For its first participation at Watches & Wonders, Japanese manufacturer Grand Seiko has focused on spreading the concept of the Evolution 9 collection throughout its sportiest models. Previously reserved for Heritage models such as the White Birch, the updated Grammar of Design now finds its way into the sports collection with a series of GMT or diver’s watches and this impressive Spring Drive GMT Chronograph released in a limited edition to celebrate its 15th anniversary. And although there will also be a classic, non-limited black edition (ref. SBGC251), the SBGC249 we’re going to discover today stands out with a crazy blue bezel.
Since 2007 Grand Seiko has had a pretty impressive watch in its collection, a chronograph that isn’t just a chronograph. Indeed, its complex movement combines a mechanical, column-wheel chronograph with a GMT complication and Spring Drive regulation, a rather unique combination that has always attracted attention. Now, for the 15th anniversary of this watch, it undergoes a substantial evolution to join the Evolution 9 collection with a new case and new dial elements.
Basically, Grand Seiko has reworked the case for better ergonomics and an even more refined look. At 45.3mm in diameter and 15.8mm in height, it’s not a dressy watch and will require solid wrists. But what the brand has done is give this big and bold model a slightly more curved profile, a lower centre of gravity, slightly shorter lugs and a bit less thickness. This model is also cased in high-intensity titanium (basically grade 5 titanium), making it relatively light on the wrist. The sides show new curved, polished bevels and protective shoulders next to the crown – which screws down, ensuring the 100m water-resistance. Also, the pushers have been redesigned and are now drastically smaller than before, which clearly makes the watch more appealing.
This Chronograph GMT Spring Drive 15th Anniversary SBGC249 is equipped with a bidirectional 24h bezel, which has a smooth rotation (no clicks) and a sapphire insert. The insert is blue coloured on the inner face producing a striking result. At certain angles, the bezel appears almost black, while in low-angle light, it turns a chrome blue. Quite fascinating indeed.
The dark blue, sunray-brushed blue dial of the SBGC249 is, as with all models in this range, fairly complex. In the centre, you’ll find hours, minutes and a 24h gold-coloured GMT hand. There’s also the chronograph’s central seconds hand. The framed date window is positioned at 3 o’clock, and the power reserve indicator is at 7 o’clock. As for the chronograph, it’s a somewhat atypical tri-compax layout, with the small seconds at 9 o’clock and two stacked counters on the right side. The dial also features new applied markers and hands, in line with the standards of the Evolution 9 collection.
Visible under the sapphire crystal is the calibre 9R96, an even more finely regulated version of the classic 9R86. The integrated Spring Drive automatic engine has a column-wheel and vertical clutch architecture that is partially visible under the bridges and the central rotor. It stores up to 72 hours of power reserve when fully wound and is regulated to an accuracy of ±0.5 seconds per day or ±10 seconds per month.
Availability & Price
The Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Chronograph GMT Spring Drive 15th Anniversary SBGC249 is worn on a titanium bracelet with a folding clasp. It is a limited edition of 700 pieces, available from June 2022. It will be priced at EUR 12,500.
For more details, please visit grand-seiko.com.