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The New Grand Seiko 44GS Limited SBGW289 Is a True 36.5mm Stunner (Live Pics & Price)

Compact and pink... And clearly not reserved for a feminine audience.

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Brice Goulard | ic_query_builder_black_24px 4 min read |
Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition Cherry Blossom Sakura SBGW289

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!

Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition Cherry Blossom Sakura SBGW289

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.

Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition Cherry Blossom Sakura SBGW289

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.

Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition Cherry Blossom Sakura SBGW289

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.

Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition Cherry Blossom Sakura SBGW289

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.

Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition Cherry Blossom Sakura SBGW289

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.

Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition Cherry Blossom Sakura SBGW289

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

https://monochrome-watches.com/grand-seiko-heritage-44gs-sakura-36-5mm-sakura-pink-sbgw289-hands-on-price/

15 responses

  1. This size on the SBGW231 models would knock it out of the ballpark

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  2. This is indeed a stunner. I find it challenging to come up with a time-only watch that can compete with this one at this price. GS design often leaves me a bit cold, but this one is fantastic. If GS gets at least part of their collection to about 10-11mm height, it is going to be game over for a lot of the Swiss creations in this segment.

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  3. Comments just so entertaining. Yes. The swiss are shaking in their loafers. Anyways, a bit small but my wife may like it on her 5.5” wrist.

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  4. Nice looking watch, and a good size. That dial looks just a hint of pink, just enough to be a bit different.
    I often wonder how long it will remain resistant to 100m. No screw down crown and it being hand wound so the stem seals are constantly subjected to some wear. I would treat it as not being water resistant

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  5. Hope they do another one with that dial layout and those hands. The hands are what really make it for me. Best they’ve don’t IMO

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  6. So they can make right sized watches, they just don’t want to.
    Is it so hard to offer something like this in the regular collection, with a 1.5 mm thicker case to house an automatic caliber?

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  7. I’m curious on what the lug width of this watch is, and does that bracelet taper? (It’s not entirely obvious from the photos). Thanks!

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  8. @Alex – we didn’t have enough time with the watch to measure the lug width. And as for the bracelet, it is straight, it doesn’t taper.

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  9. On other sites their pictures make it look VERY pink, who to believe ?

  10. @Ray – having seen the watch in the metal (and our photos are live ones, not press ones) I can tell you that the pink colour is very subtle. Even took me a few minutes to really see that it was pink.

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  11. @Brice Goulard. Between this and the green Birch? Which one would you prefer? I am torn between getting my first grand seiko. This has a pink dial which i think is fascinating but then again miss the date and automatic function. But again its like you mentioned versatile and simple watch. Would love to hear your thoughts. Stock of this watch is quickly going so woulnd’t want to miss out.

  12. @Justin – that is a difficult question, since this small 44GS and the green birch are really different watches. But (and that’s really, only my personal take) as a first GS watch, I’d go for the green birch, being more practical, less “niche” in terms of style and size. It’ll be a superb daily-beater. This small 44GS is more of a collector’s piece in my opinion, that will be less easy to wear and, as you said, is hand-wound and no-date. But, really, that’s only me 🙂

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  13. @Brice Goulard. Thank you for the feedback appreciate it. Decisions decisions!!!

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