VIDEO: The mesmerising dial of the icy blue Grand Seiko SBGY007Zach Blass
Grand Seiko has continually dazzled us this past year with a variety of strong releases. Each reference upholds the brand’s grammar of design, a winning formula to produce highly technical and aesthetic timepieces. One of the most well-known designs is the Grand Seiko SBGA211 Snowflake, a modern classic within the catalogue. But while revered, some purists felt the dial was too complicated with a date window and power reserve indicator on the dial – leaving some imagining what a clean Snowflake dial would look like. Grand Seiko has now introduced something of an answer to that query, the new Grand Seiko SBGY007 – a slender stainless-steel Elegance Collection watch equally inspired by Japan and its surrounding nature.
The classic but modern specifications will appeal to a broad audience of wrists, with a diameter of 38.5mm, thickness of 10.2mm, and compact lug-to-lug measurement of 43.4mm. The rounded stainless-steel case features Zaratsu distortion-free mirror finishing to the front facing elements of the case, its sides finished with a rich satin brush. The outer lug shoulders have a hairline polished bevel to add vintage sensibilities to its geometry.
At a rushed first glance you might assume the Snowflake has finally arrived in a time-only, stainless-steel configuration. Technically this is not the case, but what the SBGY007 presents is equally interesting and nature-inspired. There is a reason Grand Seiko’s motto is “the Nature of Time” as many of their references leverage environmental muses. The icy blue dial has a more macro texture than what you would find on the SBGA211, and is an artistic representation of the frozen waters of Lake Suwa when winter arrives. Its texture embodies the cracks and ridges that form on the frozen surface, their formation rooted in mythical legend. Grand Seiko explains: “Legend calls this Omiwatari, or where the Shinto gods walk out over the ice. This legend has inspired the craftsmen and women of Grand Seiko at the nearby Shinshu Watch Studio to create a timepiece that invokes the beauty of this natural phenomenon.”
The icy blue colour is subtle, a hue that emboldens itself more or less depending on how the dial catches the light. In any case the dial is crisp and clean, its simplicity a clear example of when less can be more. The razor-sharp hands and faceted hour markers have been distortion-free mirror-polished to increase both beauty and legibility. Considering the bright tone of the dial, it makes sense to incorporate a finish that will darken the hands and markers under light – creating the contrasting light and shadow elements that Grand Seiko is known for. A hand-blued central seconds smoothly sweeps across the dial, fluid like the water of Lake Suwa beneath the frozen surface.
The 30 metre water-resistant SBGY007 is issued on a black crocodile strap with blue stitching and underside calf leather to pair with the icy blue tone of the dial. Instead of the more basic pin/buckle system, buyers are treated to a full-on deployant folding clasp in case-matching stainless steel to elevate the aesthetic and its sense of luxury.
Inside the watch is the highly attractive and accurate in-house caliber 9R31. The hand-wound spring drive caliber leverages a dual spring barrel, allowing the movement to uphold the usual 72 hours of power reserve found in Grand Seiko movements. If you are missing the power reserve complication, do not fret. The 9R31 caliber features a power reserve indicator on its full bridge plate, providing complication without complicating the dial. The 9R31 has a clean finish, with a hairline satin brush across the plate embedded with blued screws, jewels, and small cut-outs that allow you to have a peak at the gears moving beneath.
If you were teary-eyed at missing out on the limited edition SBGY003, the standard production Grand Seiko SBGY007 is a great way to add a clean dressy yet technical watch to your collection.
Grand Seiko SBGY007 pricing and availability:
The Grand Seiko SBGY007 will be available in July 2021 via Grand Seiko Boutiques and select retail partners. Price: $8,300 USD / $12,400 AUD
Made in partnership with Grand Seiko. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.