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.
As Abingdon celebrates fourteen years since it started offering adventure watches specifically targeted to women, the Las Vegas watch company this week adds three models to its Jane tactical watch collection and adds a new model to Nadia, its dive watch collection.
Both collections are the brand’s first watches fit with a bi-directional compass just inside the bezel and a ruler built into the back of the watch. The new models are 35mm steel-cased watches with 200 meters of water resistance, an impressive specification rarely seen watches this size.
The new Jane watch, built with an Ameriquartz quartz caliber by Arizona-based movement maker FTS, is the result of three years of testing, according to Abingdon, which explains that it wanted to create the “best tactical watch offered for women.”
Jane combines a brushed 316L stainless steel case and screw-down crowns with a hardened sapphire crystal, with military time conversion, standard and metric rulers, a bi-directional compass, glow-in-the-dark dial markings, day and date display, a diver’s bezel, and its Ameriquartz Caliber 7122 quartz movement.
Look for new Jane models called Covert (black dial), Mission (red dial) and Outlaw (black dial with bronze-colored case).
Abingdon originally launched its Nadia dive watch in 2019 and this year adds the Nadia Black Abyss, a black and pink version, which joins the original white and blue Whitewater model. Abingdon tests all its dive watches on the wrists of inductees of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame.
The 35mm steel watch is powered by a Seiko TMI NH06 automatic movement, which delivers more than forty hours of power reserve. Two screw-down crowns, which control the time function and a bi-directional compass, ensure that the Black Abyss maintains its water resistance. Abingdon has added an elongated 16mm silicone strap built to fit over wet suits and certain thicker dry suits.
The patterned white dial on the latest model within Grand Seiko’s Elegance Collection is meant to evoke the beauty of freshly fallen winter snow outside its watchmaking studios in the wooded Shinshu region of central Japan. That particular scene is known as Shizuri-yuki, which refers to the moment when snow spills down from the branches of trees to create a shimmering cascade of light.
The new Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY008 could be considered the next in a series of Spring Drive debuts with dials meant to evoke the beauty of winter just outside the Grand Seiko studio.
You might recall the Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY007 we showed you earlier this year, with its hammered ice-blue dial that beautifully mimics a nearby frozen lake, a phenomenon called Omiwatari.
Grand Seiko cases this latest Elegance watch in a 38.5mm rose gold frame dotted along its sides with fifty-three hand set diamonds. Artisans nicely arranged the gems so that they gradually decrease in size from the center of the case to the end of the lugs, which appears to flow along the side of the case. This quite effectively generates the namesake Shizuri-yuki sparkle.
Grand Seiko then continues to evoke the winter scene on the dial with a wind-blown snow pattern. The scene is broken only by the very smooth Spring Drive seconds hand, and much more slowly as hour and minutes pass as indicated by matching, perfectly faceted gold hands.
This is a fairly thin watch, measuring 10.2mm in depth, thank to Grand Seiko’s own Spring Drive manual-wind caliber winding Caliber 9R31, which offers an impressive 72 hours. As a Spring Drive caliber, it also provides incredible precision with accuracy rated to ±1 second per day.
The Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY008 is sold on a brown leather strap and comes with an additional satin gold-colored leather strap (above). The watch will be available as a limited edition of sixty at Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected Grand Seiko retailers worldwide in January 2022, just as winter peaks in the northern hemisphere. Price: $38,000.
Specifications: Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY008
(Limited edition of 60)
Movement: Grand Seiko Spring Drive Caliber 9R31 Driving system, manual-winding, 72-hour power reserve, accuracy of ± 1 second per day (± 15 seconds per month), dual spring barrel.
Dial: White ‘snow’ pattern.
Case: 38.5mm by 10.2mm rose-gold case and clasp with 53 diamonds (.38 carat), dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, see-through screw case back, water resistance to 30 meters, magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m.
Strap: Crocodile with three-fold clasp with push-button release. Additional satin gold-colored leather strap.
Grand Seiko’s latest additions to its Elegance Collection include these two unisex 34mm models (SBGX347 and SBGX349). Each watch sports this brand’s characteristic and highly light-reflective diamond-cut markers and hands. Grand Seiko sets a white or a royal blue dial within the slim (10.7mm) steel case with a thin bezel and boxed, retro-inspired sapphire crystal.
The watch’s straight-forward design belies a great deal of technical detail, including the use of Caliber 9F61, Grand Seiko’s famed high-end (and hand-assembled) quartz caliber with an ultra-precise accuracy of +/-10 seconds a year.
And Grand Seiko protects this movement against potentially destabilizing magnetic influences to an especially strong level of 4,800 A/m, not typical protection among watches in this price range.
Both Grand Seiko Elegance debuts are priced at $3,300.
Specifications: Grand Seiko Elegance
Case: 34mm by 10.7mm steel, box-shaped sapphire crystal, 4,800 A/m magnetic resistance, 30 meters of water resistance, screw caseback with lion emblem.