The Grand Seiko SBGJ275 and SBGM253 take to Mount Iwate skies celebrating the 9S movement The Grand Seiko SBGJ275 and SBGM253 take to Mount Iwate skies celebrating the 9S movement

The Grand Seiko SBGJ275 and SBGM253 take to Mount Iwate skies celebrating the 9S movement

Fergus Nash
  • The Grand Seiko SBGJ275 and SBGM253 celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 9S mechanical movement
  • The SBGJ275 from the Sport Collection depicts the cloudy sky above Mt. Iwate
  • The SBGM253 from the Elegance Collection takes a sophisticated approach with a blue sunburst dial

The gradual departure from navy blue to sky blue as a watch dial standard has been increasingly rapid over the last year or two, but Grand Seiko can always be trusted to take dials to the next level. In order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 9S movement line which helped to establish their modern reputation, the Grand Seiko SBGJ275 and SBGM253 have been released with influence from the skies over Mt. Iwate. Covering both sporty and dressy areas, these two Japanese GMTs are definitely going to find their crowds.

Starting with the loudest of the two releases, the SBGJ275 from the Grand Seiko Sport Collection takes its natural inspiration very literally. With an almost watercolour-like application of pale blue and grey swatches, the dial deftly evokes a cloudy sky with a range of formations such as cumulus and cirrus – that one’s for the meteorology nerds out there. The overall tone of the blue contrasted by stark whites paints a picture of a sunny day, rather than anything overcast. You could argue that a vision of a sky like this could be seen anywhere in the world, but beneath the Grand Seiko logo it’s hard to picture anything other than the landscapes surrounding Mt. Iwate and Shizukuishi.

The case is definitely large, with a 44.2mm diameter and a 50.6mm lug-to-lug length, but its size is somewhat necessary to match its personality. Through the sapphire display caseback, you can see the calibre 9S86 with its hi-beat rate of 36,000 vibrations per hour, power reserve of 55 hours,  and chronometer-level accuracy within +5/-3 seconds per day. The automatic winding rotor is made from anodised titanium, giving it that washed-out blue colour which matches the dial. It’s also decorated beautifully, visible through the rotor’s windows, and marked with the Grand Seiko lion seal.

On the dressier side of things, the SBGM253 from the Grand Seiko Elegance Collection is a much more traditional watch. Its take on the sky theme is a powder-blue that’s incredibly dynamic in different lighting conditions thanks to a silky sunburst finish. This brings out many shades within, and is neatly offset by dark blue printing and the GMT hand.

That dark blue can also be seen on the winding rotor of the 9S66, which differs from the other model in its 28,800vph beat rate and extended power reserve of 72 hours. Its case is more tolerant of smaller wrists with a diameter of 39.5mm and a lug-to-lug of 46.9mm, but is still relatively thick at 13.7mm.

Grand Seiko SBGJ275 and SBGM253 pricing and availability:

The Grand Seiko SBGJ275 is a limited edition of 2,000 pieces, and will be exclusive to the online Grand Seiko Boutique from September 2023, before moving into some physical retailers in October. The SBGM253 is limited to only 1,700 pieces, and will be arriving into retailers in October as well.

Price: US$5,600 (Elegance SBGM253), US$7,600 (Sport SBGJ275)

Brand Grand Seiko
Model Caliber 9S 25th Anniversary Limited Editions
Reference Number SBGJ275
Case Dimensions 44.2mm (D) x 14.8mm (T) x 50.6mm (LTL) (SBGJ275)
39.5mm (D) x 13.7mm (T) x 46.9mm (LTL) (SBGM253)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 200 metres (SBGJ275)
30 metres (SBGM253)
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Blue, inspired by skies around Mount Iwate
Strap Three-link steel bracelet with folding clasp
Movement 9S86, 36,000vph, in-house, GMT (SBGJ275)
9S66, 36,000vph, in-house, GMT (SBGM253)
Power Reserve 55 hours (SBGJ275)
72 hours (SBGM253)
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date, GMT
Availability 2,000 pieces, boutique only from September until October 2023 (SBGJ275)
1,700 pieces, available from October (SBGM253)
Price US$7,600 (SBGJ275)
US$5,600 (SBGM253)