Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila
WHAT DO Lexus and Grand Seiko (GS) have in common?
Aside from the obvious, that they’re both premium brands born in Japan, the two also feature vaunted takumi (the Japanese word for “artisan”) craftsmanship in the process of churning out sterling products that are no cookie-cutter creations.
Last week, these values came to fore when the Lexus Manila showroom at the Bonifacio Global City became a meeting place for watch aficionados already cognizant of the virtues of Grand Seiko (or GS).
The event was in keeping with a year-long push for GS as it turns 60. The company flew in master craftsman Takuya Nishinaka, and previewed anniversary pieces for its milestone year. Four limited editions with dials in the signature blue of GS will be locally available soon.
The story goes that in the 1950s, “a small team of Seiko’s finest watchmakers came together with a very simple yet ambitious aim: To create the very best watch of which they were capable, with the highest possible levels of precision, legibility, durability and ease of use.” This dream came to fruition in December 1960, and “grand” was added as a prefix to Seiko to represent the team’s ambition to “create the king of watches.”
At the Lexus Manila showroom, Mr. Nishinaka performed a live demonstration of watch assembly in front of Lexus, GS, and media guests. Displaying amazing dexterity and attention to detail, he worked on completing a GS Snowflake. The timepiece, known to enthusiasts as the SBGA211, has an eye-catching textured dial evoking, yes, snow. In a release, GS says this “unique pattern resembles the snow surface blown by the rough wind in the severe winter of the Shinshu area, where the watch is made.” Mr. Nishinaka is also currently in charge of training a younger generation of watchmakers.
Aside from previewing three of the anniversary watches to be launched here, local distributor Timeplus showcased a range of Grand Seiko pieces which were sold with a 20% discount for the night only.
Three GS collections are currently available. “Heritage” is composed of classic watches evoking the spirit of the earliest Grand Seiko timepieces, “re-interpreted with the very latest movements, manufacturing techniques and craftsmanship.” Meanwhile, “Elegance” is said to convey “strength and resilience to be worn every day while offering a special level of refinement that makes them the perfect choice for those landmark occasions in life where everything has to be just right.” Lastly, “Sports” appeals to people with a more active lifestyle, and features divers’ watches and chronographs.
Lexus Manila president Raymond Rodriguez said to this writer that the hosting of the GS event made sense as there are shared values between the two Japanese brands. “Both feature takumi craftsmanship. The two brands are a perfect fit. It’s all about being particular with design and thinking about customer needs and demands,” he averred.
Mr. Rodriguez added that just as how GS highlights attention to detail, “We at Lexus are passionate about how we execute our cars — the interiors, the leather, the appointments. We’re both about the attention to detail and craftsmanship… It’s not about mass production but personalization.”
In a statement, Timeplus president Karl Dy revealed that aside from the Snowflake, more GS styles will be brought into the country.
For more information, visit www.grand-seiko.com/ph-en, follow Grand Seiko Philippines on Facebook and Instagram (@grandseikophilippines). Seiko boutiques are located on the ground floor of Glorietta 1 of the Ayala Center in Makati City, second floor of SM Aura Premier in Taguig City, and third floor of SM Seaside Cebu.