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 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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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: 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: 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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INTRODUCING: Made for adventuring over and under seas – the Grand Seiko Sport Collection Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE245

There are certain (and few) movements in watchmaking that truly define a brand. Seiko’s Spring Drive is one of them. Unveiled by the Japanese manufacturer in 1999, it was four years later – after the inclusion of an improved automatic winding system and longer power-reserve – that the smooth sweeping calibre was adopted into the higher-end Grand Seiko catalogue, laying the foundation for the GS brand that we know and love today. Two years later, they paired the precision of Spring Drive with the functionality of a second hour hand, adding a GMT and dubbing it the 9R66. The exact calibre inside this latest addition to the Grand Seiko Sport Collection, a limited-edition version of the ever-popular SBGE201, the Spring Drive GMT SBGE245. Made not just for travelling overseas but on seas as well, the 44mm wide by 14.7mm thick stainless-steel case is water-resistant to 200 metres. And built tough, with its crown safely set into its case at 4 o’clock – minimising knocks and damage – as well as an enhanced shock resistance, and that very special Spring Drive movement that’s also been adjusted to withstand a greater range of changes in temperature. As with regular versions of the… 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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