INTRODUCING: The more refined and compact Grand Seiko SBGA461 & SBGA463 divers INTRODUCING: The more refined and compact Grand Seiko SBGA461 & SBGA463 divers

INTRODUCING: The more refined and compact Grand Seiko SBGA461 & SBGA463 divers

Jared Belson

Though Grand Seiko is typically known for their dressier watches and mesmerising dials, you’d better believe a company with “Seiko” in its name knows a thing or two about making tool watches. With the latest iterations of their famed Spring Drive watches, the Grand Seiko SBGA461 and SBGA463 show what it really means to have a luxury diver and this go around have refined the case design to be a bit more manageable on the wrist.

First and foremost: this pair of Grand Seiko divers are now ISO 6425:2018 compliant. This is the international standard for watches designed to be used for diving beyond 100 metres in depth. While most people will never venture to these depths, adherence to this standard shows off Grand Seiko’s commitment to building serious tool watches. The standard itself includes directives for things like legibility in darkness, corrosion, resistance to magnetism, shock resistance, and accuracy. Naturally, the familiar 72-hour power reserve Spring Drive caliber 9R65 Spring Drive is highly accurate, while Grand Seiko rates the magnetic resistance of each watch at 4,800 A/m.

While the depth ratings are the same as the previous iterations of these models (the SBGA229 and SBGA231), dial legibility has been aided by the use of thick Lumibrite plots on all 12-hour markers as well as the hands. This includes a lume plot that sits just to the right of the date window at 3 o’clock, something not available on the previous references. While unrelated to ISO specification, the bezel insert has been redesigned using a different font and markers at each individual minute in an effort to improve precision and legibility. Furthermore, the area around the crown was redesigned to better prevent dirt, sand, or salt from being caught in hard to clean places. As any diver knows, a quick fresh-water bath after a dive is imperative to prevent corrosion or other damage to the moving bits of your watch.

Grand Seiko SBGA461

The cases of the SBGA461 and SBGA463 differ slightly from their previous counterparts. While the diameter and thickness have held at 44.2mm and 14mm respectively, the lug-to-lug length has shrunk to 50mm from 51mm. While neither of these new models are small watches by any means, the size lends credence to the “tool watch” mentality: it’s certainly easier to read a larger watch at depth than a smaller one. The watches have been rendered in stainless steel (SBGA461) and High-Intensity Titanium (SBGA463), giving buyers the opportunity to choose their level of heft.

Grand Seiko SBGA461

For reference, Grand Seiko notes that the SBGA463 provides a 30% weight reduction over its stainless steel counterpart. Regardless, both are finished to an extremely high standard, with contrasting hairline and Zaratsu-polished surfaces. Visually, titanium models tend to have a bit more of a grey sheen in the metal, but should you not be able to tell at a glance, the SBGA463 has the Grand Seiko logo in gold rather than silver. While none of these are necessarily ground-breaking changes, the small improvements Grand Seiko have made to these two models have resulted in a more complete overall package.

Grand Seiko SBGA461 & SBGA463 pricing and availability:

Grand Seiko SBGA461

The Grand Seiko SBGA461 and SBGA463 will be available December 15th, 2021. Price: $9,100 AUD / $6,100 USD and  $11,300 AUD / $7,300 USD. Go here for more info