INTRODUCING: The Grand Seiko SBGY008 offers a subtle masterclass in the use of diamonds INTRODUCING: The Grand Seiko SBGY008 offers a subtle masterclass in the use of diamonds

INTRODUCING: The Grand Seiko SBGY008 offers a subtle masterclass in the use of diamonds

Jared Belson

Many of Grand Seiko’s latest offerings have sought to transfer the beauty of the environment to our wrists. By using the elements seen around their design studios as inspiration, they’ve created ethereally beautiful models such as the SLGH005 “White Birch” and the Four Seasons collection. With one of their latest creations, the brand has struck gold once again, literally, with their limited edition Grand Seiko SBGY008.

Grand Seiko SBGY008

The rose-gold case, 38.5mm in diameter, 10.2mm in thickness, and 43.7mm in length (thank you, Grand Seiko, for listing all three dimensions), provides an ideal size for any wrist. Of note, the domed sapphire crystal is 2mm tall at its peak, suggesting that the watch itself wears in a manner that belies its thickness. Part of the Grand Seiko Elegance Collection, it shares its general design with the previously released SBGY002 and SBGY007.

Grand Seiko SBGY008

All three share the same dimensions, though the SBGY008’s dial more closely resembles that of the SBGY007’s, which itself was inspired by the snow-covered ice covering Lake Suwa during winter. However, the SBGY008’s design was influenced by a different aspect of Japanese winter. This effect is known as Shizuri-Yuki, or the cascading snow that drips from the branches of the trees surrounding Shinsu, creating what Grand Seiko describes as a “shimmering cascade of light.” While the rose gold combined with the ice white of the dial does a fantastic job of evoking an image of the sun glancing off snow and ice, the true piece de resistance is the diamonds adorning the sides of the case. A total of 53 diamonds are hand-set by Grand Seiko’s master craftsmen and women, decreasing in size from the midpoint of the case to the end of each curved lug. The result is stunning, as the unbroken flow of diamonds create a unified sparkle that serves to set the case apart from any other.

Grand Seiko SBGY008

In particular, the placement of the diamonds was an intriguing choice by Grand Seiko. Rather than follow the more traditional use of diamonds as hour markers, setting the diamonds into the case runners provides a feeling of sophistication and understated luxury. Displaying diamonds in this way is an unusually subtle approach for a luxury watch manufacture, but one I greatly appreciate. In this manner, the diamonds are primarily for the viewing pleasure of the wearer rather than being a bit more ostentatious. Furthermore, whereas watches adorned with diamonds were previously offered primarily on women’s models, this watch feels at home on any wrist, regardless of gender.

Of course, a Grand Seiko would be nothing without its movement. The Grand Seiko SBGY008 utilises the manual-winding Spring Drive caliber 9R31. By using dual mainsprings housed in a single barrel, the watch is able to provide a 72-hour power reserve on a single winding while still maintaining the traditional Spring Drive sweep of the second hand. Furthermore, the 9R31 is calibrated to offer an impressive accuracy of ±1 second per day, or ±15 seconds per month on average. All this is viewable through the exhibition case back, allowing Grand Seiko to showcase an alluring combination of exposed jewels, heat-tempered screws, gear train, and power reserve indicator through its beautifully hairline brushed full-bridge.

A watch this elegant is certainly befitting of a beautiful strap to match, and the Shizuri-Yuki delivers. The standard offering is a supple brown crocodile leather strap with matching brown stitching and a tri-fold clasp with push button release that serves as a perfect complement to the rose gold case.

As a unique bonus, Grand Seiko is also including an additional satin gold-coloured leather strap that affords owners the ability to change up the look without turning to the aftermarket.

Grand Seiko SBGY008 Limited Edition pricing and availability:

The Grand Seiko SBGY008 is a limited edition of just 60 pieces, and will be available at Grand Seiko Boutiques and select Grand Seiko retailers starting January 2022. Price: $57,000 AUD / $38,000 USD