If you’re into watches, you certainly have noticed that this year, Japan’s top watchmaker Grand Seiko is celebrating its 60th anniversary. As such, we’ve seen multiple new releases, most of them based on a dark blue colour for the dial and for certain elements of the habillage. Think about the Hi-Beat SBGH281, the elegant SBGW259 (recreation of the first-ever GS watch) or the simple SBGR321. Today, it’s all about boldness, luxury and high-tech, with the new Grand Seiko Sport Collection Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 60th Anniversary Limited Edition… or to put it simply, the new reference SBGC238.
This new limited edition should seem familiar to most GS enthusiasts as it is based on the shape and design of the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Sport Collection introduced at Baselworld 2019. Sharp, angular, almost aggressive in design and with masculine proportions, we’re in a very different territory from the elegant and restrained Hand-Wound SBGW231, for instance. But that’s the purpose of the Sports collection.
As a declination of the existing (but also limited) SBGC230, the new 60th Anniversary Limited Edition is still based on the same 18k rose gold case with polished and brushed facets and sharp lines. The whole watch is actually inspired by the lion, a highly symbolic animal at Grand Seiko because it is the brand’s emblem. For instance, the sharp lugs look like a lion’s nail (according to the brand). Despite the 44.5mm diameter, the brand has worked on the proportions, with angled lugs to ensure a soft fit on the wrist. The watch is equipped with two oversized pushers and a screw-down crown ensuring a robust 200m water-resistance.
The case of the SBGC238 is topped by a double-domed sapphire crystal and a fixed bezel with a sapphire insert to display a second time zone with a 24h scale. This colour is actually the thematic line of this edition and pays tribute to Japanese culture: “This distinctive blue colour of indigo dye, known as ‘Katsu-iro’ was favoured and used by the Samurai for their armour and represented their bravery.”
The dial of this Grand Seiko SBGC238 also combines the colour blue and lion-inspired details. The background features a dark blue colour and the texture recalls a lion’s mane. The pattern is actually quite pleasing and gives the watch a unique look. The hands, faceted and bevelled as most GS watches, are large and combined with oversized applied markers. All are generously filled with Lumibrite. The chronograph hands are all treated in a gold colour to match the case. Complementing the design is a bold strap, made of crocodile leather in indigo blue with gold-coloured grooves, and closed by an 18k rose gold triple-folding clasp.
The display is typical of Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive Chronograph GMT watches, with small seconds at 9 o’clock and two originally positioned sub-counters on the right side – 30-minute and 12-hour totalisers. The second time zone is independent and displayed classically in the centre. Finally, a power reserve indicator and a date will be helpful on a daily basis.
Under a sapphire caseback with a transferred GS lion logo, the SBGC238 is equipped with the in-house calibre 9R96, a hybrid movement with Spring Drive technology. Combining the beauty of a mechanical engine, the practicality of an automatic winding and the precision of a quartz regulator, this engine is complemented by a column-wheel chronograph, which benefits from the smooth motion of the seconds hand. This 72-hour power reserve movement has an accuracy rated at ±0.5 second per day.
Price and availability
The Grand Seiko Sport Collection Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 60th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGC238 is a limited edition of 100 watches, which will be available from October 2020. It will be priced at JPY 5,060,000 (incl. taxes in Japan). As a reference, the SBGC230 was priced at EUR 44,800, so expect this new model to be around the same price.
More details at www.grand-seiko.com.