One of the amazing things about this addiction that we all suffer from, is Redbar. For those of you who don’t know, Redbar is the largest watch enthusiasts and collectors community in the world. About three or four times a month, Redbar organises free events for the members of the particular Redbar group you are a member of. For us in the London contingent, some of these events have been a recent launch party for the launch of the 321 Omega event. There was also a Bonhams auction preview a few months ago. These events are not only amazing chances to see truly amazing pieces. They also allow us to talk to like minded watch enthusiasts and drink beer. All of the friends that we have in the community have been made through these events!
The most recent event that Cal and I had the chance to attend was last night. The event was a Grand Seiko pop up event hosted at the Watches of Switzerland boutique on Regent Street. It was a chance to get hands on with spring drives, snowflakes, and some very special Credor’s.
The other beauty of this event is the location. Due to it to being a Grand Seiko event, but in a boutique that has concessions of every watch brand imaginable, from Tudor all the way to Patek Phillips and A Lange & Söhne, this meant that we got to see some pretty special stuff outside of Grand Seiko as well. Suffice to say, an event like this is basically a sweet shop for us!
You will also be glad to hear that, in true HODINKEE fashion, an article like this is not going to be filled with words, instead I am just going to insert some of the photos that I took from the event, just so you can fully appreciate the brilliance of the brand that we got to get ‘hands on’ with.
These are just some photos (excuse the questionable quality) of the amazing watches that we were lucky enough to see.
The other brilliant thing that we got to see was a presentation by an employee of Grand Seiko about the science behind Spring Drive. Spring Dive is Seiko's proprietary combination of Quartz and Mechanical. The beauty of Spring Drive is that it combines a mechanical movement with some pretty amazing electronic technology. Spring Drive combines the high torque of a mechanical watch, with a high precision Intergrated Circuit. If some of you do not know, the mechanics of a traditional movement work like this. The mainspring gets wound up, the force generated by this exerts force to turn the gears at a specific speed as the mainspring unwinds. There is then an escapement mechanism which comprises a balance, pallet and escape wheel which controls the precision of the watch. Most mechanical watches can achieve an accuracy of around +10/-5 seconds a day. This is where the brilliance of the mechanical/quartz hybrid comes into play. What happens is a quartz battery sends electricity to a quartz oscillator. The quartz oscillator is vibrating at a very precise rate, and this is detected by the IC. The intergrated circuit moves the gears of the watch forward by one second. This precise control means that Spring Drive watches are able to offer accuracy of +10 seconds PER YEAR. The benefits here are that you can have an incredibly accurate watch, which despite harnessing quart technology, still has a sweep seconds! So the best of both worlds....
Grand Seiko really are one of, if not the best watch brands in the world. Having developed the first ever quartz watch all the way back in 1969, they have been fine tuning and innovating the quartz technology in order to deliver some pretty spectacular pieces. This really was a fantastic evening, and thank you to Watches of Switzerland, Grand Seiko, and of course the brilliant team at Redbar London for yet again, putting on a truly awesome event.
Editor & Co-Founder