And it’s that time of year again and we always look forward to the new releases from one of our favorite brands: Seiko. Today, though, we’ll give you a sneak peek at the 2017 Grand Seiko Baselworld novelties. Last year, this was a widely read story and we expect you’re interested again! While we normally refrain from using stock photos, we will have only just walked out of the press conference held by the brand and still have a hands-on appointment in the wings. For now, let’s take a look at three new models.
The 2017 Grand Seiko Baselworld novelties
The 2017 Grand Seiko Baselworld novelties usher in a serious change that seemingly everyone outside of Japan has desired. Quite simply, the models rid themselves of the “Seiko” nomenclature on the dial. Many found this repetitive, but it was a hallmark of the brand to show both names. Now, it seems we get the “Grand Seiko” verbiage along with the “GS” script. Still redundant? Argue away, but it’s a change nonetheless. The other thing you’ll note is that the non vintage-inspired models are big. I’ll touch on the size in each description. Furthermore, the prices are somewhat “blushworthy” – especially in Euros. That being said, these models are limited in most cases and the finishing, well, you can bet it will be incredible.
The First Grand-Seiko, Reissued
The first of the 2017 Grand Seiko Baselworld novelties is a reissue of the very first GS from 1960. Apparently, it is this watch that first contained the famous “Grand Seiko” script and the watch has been reissued as a celebration of all GS’ using this signature on the dial going forward. Available with the manual wind 9S64 movement, it beats at 28,800 bph and will be available in platinum as the SBGW251 (136 pieces and 38,500 Euros), yellow gold as the SBGW252 (353 pieces and 21,700 Euros) and stainless steel as the SBGW253 (1,960 pieces at 7,200 Euros). All come on crocodile straps.
As a lover of these reissues from Grand Seiko, this is one model I cannot wait to see in person. At 38mm in diameter, it’s a perfectly sized dress watch. I own an SBGW047 – the reissue – and it’s easily the most perfectly detailed watch in my collection. I don’t expect these to be any different. Expensive? Yes. However, Seiko will sell the steel versions like hotcakes!
The First Grand-Seiko, Reimagined
The second of the 2017 Grand Seiko Baselworld novelties is not a surprise from the brand. GS often launches a new model inspired by its reissued piece of the year and 2017 is no different. The SBGR305 is a reimagined, modern interpretation of the first GS. It’s moderately upsized at 40.5mm and contains the high frequency 9S68 automatic movement. This is a new movement for Seiko and allows for a larger date window. Amazingly, the case is only offered in titanium, but it shows the famous Zaratsu polishing on its sides. Once again, crocodile is the choice of strap. 968 pieces will be made at a price of 8,800 Euros.
My take on this new limited piece is “wow”. A new movement and a finely finished case of titanium make it incredibly intriguing. I don’t love date windows, but it looks great here. The dial depth and finish plus the drilled lugs are something. Again, a titanium case! For a dress watch, that’s simply not normal and I can’t wait to behold the finishing.
The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Professional 600m Diver’s
Stepping out of the dress watch zone, we take a look at the next of the 2017 Grand Seiko Baselworld novelties. We receive a diver and, yes, it’s mechanical. The Hi-Beat 36000 Professional 600m Diver’s marks the first professional GS dive watch. There’s a lot of tech in this watch to boot. GS brings in some typical hallmarks such as the “L-shaped” gasket from the Tuna that allows it to eschew a helium valve if used for saturation diving. Furthermore, the bezel is easier to grip due to longer knurling. Titanium-cased and coming in at 46.9mm, it’s large but light. The hi-beat 9S85 automatic sees duty inside. The coolest feature, in my opinion, is the use of a hobnail pattern iron dial to resist the effect of magnetic fields. This diver will be offered in a limited edition with blue dial as the SBGH255 (500 pieces at 12,300 Euros) and a regular production model with black dial as the SBGH257 (12,100 Euros). The limited model will include a silicone strap as well as bracelet.
Well, this was a bold move from Grand Seiko. These divers are extremely expensive, but also incredibly capable. They blow past the cost of a Submariner and essentially do battle directly with the DeepSea Sea Dweller. Bold indeed! I like the look of these watches and the case contours look amazing. I’m curious to try them on and see how they fit the wrist. This introduction was unexpected for sure!
Grand Seiko Black Collection
We take a look at the last of the 2017 Grand Seiko Baselworld novelties, the Grand Seiko Black Collection. These watches feature the Spring Drive chronograph movement with GMT. They follow upon 2 limited edition pieces from last year of a very similar design, but add new hands, dials and bracelet. The cases are made of zirconia (a ceramic) and titanium and come in at 46.4mm in diameter. GS notes that the bracelets are quite remarkable with their titanium and ceramic construction as well. Three models are offered. The first, a limited edition of 500 pieces, is the SBGC219, which celebrates 10 years of Spring Drive. It retails for 19,800 Euros and features a dark blue dial with rose gold hands and accents. The white-dialed SBGC221 and black-dialed SBGC223 are regular production and retail for 18,700 Euros.
GS Spring Drive chronographs are incredibly expensive. Admittedly, I’m more of a fan of the SBGC003 – that’s the model with massive screw-down pushers if you’re familiar. However, it’s clear that last year’s limited edition renditions of this year’s model were successful so GS saw fit to create additional versions. They’ll boast ridiculous finishing – I’ll simply be curious to see how large and dark they are in person.
That’s all for now on the 2017 Grand Seiko Baselworld novelties, but we’ll be back with some “in the flesh” photos on GS and the novelties for the regular production Seiko’s.