Unquestionably one of Grand Seiko’s most surprising releases of 2019, the SBGK additions to the Elegance Collection had all the makings of a perfect dress watch.
There was just one problem, however — if I’m being really finickity, the dial options that were made available upon release were perhaps slightly out of keeping with that of a quintessential dress watch.
Someone in the Japanese watchmaker’s design team clearly had the same feeling, because less than six months after its initial unveiling, we have this — the Grand Seiko Elegance SBGK007.
I was borderline ecstatic when this watch was unveiled, and waited with bated breath for the press watch to find its way into the office, eager to find out whether the crisp white dial I’d seen in countless press images was as arresting in person as it was on my Mac screen.
And now that I’ve been able to spend some time with this svelte dress watch attached to my wrist, I have to admit it’s a great dress watch … but it’s not exactly what I was expecting.
Allow me to explain. The press release for SBGK007, as well as the product description found on Grand Seiko’s own website, characterise the dial as being “clean white” … and it’s not.
No, if anything, the dial is actually more akin to a pale silver, or maybe even an off-white. Deputy Editor Kenyon went so far as to describe it as being almost champagne in nature, and I agree.
Is it a negative? Absolutely not.
If anything, the subtlety of the dial’s softer colour palette actually increases the watch’s talent for fulfilling its dress watch remit — it’s less shouty, and provides less contrast with the highly polished hour indices and razor-sharp dauphine handset. It all just blends into one admirably harmonious package.
Both the power reserve indicator, located at three o’clock, and the running seconds sub-dial, located at nine o’clock (which have been criticised as being too jarring on other variants of the SBGK range), also benefit from the more subdued tonality of the dial.
The dial is also, of course, finished to a degree that truly does elevate the watch to a level that belies its price tag.
And the rest of the timepiece is as you’d expect from the Grand Seiko SBGK Elegance Collection.
The stainless steel case is pleasantly rounded, almost tonneau-shaped, and measures in at a lissom 39mm across and 11.6mm thick. The lugs are also short and curvaceous, which makes the case hug snugly to your wrist, and ensures that it will easily fit under even the most stubborn of cuffs.
The manual-wind, in-house movement, Calibre 9S63, is a class act, and serves up no less than 72 hours of power reserve, an accuracy rating of +5/-3 seconds per day, 33 jewels and an operating frequency of 28,800 (4Hz) vibrations per hour.
Both the front and back of the feature sapphire crystal with an antireflective coating. One massive gripe, however, like the rest of the SBGK range, is that the display case back is emblazoned with GS’s lion emblem, which gets in the way of the beautifully hand-finished movement. Why … just why?
The whole ensemble is tied together with a handsome and traditional black alligator leather band that offers a great amount of comfortability, and the stainless steel tri-fold clasp its paired with ensures tactility and ease of use.
The surreptitious nature of SBGK007 is admirable, and if you’re in the market for a pure, undiluted dress watch with a difference, this timepiece is nothing short of compelling.
The Grand Seiko Elegance SBGK007 pricing and availability:
The Grand Seiko Elegance SBGK007 has a recommended retail price of $10,600 AUD and is currently available in boutiques across Australia.