Just yesterday we introduced the Grand Seiko Elegance Ryūsendō SBGK015, a watch with a colourful and textured dial housed in a thin and compact case with a hand-wound movement… And only for our North American friends. Well, it seems that the US will get lucky again as the Japanese brand releases two other models dedicated to the US market, with a combination of sporty cases, traveller-oriented functions and dials that make quite an impact. Peacock on one side, Green Bamboo on the other, inside a 44GS Hi-Beat GMT watch. Meet the new US-only Grand Seiko SBGJ259 and SBGJ261.
Sorry to disappoint our readers from around the world again, except those reading us in the United States, but these two watches – one is a special, non-limited edition, the other a 500-piece limited run – will only be available from boutiques and retailers located in the US. And looking at these new models, one with a rather bold but appealing green dial, and the other marking the comeback of the Peacock (which was unveiled with the 2017 limited SBGJ227), they might well justify a flight to NYC for the weekend…
Basically, both watches are identical regarding the specifications, design and movement, only differing on the dial side. As such, these two have the typical 44GS-inspired case. First launched in 1967, this watch and its highly angular case defined what would later be known as the Grand Seiko Style. In 2013, the Japanese brand revived this distinctive design with a modern interpretation of the 44GS, created by designer Nobuhiro Kosugi. And this is this exact shape that has been commemorated this year with the 55th-anniversary Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ255.
The SBGJ261 and SBGJ259 are 40mm watches with a lug-to-lug measurement of 46.2mm and a height of 14mm. The shape, with its razor-sharp and pronounced shoulders, leaves no doubt about their provenance. The highly polished surfaces are flat and reflective, either on the sides or the bezel, and highlighted by contrasting brushed accents. These 100m water-resistant models offer presence and comfort and feature sapphire crystals on both sides and a screw-down crown. The case and the matching 3-link bracelet with a three-fold clasp are made of stainless steel on both watches.
Inside the case of the SBGJ261 and SBGJ259 is one of the brand’s most respected movements, the calibre 9S86. An automatic engine with hi-beat regulation, it beats at 5Hz or 36,000 vibrations/hour and is rated at an accuracy of +5 to –3 seconds per day. The 55h power reserve is comfortable despite the high frequency, and the GMT function is a true traveller’s one, meaning that the local time hour hand is adjusted by one-hour increments. The movement is visible under a sapphire caseback and decorated with large, pronounced stripes.
Now, the main specificities of these new models are their dials. First, the Grand Seiko 44GS Hi-Beat GMT “Green Bamboo” SBGJ259 pays tribute to architect Kengo Kuma and his design of the Nezu Museum and Garden, specifically to the bamboos surrounding the area. The vivid green dial relies on a vertical striated pattern, oscillating between different green tones. This same pattern was already used in the Autumn SBGH269. Here it is paired with faceted, bevelled and brushed markers and hands, contrasting with the base dial and its bright yellow accents.
Then comes the Grand Seiko 44GS Hi-Beat GMT “Peacock” SBGJ261, which pays tribute to the original SBGJ227 “Peacock” of 2017 with the same swirling pattern (back then with a green dial). Now, this new edition plays on blue/purple tones but sticks to the beloved texture achieved through an intricate press patterning process and radiating from the centre – thus recalling the vibrant plumage of a peacock’s train. The dial is completed by brushed/polished applied markers and hands, as well as gold-coloured accents.
Availability & Price
Both the Grand Seiko 44GS Hi-Beat GMT “Green Bamboo” SBGJ259 and the “Peacock” SBGJ261 will be available in September 2022 from Grand Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners in the United States. The green SBGJ259 will be released as a special non-limited edition, while the blue SBGJ261 will be produced in 500 pieces only. Both watches are priced at USD 6,800.