We are only a couple of weeks into the new year, and already it seems like Grand Seiko is firing on all cylinders. Following the icy-blue SBGA247 and SBHG295 came a new interpretation of the White Birch, the SLGA009 Spring Drive. Next in line is a pair of rather impressive – for many reasons – sports-GMT models celebrating two specific anniversaries. Here are the Grand Seiko GMT 20th Anniversary SBGE275 and Grand Seiko Chronograph 15th Anniversary SBGC247.
This new pair of watches by Grand Seiko is designed to capture the spirit and beauty of winter in Shinshu, Japan, the region where it makes its Spring Drive and quartz watches. Inspired by the snowcaps surrounding the Shinshu Watch Studio, we once again see Grand Seiko’s ability to transfer the beauty of nature into a watch through textures and colours. The dial for both novelties mimics the look of the rough texture of snow and ice in the Hodaka mountains. Grand Seiko has played with these textures before, albeit in different colours, in the Shunbun SBGA413, and Taisetsu SBGA415, both part of the Heritage 4 Seasons collection.
Grand Seiko GMT 20th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGE275
Grand Seiko released its first-ever GMT watch in 2002, and although it didn’t feature Spring Drive technology, the brand honours its 20th anniversary with the new SBGE275. Its brushed and polished case comes in stainless steel and measures a rather large 44mm in diameter and 14.9mm in height. The bezel features a sapphire two-tone white and blue insert with a 24-hour scale. Thanks to its robust construction and a screw-down crown it has a water-resistance of 200m.
The dial has a sloped inner flange matching the bezel, again divided into white (day) and blue (night) sections. The dial has that icy-white texture and colour mentioned earlier. As you’d expect with a Grand Seiko watch, the applied indices and hands are Zaratsu-polished and faceted. The central GMT hand is executed in black with a triangular tip. And it’s a true traveller’s watch, by the way, meaning the local hour hand can be adjusted in one-hour increments through the crown.
Visible through the caseback is Grand Seiko’s hybrid Spring Drive calibre 9R16. Similar in construction to the 9R66, the 9R16 is the more precise variant of the two. It runs at an accuracy of only +10/-10 seconds of deviation per month. Its 72-hour power reserve is conveniently displayed on the dial by means of a small hand positioned at 8 o’clock. The final indication is the date, which is positioned at 4 o’clock, in line with the crown.
The Grand Seiko GMT 20th Anniversary L.E. SBGE275 is worn on a stainless steel three-link bracelet with a brushed and polished finish. It has a triple-folding clasp with a push-button release. Limited to 1,500 pieces, it has a price of EUR 7,400.
Quick facts – 44.0mm x 14.9mm – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – stainless steel bezel with two-tone sapphire insert with 24h scale – dual-curved sapphire crystal – see-through caseback – screw-down crown – 200m water-resistance – textured ice-white dial – Zaratsu-polished and faceted applied indices and hands – central GMT hand – power reserve indicator – date window – calibre 9R16 Spring Drive GMT – automatic winding – 30 jewels – accurate to +10/-10 seconds p/month – 72h power reserve – stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp – limited edition of 1,500 pieces – EUR 7,400
Grand Seiko Chronograph 15th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGC247
Five years after the first GMT watch by Grand Seiko came the first Spring Drive Chronograph. Since then, we’ve seen multiple iterations of the Spring Drive Chronograph combined with a GMT indication, including the bold two-toned Spring Drive GMT Chronograph L.E. SBGC240.
The SBCG247 does come with a more classic look, as it uses the sleeker design already seen in the past, with a smooth bezel and no tachymeter scale. Other than that, the indications and layout remain similar to all Spring Drive chronograph models, with applied Zaratsu-polished indices and hands, a central GMT hand, blued chronograph hands, a power reserve display and the date. On the outer edge, we see a sloped flange with a 60-seconds scale for the chronograph.
Powering the Grand Seiko Chronograph 15th Anniversary L.E. SBGC247 is the in-house calibre 9R36. This again is a hybrid between mechanical and quartz technology, offering remarkable precision. The movement is regulated to run within +10/-10 seconds per month. It again offers true GMT functionality, with local time adjustable in one-hour steps independent from the rest of the indications. Furthermore, the power reserve is a healthy 72 hours, driven by the rotor decorated with the Grand Seiko lion in 18k gold.
There’s one thing about the Spring Drive Chronograph that we need to get off our chest though: its crown and pushers are just too large in our books. They make the already large case look a bit bulky and out of balance, something GS could definitely improve on. Luckily the titanium case and bracelet keep the weight down so it’s likely to wear reasonably well. The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph 15th Anniversary SBGC247 is limited to 700 pieces only and costs EUR 11,100.
Quick facts – 43.5mm x 16.1mm – titanium case, brushed and polished – screw-down crown and pushers – dual-curved sapphire crystal – see-through caseback – 100m water-resistance – textures ice-white dial – Zaratsu-polished and faceted applied indices and hands – blued chronograph hands – central GMT hand – power reserve indicator – date window – calibre 9R36 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT – automatic winding – 50 jewels – accurate to +10/-10 seconds p/month – 72h power reserve – titanium bracelet with folding clasp – limited edition of 700 pieces – EUR 11,100
For more information, please visit GrandSeiko.com.