Back in 1988 the 9581 GS marked Seiko’s first foray into GS territory after the product line was abandoned in the early seventies, as the Grand Quartz was in the late seventies.
Seiko dropped the Grand Quartz brand in favor of Grand Seiko, with GS again on the dial. In reviving GS as a quartz collection in 1988, it was necessary that they achieve the summit of accuracy once again and therefore develop a Voltage Compensated Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator module (VCTCXO), featuring thermo-compensation and a rate trimmer..
The 9581 then was a very well made watch, even if slightly small for today's taste. Its movement is a Seiko Quartz Cal 9581A, with 7 Jewels, 32’768 Hz, Thermal compensation, Anti-magnetic and a 3-year battery life. The 9581 is also one of the very few Seiko watches that uses a 17mm lug. The caliber is very high end and is rated at 10s/year, which would make it one of the worlds most accurate watches even today, 20 years later. It is also one of the cheapest ways to get a quartz GS.
The outcome of all this was a new quartz module that was larger and more robust than previous “thin” Seiko HAQs, fitted in practical cases and with legible dials - a Grand Seiko signature of old. The caliber 9581A, later re-designated 9F62/81, has a Twin Pulse Control high-torque motor making each second the move in two fluid pulses, thereby reducing energy consumption. A backlash auto-adjustment eliminates any error. If that is not enough, instantaneous Date change happens in just 0.5 milliseconds. Furthermore, the movement module is air-tight, ensuring the stepper rotor and lubricants are protected from particles of dust. This last feature maintains optimal performance for an estimated period of 50 years before requiring a service.
One cannot ignore that the GS Quartz is the true GS, arguably more so than the modern mechanicals. In 1992, the last year of the 9587 production, the GS line was not only continued by the 9F movement but also extended by Grand Seiko reference SBGX, importantly, it is thinner, and uses more common parts, therefore the frame can be used for a number of other movements and watches.
Ok then, no critique? Well, one other defining feature of the SBGX035, the wide brushed bezel, may be more susceptible to scratches and scuffs than for instance the narrower, highly polished one on the SBGX061. But then again I notice the capped seconds hand and the spectacular case and bracelet design that many of its 9F family members simply do not have.