Editor’s note: It’s easy to get caught up in the hype around Grand Seiko dials (and these two beauties still pack a punch in that category), but the unique Spring Drive movement and 44GS-style case are just as noteworthy – as is the wearable size …
In addition to the scene-stealing 9S 20th anniversary pieces, Grand Seiko have announced two new Spring Drive models at Baselworld 2018. Reference SBGA373 with a champagne dial, and SBGA375 in rich blue.
With its inexorably smooth sweeping seconds hand, there’s something hypnotic about Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive technology, powered and regulated by an ingenious combination of kinetic, magnetic and electrical energy. And while the Snowflake tends to garner the most attention, there are other time and date members of the collection, the most recent being these two. Both are powered by the 9R65, visible through clear casebacks on both models, and housed in broad-shouldered 40mm, 44GS-inspired steel cases. It’s worth noting that these pictures are of prototype models, and I’ve been told that the (very) large crowns are likely to be replaced by something a little smaller and more balanced.
On the wrist
Grand Seiko’s champagne dials are exceptional and — apparently — very technical, requiring numerous layers of lacquer to achieve that soft golden colour that is nigh on impossible to capture with any accuracy. In direct, bright light it fades to silver. It may lack the flash of the brand’s more distinctive dials but it’s still superbly accomplished. The blue, in contrast, is rich and deep, with a fine sunray finish that adds shimmer as the light hits it — and is so shiny that you can, when the angle is right, see reflections of the underside of the hands.
These two new dial variants may not be as show-stopping as a limited edition GS, or even the much-loved Snowflake, but they are important additions to the Spring Drive line, adding not just colour, but depth to the core collection.
Who’s it for?
Someone who’s after a little bit of colour and on-the-wrist flash, but in a fundamentally classic package.
The more time you spend with the champagne dial, the more compelling it becomes.
Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGA373 and SBGA375 Australian pricing and availability
Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGA373 and SBGA375, steel, $7100