Grand Seiko Hi-Beat
In 1968, Seiko introduced the first automatic winding 10 beat caliber in Japan through their Grand Seiko 61GS model. The Grand Seiko Hi-beat and its higher rate of 36,000 bph proved to have a more stable and uniform vibration with a higher level of precision that was less effected by position or shock. This Hi-Beat paved the way for creating of one the most refined and technologically advanced Hi-Beat movements in the industry.
41 years later, Seiko introduced the first 10 beat or Hi-Beat caliber in the new line up of Grand Seiko, the Grand Seiko Hi-beat, utilizing the latest technologies to create and manufacture ultra precise components to apply to a traditional hand assembled caliber. Through MEMS (Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems) manufacturing, which is an emerging technology that uses the tools and techniques developed for the integrated circuit industry (which Seiko is heavily involved in), Seiko is able to manufacture in-house components like the escapement wheel and pallet fork with the utmost precision. This creates parts that are enhanced in durability, weight, hardness, design, and smoothness and also allows for a longer distribution of lubricants and higher energy transfer. The use of the in-house developed and manufactured Spron 530 mainspring allows for one of the biggest challenges in a Hi-Beat to be overcome, power reserve due to the high torque. The proprietary alloy not only allows for higher resilience, but is capable of achieving 55 hours off of only one barrel. Spron 610 is utilized for the hairspring in the escapement, which is highly resistant to shock and magnetism. After 5 years of development, the Spron 610 provides the stability and resilience necessary to regulate this high frequency movement.
These Hi-Beat calibers go through intensive testing, higher then the internationally recognized Chronometer rating, after hand assembly. The Grand Seiko standard tests in 6 positions, 3 temperatures and for 17 days to assure it's mean daily rate of -3/+5 seconds per day. After the movement is cased, the piece is then tested for a further 21 days. Only the most experienced craftsmen and women are responsible for the delicate process of adjusting the hairspring. The shape of the spiral can effect performance, and it is their job to adjust this spring as little as 1/1000th of a millimeter. This is solely done by eye, and a specially designed set of tweezers.
The 9S85 and new 9S86 GMT Hi-Beat are exclusively found in the Grand Seiko line up of watches, manufactured completely in-house at Seiko's own facilities, and are assembled and adjusted by hand at Shizukuishi Watch Studio in Morioka, in the Iwate prefecture of northern Japan. The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat is yet another historic milestone in the watch world for Seiko.