We all got a good laugh and learned a bit more about the great people behind GS.

Mr. Komatsu assembled, disassembled, reassembled and again disassembled the 416 part 9R86 caliber throughout the course of our 4 hour event.  This also included time spent discussing the inner workings of Spring Drive and a dinner break for some sushi.  Mr. Komatsu also took a quick break with us to toast to another successful event, and indulge in some outstanding, multiple award winning Yamazaki 18 single malt whiskey, while still working on the movement.  

We had guests from all over the country come visit us in the beautiful 75° weather that AZ has, but the weather was just an added bonus.  They were here to see Mr. Komatsu in action.  We would sincerely like to thank all of our guests who made the trek to Arizona for our most exciting event of the year.  I can honestly say, all had a great time, learned a ton, and helped us achieve record breaking sales during this Roadshow.  We also had a great amount of customers who couldn't make the event, but still purchased watches to have the boxes autographed by Mr. Komatsu and viewed the event online live as it happened.  Again, thanks to all who participated in the event, even if they were not here!  We greatly appreciate all the support!

We also had a great after hours party the night before where some of the customers got to come into our closed store, drink and meet all the guys from Seiko.  A very relaxed environment, we all had a blast and thank the guys from Seiko for coming to hang out.  It was a great treat for our outstanding customers as well as the guys here at AZFT.  Most of us didn't make it out of here until 2am!

Tons of stories could be told about the event, but in all honesty, it is best to experience it yourself first hand.  Instead, we would like to share tons of pictures from the event and try and give you an impression of what it is like to be here.  

For the most efficient increased electrical power, the coil is wound nearly perfect 2,500 times around 18 layers of 25 micron thick amorphous.  Hard to believe something so thin can be wound so perfect.

Almost completely disassembled, you can see Seiko's in-house manufactured integrated circuit, which relays the timing information from the crystal oscillator, to the electromagnet that controls the glide wheel.  The glide wheel itself actually has a permanent magnet attached, which something brought to our attention for the first time this year. 

Mr. Komatsu was signing plenty of autographs during the event.  He had a lot of stuff to sign!

AZ Fine Time was also proud to unveil its new custom designed Grand Seiko and Seiko display, influenced by various Seiko build outs in Japan, as well as Seiko's beautiful display booths in Basel.  You're looking at over 18ft of Seiko goodness!

Some incredibly rare Grand Seiko's were on display for all to see, most of which for the 1st time ever in this country.  The SBGC004 is one of those particular cases. 

The Platinum 950 "Self-Dater" SBGA107 was also one of those types of pieces.  Only 50 were produced for the entire world.

Even some long sold out models made guest appearances (though not for sale), like the SBGW039 remake of the very first Grand Seiko but in platinum and a very special guest appearance of the Seiko Spring Drive Spacewalk.

Another incredibly rare piece on display was the SBGJ007, Hi-Beat Special GMT in 18k white gold.  We had both the yellow SBGJ008 and rose SBGJ010 on display, but those found new homes by the end of the night.

One of the hottest models of the night was the 9R 10th Anniversary model SBGA109, with the beautiful and unique "10" inspired dial.

Then again, the Snowflake SBGA011 was getting a lot of attention too.

For those who didn't to spend nearly $35,000 on the Self-Dater in platinum, we also had the SBGA103 limited of 500 pieces for the world, at $6,500.

Of course, we had plenty of classic production models on display as well.

Of course, AZFT has the widest selection of Galante in the USA, all of which were on display.

Brightz is also on display featuring the 8R28 chronograph, which is new to the US market this year.  A tremendous value for an automatic chrono, retailing for $2,100.  

Prospex, of course, a new dominant force for Seiko in the USA is also on display.

And of course, we had the tremendously popular, technologically advanced Astron GPS on display in both the 7X and  new 8X calibers.

The first ladies Astron GPS!

Seiko's newest brand ambassador, Novak Djokovic has his own new Astron GPS Limited Edition too!

Also, the 1st in the 8X series, the LE SSE001.

The last few of Ananta LE's were also on display.

To all of our guests who visited, customers who participated online, and friends throughout the watch loving community, we would like to sincerely thank you for your support!  To our friends from Seiko, we would like to personally thank Mr. Ikukiyo Komatsu, Mr. Ken Irie (Senior VP of Astron USA), Mr. Rick Rowlands (Regional VP for Seiko USA), and our local sales rep extraordinaire, Mr. Keith "Kiki" Oda for attending.  To another incredibly successful Grand Seiko Roadshow!  

Check out our video of Mr. Komatsu in action!