BY ERIK SLAVEN
The Grand Seiko Evolution 9 collection is a recent addition that celebrates the 44GS launched in 1967. This watch established the Grand Seiko Style, which is a set of design rules regarding proportion, finish, angles and more. These principles are directly tied to the now iconic 44GS and remain today, and are similar in concept to the five rules of the Seiko 5 collection. Prior Evolution 9 models have been formal and dressy, but this Watches & Wonders launch shows the sportier side of the brand. A dive watch joins two chronograph GMTs and two standard GMTs, and all use the brand’s hybrid Spring Drive movements.
Starting with the dive watch (ref. SLGA015), it has a titanium case that’s 43.8mm in diameter and 13.8mm thick, and it’s fitted with a titanium bracelet. Water-resistance is rated at 200 meters, so it’s perfect for recreational divers. It has a textured black dial that’s inspired by the Kuroshio Current on the west side of the north Pacific Ocean, otherwise known as the Black Stream. It sports a black rotating bezel with a 60-minute scale, power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock and LumiBrite on the hands and indices. Powering the diver is the Spring Drive Caliber 9RA5 with a 5-day power reserve and accuracy rated at +/- 10 seconds per month. It retails for USD 11,600.
The two GMT chronographs include a standard model (ref. SBGC251) and 15th anniversary limited edition (ref. SBGC249). The standard model has a black dial and black 24-hour bezel, and includes a 30-minute counter, 12-hour counter, power reserve indicator and blue GMT hand. A matching date window sits at 3 o’clock. The limited edition (limited to 700 pieces) is identical save for a blue dial and bezel, but the Spring Drive movements are slightly different. The standard model has the Caliber 9R86, which is accurate to +/- 15 seconds per month, while the limited edition has the Caliber 9R96 that’s accurate to +/- 10 seconds per month. Both have 72-hour power reserves. The case and bracelet are titanium, and the case measures 45.3mm in diameter and 15.8mm thick. Water resistance is 100 meters. The standard model retails for USD 11,400, while the limited edition is a bit more at USD 12,400. If you’re stuck between these two, just choose the color you prefer as a five second difference per month is negligible in practice (unless, of course, you want a limited edition).
And finally, there are two GMT watches. Both are all titanium and have cases measuring 41mm in diameter and 13.9mm thick, and water resistance is rated at 100 meters. The models are differentiated by dial color with a matte black dial (ref. SBGE283) and textured grey dial (SBGE285). Both have titanium bezels with engraved Arabic numerals for 24-hour time, a power reserve indicator at 8 o’clock and date window at 3 o’clock. All hands and applied indices are silver (including the GMT hands) and filled with LumiBrite. In fact, all five models in this latest Evolution 9 collection have lume, which is a rarity for Grand Seiko. Interestingly, these two GMT watches have a new font on the bezels. Both models have the Spring Drive caliber 9R66, which has an accuracy rating of +/- 15 seconds per day and a 72-hour power reserve. They retail for USD 8,400 and are the most reserved of the group. Visit Grand Seiko here.