Updated: Nov 22, 2020
A visit to the Seiko Shizukuishi watch studio in the Morioka district will not only lead you down memory lane with Seiko’s history or an educational road on how Grand Seiko creates their superb 9s mechanical movement and how they develop the famed Iwate dial present in most of their hi-beat watches today, but it may also get you to own a very limited edition, built to order watch under a very unique watch brand — the “Shizukuishi Brand.”
Apparently a visitor to the studio is given a choice as to the type of movement, dial color and strap or band for the watch. And, it is interesting to note, that some of their choice movements are based on movements from Seiko’s gloried past. 1. ND75 Movement — the plain vanilla Calendar watch, which, I am guessing was inspired by the Self-dater watch of Seiko popularized by the Grand Seiko 43999/5722 caliber from the early 60’s. 2. NB98 Movement — their ultra-thin line, which, I am guessing is based on the Caliber 60M that was inside the Seiko Goldfeather also from the early 60’s 3. NC56 Movement — also known as the multifunction line, which is designed much like the retrograde watches of Credor that had the 4s77 movement from the 90’s which had its roots from Seiko’s KS 52 movement from the 70’s. 4. NC77 Movement — their chronograph line, which is based on the famed 6s37 movement that Seiko had licensed (or sold?) to Tag Heuer for their Cal. 1887 and Junghans for their Cal. J890. This, for me, is the most exciting amongst all the 4 movements being offered by Shizukuishi... i’ve always wondered how come Seiko never came out with a Grand Seiko Mechanical chronograph line? It is important to point out that the 6s37 movement came out in 1998, same time as when the 9s movement of GS was also introduced. It was placed on the famed Flightmaster Chronograph watch, but never really picked up pace with Seiko watch fans. The Flightmaster fans were more interested in the quartz counterpart than the automatic variant. It would only be later on when modern mechanicals started picking up, that Seiko fans started taking notice of the mechanical Flightmaster. Which brings me back to the 6s37. Given its versatility and complexity, it would have been a perfect fit for Grand Seiko, however, somehow, somebody in Seiko decided otherwise. It may have been a corporate decision or even a whim from one of the Seiko executives, but, at the end of the day, one cannot deny that it would have indeed been a perfect fit for the modern day Grand Seiko Automatic Chronograph. And, according to the blog of the “Musings of a Watch Addict” the 6s37 movement is, and I quote: “THE GRAND SEIKO MECHANICAL MOVEMENT THAT NEVER WAS.” This makes the NC77 movement of the Shizukuishi line an interesting movement for an even more interesting watch. The attached picture is a sample of the Shizukuishi Build to Order watch with the NC77 (6s37) line (watch soon to be mine, I hope). Take note of the 7 hands of the watch, which is its signature.
The box that comes with the watch is called the Iwayadou Tansu box which is made out of the same wood used for the Master Watchmaker’s work benches in the watch factory.
But i’ve wondered if this still exists today, as you don’t really read much about it online. Except maybe one or two that have shared their experiences, not much has been written and said about it in the last 3 years. So I reached out to Seiko and yesterday I received an email from Morioka Seiko Instruments confirming that they still have their Build To Order system. Maybe it is time we made a trip to the Shizukuishi watch studio... who’s with me? Sources: https://musingsofawatchaddict.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/seiko-flightmaster-chronograph-6s37-sbds003-the-grand-seiko-mechanical-chronograph-that-never-was/amp/ https://wornandwound.com/chronography-12-seikos-modern-mechanical-chronographs/ http://www.shizukuishi-watch.com/bto.html