The Grand Seiko SBGH345 is a new Ever-Brilliant Steel online exclusive with a red Mt. Iwate dial The Grand Seiko SBGH345 is a new Ever-Brilliant Steel online exclusive with a red Mt. Iwate dial

The Grand Seiko SBGH345 is a new Ever-Brilliant Steel online exclusive with a red Mt. Iwate dial

Zach Blass
  • The new online exclusive Grand Seiko SBGH345 pairs an eye-catching scarlet hue with their famed Mt. Iwate dial texture.
  • Its 44GS case uses the brand’s Ever-Brilliant steel which is billed as 1.7x more corrosion resistant than standard steel.
  • This new SBGH345 is one of seven new references to be introduced this month (Feb 1 – Feb 12 2024).

Grand Seiko SBGH345 1

On February 1, Grand Seiko introduced two new compact “Snowflake” models. Three days later, February 4, the SBGA497 “Pink Snowflake” and SBGE305 “Hotaka Summer” made their debut in honour of the 20th anniversary of Grand Seiko’s 9R Spring Drive movement. Then just three days after that, on February 7, the SBGH341 and SBGH343 debuted a new 38mm 62GS case in two references. That is six new references in the span of a week. February 12, however, marked the seventh for the month: the new Grand Seiko SBGH345

Grand Seiko SBGH345 4

An Ever-Brilliant Steel 44GS-cased model is nothing particularly new to the catalogue, but what we do have is a fresh take on a familiar face. Paired with the brand-iconic Mt. Iwate dial texture, Grand Seiko offers this fan-favourite texture in a vibrant scarlet hue that appears to be close in colour to the fiery-red SBGA493 – one of three U.S. exclusive models that took inspiration from the artistry of the Katana. While not explicitly stated, I imagine here the image of nature this dial is meant to convey is something to the effect of the sunset or sunrise hitting the snowy facade of Mt. Iwate. While vibrant it is certainly darker in hue, especially in the quadrants of its sunburst effect which darken depending on the orientation of the dial under light. This explains why the top of the hands and indices have a hairline brushed finish rather than a polished finish as the brushed finish will keep the hands and indices brighter against the darker backdrop for improved legibility.

Grand Seiko SBGH345 3

Ever-Brilliant Steel is not just about having a visibly brighter alloy as its name may suggest. I mean, it does have a brighter lustre than standard steel. But its feature is really the fact that, on the PERN (Pitting Resistance Equivalent Number) scale, Grand Seiko claims it is 1.7 times more corrosion-resistant than standard steel. Perhaps an oversimplification, think of it as Grand Seiko’s answer to Rolex’s 904L stainless steel. The dimensions of the case clock in at a friendly 40mm in diameter, 13.3mm thickness, and 46.2mm lug-to-lug across the wrist and it expectedly has a 100-metre depth rating with a screw-down crown. Exhibited inside you have their in-house automatic hi-beat 9S85 movement with 55 hours of power reserve.

For Grand Seiko fans like myself, having an endless array of variety is not necessarily off-putting. But I do worry that the rapid expansion of their catalgoue can be intimidating for newcomers who are faced with a seemingly infinite number of to explore. Is this watch cool? Yes, and I suspect that even as an online exclusive a lot of Grand Seiko buyers will be intrigued. That being said, I think I would be willing to trade novelty velocity to market for developments and refinements like new bracelet clasps or even new calibres. Whether their catalogue’s rapid expansion slows such refinement and development I cannot say, the vertically-integrated powerhouse has a lot of tools and know-how at their disposal. At the very least, however, Watches & Wonders is on the horizon. And I would hate to see people having Grand Seiko fatigue when those novelties drop.

Grand Seiko SBGH345 pricing and availability

Grand Seiko SBGH345 2

The Grand Seikoo SBGH345 is available now exclusively through the Grand Seiko Boutique Online platform. Shipments will begin in March 2024. Price: US$6,900

Brand Grand Seiko
Model SBGH345
Case Dimensions 40mm (D) x 13.3mm (T) x 46.2mm (LTL)
Case Material Ever-Brilliant Steel
Water Resistance 100m (screw-down crown)
Crystal Sapphire crystal and exhibition caseback
Dial Scarlet with ‘Mt. Iwate’ texture
Strap Ever-Brilliant Steel bracelet w/ three-fold clasp
Movement In-house hi-beat automatic 9S85
Power Reserve 55 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Availability GS Boutique Online Exclusive (Ships March 2024)
Price US$6,900, A$10,300