Grand Seiko introduces its third watch release of 2023. This time, it’s a deep-blue-dialed addition to the Evolution 9 collection boasting a five-day power reserve. The new SLGA021 finds inspiration for its dial in the quietly rippling waters of Japan’s Lake Suwa right before dawn. The opaque indigo dial has been carefully crafted to reflect these soft waves that delicately adorn the lake’s surface. The sweeping Spring Drive seconds hand adds to the tranquil scene as an embodiment of the distant breeze that shapes the water with its ghostly presence. As always, the brand’s signature touch of poetic artistry captures a scene beautifully and turns it into yet another visually stunning textured dial.

It seems that Grand Seiko is off to a great start in 2023. Having already begun its 25th-anniversary celebration for the 9S movement with the release of the SBGH311 and SBGR325 limited editions, the brand is preparing itself for a big year. I’d wager that we’ll see another release or two before the year’s biggest reveals at Watches and Wonders in March. But for now, let’s focus on the launch of the latest addition to the Evolution 9 collection — the Grand Seiko SLGA021 Lake Suwa.

Grand Seiko SLGA021

The Grand Seiko SLGA021

I’ve already told you about the watch’s rippling dark indigo-blue dial and the natural scene that inspired it. But what about the dial’s frame? Grand Seiko is known as a brand famous for its beautifully crafted textured dials. But a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship deserves a worthy frame. You wouldn’t put a Rembrandt in a black plastic frame from IKEA, would you? Having seen a couple of Rembrandts in The Hague’s Mauritshuis museum last weekend, I can confirm you would not. Much like a beautiful painting, the dial is given a worthy frame in the form of Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 case. At 40mm in diameter, 47.9mm from lug to lug, and just 11.8mm thick, it lands firmly within the sports-watch sweet spot. And below the double-domed AR-coated sapphire glass, the dial, markers, and hands can shine like Zaratzu-polished fish scales in the dark waters of Lake Suwa.

But the SLGA021 is much more than just a pretty dial and a great case. Underneath the dial, inside the Evolution 9 case, you’ll find Grand Seiko’s 9RA2 movement. This Spring Drive caliber has an approximate power reserve of 120 hours. As the dial text at 6 o’clock reveals, that’s five days of timekeeping. That’s something it does rather well with an average rate of ±10 seconds per month (or ±0.5 seconds per day). The watch’s sapphire display back will allow you to admire the movement as well as check on the power reserve indicator on the back. So, with the Grand Seiko SLGA021 we have a great dial, a brilliant movement, and a case described by the brand as capturing the essence of Grand Seiko. What’s not to love?

Grand Seiko SLGA021

Final Thoughts

Before wrapping up and moving on to price and availability, I wanted to touch upon some of the final specs. The Grand Seiko SLGA021 has a screw-down crown, making it water resistant to 100 meters. It is also magnetism resistant to 4,800 A/m and weighs approximately 172g (on the stainless steel bracelet). I’ve gone on record stating my preference for Grand Seiko’s Elegance Collection, more specifically, the SBGW231. But I must admit that the Evolution 9 models are slowly but surely gaining my favor. And this dark blue dial will surely haunt my watch dreams for the coming weeks.

Grand Seiko SLGA021

The SLGA021 will be available online and in boutiques from February 2023 onwards. Pricing is not yet available, but an educated guess would place it alongside its fellow SLGA models at around €9,500. For more information on this latest release, please check out the Grand Seiko website.

Update: Grand Seiko has now confirmed the price for this model will be €10,000.