INTRODUCING: Two new Grand Seiko Sport Collection Automatic GMTs (and why I immediately bought one) INTRODUCING: Two new Grand Seiko Sport Collection Automatic GMTs (and why I immediately bought one)

INTRODUCING: Two new Grand Seiko Sport Collection Automatic GMTs (and why I immediately bought one)

Ricardo Sime

You ever wish a watch brand does something and then it actually happens? Not some slightly related version of your wish but the actual thing. It’s such an amazing feeling, that for a moment in time it feels like you and the brand are perfectly in sync (almost like they are directly responding to a small ask from an article you posted a short while ago.) That in sync feeling happened at 11:10pm, EST, when my pal Zach called me up and said Grand Seiko is releasing two new GMT’s. And they are automatic. With steel bezels. In the new 40.5mm case. It is time to introduce the two newest members of Grand Seiko’s Sport Collection: the SBGM245 and SBGM247

Both Ref
Grand Seiko SBGM245 & SBGM247

In a current catalogue, spanning four collections, Grand Seiko isn’t short on GMT’s. There are dozens, powered by Spring Drive, 9F quartz or there Hi-Beat movement. However, what was lacking were GMT watches that went back to basics and highlighted their manufacturing prowess with their “regular” movements. Such watches haven’t been seen since the 2011, double signed, SBGM027 or the more recent, hard to find, SBGM227 . Well, all that changes with the SBGM245 and SBGM247.

Grand Seiko SBGM247

Both watches show design cues and specifications that I am very happy to see.  First there is the sizing. At 40.5mm, these watches hit a sweet spot for many people, especially when a certain other steel bezel GMT is still 42mm. Lug-to-lug is also a breath of fresh air at only 48.9mm. And finally there is the 14.4mm thickness, something I know many collectors will debate over. After years of experiencing the brand, I’ve come to realize that this is simply part of their design language. For 200 metres of water resistance and a beautifully deep, rich and intricate dial, I’m OK with the thickness.

A thickness, I might add, that melts away with this case. The high polished sides curve downward at the lugs, which allows the watch to hug the wrist and not feel top heavy. Furthermore, the case slopes inward. So while the measurement at the bezel is 40.5mm, by the time you get to the solid caseback, it’s well below 40mm in width. Grand Seiko continues with the 4 o’clock screw-down crown, which also means nothing is digging into the back of your hand. When you take all these things into account, the watch should feel comfortable on many wrists.

Grand Seiko SBGM245 (Dial)

The second thing that I’m happy to see here, beyond the specifications and case, has to be the dials on these two new references. SBGM245 features a deep, midnight blue dial, with red accented GMT hand and GMT script, both in lacquer. SBGM247 presents a beautiful new light green colour to Grand Seiko’s pallet, with an orange accent being used. Furthermore, the dials reflect those of the recently released SBGE GMT’s, besides the power reserve meter. Another new design element on these SBGM’s is the addition of a stainless-steel frame around the date window.

From the case and dial, the design flows to the bracelet. Predominantly brushed, the sides are polished, just like the case. I was so happy to see Grand Seiko put this watch on its three-link bracelet instead of the five, with the two polished links. That decision really brings home the overall high-end tool watch vibes the brand was trying to communicate here.

Grand Seiko 9S66 movement

Ticking inside is Grand Seiko’s tried and tested, calibre 9S66 movement. It’s a 4 hz movement (28,800 bph) that provides an enviable three days of power reserve on a full wind. Furthermore, it’s has true GMT functionality, in that the hour hand can be moved in hour increments to set local time. All while the seconds and minute hand continue to move.

Wrist Shot
Grand Seiko SBGM247

Overall, these new references make a strong case for being two of the best GMT watches currently on the market. There will of course be comparisons to the Rolex Explorer II, simply because of the brushed bezel. But at a fraction of the cost, and with arguably a more intricate and detailed dial, the value GS is bringing to the table here is really unmatched. For any collector currently looking for a GMT, the sporty vibes, eye-catching case and colours of SBGM245 and SBGM247 make them really hard to pass up. So hard in fact, that this writer walked straight into his friendly neighborhood Grand Seiko authorised dealer and threw down a deposit.

November can’t come soon enough!

Grand Seiko Sport Collection Automatic GMT Price and Availability:

Both references, SBGM245 and SBGM247, are priced at $5700 USD. The watches are available for preorder from Grand Seiko Boutiques and authorized dealers. They will start shipping out in November, 2021.