Not all new releases need to be groundbreaking, ultra-innovative, equipped with a new movement or come with an entirely new design. For that, Grand Seiko this year presented the Tentagraph, its first-ever mechanical chronograph. Sometimes, small touches to an existing and emblematic collection are welcome, just to make sure a cornerstone product remains up to date. Well, this is exactly what Grand Seiko is doing here, by slightly refreshing its 44GS Hi-Beat Collection (time-and-date and GMT). 5 references in total, all replacing existing models, with small adjustments on the cases, bracelets and dials. Because this series of classic watches didn’t need anything more…
Let’s get the boring things out of the equation right now. The 5 new references replace existing models from the permanent collection, as such:
- the new time-and-date SBGH299 replaces the SBGH277 – silver dial
- the new time-and-date SBGH301 replaces the SBGH279 – dark grey dial (used to be lighter grey)
- the new GMT SBGJ263 replaces the SBGJ201 – silver dial
- the new GMT SBGJ265 replaces the SBGJ203 – black dial
- the new GMT Boutique-only SBGJ267 replaces the SBGJ235 – blue dial
All the new models from this updated Grand Seiko 44GS Hi-Beat collection share the same overall specifications, with a design inspired by the emblematic 1967 model named 44GS, a watch that was crucial in the definition of the brand’s style and so-called Grammar of Design. All models measure 40mm in diameter, with the classic faceted case of the collection, with strong, angular shoulders and Zaratsu polished flat surfaces. The time-and-date models are 13.3mm in height, the GMT watches are 14.4mm in height. All are equipped with a dual-curved sapphire crystal, a see-through screwed back, a screw-down crown and a 100m water-resistance.
Also, all models in this 44GS series of Hi-Beat watches are worn on a 19mm bracelet with a three-fold clasp with push-button release. Inside, the time-and-date SBGH299 and SBGH301 have the in-house automatic calibre 9S85, a 5Hz movement with 55h power reserve and accuracy rated at -3/+5 seconds per day. The GMT SBGJ263, SBGJ265 and SBGJ267 watches are so-called traveller’s GMT models, with the calibre 9S86 beating at 5Hz, storing 55h power reserve and accuracy rated at -3/+5 seconds per day. All of that, so far, is actually identical to discontinued watches.
So what changes then…? First of all, this new Grand Seiko 44GS Hi-Beat collection is now made of Ever-Brilliant Steel (internal name for 904L steel), which is more resistant to corrosion and comes with a whiter shine than stainless steel. This alloy is, of course, used for the case and bracelet. Then, all models either benefit from new shades for the dial, or new shades and new texture. All models feature the acclaimed Mt. Iwate pattern, a strong sunray effect that recalls the mountain near the Shizukuishi Watch Studio (where mechanical GS watches are made).
Talking time-and-date watches, the SBGH299 features a silvery-white dial (the previous version had a sunray-brushed silver dial), while the SBGH301 now has a dark grey dial (the previous version had a vertically brushed grey dial). Also, the markers have been updated to the latest style of GS, now shorter and larger.
As for the GMT models, changes are minimal. The GMT hand is picked up in a contrasting colour – blued or gold-coloured – with the SBGJ263 having a silver dial, the SBGJ265 a dark grey dial and the SBGJ267, still a boutique-only edition, having a dark blue dial. Overall, the colours and contrasting accents have been toned down slightly for a more discreet, more elegant look altogether.
All the new watches from the updated Grand Seiko 44GS Hi-Beat Collection will be available from April 1st, 2023 from the brand’s boutique and retailers (except the blue, which is reserved for the brand’s boutiques). Prices are EUR 7,400 for the time-and-date watches, and EUR 7,800 for the GMT models. More details at www.grand-seiko.com.