Grand Seiko’s Elegance line has produced several fan favorites in recent memory. Most of them have centered around a particular round case that usually features a GMT function. Several limited editions have come out in this shape with various dial colors and different movements. The new Grand Seiko SBGJ271 “Yukigesho” model, depicting snow that has fallen on tree branches, is a stunning timepiece that is sure to fit right in among the popular watches in this line.

Grand Seiko SBGJ271

Winter, not seasons

Grand Seiko watches that evoke the natural scenery of a particular time of year are nothing new. Since the launch of the first “Seasons” collection several years ago, we have all come to know the Japanese appreciation for nature, the 24 seasons in Japanese culture, and the exquisite dials that Grand Seiko produces from this inspiration. There have been other watches, not in this collection, that have been inspired by nature and the passage of time. There is, however, one season in particular that inspires some of the most iconic pieces in the Grand Seiko collection — winter.

First, we had the “Snowflake,” then the “Blizzard,” then the “Soko.” Now, we have the SBGJ271 “Yukigesho.” Not a limited edition, this new model in the Elegance collection features a stunning silvery-white dial and a Hi-Beat GMT movement in one of the line’s most popular case shapes. It seems that winter produces some of the best watches across the Grand Seiko collections. Whether invoking the descent of frost, a winter storm, or the deep gray days in the middle of the season, the coldest time of year has provided a broad palette of whites, grays, and blacks with subtle touches of color to create elegant but understated timepieces.

Grand Seiko SBGJ271

White, not blank

Like other winter-inspired watches before it, what makes the SBGJ271 so wearable is the absence of any dominant color. While most of us are attracted to the bold, textured dials that Grand Seiko is known for, many of these pieces are less likely to be worn every day. A dominant color can clash or be unsuited for certain occasions. The use of white for the dial, despite a detailed texture, makes the watch much subtler. The watch’s true beauty can only be appreciated up close, typically, by the wearer.

The SGBJ271 dial features a vertically striped texture, meant to evoke the polished lacquer floors of a Japanese home. These dark floors can become mirror-like, reflecting the surroundings. In the winter, they can appear nearly white as snow covers the home and its surroundings. The Zaratsu-polished hands and hour markers reflect the dial, but they also reflect plenty of light so that telling the time is not a chore. The GMT hand has a matte black finish, matching the inner 24-hour scale and contrasting with the white dial, tying the inspiration together.

Grand Seiko SBGJ271 “Yukigesho” — enhanced elegance

The round case of the SBGJ271 will look familiar. It is similar to the case of the SBGM221, an automatic GMT watch with a standard beat rate. Measuring 39.5mm × 46.9mm and offering a 30m water resistance rating, the SBGJ217 shares these attributes as well as the date and GMT functions. However, the movement has been upgraded. Instead of the standard 9S66 caliber, the SBGJ271 features the Hi-Beat 9S86 movement. To accommodate it, the case has grown slightly (0.4mm) in thickness to 14.1mm. A matching bracelet accompanies the stainless steel case.

Grand Seiko’s 9S86 is a high-frequency (36,000vph) movement that offers a 55-hour power reserve. The GMT function features a jumping local-hour hand that is linked to the date. Accuracy is stated at +5/-3 seconds per day. This movement is making its way through the upper echelon of the Grand Seiko GMT collection and is a logical choice for the “Yukigesho.”

Grand Seiko SBGJ271

Final thoughts

Adding another dial variation for a beloved piece in the Elegance collection is also a logical choice for Grand Seiko. Seeking inspiration in the surroundings is naturally ingrained in Japanese culture. While the SBGJ271 is void of any color, this highlights what Grand Seiko does best — dials. The subtle texture is beautifully executed on a blank canvas, making this watch a perfect everyday companion. Grand Seiko’s best pieces fit in this category — elegant, bold dial work, but restrained. This piece is for the wearer, and that is how it should be.

Priced at €7,600, the SBGJ271 will be available from March of 2023. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Watch specifications

Hi-Beat GMT "Yukigesho"
White/silver with a vertical striped texture
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
39.5mm × 46.9mm × 14.1mm
Dual-curved sapphire with antireflective coating
Case Back
Sapphire crystal exhibition case back
Grand Seiko 9S86 — automatic, 55-hour power reserve, 36,000vph (5Hz) frequency, 37 jewels
Water Resistance
30m / 3 bar
Stainless steel bracelet, deployant clasp with push-button release
Time, date, GMT with jumping local-hour hand