Just when you thought the year was over, we have a new release coming right in time for the holidays. The Grand Seiko SBGW305 will be available globally beginning on December 1st. Yes, it’s another debut, but this, folks, is the watch I’ve wanted to see for quite some time.

Before we get to the new Grand Seiko SBGW305, allow me to spend some words on why I am so excited about this watch. It was during some of my earliest trips to Japan that I began scouring the camera shops for, oddly enough, watches. Brightly colored G-Shocks, oddball Orients, and loads of Seiko watches were all that my eyes could see. It was overwhelming, but it was during this time, around 2010, that I first came into contact with Grand Seiko. Like many Westerners, I struggled with the thought of paying so much money for a Seiko, but it drove me to learn more. Along the way and during successive visits, I kept bumping into the brand and, notably, a certain watch.

career watch industry

The Grand Seiko SBGW235

A bit of backstory

The SBGW035 and its sequel, the SBGW235, stood out to me. The somewhat homely round case spoke to my daily wear desires, and the fact that it came with a hand-wound movement was pure icing on an already desirable cake. Then there was the beads-of-rice bracelet. It was and is a lovely accompaniment to the watch, a relatively rare perfect pairing both then and now. Sadly, my heart was always drawn to more exciting, perhaps of-the-moment watches, and I left the simple SBGW235 for later. Well, later never came, and even though Grand Seiko has given the world many models using the same case within its Elegance collection, the brand has always served these offerings on a leather strap. That is until now and the introduction of today’s Grand Seiko SBGW305.

Grand Seiko SBGW305

The new Grand Seiko SBGW305

The new Grand Seiko SBGW305 finally brings the lovely beads-of-rice bracelet outside of Japan. That sounds like a relatively minor detail, but when a watch is this versatile and mainstream in terms of shape and design, it’s an important addition. Frankly, it makes this watch highly competitive, especially if the angular “Grammar of Design” style is not to one’s liking. It also helps that Grand Seiko chose to adorn the watch with a sunray-brushed silver dial that should please most potential customers.

Grand Seiko SBGW305

A rundown of perfectly wearable specifications

The Grand Seiko SBGW305 sits in a sweet spot in terms of wearability. The Zaratsu-polished stainless steel case comes in at 37.1mm in diameter with a 44.3mm lug-to-lug and an 11.7mm thickness. It’s water resistant to 3 ATM and uses a box-style sapphire crystal along with a display case back held by six screws. Inside, we have the familiar hand-wound 9S64 caliber that Seiko introduced in 2011. It has a 72-hour power reserve and an accuracy of +5/-3 seconds per day. The bracelet clasp is a tri-fold affair with a push-button release system. I’ve tried it, and it’s slim and supple without feeling flimsy. Note the drilled lug holes if, for some odd reason, a strap change is in the cards.

Grand Seiko SBGW305 — Pricing and thoughts

If you can’t tell, I’m thrilled about the new Grand Seiko SBGW305. Some may wish for a more exotic dial color or style, but I’m highly pleased with this release. Of course, knowing the brand, we can only hope that this is just the beginning! Yes, the water resistance is lighter than, say, an Oyster Perpetual, but this shouldn’t be an issue for most. To me, the SBGW305 checks all the boxes I love. It’s manually wound, steel, wearable, and somewhat traditional in its looks. Plus, it comes from Grand Seiko, one of my favorite brands. Pricing is set for €5,800 / £5,000 at Grand Seiko retailers. While that’s certainly more than a decade ago in Japan, this watch has still managed to move to the top of my current most-wanted list.

For more information on the Grand Seiko SBGW305, visit the official Grand Seiko website.

Watch specifications

Ellegance Collection Classic Hand-Wound
Silver with brushed sunray finish and applied indices
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
37.1mm (diameter) × 44.3mm (lug-to-lug) × 11.7mm (thickness)
Box-style sapphire with antireflective coating on inner surface
Case Back
Stainless steel with sapphire display, held by six screws
Grand Seiko 9S64 — manual winding, 28,800vph (4Hz) frequency, 72-hour power reserve, hacking seconds
Water Resistance
3 ATM (~30m)
Five-row beads-of-rice bracelet with tri-fold clasp and push-button release
Time only (hours, minutes, and central seconds)
€5,800 / £5,000
Five years
Special Note(s)
Available as of December 2023