VIDEO: Grand Seiko’s elemental SBGW293 and SBGW291 are a celebration of fine detailsBorna Bošnjak
Grand Seiko and special releases – name a better love story. The duo we’re looking at today, the air-inspired silvery SBGW291 Kuuki and earthy SBGW293 Tsuji, continue the prolonged celebration of the 55th anniversary of the brand’s 44GS case. Famous for its sharp, reflective facets and plentiful wrist presence, it takes on a reduced form in the Grand Seiko SBGW293 and SBGW291, one even smaller than the original. While this is only a short overview, you can read the full review here, or check out the video below.
While the case may be familiar, if somewhat reduced, the dials are where these two differ from many notable Grand Seiko releases. There’s no fine brushing, snowy-mountain-peak-inspired texturing nor any bright colours to speak of. Rendered in wispy silver or inconspicuous brown, only a subtle sunburst effect acts as a backdrop to the fabulously faceted indices and somewhat undersized handset. I’m a big fan of this minimal approach, as it really allows the wearer to focus on the small details that Grand Seiko executed so well – note the applied GS logo and thick, printed Grand Seiko script, on a dial otherwise devoid of text.
If you’ve read any of my articles, you’ll surely expect me to revel at the idea of a 36.5mm, three-handed Grand Seiko. And you’re damn right. 36.5mm in diameter, 11.6mm thick and 42.7mm lug-to-lug is very compact, yet there’s still plentiful presence, thanks to the wide flanks and significant height, mostly thanks to a box-domed sapphire crystal that accounts for a couple of millimetres. As is fitting for a 44GS-equipped watch, the facets are wide and have distortion-free reflections, courtesy of GS’s Zaratsu-polish mastery.
The solid caseback is emblazoned with the Grand Seiko lion medallion, and while admittedly not a gold one, it’s in line with the subtle styling of the watch. Having said that, the 9S64 calibre hidden beneath it isn’t just super-accurate, regulated to -3/+5 seconds per day, but also well-decorated, so I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing it through a display caseback.
Grand Seiko SBGW293 and SBGW291 pricing and availability:
|SBGW291 Kuuki SBGW293 Tsuji
|36.5mm x 11.6mm x 42.7mm, 18mm lug width
|Silver sunburst (SBGW291) Brown sunburst (SBGW293)
|Crocodile leather strap
|In-house calibre 9S64, manually-wound, 3-day power reserve