Since the first Grand Seiko watch was released in 1960, the premium Japanese brand has continued to delight with their exceptionally sharp lines and clean designs. Today there are more Grand Seiko fans than ever before thanks to concerted efforts to make it a truly global brand.

HANDS-ON: The Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY003 – thinner, dressier

Grand Seiko has just announced its latest releases at Basel 2019 and, boy, does the Spring Drive — that unique trifecta of electronic, kinetic and magnetic energy — feature strongly. But not just the Spring Drives you know and love, with that arching power reserve at eight. No, in honour of the movement’s 20th anniversary, there are new manually wound versions, including this super-slender, refined and dressy option. Shown here in steel, it’s known as SBGY003 This is a Grand Seiko like you’ve never seen before. First, the case is so well-sized — 38.5mm across by 10.2mm thick is elegant, restrained proportion. With a simple case, with swooping lugs, a grippy crown (important for manual winding) and a black alligator strap, it’s a refined piece. It’s interesting to note that this is one of the few GS models where the lugs aren’t drilled.  Of course, the dial is impressive, too: a radial starburst-like guillochage, reminiscent of the popular Seiko Cocktail Time; it’s bright and crisp, with all the details you’d expect from the masters of the art. It’s also very clean, with no date or power reserve on show, as you might expect.  Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean… Read More

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INTRODUCING: Grand Seiko has just announced four new slim manual-wind models in the Elegance Collection and, yes, the dials are off the charts

Grand Seiko has, in the lead-up to Baselworld, just announced a brand new movement for the Elegance Collection, four new manually wound, slender watches (three of them limited editions) that look very promising indeed. First things first, this collection is powered by a new manually wound caliber, the 9S63, the brand’s first in eight years. The basics of this hand-wound movement are that it’s got a reserve of 72 hours, and accurate to within +5/-3 seconds a day. More importantly, this movement opens up new design possibilities for Grand Seiko, with its current layout of balanced small seconds at nine and power reserve at three. The manual factor also allows for slimmer watches, with these new offerings coming in at 11.6mm. The cases are classic Grand Seiko: 39mm across and fairly slender. With narrow and powerful lugs, it possesses design codes that should be instantly familiar to lovers of Grand Seiko. The crown is screw-down (an interesting move on a manual watch), though you do only have to wind it every three days. Water resistance is 3 bar. For now, the watch is offered in steel (SBGK005), yellow gold (SBGK006) and rose gold (SBGK002 and SBGK004). The dials are, frankly,… Read More

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HANDS-ON: The SBGE215G – the Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT in titanium

It’s fair to say that much of Grand Seiko’s catalogue leans towards the dressier end of the spectrum — but, of course, there are exceptions, and the SBGE215G is a perfect example. This sporty GMT is an evolution of the SBGE201G; it shares the same large 44mm case. But while the SBGE201G had a steel case, the 215G is cased in high-intensity titanium, and I can tell you that on a watch of this brawn, the lighter weight of titanium makes a real difference on the wrist. There’s also been a change to some of the dial details: the hands and applied indices are now in rich red gold, as is the 24-hour scale under the sapphire bezel. These golden details make a real change to the overall mood of the watch — it’s less purely utilitarian and a touch warmer and, dare I say it, flashier. Whether or not that’s a good thing is entirely up to the wearer — subjectivity is great that way. What’s less up for debate is the quality of the overall offering. Grand Seiko’s excellent build quality is very much in evidence here, and, even though you can’t see the 9R66 movement (the solid… Read More

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HANDS-ON: The Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGY003 – thinner, dressier

Grand Seiko has just announced its latest releases at Basel 2019 and, boy, does the Spring Drive — that unique trifecta of electronic, kinetic and magnetic energy — feature strongly. But not just the Spring Drives you know and love, with that arching power reserve at eight. No, in honour of the movement’s 20th anniversary, there are new manually wound versions, including this super-slender, refined and dressy option. Shown here in steel, it’s known as SBGY003 This is a Grand Seiko like you’ve never seen before. First, the case is so well-sized — 38.5mm across by 10.2mm thick is elegant, restrained proportion. With a simple case, with swooping lugs, a grippy crown (important for manual winding) and a black alligator strap, it’s a refined piece. It’s interesting to note that this is one of the few GS models where the lugs aren’t drilled.  Of course, the dial is impressive, too: a radial starburst-like guillochage, reminiscent of the popular Seiko Cocktail Time; it’s bright and crisp, with all the details you’d expect from the masters of the art. It’s also very clean, with no date or power reserve on show, as you might expect.  Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean… Read More

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EVENT: 4 watches & 4 quotes from the Australian launch of the new Grand Seiko quartz GMT calibre

During the week, we were privileged to host the official Seiko Australia launch of the Grand Seiko GMT Quartz Calibre at a Melbourne restaurant called Kuro Kisumé. We’ve had some good old times over the years, but this was really up there. Minds were blown by the food – believe the hype – wrists were tempted by the watches, and new friends were made, from all walks of life. From firefighters to plastic surgeons to an elite bodyguard, to ‘Mr Grand Seiko’ (handle: @mrgrandseiko — too legit), we had the right people in the room. The atmosphere of the evening, my tablemate John commented, was “like we were in a private home” – an ambience complemented by the genial presence of Seiko Australia Managing Director Toru Koizumi, who spent much of the evening in deep conversation with some of the most fanatical Seiko fans in the country. There were four watches in particular that received the most attention, and four quotes that summed up the night’s proceedings. “TIME+TIDE WILL HAVE EXCLUSIVITY ON THE FIRST ALLOCATION OF THE LIMITED EDITION PRESAGE ‘FUYUGESHIKI’ COCKTAIL TIME MODELS …” The announcement by Mr Koizumi that we would be selling the first allocation of the Presage… Read More

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HANDS-ON: Grand Seiko’s dressy GMT – the SBGM235

Most of Grand Seiko’s mechanical watches are built around one base — the 9S calibre, which turns 20 years old this year. The brand has celebrated with a series of limited editions, and this, the SBGM235, is the latest. Coming from the brand’s elegance collection, the SBGM235 follows the same fundamental form as the cream-dialled SBGM221, with a 39.5mm round steel case, and the 24 scale nested neatly inside the typically faceted and polished Grand Seiko hour markers. And while the fundamental design of the watch may be familiar, it’s the details that stand out. On the back, the 9S66 movement is celebrated with a commemorative caseback in Grand Seiko’s distinctive dark blue. And while that’s nice, it’s the dial where the action is. Like other 9S commemorative models, the dial is printed with a radial mosaic pattern, a pretty repeating motif of ‘G’ ‘S’ and the older Daini Seikosha logo. And while the other 9S anniversary pieces make liberal use of colour, the SBGM235 keeps it clean with a plain silver dial, with the exception of the GMT functions (hands and hour indicators) in blue. It’s a classy and distinguished Grand Seiko that wears well on the wrist, and… Read More

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HANDS-ON: Quartz, but not as you know it – the Grand Seiko SBGN007 GMT

Quartz isn’t something that comes across my desk too often, so you know when it does that it’s something special — and this Grand Seiko is definitely something special. There’s a handful of truly exceptional, iconic quartz movements out there, and the 9F is amongst the finest. And now, with the addition of a GMT, the 9F just got that much cooler. So before we get to the watch, let’s talk about what makes the movement so special. This year, the 9F turns 25, and it is — in the best way possible — completely over the top. It’s super accurate (regular versions are within 10 seconds a year, though this specially regulated version is good to within five seconds a year), thanks to the in-house, specially aged quartz crystals to optimise the frequency, and thereby accuracy. There are numerous other smart micro-engineering features, like the backlash to ensure a crisp seconds hand function and a super quick date change. All this adds up to ensure the movement is a serious piece of horology. And it’s finished like one, too, with the sort of jewelling and striped perlage you’d expect on a fine mechanical. This new movement, the 9F86, takes the 9F… Read More

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