HANDS-ON: The Grand Seiko SBGW264 has one of the best green dials in the industryZach Blass
Grand Seiko gets a lot of attention from collectors that’s well-deserved for the incredible artistry it delivers. If the Swiss were even capable of paralleling this Japanese craft and philosophy, the resulting products would likely be far more expensive. Grand Seiko continually brings high craftsmanship and value to the table, the brand name truly built on the merits of their products. While we typically see more steel and titanium watches from the brand, they are no stranger to precious metals. Zaratsu finishes on steel and titanium are absolutely exquisite in every way, but there is something about Zaratsu on precious metals that is downright phenomenal. The limited-edition Grand Seiko SBGW264 pairs an elegant Zaratsu-finished precious metal case, with a gorgeous green dial that needs to be experienced in the metal.
The rose-gold case of the Grand Seiko SBGW264 is 39mm in diameter and 11.6mm thick making it the perfect size for a wide spectrum of wrists and slender enough to slide easily beneath a shirt cuff. The case is splash-resistant, so while you cannot swim with this precious watch you don’t have to feel like Indiana Jones swapping out the idol in Temple of Doom when washing your hands.
More often than not, when reviewing a watch we typically note the presence of a satin finish on the dial side of the case and a high-polished case band. The Grand Seiko SBGW264, however, ups the elegance by utilising a Zaratsu distortion-free mirror finish to the entirety of the front-facing dial side of the case, with a satin brush applied to the caseband. A distortion-free mirror finish is incredibly difficult under normal circumstances, but on the case of the SBGW264 that much harder.
Every aspect of the case front is curved in some form. Both the lugs and bezel are sloped with no completely flat surfaces present. This presents a greater challenge when creating a distortion-free finish up to the Zaratsu standard, but Grand Seiko is clearly up to the challenge and it results in an incredibly beautiful watch.
Unsurprisingly, the dial is an absolute show-stopper. The guilloche or texture of the dial is a beautiful radial pattern that creates an infinite depth. It is really eye-catching and you will never tire of looking at it. According to Grand Seiko, “The dial pattern takes the imagination to the forest of silver birch trees near the studio where the watch is made.
“As the viewing angle changes, the dial shimmers in green and white, just as do the trees when summer sunlight catches the leaves and the white bark of their trunks and dapples the forest floor.”
While I won’t deny that nature is the muse at play here, my first impression, if I am totally honest, was that the dial made me think of Star Wars. I know, strange, but hear me out. The concentric nature of the pattern that gets smaller and smaller towards the dial’s center makes me think of a spaceship moving at warp speed – almost a black hole where the pattern disappears to the eye at its event-horizon.
Guilloche, while a traditional technique and aesthetic, in this instance also makes me think of something both elegant and industrial and seemingly futuristic. Combine that with the hyperspace correlation, and that is how I land on Luke Skywalker escaping Darth Vader by letting go and magically falling down the reactor/air shaft on the Cloud City station colony in Bespin.
The outer perimeter of the dial is home to white hash minute markers that accompany rose gold tone hour markers and hands. The hands and markers feature Zaratsu finishing as well, but the hands themselves are worth taking a minute to observe closer. Aside from admiring their sharp nature, the hands are actually hand-bent to match the contour of the case form. This is a great example of the brand’s attention to detail and refusal to cut corners in their design and finish.
The crocodile leather strap is chocolate brown in colour and fastened by a Grand Seiko logo engraved buckle and pin in rose gold. As an elegant and dressier watch, it is really at home on a leather strap and the chocolate tone of the leather pairs really well with the rose gold case.
Inside the watch, viewable via the exhibition caseback, is the manual winding in-house caliber 9S64. The 24-jewel movement is decorated with machined Tokyo stripes and well-finished bevels to its bridges. The 9S64 is very accurate, running within chronometer standards at +5/-3 seconds per day (when static). It has a power reserve of 72 hours, which means you can wear the watch for a couple days before having to ensure you wind it before you strap it to your wrist.
While the Grand Seiko logo and lion emblem is etched on the caseback, it is not the yellow etching that can obstruct the view of the movement. The white etching can only been seen at the right angle in the right light, so fortunately you can enjoy the movement at work in full-view.
Grand Seiko SBGW264 pricing and availability:
The Grand Seiko SBGW264 is a limited edition of 120 pieces. and is available through Grand Seiko and authorised dealers worldwide. Price: $36,000 AUD. For more details, visit Grand Seiko right here.
Made in partnership with Grand Seiko. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.