Judging by the relentless stream of Grand Seiko press releases, it’s patently clear that this Japanese brand is dead set on conquering Western markets. And although Grand Seiko is the higher-range offering of Seiko, it’s not all dead serious content. The latest Grand Seiko unites two Japanese icons to celebrate their respective anniversaries in a limited-edition watch that is destined to sell like hotcakes: Grand Seiko Spring Drive Technology celebrates its 20th anniversary and Godzilla, Japan’s infamous monster, turns 65 in 2019. Let’s have a look at this new SBGA405 Godzilla 65th Anniversary.
Two Japanese hybrids, One Watch
The coupling of a Grand Seiko sports model and a legendary Japanese monster is hardly coincidental. It turns out that in Godzilla’s screen debut of 1954, the monster appears in a scene in Ginza (Tokyo), the birthplace of Seiko, as he destroys the famous clock tower of the Wako building. For the record, the clock tower of the Wako building is still a landmark in Tokyo and has been a prominent Seiko retail outlet since 1952.
The “King of all Monsters”, a hideous hybrid, a cross between a sea monster and a dinosaur with muscular arms and serrated plates along his back and tail, has a potent weapon of mass destruction, very in tune with Japanese history. According to legend, Godzilla was awoken and empowered by nuclear radiation and, when provoked, releases a deadly radioactive heat ray from his mouth. If you want to catch up with Godzilla’s latest adventures and upcoming films, you can visit this dedicated site.
Spring Drive technology, a unique hybrid of mechanical components regulated by a quartz regulator was introduced by the brand 20 years ago. The goal behind mixing a traditional mainspring with an electronic regulator was to create an ‘everlasting’ watch with colossal quartz precision. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Grand Seiko has unveiled a spate of GS Spring Drive watches this year including the imposing Sport Collection (SBGA403, SBGC230 and SBGC231), the GMT Sport Two-Tone (SBGE248), the Chronograph (with Nissan SBGC229) and even the elegant Snowflake dress model (SBGA211). Luckily, the new Godzilla watch manages to integrate the presence of a cult screen monster with a watch that is still wearable. Last year we saw the GS Spring Drive Ninja Shuriken (SBGA211G) with a shuriken-star bezel and razor-sharp Zaratsu-polished edges that defied the concept of wearability!
A Mighty resilient case
As you can see, the case is mighty on all fronts. Measuring 44.5mm in diameter and 14.3mm thick, the hardened titanium case is similar to the time-and-date model (SBGA403) of the Sport collection introduced earlier this year. The architecture of the case, with its pronounced, powerful angles, denotes strength and resilience, a suitable adversary for the wrath of Godzilla. Thanks to the curve of the lugs and the low centre of gravity of the case, the watch sits comfortably on any wrist and the fact that it is made from titanium means that it won’t weigh you down. Expertly finished by hand with Zaratsu-polished and brushed surfaces, the watch has a screw-down crown for a beefy 200m water-resistance. The sapphire crystal case back features a stamped scene of Godzilla destroying the Wako clock tower.
Flaming red dial
The dial, with its intense fiery-red colour, evokes the colour of the nasty radioactive rays that Godzilla releases from his mouth when angered. Decorated with an eye-catching sunray pattern that emanates from the centre, the dial is similar to the one featured on a GS Hand-Wound Spring Drive model (SBGA403) released during Baselworld 2019. As we have come to expect from GS watches, all the finishes on the dial (and elsewhere) are superlative. The indices, bristling with textures and facetted for extra relief, are applied to the dial with a thick streak of Lumibrite on the 6 and 12 o’clock hour markers and on the numerals on the sapphire crystal bezel. The hour hand has a blunted tip, and along with the tip of the central seconds hand and the minutes hand, is treated with luminescence. A small fan-shaped indicator between 7 and 8 o’clock lets you know how much petrol is in the tank and there is also a date window at 3 o’clock with its corresponding bevelled frame. Protected under a dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, the dial is highly legible and ready for action.
Automatic Spring Drive 3-Day Calibre 9R15
Powering the watch is Grand Seiko Spring Drive calibre 9R15. The 9R refers to the presence of Spring Drive technology, Grand Seiko’s revolutionary hybrid solution using a quartz crystal oscillator for a watch wound with a mainspring. The unprecedented accuracy in this combination means that this particular calibre can offer a ±0.5 second per day or ±10 seconds per month rate of precision. To highlight the enhanced accuracy of the 9R15, the central rotor features an 18k Grand Seiko lion counterweight. In addition to its formidable accuracy and 72h power reserve, the movement can resist magnetic fields of up to 4,800 A/m.
The texture of the strap accompanying the watch is spectacular and emulates the rough skin of a dinosaur/reptile with its dark scaly patches. To obtain this effect, the strap is made from shark skin and treated with black and red pigments and relief to recreate the colour and rough surface of the monster’s hide. The strap is secured to the wrist with a three-fold clasp with push-button release.
Availability and price
Available in November for a retail price of EUR 12,700, only 650 watches of the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Godzilla SBGA405 will be sold worldwide. More information at seikowatches.com.