Scenes of nature and texture have long been a tradition for Grand Seiko. The Snowflake watch, also known as the Spring Drive SBGA211, is surely the most famous example of this design language. Since then, we’ve seen countless models built around nature, architecture or seasonal changes. One of the brand’s recurring themes is winter scenes in Japan, which is the theme that is evoked on the dial of the new reference SBGJ271, based on the beloved Elegance GMT watch – which you might know from this model – here with a Hi-Beat automatic movement.
What truly matters in this new watch, nicknamed Yukigesho, is the texture and colour of the dial. The texture isn’t new and was already used in the reference SBGH269; however, it was used to evoke autumnal scenes and wooden floors. This vertically striped pattern, with an irregular texture that somewhat reminds of uneven Geneva stripes, is now back in a silvery-white tone with the appearance of snow-covered trees. It is inspired by Yukigesho, a poetic expression used to describe the dusting of snow. The graphic, complex pattern brings a new dynamism to this reference and yet feels unquestionably Grand Seiko.
The texture of this new Hi-Beat GMT Yukigesho SBGJ271 is combined with the razor-sharp hands and indexes found in the Elegance collection. Fully polished, with a pronounced bevel on the side, these hands catch the light and remain surprisingly legible in low light conditions, even if no lume is to be found on the dial. The central GMT hand is, on its side, picked out in black for some contrast.
The rest of the watch is a no-surprise release. It uses the classic case of Elegance GMT models, with its soft, rounded style and beautifully Zaratsu-polished surfaces. Measuring 39.5mm in diameter, the lug-to-lug is reasonable, too (just below 47mm). Only the thickness of this model is questionable – 14mm is surely a bit on the thick side for a dressy watch. It is topped by a charming box-shaped sapphire crystal. Water-resistance, despite the screwed back, is also limited at 30 metres.
This new Yukigesho SBGJ271 adds a slight layer of casualness with its 3-link stainless steel bracelet, closed by a folding clasp. Under the sapphire caseback is the brand’s in-house, automatic calibre 9S86. This movement is notable for its high frequency of 5Hz, its claimed accuracy of +5/-3 seconds/day accuracy and the presence of a true GMT function that will be helpful when travelling. The power reserve is comfortable, too, at 55 hours when fully wound.
Availability & Price
The new Grand Seiko Elegance Hi-Beat GMT Yukigesho SBGJ271 is released as part of the permanent collection and will be available from boutiques and retailers from March 2023. It will be priced at EUR 7,600 or USD 7,100. For more details, please visit www.grand-seiko.com.
Live images sourced from the Grand Seiko GS9 Club USA.