Seiko had its beginnings in a fascination for European watchmaking when Seiko’s founder, Kintaro Hattori, who had encountered mechanical watchmaking in Western society, began to import it into Japan. He soon began to wonder if he could go further to develop a Japanese mechanical clock brand of his own. Thus began the House of Seikosha, which literally translates to “precision work in timekeeping”.
Grand Seiko is the company’s resolution to surpass Western watchmaking and loosen the Swiss’ rock-solid grip on the industry. This has long been achieved from Grand Seiko’s inception in 1960, yielding no quarter to the best of Swiss watchmaking with a string of design and international chronometry prizes.
The year 2020 marks the 60th anniversary of Grand Seiko, and it’s safe to say that the brand has spared no effort — despite the difficulties that the world has experienced — to introduce new models, special limited editions paying homage to their exquisite craftsmanship, watches based on historical timepieces, and even a constant-force tourbillon concept!
To end the year, Grand Seiko is releasing the Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT “Champagne Diamond” SBGE267G exclusive to the Thong Sia Group, Seiko’s long-time distribution partner for Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and Brunei, in a limited edition of 140 pieces.
A Different Look for Grand Seiko
Based on the Spring Drive GMT model already available in the Grand Seiko Sport Collection, the new limited-edition SBGE267G is executed with a stainless-steel case and bracelet, but goes a step further in colour by using the mature and elegant combination of brown and champagne gold on the dial, which is different from the usual look and feel of the model.
Although brown is more commonly found on straps, here the use of this deeper colour on the dial demonstrates the charm of this classic and popular hue, providing a versatile option that is understated but sure to remain relevant as years go by. Adding to the striking colour, the dial is decorated with a sunray pattern, which makes it more elegant and provides an attractive play on light when the sun hits the surface of the dial.
That’s not all, though. The dial is also embellished with champagne gold highlights — which enthusiasts might refer to as gilt elements — adding to the overall luxury feel of the timepiece and giving it a sense of gravitas. The champagne gold hands inject a bright colour and highlights the time display, making it stand out from the face of the watch. The surface layout is simple and clear, with the thicker hour markers and hands coated with luminous material. The GMT function is indicated by the silver central axis hour hand, allowing the wearer to know the time of a different time zone at a single glance, while the brown sapphire-covered bezel features a printed and luminous 24-hour scale. A second inner 24-hour scale is present on a ring around the dial and helps the wearer keep track of a third time zone if necessary.
The remaining information on the dial is provided via a date window located at the four o’clock position, whereas the power reserve indicator is displayed between eight and nine o’clock, perfectly showing the energy status to ensure that the watch performs in the best condition.
If we examine the dial even further, we find visible elements of the high quality and craftsmanship of Grand Seiko timepieces. The sharp hour markers have a linear pattern on the top while their sides are mirror-polished; this enhances the play on light that the dial already benefits from. The hour and minute hands have a brushed surface instead of the linear pattern.
Let’s not bury our heads in the sand. Yes, the watch is big and thick with a 44m case size and thickness of 14.7mm, and it certainly feels that way when put on the wrist, but the lugs are curved in such a way that makes it a snug fit. The large size provides a beefy feel, which some collectors look for especially in a sports watch that you can travel with and wear in the water. Speaking of which, the SBGE267G is water resistant to 200m.
The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Technology
Under the hood, the watch is powered by the trusted 9R66 Spring Drive movement first developed by Grand Seiko in 2006 with a 72-hour power reserve. Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive technology builds on the strengths of the traditional gear train but does away with the escapement and balance wheel, replacing it with what Seiko calls a “glide wheel”, which acts as the fixed fourth wheel of the movement and drives the seconds hand. Housed within the watch is a quartz oscillator as well as an integrated circuit; the former is hermetically sealed to maintain its accuracy regardless of temperature fluctuations or other conditions. The Spring Drive remains a unique calling card of Grand Seiko, a mechanical movement that delivers the precision of quartz, with a daily difference of only ±1 second, but with the elegance of the sweep seconds hand.
9R66 Spring Drive movement; hours, minutes and seconds; date; GMT; 72-hour power reserve
44mm; stainless steel; water-resistant to 200m
Price and availability
SGD 8,828, including GST; limited to 140 pieces