BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
GMT watches have been a favourite of watchaholics for many years, but when Rolex introduced the GMT Master II BLNR, aka the Batman, things really took off for these aeronautical watches. Yes, that pun was intended. While the GMT Master II is the Rolex GMT watch most people will turn their thoughts to first, the Explorer II is also a GMT watch, but with a fixed bezel. Grand Seiko’s new Sport Collection GMT watches are aimed squarely at the Explorer II, to the point that they could be mistaken for one at a distance. But is that a detriment to Rolex or Grand Seiko?
The new watches are SBGM245 and SBGM247, one day, I’ll gather the courage to find out what all the letters mean, but that day is not today. The most significant difference between these Grand Seikos and the watches produced by the coronet are the dial colours and the position of the crown. Grand Seiko’s new watches are inspired by nature, with either an oceanic blue or landscape green dial. These dials feature sunburst finishing to catch the light and applied markers to add layers of depth to the design. The hands are chunky, but their edges are precise with applications of lume to assist at night. A date window is at 4 O’clock, but on both watches, it has a white background instead of being coloured to the dial.
These watches have fixed bezels. The outer one is made of stainless steel and sits atop the 40.5mm diameter case nicely and has even numerals, while the inner flange is used as a second GMT bezel and has odd numbers. When using the GMT function, the bezel tells the time in another timezone using a 24-hour time display. I like the combination of both odd and even numbers here, and it uses up the space well.
Inside these watches is the calibre 9S66, an in-house made movement with automatic winding, a 4Hz beat rate and a power reserve of 72 hours. It’s surprising that Seiko doesn’t use its Hi-Beat movements here, but these watches are adjusted to within +5/-3s per day, which is within chronometer specifications (although Seiko does not say that these are chronometers).
Both models are water-resistant to 200m and are a permanent part of the collection costing $5700 each, available now.
Visit Grand Seiko here.