In addition to the 5s, Seiko is famous for one other category – Diver’s watches. Armed (no pun intended) with catchy names like Samurai, Turtle or SKX007, Seiko Divers are not only icons but they also serve an under-served niche market for affordable, well built, divers’ watches. But when the company decides to take a more luxurious, precise and artisanal approach in that genre, what is birthed is a saturation diving watch which not only meets the requirements for reliability but also an approach to aesthetics that borders perfection.
Saturation diving, defined with a depth of 600 metres, is the raison d’etre for Grand Seiko’s first professional diver’s watch. Constructed with a titanium case, resistant against magnetism and equipped with a high beat movement with 55 hour run time, the Grand Seiko Hi Beat Diver is a watch which not only exceeds the standards required for saturation diving but also adds aesthetic harmony in form to already laudable functions.
The Hi Beat Diver is bequeathed with the sort of details one usually finds in the Swiss indie counterparts – a sharp, angular polyhedron case with mirrored facets and chamfered edges embellished with Seiko’s vaunted Zaratsu polishing – hallmarks of Grand Seiko’s attention to detail lavished on what otherwise might be another perfunctory tool watch. To be clear, they’re not small watches, they might be decorated like your dress watches but they’re still a sizeable 46.9 mm and 17mm thick, that said, grade 5 titanium with a combination of brushed and polished finishes on a valve-free helium resistant case tends to lead one to the misunderstanding that this beauty should see the depths (or knocks) of serious diving.
In fact, the Hi-Beat 36000 Professional 600m Diver’s SBGH255 / SBGH257 watches may look like Clark Kent but they’re really a purpose built super-dive watch with very functional features like a uni-directional bezel made with supreme operability in mind thanks to the non-slip knurled finish with luminous ten second interval markers for improved legibility – that all this functionality looks elegant is icing on the watch.
The textured dial of the 600m diving Grand Seiko is made of pure iron, giving it the added benefit of magnetic shielding but redirecting the fields across and around the “cage” thus, it is a-magnetic rather than anti-magnetic, delivering a resistance of 16,000 A/m. High functionality is joined with an added boon of wear-ability when the bracelet is expressly designed for diving with an innovative sliding extension device to accommodate pressure changes.
The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat diver with calibre 9s85 beating within is fully made and tested at the Shizuku-Ishi Watch Studio.