BY JOVAN KRSTEVSKI
Following the success and popularity of its first season’s collection released in 2019, Grand Seiko is now back with a slew of new watches that continue to celebrate the ever-changing seasons of Japan. Like before, there are four (two high beat and two spring drive) watches on offer, each of which represents one of the twenty-four Japanese seasons. And while the theme remains the same, there are a couple of things that separate these watches from their 2019 siblings. First and foremost is the inclusion of a GMT complication. And, second and more importantly, is the fact that these watches would be available to purchase globally, unlike the previous models, which are exclusive to the US market only.
Before we look at those intricate dials, let’s get some common bits out of the way. The Shunbun (SBGJ251) and Shōsho (SBGJ249) come equipped with an elegant, round 39.5mm stainless steel case which is 14mm thick and is water-resistant to just 30 meters. Powering these watches is Grand Seiko’s in-house automatic 9S86 movement that operates at a frequency of 5 Hz, comprises 37 jewels, and offers a power reserve of around 55 hours. On the layout front, you get beautifully faceted applied indices, a printed 24-hour chapter ring on the inside, a printed minutes track, a date window at 3, and a razor-sharp sword-style handset. Both watches would retail for USD 6,800.
The Kanro (SBGE271) and Tōji (SBGE269) come equipped with a slightly sportier but still very wearable 40.1mm steel case which is once again around 14mm in thickness but is water-resistant to a healthy 100 meters. Ticking inside these watches is the innovative 9R66 spring drive movement that results in a super-smooth gliding sweep of the second’s hand. Not only that the spring drive movement also ensures that these watches maintain an unparalleled accuracy of around +-15 seconds a month and a power reserve of around 72 hours. The layout is slightly different from the hi-beat models. You still get applied indices for hours, the minute’s track is printed but is of rail-road style and also comprises the 24-hour GMT markings, there is a power reserve indicator that sits between 7 and 8 o’clock and finally, there is a date window at 3. These watches would retail for USD 6,000.
All four watches come attached to an oyster-style steel bracelet.
The SBGJ251 features an immersive emerald green textured dial that is inspired by the arrival of the spring season. The dial reciprocates the lush greenery that envelopes the Japanese hills. Complementing the deep green dial are the rose gold accents that can be seen on the GMT hand and the GMT text on the dial. The minute track as well as the 24-hour GMT ring has been printed in white to offer a nice contrast to the dark background.
With the SBGE269 the designers at Grand Seiko have attempted to create a face that depicts the end of the rainy season. Presented in a light blue shade, the dial features a wave-like pattern that mimics the ripples that get created when warm wind blows over the water. The uneven pattern is stunning to look at and adds a ton of character to this watch. The GMT hand and the rest of the text this time around have been presented in a dark blue shade to brighten up the dial.
The SBGE271 features a deep black textured dial that represents the dark black skies with white clouds seen during the Autumn season in Japan. This is my favorite model from the lot. With a distinctive pattern, a rich deep shade of black, and those colorful yellow accents, this is a great-looking face overall.
The dial on the SBGE269 can be considered the simplest of the lot but is quite compelling in its own way. Featuring a hammered look, the face on this watch attempts to re-create the magic of a chilly winter morning with the sun shining bright. The textured silvery-white surface represents the snow-clad ground, whereas the golden text and GMT hand resonate the looks of the sun’s rays. Furthermore, the printing on this model has been rendered in black for maximum legibility.
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