I’m a vintage diver enthusiast, embracing smaller diameters, but still with a predilection for tough tools, even — don’t tell anyone — with a bespoke shirt and a suit. Grand Seiko have single-handedly restored my faith in dress watches in 2020, with their Elegance series having several new references in what is a superb case. The Grand Seiko SBGW264 is another case (and dial) in point, and for me just another sign that the dress watch is alive and well, and speaks the Japanese language.
The exquisite case shape in the Grand Seiko Elegance line has a language all of its own, a Japanese dictum that tells us that there is a golden ratio of case design between a circle and a cushion. This comes together with a Goldilocks-like 39mm size, and the typical Seiko language of strong sides embracing a polished bezel. Yet, in the Elegance series we have a more gentle flow of line, which accentuates the dial shape and remains delicate with an 11.6mm thickness.
When paired with 18k rose gold on a crocodile strap, the lines of the SBGW264 become even more pronounced, yet warmer, with the unmatchable glow of Zaratsu-polished gold. But, let’s face it, the dial always has a starring role in any Grand Seiko reference, and this green intricate face is pure circular art.
This model is part of the 60th anniversary celebration of Grand Seiko, and is a deep green — inspired by the silver birch trees near the Shizukuishi studio, with their leaves reflecting the light in shades of green and white. The intricate three-dimensional engraved pattern is close to hypnotising in its depth — buy a loupe and you will become lost in the details. If you haven’t already noticed, the hand-polished indices and razor-sharp sword hands are the best you will find, made sharper still in this golden hue, and perfect against the tapisserie of the background. Warning: this will make you ignore the mundane fact that your train is leaving the station while you’re still at home. It’s worth it, believe me, and still more time is lost when you turn it around.
Through the sapphire caseback, the 9S64 movement is beautifully finished, especially here without the distraction of a rotor. This is a rare manual movement from the masters of the fascinating gliding seconds hand powered by the magic of Spring Drive. For me, this encapsulates the calm beauty of the Elegance collection, with the simple motion of winding the 18k solid gold crown being a way to appreciate the fleeting notion of time itself and how to appreciate it fully.
The Grand Seiko SBGW264 price and availability:
The Grand Seiko SBGW264 is AUD$36,000, and is limited to 120 pieces worldwide. It is available from Grand Seiko boutiques. For more details, visit Grand Seiko right here.