Introducing: Grand Seiko’s time only trio of limited edition green machinesLuke Benedictus
There is an appeal to a time only watch that is undeniable. The ability to pick it up at a moment’s notice, simply set the time and go, brings a sense of horological fresh air to what at times seems like too complicated a life. Add to that a manual wound movement, which hearkens back to the early days of watchmaking and you’re liable to leave any horological heart in a state of heavenly bliss. That is what the lightly cream dial SBGW231 did for many Grand Seiko fans and it’s what the brand is trying to harness here with the release of these three new US Limited Editions; SBGW273, 275, and 277.
These three new references are near identical to the SBGW231. The dimensions are the same with a 37.3mm fully polished case with an 11.6mm thickness. Water resistance is 30 metres and the case is adorned by a beautiful anti-reflective coated box sapphire crystal. Lug width comes in at 19mm with the three references coming on either a brown crocodile leather strap (273, 277) or a blue crocodile leather strap (275).
Inside, and visible through the exhibition case back, you’ll find the 9S64 movement. Introduced in 2011, it was the brainchild of the Shizukuishi Watch Studio and stood as the only Grand Seiko manual wound movement currently being offered until the release of the 9S63 in 2019. The movement is beautifully finished, beats at 28,800 bph and has a 72 hour power reserves. Accuracy is rated to +5 to -3 seconds per day. Returning to the dial, you are greeted by the same SBGW231 layout. Fluted, thicker indices exist at 12, 3, 6, and 9, with a dotted minute track surrounding the edges of the dial. The hour and minute hands are finished to Grand Seiko’s exacting standards. The seconds hand is polished steel except on SBGW273, where it is blued.
And this is where the similarities end because we have now reached the pièces de ré·sis·tance, the amazing new dials that will adorn these three new models.
Inspired by the Genbi Valley, located in the Iwate Prefecture of Japan, the three textured dials each reflect a feature of that picturesque landscape. With the SBGW273, Grand Seiko tried to capture the light and bright green color of new grass sprouting within the valley. The dial of SBGW275 is reminiscent of the teal colored flowing waters of the Iwai River. And the green of the SBGW277’s dial represent the more mature vegetation which can be found on the walls of the valley.
The texture of the dials, which truly drives home the nature theme, are created using a technique called Kirazuri. As the dial is being created, mica powder is mixed in with the paint, which creates this sparkling dynamic with the finished product. When seen in person, it’s reminiscent of the dew the spray on a flowing lake would leave on nearby vegetation as they bask in the sun.
Overall, these three dials breathe new life into what the SBGW231 started. Furthermore, for a purist, more hand wound watches are always welcomed and for a fan of the brand, the level of finishing Grand Seiko brings to the table makes these watches a must. Yet, with that being said, one must take note that these watches will be extremely limited. Each reference will only consists of 140 pieces. SBGW275 will be a Grand Seiko Boutique Exclusive while 273 and 277 will be available at select authorized dealers.
Grand Seiko Elegance SBGW273, 275 and 277 pricing and availability:
The Grand Seiko Elegance SBGW273, 275 and 277 will be available as a U.S. Exclusive Limited Edition release of only 140 pieces per reference. The watches will be available for purchase in November 2021. Price: $4900 USD