INTRODUCING: The Seiko Presage Sharp Edge GMT SPB273J1

INTRODUCING: The Seiko Presage Sharp Edge GMT SPB273J1

Fergus Nash

The Seiko Sharp Edge GMT has been a sleeper hit of late, further blurring the lines between Seiko and Grand Seiko. Existing in the upper echelons of Seiko’s catalogue, they’ve managed to make a watch that costs over $2000AUD seem like an absolute bargain. The SPB273J1 is a particularly enticing reference that will undoubtedly have collectors scavenging the web to pick up, as it’s an Asia Limited Edition.

Although the tone of creamy ivory “gofun” on this watch’s dial is evidently gorgeous, it’s difficult to get the full effect in photographs. Through the sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, the pattern is formed from a rather psychedelic triangular texture that carries a lot of depth, morphing into different patterns as the light scatters across its peaks and troughs more intricately than any sunburst brushing could hope to achieve. The colour of the dial is also perfectly matched to the rose gold hands, applied logo, bezel numerals and indices, letting the watch ooze a clean warmth that is firmly modern and fresh.

The bezel may appear ceramic at first glance, but is actually a coated steel that’s backed up by Seiko’s proprietary super-hard coating. The same goes for the brushed stainless-steel case, which itself is incredibly pleasing. It bears a passing resemblance to the much-loved 44GS case, with those extended sharply-angled lugs integrating nicely with the faceted steel bracelet. Contrary to most Seikos, this is one of few models that actually does wear as big as you may expect, with a 49.2mm lug-to-lug length made effectively longer by the protruding end link. The 42.2mm diameter and 13.7mm thickness, however, are easily dealt with, and if you have an average wrist or bigger then you should be able to find a comfortable fit.

The movement has got to be one of the most impressive aspects of the Seiko SPB273J1, with the calibre 6R64 that can be seen through the display caseback. This movement hasn’t been around for as long as the 4R35 or it’s ancestor the 7S26, but its utility is definitely impressive for its price bracket. The 6R64 is a true Traveller’s GMT movement, meaning that you can adjust the hour hand independently from the rest of the hands in single hour increments. With no need to hack the movement or roll the hands around manually, the GMT complication makes a lot more sense as a modern travel companion in this world of automatic timezone detecting smartphones, although it does take the place of a quick-set date function. It has a higher beat rate than most Seiko watches too at 28,800vph, and a power reserve of 45 hours.

If you need definitive proof that this is a Seiko that cuts above the field, you just need to look at the bracelet. It may continue Seiko’s trick of making a three-link bracelet look like five-links from the polished edges on the centre link, however, the finishing is done well enough that it can only be a positive effect, and the comfort isn’t negatively affected whatsoever. The end links are solid instead of the standard hollow ones, and the clasp is milled instead of pressed.

The recommended retail price is $2150AUD and $1680USD  in line with the regular Sharp Edge GMTs. To call these watches “bargains” is bold, but it does really seem like they deserve that title. It’s incredibly easy to imagine the logo being a GS instead of a Seiko, with a refreshingly modern appearance that doesn’t try too hard to be unique, yet manages to be so regardless.