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.

INTRODUCING: Quartz traveller – the Grand Seiko Sport 9F86 Quartz GMT Collection

When jetting off overseas, I like to pack light and travel easy. Between checking-in and shuffling my way through airport security and customs, to managing the sleepy-eyed excitement, that usually leads to increased bouts of forgetfulness. For me, the entire experience must be as uncomplicated as possible. That’s where a very handy GMT watch comes in. And scheduled for release in the next six months, Grand Seiko has just announced three brand-new dual-time-telling additions. Combining the dependability and high-end ability of Grand Seiko’s 9F quartz calibre with the functionality of a GMT. As synonymous with Grand Seiko as Zaratsu polishing and being hand-assembled (which, mind you, are also traits of these new additions), the quartz calibre 9F has been combined with a GMT complication for the very first time, creating the calibre 9F86. With the calibre’s impressive list of features – that already consist of a zero-backlash seconds hand, dial-edge reaching minute and seconds hands, and individually selected and aged quartz crystals – increased to now include a GMT complication with an independently adjustable hour hand. Also, despite the addition of the extra hand, the thickness of the familiar 39mm cases has only been increased slightly, to 12.1mm — thanks to… Read More

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LIST: 11 of the greatest Grand Seikos – and why they matter

Just 10 years ago, buying a Grand Seiko meant either having to buy a plane ticket to Japan, convincing a relative/friend/acquaintance/that-guy-you-met-one-time to buy a ticket to Japan, or navigating your way around Japanese online retailers – searching every page for an image of your heart’s desire and then using Google translate to confirm that they even offered international shipping. You see, despite having a history that stretches back to 1960, it wasn’t until 2010 that Grand Seiko was properly introduced to the world. Once one of Japan’s best kept secrets, Grand Seiko was born from Seiko’s desire to show the world what Japanese watchmaking could do. And in the years since, the innovative brand has become one of the most influential. Still, as Felix put it last month, “there remains an air of mystique around the Japanese brand”. And while his excellent video explained some of the essentials, I thought I’d add some more meat to its bones with this list of 11 key models from the collection, and just why they matter. The Calibre 9S – SBGR311 Modern Grand Seiko is built off the mighty calibre 9S. Found at the core of many of the brand’s exceptionally finished cases,… Read More

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HANDS-ON: The Golden Snowflake – Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive SBGA259

Grand Seiko’s Snowflake (the more evocative name for the SBGA211 née SBGA011) is undoubtedly one of the most popular watches in their line-up, and understandably so. With its titanium case, seductive Spring Drive movement and one of the best-loved dials in the business, it’s remained unchanged (reference number and dial naming convention) since 2010 (see our review and video in case you’re unfamiliar). Part of the appeal is the fact that the watch is as pure as its namesake. The Snowflake is unchanged, untouched and undiluted by case/dial/size/etc variants. Except that’s not quite the case. Meet the SBGA259, a Snowflake with brilliant gold hands and hour markers. Now, first things first. This is not a new watch; this reference was introduced last year, and prior to that, there was the SBGA059, with the older style dial that has existed alongside the original since at least 2012. And even though it’s been around for years, knowledge of it — like with many ‘special’ Grand Seikos — is quite low, as it was originally made only for boutiques or the Japanese market. But, with Grand Seiko’s growing global popularity and availability, it’s time to shine a light on the Golden Snowflake. Ostensibly,… Read More

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INTRODUCING: Quartz traveller – the Grand Seiko Sport 9F86 Quartz GMT Collection

When jetting off overseas, I like to pack light and travel easy. Between checking-in and shuffling my way through airport security and customs, to managing the sleepy-eyed excitement, that usually leads to increased bouts of forgetfulness. For me, the entire experience must be as uncomplicated as possible. That’s where a very handy GMT watch comes in. And scheduled for release in the next six months, Grand Seiko has just announced three brand-new dual-time-telling additions. Combining the dependability and high-end ability of Grand Seiko’s 9F quartz calibre with the functionality of a GMT. As synonymous with Grand Seiko as Zaratsu polishing and being hand-assembled (which, mind you, are also traits of these new additions), the quartz calibre 9F has been combined with a GMT complication for the very first time, creating the calibre 9F86. With the calibre’s impressive list of features – that already consist of a zero-backlash seconds hand, dial-edge reaching minute and seconds hands, and individually selected and aged quartz crystals – increased to now include a GMT complication with an independently adjustable hour hand. Also, despite the addition of the extra hand, the thickness of the familiar 39mm cases has only been increased slightly, to 12.1mm — thanks to… Read More

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WHO TO FOLLOW: @MrGrandSeiko – no prizes for guessing this guy’s favourite brand

Sydney-sider Daniel Yong (AKA @MrGrandSeik0) is a teacher by day, and Grand Seiko fanatic by night. When he’s not working, you might catch him in a random café in Sydney with either a cappuccino, espresso, or a glass of whisky (depending on his mood and time of day, of course), accompanied by good reading material. Hi Daniel, what’s your daily watch and why? It’s an Apple Watch … Just kidding, Andy! Although there’s nothing wrong with owning an Apple Watch, I believe one should own a piece of horology first. My daily wrist companion is my Grand Seiko SBGW031. It was the first “real” watch I purchased myself that spiralled my obsession with horology and, yes, Grand Seiko. I will cover why Grand Seiko later, but since purchasing it, I feel like it has grown into becoming both my comfort watch and the extra good luck charm I need when delivering an important presentation. Or quite simply, when a situation requires me at my best. Did I mention that it’s more versatile than you think? Really, it is. Just check out my Instagram page. What else is in your collection? Have you got a favourite? It’s no longer in my collection, but I loved… Read More

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VIDEO: Grand Seiko 101 – 3 things you need to know 

For years Grand Seiko was a very underground, for-those-in-the-know type brand; its visibility outside of Japan was limited, and its passionate supporters revelled in the arcana of cryptic reference numbers, nicknames and shorthand galore. All that changed a few years ago when Grand Seiko went global, but there’s still an air of mystique around the Japanese brand. So, to help clear a few things up, I decided to run through a short explainer, providing a flying overview of some of the key details, covering off the basics around movements, cases and dials. So, if you don’t know your Snowflakes from your Spring Drives, aren’t too sure if you’re team 9S or 9F, or have ever wondered just what Zaratsu actually is, this video is for you. We can’t explain it all in just a few minutes, but if it clears a few things up or serves as the first step down the Grand Seiko rabbit hole, we’ll claim it as a win.

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HANDS-ON: Everyday simplicity done right – the Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGA375

I’m on the record as being a big fan of Grand Seiko, largely because their approach to watchmaking (the focus on accuracy, timeless design and wearer comfort) really resonates with me. However, I’m more than willing to admit that I buck the trend a little in my preference for the brand’s plainer, less jazzy dials. While I can admire and see the beauty in the iridescent green of the peacock, or the intricacy of the SBGR311 or SBGH267, my personal taste is a little more understated; I can’t see myself wearing those fancy fellas all day, everyday. Now, the SBGA375 — that’s a different story. This watch is made for everyday wear. A 40mm steel case, angular and bold (inspired by the 44GS), sets the tone. With its mix of surfaces it’s not too tooly or dressy (though I would stress about how quickly I’d scratch those broad, polished lugs and bezel). It’s a versatile vibe that continues to the three-link bracelet, with its slightly flashy polished centre-link edges. Though the lack of modern micro-adjustment on the bracelet might put some people off (but the drilled lugs are a winner in my book). The crown is screw down, and it… Read More

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