One of the things that makes a Grand Seiko outstanding in most cases, is the dial. We all know the Snowflake and Mt. Iwate for example, but now they also have added ‘hammered’ and radiant pattern dials to their collection.
I will get to the hammered platinum Grand Seiko SBGZ001 somewhere in the next weeks but want to have a closer look at the more affordable stainless steel Grand Seiko SBGY003 first. Limited to 700 pieces only, but with a friendlier price tag than the gold and platinum watches from the Spring Drive 20th anniversary collection. For this occasion, Grand Seiko introduced a number of new manual-wind thin dress watches with Spring Drive movements.
Using a hand-wound movement and no additional complications to the time, such as a date or GMT for example, keeps the watch relatively thin. With a thickness of 10.2mm, I wouldn’t use the phrase ultra- or extra-thin, but it is thin for sure.
The profile of the Grand Seiko SBGY003 is simply beautiful and elegant, just like the collection name (“Elegance Collection”) implies. The combination of Zaratsu polished surfaces and beautiful satin brushed finishing is just stunning. On the right side, you will find the GS signed winding crown that is smooth as butter. The top of the case and the bezel have a polished finish as well.
I always had a week spot for rich dials, whether those from the 1960s with crazy large applied indices (with Onyx for example) or those with motifs (Clous-de-Paris, Tuxedo, or – Grand Seiko speaking – snowflake and Mt. Iwate), I love a good pattern or structure on there. This radiant pattern dial is simply stunning. I couldn’t really get the depth when I first saw the press materials under embargo before its release in Baselworld, but upon closer inspection with the actual watch, it is simply breathtaking.
Razor sharp hands, including a finish that makes certain high-end Swiss brands very scared. The same applies to the indices, these have a beautiful polished finish on the facets and look super sharp. Even – or especially under a loupe – you will appreciate it even more. Where other brands often disappoint when you take their stuff under a microscope or macro lens, Grand Seiko never does and that includes this new Grand Seiko SBGY003.
The gold and the steel Grand Seiko Spring Drive 20th anniversary watches have a slightly different movement from the platinum ones. Those use the 9R02 movement, designed and constructed by the Micro Artist Studio. Basically, the same guys who are responsible for the 8-days Spring Drive movement that we showed you in this article and for the Eichi II watch (Credor). The gold and the steel model, including the Grand Seiko SBGY003 in this article use the 9R31 movement. This is a new caliber that shares an identical mainspring structure as the more expensive 9R02 movement (and offering the same precision of +-1 seconds a day).
Although it might appear as if there’s something strange going on on the movement (below), this is the Grand Seiko medallion that is printed (or lasered) on the sapphire crystal. The bezel of the case back shows all the information you need to know (or don’t need to know), the unique number of a limited edition is always welcome of course, but it also has information on there that doesn’t really add value. On the movement itself, you can see the rather large barrel that holds all energy (max. of 72 hours) and the power reserve indicator above the GS logo.
Generally speaking, life doesn’t get exactly cheaper. Grand Seiko, just like many other brands out there, also raised their prices a bit in the last year. This new thin Grand Seiko SBGY003 has a retail price of €8200,- (including VAT) and that might not exactly be what you are used to from them. That said, you do get a lot of bang for the buck here. The finishing and quality of the case, dial and hands are way above par and the Spring Drive technology is pretty awesome as well. I don’t feel the need to explain Spring Drive once more to you (we did so here), but it is not only the accuracy that plays an important role here, also the finishing of the movement is pretty impressive.
This dress watch from Grand Seiko with hand-wound Spring Drive movement and the beautiful crafted dial is perhaps priced a bit higher than the Snowflake or Mt. Iwate that we are so fond of. However, we always feel & say you get a lot of watch for the money with those references (SBGA211 and SBGJ201) compared to a Rolex for example. This SBGY003 is a watch that perhaps can be best compared to a Master watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre for example, or perhaps even a Vacheron Constantin Fifty-Six. The finish of the case, dial and hands are definitely on par with those. This Grand Seiko SBGY003 is serious business, period.
The specifications of this GS SBGY003 can be found below.
More information via the Grand Seiko website.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more