“They polish places nobody can see.” Why the Instagram king of macro videography loves Grand Seiko “They polish places nobody can see.” Why the Instagram king of macro videography loves Grand Seiko

“They polish places nobody can see.” Why the Instagram king of macro videography loves Grand Seiko

Nick Kenyon

In this instalment of our discussion with the King of the Close-Up, Mr @horomariobro (you can find the first part right here), we take a deep dive into a brand that has a well-established reputation for getting the details right – Grand Seiko. Specifically, we take an extremely close look at his own Grand Seiko SBGY003, a watch that was released in 2019 to mark the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Spring Drive movement. Here’s what he had to say. 

Image: @horomariobro

Andrew McUtchen: Your video of the Grand Seiko SBGY003 is pretty remarkable..!

@Horomariobro: Yes, here I try to show a couple of things. One is how smooth the Spring Drive moves the second hand. It’s really smooth. And then the other one, I’m just trying to show how well polished the index marker is. It’s the mirror polish, the famous Zaratsu polish, and then using the mirror polish to show the underside of the moving second hand.

AM: Why would a brand polish things that are never going to be seen? Why would they do that?

@Horomariobro: Most brands do not polish the underside of the hands, only very few do. But the ones that do, I have a lot of appreciation for the level of detail of their work. That they’re doing such detailed work, even on the underside of the hands, requires them to take extreme care to polish it.

Grand Seiko macro photography
Image: @horomariobro

AM: Very extreme care indeed…

@Horomariobro: So, in a way, I’m kind of obsessed with underside polishing because, to me, a lot of brands will say, “We polish everything” or “We polish even the sides of the parts that you don’t see.” And then the underside is a good way for me to see which brands do it and which brands do not. I find that being able to check underside of something, which you normally cannot see, I find there’s a charm to it myself. Because you’re able to see something that’s normally hidden; it’s kind of like unlocking a mystery for me. 

AM: Tell me about the movement and this watch. What are we looking at here?

@Horomariobro: This one is a pretty special movement, I would say. Normally, if you talk about Spring Drive for Grand Seiko, they normally only do manually wound Spring Drive movements for higher-end models, typically for Credor. This is the first Grand Seiko model that has been released using a manual-wind Spring Drive in a standard steel case – and the price is under 10,000 US dollars. This is special to me because it’s the only Grand Seiko model sold today that has the manual Spring Drive movement under 10K.

Grand Seiko macro photography
Image: @horomariobro

@Horomariobro: So the polishing, to me, for this price range, is actually quite good. And I heard — I don’t know if it’s 100 per cent true — that Grand Seiko is trying to reserve this movement for stainless steel cases, so that’s why I think so far we have not seen another one being released with this movement.

AM: So you think if you were being asked the best value, highly finished, superb movement, this would be your model?

@Horomariobro:  I may not say it’s the only one, or the top one, but I would say this one is up there for me, yes.