Shizukuishi is located in the town in Iwate Prefecture, by Mount Iwate, northeastern Japan; Shizukuishi is known for its annual hemp festival in August and famous for its ski resort in winter. This new Shizukuishi Grand Seiko watch workshop is opened on July 20, 2020, it is also a milestone for Grand Seiko to celebrate their 60th Anniversary. This studio will provide an ideal environment for Japanese craftsmen-watchmakers to bring Grand Seiko's mechanical watches to life. Indeed it is built for training and incubate watchmakers for the next generation.
Shizukuishi workshop is designed and built by one of the most prominent Japanese architects Kengo Kuma; his signature work is the Japan National Stadium completed in 2019. Kuma is famous for its contemporary design that incorporates and uses traditional Japanese architectural elements to reinterpreted Japanese culture. Kuma has articulated the technology and underlying spirit of the Grand Seiko models in the studio's structure, the new Grand Seiko workshop itself is already an art piece.
"To begin with, I feel that Grand Seiko's brand philosophy 'The Nature of Time' is a phrase that almost everyone can intuitively embrace," he says. "My goal, however, was to reach beyond the primary nuance of the essence of time to inspire a sense of the mysterious linkage inherent between the aspects of nature and time. I strove to frame a more tangible picture of that awareness through my architecture.
"In this studio, I sought to instill a unique configuration that kindles instinctive appreciation," Kuma continues. "This first involves the use of wood, arguably the most natural element of all. Second, we underscored the creation of Grand Seiko watches-instruments intricately crafted to mark the passage of time-taking place in this space. The building is meant to embody the vision this enduring brand pursues. As an architect, I found this to be an extremely stimulating and joyous opportunity." Kengo Kuma explained his design aspiration.
Apart from cultural elements, Shizukuishi Workshop has incorporated the latest environmentally friendly measures. Green and natural building materials like wood are the major components of the building. Carbon Dioxide emission is monitored and controlled under strict measures; rainwater is collected, wastewater is recycled. The key objective is to avoid any natural pollution to the beautiful surrounding.
Shizukuishi is not just a workshop, but an exchange hub for Grand Seiko to exchange culture and history for the world. It is designed with experiential exhibition and event spaces allowing seminars for visitors to have hands-on experience in the making of Grand Seiko movement! Visitors can have a full spectrum to understand how to assemble and fine-tuning of each movement. The new studio will open to the general public on a reservation-only basis where anyone can discover and appreciate the brand's history and culture.
To celebrate such an important milestone for Grand Seiko, it has introduced the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi Hi-Beat 36000 SBGH283 (SLGH002). This is the first watch that was created entirely at the new studio. SBGH283 carries a 9S85 caliber; a high-frequency movement in a 44GS-style case.
Watch Outz is so excited to visit the workshop ourselves! We shall update once we got our hands on the Shizukuishi Hi-Beat 36000 SBGH283 (SLGH002)!