VIDEO: Seiko President reveals the origin story behind the Grand Seiko Kodo Constant Force TourbillonTime+Tide
“Grand Seiko was born in 1960 and for about 50 years it was just limited exclusively to the Japanese domestic market,” explains Seiko President Akio Naito in this video. “Then we decided to go into the global market in 2010, and then we decided to make Grand Seiko an independent brand in 2017.”
Grand Seiko has certainly made up for lost time since then. Making that step to go independent was a quantum leap for the brand. But another one came this year at Watches & Wonders in the form of the Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon, Grand Seiko’s first high complication. Essentially, it combines a constant-force mechanism and a tourbillon as one unit on a single axis. Built on top of the T0 concept movement introduced in 2019, the Kodo has undergone further mechanical refinement to ensure it further adhered to Grand Seiko’s grammar of design. In terms of the new releases, it was arguably the biggest single showstopper of Watches & Wonders.
As Mr Naito outlines in the video: “This is the first time in horological history that the tourbillon and constant force mechanisms are integrated into one unit on a single axis. This is a remarkable, revolutionary development.”
But there’s also a fascinating story behind the watch. It was developed by Grand Seiko R&D engineer and watchmaker Takuma Kawauchiya who amazingly only became a watchmaker relatively late in life. Before he joined the brand, he was actually a guitarist in a rock band that toured the world. “The moment Takuma decided that [music] was not to be his career, he found interest in watchmaking,” Mr Naito explains with a grin. “He started attending technical watchmaking school and then after a few years, in his late 20s, he decided to join Seiko. Soon after he conceived this idea [the Kodo Constant Force] and it took him over 10 years to complete this.”
It’s fair to say that rock music’s loss has been watchmaking’s gain. Although Takuma’s ear for sound does, in fact, inform one aspect of the Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon as Mr Naito reveals in this video.
“The feedback I have received has just been overwhelming,” the Brand President admits of the watch. Check out this video to find out more.