For many watch enthusiasts, a somewhat paradoxical feeling can begin to set in after collecting for a little while. The more watches you collect, buying and selling different pieces in the pursuit of the perfect collection, the more a quiet voice in the back of your head says, “What if you just have one watch that does it all?” But what could be the one watch that satisfies everything you might need from a daily wear? It’s an incredibly personal question, but for most, there are a couple of elements you would need. Of those, the new Grand Seiko SBGE253 ticks a lot of boxes. Let’s take a closer look.
Two of the most important elements for a daily watch: does it look good, and is it comfortable on the wrist? The stainless steel case is nicely balanced, using the classic Grand Seiko design language of sloping case sides and lugs and razor-sharp lines that articulate the blend of polished and brushed finishes. The four o’clock crown is another signature from the Japanese watchmaker, sacrificing some of the symmetry of the case for a more ergonomic position that won’t dig into the back of your wrist. The case also measures an almost universally wearable 40.5mm in diameter and 14.7mm tall. Not too big, not too small. Goldilocks. Another exciting element of the case is the fixed ceramic GMT bezel, which has a lustrous inky black sheen to it that frames the deep black dial nicely. The recessed white numerals on the bezel contrast well with the scratch-resistant material, making them very easy to read.
The black dial is another example of high contrast put to good use, offering a canvas for the crisply printed white Grand Seiko logo and the SPRING DRIVE text in the lower half of the dial. The stainless steel hour markers are complex, and have the near perfectly faceted slopes that Grand Seiko are so well known for. In addition, the markers at the cardinal points feature a slice of LumiBrite for low light conditions, the same as the hour, minute and GMT hands. Complementing the GMT hand is the two-tone GMT rehaut, which offers an unobtrusive but handy day/night indicator.
The two other points of interest on the dial are the Spring Drive power reserve indicator at approximately 8 o’clock, and a date window at 4 o’clock that doubles down on the asymmetry of the crown position. Combined, these different dial elements deliver a dial that does everything you could want, including high legibility, a GMT hand that stands out in bright red, a coherent date window and a power reserve indicator. Some find that the location of the power reserve indicator clutters the dial unnecessarily, but the execution is subtle enough to go relatively unnoticed.
Assuming that you consider a watch to be a necessary part of your daily routine, there are many watch complications that are fairly impractical for day-to-day use. Arguably, the most useful complication beyond the time and date is a GMT function, allowing you to track multiple time zones at once and serving as a subtly practical feature for anyone who considers themselves a citizen of the world. Housed within the Grand Seiko SBGE253 is the in-house 9R66 Spring Drive GMT caliber, capable of doing just that, and offering a healthy 72 hours of power reserve. If that wasn’t enough, the 9R66 caliber has a guaranteed accuracy of ±1 second per day (±15 seconds per month), thanks to the Spring Drive technology that regulates the movement. That’s right, it’s one of the most accurate GMT movements with a mainspring that is available, something you definitely need as a daily wear.
Bracelets and straps are one of the most personal elements in a watch, as they have most of the contact with your wrist and impact comfort most significantly. The Grand Seiko SBGE253 arrives on a three-link stainless steel bracelet that is predominantly brushed, with two narrow rows that have been polished. While not unique in its basic design from many watch bracelets from other manufacturers, this Grand Seiko bracelet is known to be comfortable and secure, closed with a folding push-button clasp. As far as a choice for a daily watch, a bracelet makes sense for its comfort no matter the weather, and the ease of which you can dress a bracelet watch up or down as is required. Another box ticked.
Any definition of the perfect daily watch will always be a deeply personal one, but the Grand Seiko SBGE253 goes a long way to satisfying most of the elements you would be looking for. The neutrality of the black dial and bezel, combined with the steel bracelet makes for a template that is appropriate for almost any situation you might find yourself in, bar perhaps a black tie event. The subtle functionality of the dial, with a power reserve indicator, date window, day/night indicator, GMT hand and the ever-legible LumiBrite, makes for a genuinely useful watch on your wrist. Combined with 200m of water resistance and a best-in-class movement, and the Grand Seiko SBGE253 is well worthy of consideration if you’re looking for a companion that won’t ever need to leave your wrist.
Grand Seiko SBGE253 price and availability:
The Grand Seiko SBGE253 is AUD$9300 and is available from Grand Seiko boutiques and authorised dealers. For more details, visit Grand Seiko right here.