Introduced a couple of years ago, and now including some brilliant models such as the White Birch SLGH005 and its Spring Drive sister SLGA009, the Evolution 9 is the latest of Grand Seiko’s collections and does represent its future with new design language and innovative movements. For now mostly reserved to the Heritage collection, as part of Watches and Wonders Geneva, the Japanese manufacturer is now expanding this new design language and adapting it to its sports collection. Altogether, this will concern 5 new models, and we start with the Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Sport Spring Drive GMT SBGE283 & SBGE285.
Based on the Grand Seiko Grammar of Style, which has inspired each and every creation since 1967, the Evolution 9 Collection (which we’ve extensively explained in this article) takes the legibility and comfort of Grand Seiko models to a new level. Evolution 9 is all about modernizing the collection, making them more contemporary visually but also mechanically, as well as a slight transformation of the cases with the aim of making them more ergonomic, yet without betraying the emblematic Grammar of Style. Impressively sharp again, the Evolution 9 collection feels also more refined, more deeply conceived than in the past, and many of the watches also play on nature inspirations to create dramatic textured dials. And finally, the Evolution 9 collection was also the vehicle for the introduction of new generations of automatic and Spring Drive movements.
For now, we’ve mostly seen these new guidelines applied to the Heritage collection, with models such as the automatic White Birch, the Spring Drive White Birch, the Green Birch or the high-end Tree Ring. It’s now time for the Sport collection to undergo its transformation. All in all, Grand Seiko is releasing 5 new models in the collection for the Geneva-based fair; two feature a GMT movement, two are GMT chronographs and the fifth is a 200m diver’s watch.
We start now with the two watches that made the best impression on us, the Spring Drive GMT SBGE283 (black) and SBGE285 (grey snowflake). These watches are built around the brand’s High-intensity titanium, making them robust yet extremely light on the wrist – surprisingly light actually, as you’d expect such sports watches to be far heavier. The first impression is quite special, yet once on the wrist, these new models are extremely comfortable. Both are identical, with the exception of the dial and measure a pleasant 41mm diameter, with a height of 13.9mm. The dial is framed by an external, brushed bezel with a 24h scale. Note that this bezel here is fixed and doesn’t rotate.
The evolution of the design, compared to previous models such as the SBGM245 & SBGM247 we’ve introduced here, is mostly visible on the side of the habillage – case and dial. The case opts for a new shape, which is typical GS yet with some differences. There are still sharp angles all around, yet the shapes are more complex, with more curves and fewer straight lines. The polished bevels running alongside the case have a complex shape too and the crown, classically positioned at 3 o’clock, is also recessed between protective shoulders. There’s a more refined feeling when handling these new Spring Drive GMT SBGE283 & SBGE285, despite them being fairly robust with screw-down crown and 100m water-resistance.
The dial also opts for the design evolutions seen first on the White Birch. This means larger, bolder applied markers and hands – note that all elements are largely covered with luminous material, in line with the sporty vocation of these watches. The first model, the SBGE283, features a pitch-black dial, offering superb contrast with the hands and markers. There’s no specific texture on this dial. The second model, my favourite of all the 2022 novelties if you ask me, is the SBGE285 and features a light grey dial with a vertical snowflake texture. This colour blends in with the case and makes for a very coherent watch. Despite the tone-on-tone look, the hands and markers are well contrasted too. The display remains classic for GS, with a central 24h GMT hand and power reserve between 7 and 8 o’clock. A framed date window is located at 3 o’clock, something clearly in line with the GMT function.
Inside these new SBGE283 & SBGE285 is a well-known movement, the Calibre 9R66 (not from the latest generation with 5-day power reserve). This Spring Drive calibre is combining automatic winding and superior precision of a Quartz regulator – announced accuracy of ±1 second per day or ±15 seconds per month. This movement stores up to 72 hours of energy when fully wound. It is visible under a sapphire caseback and decorated in a typical GS way.
Both new Evolution 9 Sport Spring Drive GMT are worn on a 3-link High-intensity titanium bracelet with fully brushed links. It’s closed by a folding clasp with a push-button release (still no micro-adjustment…)
Availability & Price
The Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Sport Spring Drive GMT SBGE283 (black) and SBGE285 (Snowflake grey) will be released as part of the permanent collection and won’t be limited. They will be available in August 2022 and priced at EUR 8,500.
For more details, please visit grand-seiko.com.