This year marks the 20th anniversary of Grand Seiko‘s introduction of the 9R movement, featuring its revolutionary Spring Drive technology. The concept, conceived in the 1970s and which took decades to implement, aimed to blend the force of a mainspring with electronic watchmaking technology and surpass the precision of conventional mechanical watches. Now, 9R-family calibres power all Grand Seiko Spring Drive timepieces. The brand launches a limited edition 9R anniversary series to honour its significance. Among the celebratory watches is the Grand Seiko Sport Spring Drive GMT reference SBGE305, boasting a striking dark red dial.
The Grand Seiko Sport SBGE305 is not an entirely new watch; it shares technical and design features with other references in the Sport collection, specifically the SBGE253, 255, and 257. Its 40.5mm stainless steel case boasts broad and long lugs and a wide black ceramic bezel. It measures 14.7mm in thickness and 48.5mm lug-to-lug. The case exhibits beautifully brushed surfaces on the lugs’ tops, a zaratsu polished bevel with sharp edges along the outer top edge, and fully polished sides. The fluted screw-down crown sports the GS logo and is positioned at 4 o’clock. The solid screw case back ensures a water resistance of 200m.
The dark red dial of the new Grand Seiko Sport Spring Drive GMT draws inspiration from nature, reminiscent of the “vibrant sunrise that bathes the steep slopes of the Hotaka mountain range in summer.” Though untextured, its hue captures this natural spectacle beautifully. The dial is adorned with applied markers featuring polished edges and delicate grooves for each hour, and printed white minute marks. Notably, more significant indices at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, highlighted by luminescent strips, stand out, with long, thin markers in between, except at four o’clock, where there’s an aperture for the white date disc with black numbers. Encircling the dial is an almost vertical chapter ring featuring a 24-hour index displaying odd numerals, divided into two sections – one in dark red with silver numbers and dots and the other in silver with black markings. The black bezel also boasts a 24-hour index with even numerals, complementing the chapter ring’s functionality.
The silver hour and minute hands exhibit a remarkably intricate design, harmonizing with the indices’ aesthetics. In contrast, the flawlessly smooth-moving central seconds hand and power reserve hands are relatively straightforward, fully polished, and each features a cap over pinion. The GMT hand is distinguished by a large lume arrow at its tip and matches the colour scheme of the rest of the handset. The power reserve is indicated by a printed arc in three colours, transitioning from black to white to denote the energy level, situated in its customary position near 8 o’clock.
The Grand Seiko Sport Caliber 9R 20th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGE305 is equipped with the 9R66 Spring Drive GMT movement. For an in-depth understanding of Spring Drive technology, Grand Seiko’s website provides detailed information, and we have explored it extensively.
Notably, the 9R66 calibre introduces a traveller’s GMT functionality as it allows the adjustment of the local hour hand by jumping forwards and backwards in one-hour increments. Importantly, this adjustment can be made without stopping the movement, eliminating the need to adjust the minute hand and ensuring the watch’s accuracy. The date setting is also achieved by advancing the local hour hand. The 9R66 movement excels with accuracy within one second a day and has an impressive power reserve of 72 hours.
The Grand Seiko Sport Spring Drive GMT reference SBGE305 is presented on a stainless steel bracelet closed with a three-fold clasp and push button release. Launched as a limited edition of 1,300 pieces, this new Grand Seiko GMT is priced at EUR 6,600. For more, please visit grand-seiko.com.