While Grand Seiko has been focusing recently on the development of its Spring Drive movements and on a slightly refreshed design language oriented on nature – look at the mighty White Birch to get a good example of that strategy – the brand is also a solid provider of sports watches, including highly robust diver’s watches. Today the brand is releasing two new classic watches in its family of sports models, with Hi-Beat automatic movements and typical GS specifications. Meet the new Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 200m Diver SBGH289 and SBGH291.
Grand Seiko is certainly no stranger to the dive watch category and has been playing around the concept for many years now. It has even provided some truly impressive models, such as the SBGH255 and SBGH257, or more recently the SLGA001 that also came with a brand new Spring Drive movement. Today’s watches are less instrumental, and more what we’d call classic recreational dive watches. Slightly less rugged, slightly less massive, but still performing well underwater, or simply with a casual attire during the weekend. In fact, if you look back at the brand’s recent history, these new 200m Diver SBGH289 and SBGH291 could well be the automatic counterparts to the well-known Spring Drive SBGA231, since it brings back most design cues, yet with a different movement.
The case of these new Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 200m is relatively large at 43.8mm and robust in shape, typical of the brand’s sports watches. It features strong shoulders and prominent lugs, with a combination of brushes surfaces and polished (Zaratsu polished, of course) accents. The case comes will all necessary equipment for recreational diving, including crown guards, a screwed caseback, a screw-down crown and is water-resistant to 200 metres.
But beyond these classic specifications, it is also featuring interesting parts, such as a unidirectional bezel with a black glossy insert (not ceramic, but it comes with Hard Coating), equipped with a fully graduated 60-minute scale. Note that the bezel has a four-part design that makes for easy disassembly and re-assembly at the Grand Seiko Service Centers, in order to keep the watch clean after diving sessions. It also comes with a sapphire crystal and the deep notches on the bezel’s ring allow for easy grip.
As said, there are two versions of the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 200m Diver presented today, and the difference is not only about the colour of the dial. The first model, the SBGH289, comes with a stainless steel case and bracelet, both with hard coating, as well as a deep blue dial. The other version, the SBGH291, is housed in a High-Intensity Titanium (with hard coating too) case and a matching bracelet, allowing for lightness, resistance and comfort on the wrist. It comes with a black dial and has a gold-coloured GS logo. As you can see, there’s a slight difference in texture and colour between the two cases.
The dial is simple and typical of dive watches, with legibility and contrast in mind. It features oversized applied indexes, which are identical to the now discontinued SBGA231. The same goes for the hands, each having its own distinctive design, to ensure that the time can be read easily and without error. All the elements are largely filled with LumiBrite, and contrast well over the dark matte blue or matte black background. The display is complemented by a framed date window at 3 o’clock.
Under the screwed back is the calibre 9S85, an automatic movement characterised by its high frequency of 5Hz or 36,000 vibrations per hour. Boasting 55 hours of power reserve when fully wound, it is also finely regulated, with a claimed accuracy ranging from -3 to +5 seconds/day (well within chronometric standards).
As said, both Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 200m Diver SBGH289 and SBGH291 come on a metallic bracelet, respectively in stainless steel or in High-Intensity Titanium. The 3-link design and the combination of brushed and polished surfaces are classic, and it is closed by a folding clasp with an adjustable diving extension.
The two Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 200m Diver Automatic will be released as part of the permanent collection as of October 1st, 2021. The Steel SBGH289 will retail for EUR 7,200 and the titanium will retail for EUR 8,600. For more details, please visit grand-seiko.com.