Snow. My. God. The Grand Seiko SBGR319 presents a different take on the SnowflakeZach Blass
Editor’s pick: The Grand Seiko SBGR319 limited edition for the Asian market presents a new take on the brand’s world-renowned snow-driven aesthetics. Almost a year ago, Felix did a video review of this incarnation of a winter-themed dial (along with a fetching red horizontally striped variant, the SBGH269) that presented a fresh new layer of snow to the brand’s Heritage Collection. Here, we dive a little deeper into the SBGR319, which remains an exceedingly tempting snow-themed option that is not THE snow-themed option that has become a legend, the Snowflake.
The case is a millimetre or two larger than the usual suspects of the collection, at a compact 42mm. Unlike the SBGA211, the Grand Seiko SBGR319 is not as light as a snowflake. Instead, it opts for a more wrist-present stainless steel that provides a greater sense of heft on the wrist. It does, however, share the same case format as the SBGA211, with a distortion-free mirror polish performed on the bezel, case sides and tapered facets of the lugs. The rest is beautifully satin-brushed – though ever cognisant of less obvious details, the section we do not really see where the bracelet meets flush to the case is also mirror-polished and becomes more visible if one explores other strap options besides its factory bracelet. With 100m water resistance, and a screw-down crown, you are safe to dive into the winter snow or the summer ocean if you are lucky to have warmer weather around the corner.
The dial works to capture the essence of the dreamy winter scenery of the factory neighbouring Mt Iwate. They achieve this aesthetic through the use of a traditional Japanese finishing similar to the texture of paper, with seemingly random lines meticulously placed across the dial to evoke the winter north winds blowing over snow-covered plains of the mountain. The hands and markers have all received the signature distortion-free mirror polish, that when hit with the right light glisten brightly or even go to black depending on the angle. The central seconds hand is hand-blued by the artisans of Grand Seiko, who achieve the uniform blue using their skilled naked eye. The brilliance and mastery of their craftsmanship never ceases to amaze me.
The Grand Seiko SBGR319 is paired with a brushed satin finish bracelet that has its outer flank and sides rendered in high polish. While it does not have a great amount of micro adjustment in the three-part folding clasp with push release, the links are compact enough to provide a great degree of adjustment – with half-sized lugs available from boutiques, if necessary, to ensure the perfect fit.
The watch is powered by the Grand Seiko manufacture 9S68 mechanical movement. Based on the 9S65, it shares the same technology and accuracy – but in a larger format to meet the size of the slightly larger 42mm case. It is a small yet nice touch that further signals how much Grand Seiko works to get all the details just right for the consumer. The movement is accurate within +5 to -3 seconds per day when static, and +10 to -1 seconds per day during normal wear. From personal experience, I have found that Grand Seiko is a practitioner of the “under-promise and over-deliver” philosophy. While not guaranteed, many wearers (myself included) have noted their watches run well within their rated parameters.
Due to the fact Grand Seiko has become synonymous with the phrase “gorgeous dials”, the bar is always set high for their craftsmanship, and the Grand Seiko SBGR319 definitely does not disappoint. It’s a brand that never gets stale — the offerings consistently maintain the wow factor that has made their watches some of the most competitive and compelling offerings in the world. The only real shame with this offering? The fact it is limited to 350 pieces.
Grand Seiko SBGR319 pricing and availability:
The Grand Seiko SBGR319 is AUD$7500, and limited to 350 pieces.