While Grand Seiko watches invariably have more of a claim to being works of art than practically all other brands at their price point (and beyond), the Grand Seiko SBGD207 is on a whole other level. Masterpiece is not a term the brand throws around lightly. The Masterpiece collection within Grand Seiko’s catalogue represents their peak craftsmanship: they are high-end watches with high-end price tags and high-end watchmaking. To better understand the amount of time it takes to produce these watches, last year’s Grand Seiko SBGD205, a limited run of ten pieces, has yet to be completed by the manufacturer. The Grand Seiko SBGD207 Spring Drive 8 Day Masterpiece 140th Anniversary Limited Edition of 15 pieces is the sequel to the SBGD205, which incorporated blue sapphires and diamonds into a gorgeous dial. The Grand Seiko SBGD207, however, incorporates rich green tones into its dial – quite timely considering green increasingly seems like the colour of 2021.
The platinum case is 43mm in diameter and 13.5mm thick. While the diameter on paper may seem large, the compact lugs mitigate the wrist presence of the watch on what could easily be a unisex option. Platinum is a tough and heavy precious metal, so the gorgeous Zaratsu finishing applied to the case can only be executed by the top artisans on the Grand Seiko team. A small, but nice added touch is the fact Grand Seiko have managed to include drilled lugs. This means, if you were so inclined, you could take the strap off the watch and swap in another with much less of a risk in terms of scratching or blemishing the case. Set within the screw-down crown is a diamond to match the dial, a small added touch of elegance that really ties the aesthetic together. Also, don’t let the precious case and bling dial fool you. You can flex this masterpiece at the ocean or poolside with a case rated to depths up to 100 metres.
The dial includes much more of a blast of colour than the previous SBGD205. The SBGD205, inspired by winter mornings in the Shinshu region of central Japan, had a grey-toned dial with diamond dust texture surrounded by diamonds and blue sapphires that added a pop of colour to the dial. The Grand Seiko SBGD207 is a bit more lively, opting to pair its 97 diamonds and 24 green garnets with a green mother-of-pearl centre disc to the dial.
According to Grand Seiko, “The arrangement of the gems side by side around the entire dial requires a craftsman’s dexterity; the gems are set between a very thin pair of rails with great precision by the most skilled of the jewelry craftsmen and women in the Shinshu Watch Studio which shares the Shiojiri facility with the Micro Artist Studio.”
The diamonds and sapphires are perfectly embedded and arranged within the dial to represent the hours and minutes. The green garnets signal the hours with the diamonds conveying the minutes, the contrasting tones ensuring high legibility – a pillar of Grand Seiko’s grammar of design. The inner outboard ring houses tapered baguette diamonds and garnets, while the outer most ring incorporates more circular cuts that almost serve as pip indicators for each baguette below it. This makes reading the time much easier on the eye.
The dial aesthetic of the Grand Seiko SBGD207 is inspired by Mishaka Pond, hidden away in the forest to the east of Lake Suwa not far from Shiojiri where the Micro Artist Studio is located. Its pristine, crystal clear water acts as the perfect reflector of the trees that grow right to the water’s edge and their myriad shades of green. The green mother of pearl disc simulates this reflection, and is yet another example of Grand Seiko’s appreciation for nature.
The Grand Seiko SBGD207 is paired with a dark green large scale crocodile leather strap fastened by a three-fold deployment clasp also made of platinum (no shortcut with white gold utilised here). While I would be interested to see how a more water resistant strap would pair with this 100 metre water-resistant watch, I will concede the watch looks truly at home on this crocodile strap and makes a really great pairing for the watch.
Inside the Grand Seiko SBGD207 is the Grand Seiko in-house manual wind Spring Drive caliber 9R01 fabricated by the renowned Micro Artist studio. The 9R01 is highly accurate thanks to Spring Drive technology, but is even more regulated than their standard Spring Drive calibers. It is regulated with an accuracy of ± 0.5 second per day (± 10 seconds per month vs. the ± 15 seconds per month regulation of standard Spring Drive). As indicated by the power reserve indicator stepped within the bridge, the power reserve is an incredible 8 days, or 192 hours, which means you will only need to wind this manual watch once a week. This feat can be attributed to the three barrels incorporated into the caliber. The movement also features independent hour hand adjustment, which means you can adjust the hour to your time zone without interrupting the highly accurate timekeeping of Spring Drive.
The 56 jewel movement is seemingly simple in terms of decoration, but the more appropriate term would be clean. The hairline satin brush across the bridges and plates adds nice texture to the movement and distinguishes itself from familiar Swiss aesthetic. At the top of the 9R01’s upper bridge, you will see sharp bevelling that takes on the form of Mt. Fuji – the adjacent glide wheel embodying the sun setting over the mountain. The jewel and screw placement, while seemingly random, actually symbolise the city lights of Suwa that surround the Micro Artist Studio at night. The stepped and bevelled power reserve indicator symbolises the position and form of Lake Suwa in relation to the Micro Artist Studio. Lastly, the emblem (which signals the movement’s creation within the Micro Artist studio) engraved under the text “8 Days” represents the location of the Micro Artist Studio in relation to the elements listed above. It’s yet another example of Grand Seiko’s truly masterful eye for detail.
Grand Seiko SBGD207 Spring Drive 8 Day Masterpiece 140th Anniversary Limited Edition pricing and availability:
The Grand Seiko SBGD207 Spring Drive 8 Day Masterpiece 140th Anniversary watch is a limited edition of 15 pieces, available through Grand Seiko boutiques. Price: $185,000 USD