The New Grand Seiko SBGE Models 253, 255 And 257 On The Wrist
What’s better than having a watch for a hands-on review? Having three, of course. Especially if that brand that supplied you with them is called Grand Seiko. While they only differ in color, the Grand Seiko SBGE253, 255, and 257 offer great versatility for any watch lover. These new SBGE models might fill the void that the previous ones (SBGE201, SBGE215, SBGE248) left in terms of looks and size.
They are simple, cleaner, and more elegant. While these are not necessarily attributes of a sports model, I’m sure many of you who found the previous versions too bulky will enjoy checking these out. So let us help you with that.
Grand Seiko Collections
If we want to position these new SBGE models in Grand Seiko’s lineup, we need to have a look at the brand’s collections first. Grand Seiko has three lines of watches — the Elegance, Heritage, and Sports Collections. Most of the watches in the Elegance line up are simpler and dressier pieces (like the SBGY003). Some of them are vintage-inspired. Just think of the SBGW257 and SBGW259 we covered a little while ago. But the majority of the “old school” models reside in the aptly-named Heritage collection.
The Heritage collection offers the most extensive selection by far with over 50 models compared to the twenty-something pieces the other two model families have to offer each. The third and last line is where our watches come from, the Sports Collection. To many, this is the most exciting selection. Let’s take a closer look.
The Grand Seiko Sports Collection currently offers 29 models to choose from. One can select between mechanical, quartz, or, as in the case of the new SBGE models, Spring-Drive movements. When it comes to complications, we are mostly looking at GMTs and chronographs. Every model in the Sports Collection has a date feature.
The SBGE253, SBGE255, and SBGE257 are not the first watches with such a reference. Currently, you can find seven models in the Sports Collection with such a designation. Nevertheless, the other four are not 2020 releases and a tad different from these three. While the design of those four forerunners is very similar to the new additions, there’s a significant difference: the new SBGE models are much smaller than their predecessors. We are looking at a 40.5mm case compared to the 44mm that were the previous models. But that’s not the only thing…
Ok, you are experts in Grand Seiko now, but we barely talked about the watches yet. And you are here for that, I know. So, let’s take a look at them one by one. The first thing we need to address is the looks. We are talking about three timepieces that look precisely the same and boast the same functionality, but are dressed in different colors. Starting with the SBGE253, you can see that the primary color is black. This goes for the ceramic, 24-hour GMT bezel, as well as the dial. The SBGE253 is perhaps the most versatile out of the three due to its more muted color. While the primary color is black, the texts and indexes are silver and the GMT denotation and the GMT hand are bright red, creating excellent legibility for the timepiece. Besides, black works very well with brushed stainless steel, of which the case is made.
Next, we have my personal favorite. The watch that, according to RJ, will be my Xmas bonus…I wish. Yet, the SBGE255 is the one that speaks to me the most when looking at all three 2020 SBGE models. Virtually the same as the 253 and 257, the 255 has a mesmerizing blue ceramic bezel and deep blue dial. While the Lumibirite-covered indices are silver here as well, the GMT marking and the hand is a lighter shade of blue. Perhaps not as legible as the 253, but still easy to use. I love that both the date and the crown are at the 4 o’clock position. Although it is nothing new from Seiko, it’s still sweet, as well as the finishing on the case. An while we are talking subtle details, we need to talk about the internal AM/PM scale with a lighter and darker blue tone. Breathtaking.
Lastly, we arrive at the third SBGE 2020 model, the 257 in a deep green color with a yellow GMT hand. This oil green is just as elegant as the previous two versions. Yellow works well on the dial and adds contrast to the watch. I’m not sure if it’s the dual-curved sapphire crystal, but it seems that this GMT hand is even more legible than the red on the 253. To sum-up the external features, we have a 40.5mm case that is 14.7mm thick. The case back is steel and has the classic Grand Seiko lion motif. As you would expect, the sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating on its inner side. While the date aperture is at four, there is a power reserve indicator at the 9 o’clock position, a feature of most Spring Drive watches. Yes, one of the essential elements of these SBGE models is their movement.
Inside all three SBGE Grand Seiko is the company’s 9R66 caliber. The movement that, according to Grand Seiko, “combines the motive force of a mainspring with the high precision of a quartz watch,” has been inside of watches from all three collections. However, most of them come from the Sports Collection. The 9R66 came to the market in 2006, as Grand Seiko’s first Spring Drive GMT caliber. Specifications include an approximate power reserve of 72 hours, 30 jewels, and an accuracy of +/-1 second per day. If you are a fan of this technology, you cannot go wrong with the 9R66 or 9R65, assuming you don’t need a GMT watch.
Due to the reduced size and the simpler look compared to earlier SBGE models these new 2020 releases are a treat to wear. At 172 grams these Grand Seiko models are not light but as they come on a steel bracelet this is rather normal. Every SBGE model has magnetic resistance — a plus for many of you, especially these days. Not to mention that they are water-resistant to 200m.
When it comes to the price, Grand Seiko offers the SBGE 253.255 and 257 watches for €6,400 (German retail price), which is not cheap by any means. However, you are getting a lot of watch for the money as we say. They are the third-cheapest in the Sports Collection when we only look at Spring Drive and Mechanical models. Does the new SBGE justify the price tag? If you consider what you are getting, I would say yes. But hey, why don’t you pop in a boutique and try one on? Let us know what you think below.
Treat yourself with checking out the Grand Seiko website now that you have read the article. Click here.