Unsurprisingly, my plans for the year have already been led astray by Chrono24 and its infallible feeds. Following my story on whether or not to perform what I envisioned as a final upgrade in the Seiko dive game, I folded. I sold my Marinemaster SLA023 and searched for an SBGX335/337, only to find that the bargains had disappeared. Then I remembered the Grand Seiko SBGX265.

I won’t blow my trumpet, but this was right after my story on this subject was published here. So who knows? Perhaps you, the Fratelli, snubbed me and vacuumed up all the bargain Grand Seiko quartz divers… I’m still looking forward to finding one, but I have to start saving up again as this quartz coup unexpectedly came my way.

The Grand Seiko SBGX265

The quartz question

It’s a big one for many of you, and I should know. I spent many years on the barricades for mechanical purity and the micro-clicky joy of winding a mainspring. The way that you can feel the quality of the caliber within, even how exact some high-end tolerances are, is something that quartz movements cannot offer. The big factors, however, are everyday wearability and service costs.

This is why, after a few wallet-draining Swiss service commissions, a meca-quartz chronograph was a big win for me. I will admit that going for a “standard quartz” three-hander was a huge step, but the amazing ±10-second yearly accuracy of the Seiko 9F quartz icon won me over. Considering that it is also a smoother, shock-adjusted movement in which the seconds hand hits each marker with ultimate precision, it gets tempting.

The Grand Seiko SBGX265

A 37mm piece of slim versatility

But after all that self-argumentation and procrastination, I was set on a Grand Seiko quartz diver, right? And there’s no twistable bezel here, man. There were three big reasons that I shelled out for an SBGX265. One was nostalgia. My first Grand Seiko watch and Fratello article topic was the SBGR053. It’s a 37mm watch with the dependable 9S65 movement and Heritage case design. I sold it and upgraded twice, ending up with the hand-wound SBGW283, but I missed the always-perfect fit. The SGBX265 is the same shape as my old SBGR053, with the same delightful Zaratsu finish and an Oyster-like brushed bracelet. But at 10mm thick, it’s 3.3mm slimmer, making it even more comfortable.

The Grand Seiko SGBX265

My second reason for buying this watch was that I consider it a pretty big value proposition. The latest Snowflake-ish SGBX355 (“Quartzflake,” anyone?) is €4,200, while the discontinued SGBX265 and its siblings have the same case and movement for way less. I am talking about less than €2,000 on Chrono24, even less than €1,500 + tax, in my lucky case, from Japan. That, my Fratelli, constitutes a real bargain. Now, my last reason is no more complex than that I’d been sneaking peeks at this reference for over a year, and the darn Chrono24 feed served one up on a platter when my quartz-diver fund was available.

Is there such a thing as being “too perfect”?

Well, yes, there is. Take the Black Bay 58, for instance. I found it too perfect, almost a pastiche of its vintage inspiration. And that made me sell it, hardly used, after eight months. The SBGX265 is verging on perfection, but it still has so much charm to offer, and bang-for-buck-wise, it’s unbeatable. Compared to a 37mm mechanical model like an SBGR053/253, the indices are a tad wider, and the dial itself pared down to the essential GS logo at 12 and a date window. The latter will be an issue for many as it does not offer a color-matched date wheel. But it makes perfect sense as this is a hyper-accurate quartz watch with Grand Seiko’s focus on solid wearability.

You will seldom have to change the date except in February and the 30-day months, and the window is pristinely framed. With a 100m water resistance rating, it is more wearable than dressier competitors and has a near-perfect mix of everyday wearability and elegance. Does it give off Rolex OP vibes? Yes, but it does so in an understated, very Japanese way.

The Grand Seiko SBGX265

Going quartz was well worth it

Could the Grand Seiko SBGX265 be thinner? Maybe, but with each small corner and angle polished by hand, the comfort is sublime, and it wears somewhat wider than a 37mm mechanical GS. This is thanks to its slim case, and it is still a dressy-casual sports watch in my book. Yes, the purple-blue sunray-brushed dial sure is a light-catching chameleon. This watch also got its hooks in me the moment I put it on, helped by the minuscule chance of the bracelet coming perfectly pre-adjusted straight out of the still-pristine box.

Fratelli, did your watch-loving brain section twitch when I mentioned quartz? Sure, I get it, but in a world where even F.P.Journe makes a cushion-cased grail with battery power, is it time for a rethink? Let me know your thoughts about the Grand Seiko SBGX265 in the comments.

Watch specifications

Heritage Collection
Blue with sunray-brushed finish, Zaratsu-polished and brushed indices, date frame, and dauphine hands
Case Material
Stainless steel with brushed lugs and Zaratsu-polished bezel and sides
Case Dimensions
37mm (diameter) × 44.6mm (lug-to-lug) × 10mm (thickness)
Sapphire with antireflective coating
Case Back
Stainless steel, screw-in
Grand Seiko 9F62: quartz caliber, accurate to ±10 seconds per year, nine jewels
Water Resistance
10 ATM (100m)
Three-row bracelet with all-brushed finish and push-button deployant clasp
Time (hours, minutes, seconds) and date