Grand Seiko expands its Elegance collection with the blue-dialed SBGW279, the latest example of this watchmaker’s impressive ability to represent natural beauty using artisanal dial-making techniques.
For this U.S. Special Edition, Grand Seiko says it was inspired by the work of illustrator ShiShi Yamazaki to create a deep blue sunray-pattern dial meant to recall the blue feathers found on the Oruri songbird.
“Like the Grand Seiko craftsmen behind the Oruri watch, I was inspired by the journey of the Oruri bird as it travels to the mountains of Japan each summer,” says Yamazaki. “The watercolor animation I’ve created represents the beautiful movement of the bird and its stunning deep blue coloring.”
Influenced by the first Grand Seiko of 1960, Grand Seiko frames the Yamazaki-inspired blue dial within a classically sized 37.3mm steel case. Inside you’ll find a Caliber 9S64 manual-wind movement that boasts an impressive seventy-two-hour power reserve and accuracy of -3 to +5 seconds per day.
Grand Seiko has wisely opted for a clear sapphire caseback to allow a view of the beautifully finished finished movement. The watchmaker pairs the Elegance Collection U.S. Special Edition SBGW279 with a brown crocodile leather strap.
Specifications: Grand Seiko Elegance Collection U.S. Special Edition
Movement: Manual winding 9S64, power reserve of 72 hours, accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds per day (when static).
Case: 37.3mm by 11.6mm steel case with box-shaped sapphire crystal and anti-reflective coating, see-through screw case back. Water resistance to 30 meters.
At Watches & Wonders 2022 earlier this month, Grand Seiko introduced five sport models in its Evolution 9 collection. And echoing many of the other high-end watchmakers at the show, Grand Seiko also focused its debuts on titanium-cased designs.
But unlike all other watchmakers, Grand Seiko is able to offer a level of precision rare for any pure mechanical offering thanks to its proprietary Spring Drive movement, a mechanical-electronic hybrid built and finished to high watchmaking standards.
Within its relatively new Evolution 9 collection, Grand Seiko adds two GMT models (SBGE283 and SBGE285), two Chronograph GMT models (SBGC249, a blue-dialed 15th Anniversary Limited Edition, and SBGC251), and a 200-meter dive watch with caliber 9RA5 (SLGA015), a movement with an impressive five-day power reserve. All these titanium-cased watches offer screw-down crowns and a strong anti-magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m.
For the debuts, Grand Seiko has refined its cases as well as various dial details. All the new models benefit from wider lugs and thicker bracelets. Also note the collection’s bolder hands that point to a new font along the bezel, notably on the GMT models. In addition, Grand Seiko now coats all its hands and indexes with more Lumibrite than we’ve seen previously. In addition, crown guards are somewhat smoother than on earlier sports models.
Spring Drive GMT
These two 41mm debuts (above) feature highly textured pattern dials in either black (SBGE283) or light gray (SBGE285). Both offer a box-shaped sapphire crystal, a 72-hour power reserve and are powered by Spring Drive Caliber 9R66, which offers incredible precision of plus or minus one second per day. Price: $8,400, and available in August.
The first of the two new 45.3mm Evolution 9 chronographs features a blue dial and offers a higher rate of accuracy than the already phenomenal one-second per day. This Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph 15th anniversary edition (SBGC249, above) is adjusted to achieve an enhanced accuracy rate of just half-a-second per day, (or plus or minus 10 seconds per month) and is offered as a limited edition of 700. In addition to the 12-hour chronograph, the watch also features a rotating bezel and a GMT hand. Price: $12,400.
The black-dialed version (SBGC251, below) delivers the standard high accuracy of 1-second per day (±15 seconds per month) and otherwise offers the same design and specifications as the limited edition. Price: $11,400.
Dark Dive Watch
Finally, Grand Seiko adds an impressive new 200m diver’s watch (SLGA015) to the Evolution 9 collection. As is often the case at Grand Seiko, the watch’s textured black dial arrives on your wrist already wrapped up with an inspiring origin story.
Inspired by the Kuroshio Current, also known as the Black Stream, the dial echoes the darkness visible in the waters that flow northwards past Japan towards the North Pacific. The Black Stream’s darkness inspired Grand Seiko’s artisans to create the new watch’s particularly evocative dial.
Powered by Spring Drive Caliber 9RA5, the new 43.8mm by 13.8mm titanium Black Stream dive watch offers an accuracy rate of ±10 seconds per month and a five-day power reserve.
The diver’s hands are among the boldest we’ve seen on a Grand Seiko dial, and this bezel among the most robust. In fact, Grand Seiko has forged the bezel’s inside from ceramic to reduce the possibility of scratching. Price: $11,600 and available in August.
Grand Seiko celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its first GMT watch and the fifteenth anniversary of its premiere Spring Drive chronograph with two new watches.
Both debuts technically echo ongoing designs within Grand Seiko’s Sport collection, but present themselves with dials created to recall winter scenes in the mountains that surround the Shinshu in central Japan studio where Grand Seiko design and manufactures the watches. Similarly, both watches feature blue dial accents meant to echo the bright blue color of the winter sky in Shinshu.
One of these new watches, the Sport Collection Grand Seiko GMT 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (SBGE275), is a 44mm steel watch with a large GMT hand that allows the wearer to read a second-time zone while a third time zone can also be displayed using the 24-hour bezel.
The power reserve and date are the only other displays interrupting the dial’s wintry white and blue scene. With Grand Seiko’s generous use of Lumibrite on the bezel, indexes, hour, minute, and GMT hands, all displays remain visible in darkness.
The Sport Collection Grand Seiko Chronograph 15th Anniversary Limited Edition (SBGC247) is the busier of the two new debuts.
Framed by a 43.5mm titanium case, the dial’s icy white coloring serves as a backdrop to three subdials. Grand Seiko protects the much-lauded Spring Drive Chronograph GMT Caliber 9R96 inside this watch with heightened anti-magnetic casing and a fortified titanium case.
Both movements, including the Spring Drive GMT Caliber 9R16 inside the GMT-only model and the Spring Drive Caliber 9R96 inside the chronograph GMT, offer hyper-accurate timing, with accuracy to plus or minus ten seconds per month or 0.5 seconds per day. Both also feature an 18-karat gold Grand Seiko lion emblem on the oscillating weight. (See specifications below for details).
Look for the Sport Collection Grand Seiko GMT 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (SBGE275, $7,300) in March when Grand Seiko will release it as a limited edition of 1,500. The Sport Collection Grand Seiko Chronograph 15th Anniversary Limited Edition (SBGC247, $11,000) is a limited edition of 700 and will be available in February.
(Specifications: Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT (SBGE275, a limited edition of 1,500)
Movement: Automatic Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Caliber 9R16, accuracy of ±10 seconds per month (±0.5 second per day). Power reserve is 72 hours.
Case: 44mm by 14.9mm stainless steel case and bracelet, three-fold clasp with push button release, dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, see-through screw case back, screw-down crown, water resistance to 200 meters, magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m.
Dial: Patterned ‘icy’ white.
Bracelet: Steel with three-fold clasp and push button release.
Specifications: Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT (SBGC247, a limited edition of 700)
Movement: Automatic Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT Caliber 9R96, accuracy to ±10 seconds per month (±0.5 second per day), power reserve of 72 hours.
Case: 43.5mm by 16.1mm high-intensity titanium. Dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, see-through screw case back, screw-down crown, water resistance to 100 meters, magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m.
Dial: Patterned ‘icy’ white.
Bracelet: Titanium with three-fold clasp with push button release. Price: $11,000.
Grand Seiko introduces two new U.S.-exclusive Special Edition timepieces to its Heritage Collection. The new models are extensions within the watchmaker’s Special Edition Sōkō collection introduced last year to celebrate the end of autumn and the sight of the first winter frost.
And as you might expect, both of the new models feature light blue dials.
The first new watch, the Spring Drive SBGA471, features a light blue vertically textured dial designed to mimic the frozen trunks of bamboo trees of the Arashiyama bamboo forest, according to the watchmaker.
With its distinctive power reserve indicator, this watch’s dial is framed by Grand Seiko’s 44GS 40mm case (here in titanium), first seen fifty-five years ago and characterized by the watchmaker’s expertly rendered flat and mirror polished surfaces.
The second is the SBGH295, a 40mm steel-cased Hi-Beat 36000 Grand Seiko watch with an escapement that vibrates at 36,000 beats per hour. This watch’s blue dial is framed with a mirrored, multi-sided case inspired by Grand Seiko’s first automatic watch, the 62GS, from 1967. Grand Seiko’s superb Zaratsu polishing and a bezel-free, fairly wide dial opening characterize the case.
Collectors may recognize the blue dial from the Grand Seiko “ice blue” dials introduced on the first U.S. Limited Edition collection in 2018.
Grand Seiko powers each of the new Sōkō Frost limited editions with specialties of the Grand Seiko house. In the Spring Drive model you’ll find caliber the 9R65, which combines the high torque of a mechanical watch with Spring Drive’s unique integrated circuit control system.
As noted, Grand Seiko places its 9S85 Hi-Beat caliber inside SBGH295. The movement oscillates at a rate of ten beats per second (36,000 vph) and yet still maintains an impressive power reserve of 55 hours.
Both watches are water resistant to 100 meters, and each is equipped with a matching metal bracelet and a crocodile leather strap with three-fold clasp push button release.
Prices: $6,000 (SBGA471 Spring Drive) and $6,900 (SBGH295 Hi-Beat).
Grand Seiko adds two new Spring Drive 200 meter diver’s watches to its already impressive Sport Collection. Both new models boast enhanced dial luminosity as Grand Seiko has coated the hands, markers, and bezels with newly generous amounts of LumiBrite.
In addition, the watchmaker has designed the bezels on both models to feature markers at every minute position, including the one at three o’clock to the right of the calendar frame, a slight change from existing diver models.
Both watches also measure 44.2mm in diameter, 14mm in thickness, and 50mm in length, and, as noted, boast water resistance to a depth of 200 meters. One model, Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGA461, is cased in steel while the other, and Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGA463, is cased in High-Intensity Titanium.
The latter watch provides heightened scratch and corrosion resistance, according to Grand Seiko, as well as a substantial weight reduction (about 30%) when compared to its stainless steel brother. Regardless of metal material, grand Seiko finishes each with contrasting hairline and Zaratsu-polished surfaces.
Both these dive watches are in full compliance with ISO dive watch standards, and even enhance these basic requirements with a magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m.
Inside each model Grand Seiko fits its superb Spring Drive 9R65 caliber, which combines a mainspring with quartz precision.
Look for the Grand Seiko SBGA461 and SBGA463 to be delivered after December 15th. Prices: $6,100 (SBGA461) and $7,300 (SBGA463).