I think it is safe to say that this year is the trend of GMT watches. I like it because of the usefulness of the complication for both travel and business. A good GMT quickly relays crucial information particularly a second-time-zone without having to fiddle on your smartphone. It’s quicker and more satisfying to use, at least for me.
The latest GMT I will talk about is from Grand Seiko. This collection is a trio of high-end but affordable sports watches equipped with a brand new 9F quartz movement designed and built by Grand Seiko. The watches are: SBGN003, SBGN005, and the 25th Anniversary SBGN001 Limited Edition that continues Grand Seiko’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of the creation of the 9F movement in 1993. The latter also features a higher degree of adjustment to yield accuracy to within an impressive 5 seconds a year. The first two maintains the 9F’s signature thermo-compensated accuracy of 10 seconds per year and the instant date change. New to the 9F is the 24-hour GMT hand and an independently adjustable hour hand.
About the hour hand adjustability, this newly built 9F86 caliber pretty much behaves like Grand Seiko’s other two GMT calibers: the 9R66 Spring Drive and the 9S86 Hi-Beat Automatic. These are traveler GMT movements in a sense that the hour hand can be adjusted independently without stopping the movement. In short, you don’t stop the movement and disrupt the watch’s timekeeping.
Another thing I like about the watches is that they’re more useful for keeping tabs on a second or third-time zone. Neither movement is technically better per se but each features a distinctive purpose and it’s up to the buyer to decide which version yields the most benefit according to their lifestyle. I also like seeing this trend extend outside of the likes of Rolex and Omega. Maybe we would even see a broader spectrum of design and price variety which totally benefits us fans, and travelers.
About the design, the new watches look nice and clean like the discontinued SBGM227. While the design is a bit borrowed, everything else feels original enough to make it stand on its own. The bold stripe of yellow indicating daylight on the limited edition SBGN001 variant is definitely new. The distinct ‘Grand Seiko’ here is very clear, from the razor-sharp diamond cut handset, to the applied rectangular hour markers which have been mirror polished. The legibility is superb in nearly all lighting conditions. The 39mm by 12mm thick case is conservative but definitely not too svelte. Like the other Grand Seiko’s Sports Collection, all three watches are water resistant to 100 meters and feature magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m.
The SBGN001 25th Anniversary Limited Edition goes for $4,200 USD for each of the 800 pieces and will be available this October while the standard editions SBGN003 and SBGN005 are priced at $3,700 USD each and will be available next year. Visit Grand Seiko here.