At first, when I first saw this new Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGW289 (that’s its full, uncharming name), I imagined it to be advertised as the brand’s latest feminine creation. On paper, with its compact case and light-pink coloured dial, it had some arguments to become a great option for active women who are not into diamonds. This was until I strapped this SBGW289 around my wrist and realised Grand Seiko actually made a stunning 36.5mm hand-wound watch that I would clearly be happy to add to my collection… Forget about the sakura inspiration, the gender-related preconceived ideas about pink or the rather compact diameter announced by the brand. The new pink Grand Seiko 44GS Limited Edition SBGW289 is the new time-only GS to consider!
What you’re looking at is a watch with all the attributes of the 44GS collection, in a compact case. Launched in 1967, this watch is one of the most important for the brand, as it introduced the Grammar of Design conceived by Taro Tanaka, and that is still in use today. Sharp edges, large polished surfaces, razor-like flanks, unobtrusive bezel, reflective surfaces achieved thanks to the Zaratsu technique, highly contrasting dial elements… Everything that has made Grand Seiko’s design famous over the years is here back but with different proportions – understand more compact, but no less impactful.
Most of the time, the watches that fall into the 44GS collection measure about 40mm in diameter. Yet, the design launched in 1967 also comes with large shoulder and pronounced lugs, making the surface covered by the case on the wrist rather high. It’s not that the 44GS is a big watch, but it’s a watch that has more presence than the numbers indicate. Now, what we have with the pink 44GS Limited SBGW289 is a reduced case, both in diameter and height, but still with great wrist presence. I know the official images of GS are full of pink flowers, but trust me when I say that on the wrist, it is not a watch that looks feminine. And at that same time, it’ll be great for active women too.
At 36.5mm in diameter, the SBGW289 is extremely well proportioned for a time-only watch. The lug-to-lug is also very compact, at 42.7mm. And the thickness, if not ultra-thin, is a very decent 11.6mm, to be considered visually lower since the watch has a box-shaped sapphire crystal. On the wrist, this watch never felt undersized for my 16.5cm wrist. I can imagine that men with wrists over 18cm will find it too small, but for many of us, it’ll simply be superb. And since the watch is worn on a 3-link brushed and polished stainless steel bracelet, it doesn’t feel delicate and dressy either. Plus, the sharpness of the 44GS collection brings that edginess you’d expect from a casual watch. Wrist presence; check. Wrist balance; check. Visual impact; check. And with a 100m water-resistance, it’s even good for weekends.
The dial of the Grand Seiko 44GS Limited SBGW289 is said to be inspired by “Sakura-kakushi, the brief moment in spring when, in northern Japan, snow and cherry blossom co-exist.” The result is simply a very handsome textured dial that brings a silvery impression in most circumstances, with just a slight pink hue to bring something different, something original but not intrusive. And knowing the positive reception around the pink dial Shunbun SBGA413, no doubt many will be attracted by this typical GS dial. Hands and applied markers are traditional of the brand’s production, meaning superbly detailed and bevelled to an impressive level. Thanks to the multiple facets, the contrast between the elements is never at fault, even though they’ve been redimensioned for more elegance.
Inside the case of this 36.5mm stunner is a well-known movement, the Calibre 9S64. This hand-wound engine is at the foundation of one of our favourite GS models, the time-only SBGW231 – also named by our founder The Japanese Calatrava. The 9S64 is here hidden behind a closed caseback but retains all its attributes, meaning a 4Hz frequency, 72h of power reserve and a claimed accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds per day.
Availability & Price
The Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGW289 will be available as of June 2022 from Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide. It will be limited to 1,200 pieces and priced at EUR 5,400. For more details, please visit www.grand-seiko.com.
12/04/2022 - update regarding the exact lug-to-lug measurement