Introducing The Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGX355 And STGF385 Watches

Grand Seiko got a new pair of watches out with some truly iconic dials.


It seems like only yesterday I said on this very blog that “his and hers” watch pairs were going out of fashion thanks to big watch brands’ ditching the male and female collections of watches in favour of more neutral size numbers. Clearly, the folks at Grand Seiko haven’t made that change yet; perhaps genders aren’t such a big cultural discussion in Japan as they are in the West. Or, perhaps they planned these watches years ago and so need to get them to market before shifting their entire catalogue.

What you’re looking at here are two new additions to the ‘Snowflake’ watches. Grand Seiko is renowned for its use of colours and textures on its dials and they vary in inspiration from powerful oceans and white birch forests to the reflections of Japanese maple trees in wooden floorboards,no, I’m not making that up. Despite all this, the most sought-after versions are the Snowflake dial watches, so named because of their pure white dials inspired by the snow, which often falls throughout the Japanese winter.

The new watches are reasonably-sized quartz models. The first is the 28.9mm x 8.8mm stainless steel STGF385. This piece is elegant and a little sporty, and its case is water-resistant to 100m but I doubt many will try that out for fear of knocking one of the 44 diamonds (0.39k) out of its holder on the bezel.

The white dial with elegant dauphine hands is attractive, and I like that Grand Seiko put effort into framing the date window to make it a feature. The 4J52 quartz movement has a 3-year battery life and accuracy of within +/- 10 seconds per year. The price is $3800.

The second model is the larger SBGX355, which is still relatively small by today’s standards at just 37mm x 30mm. Like the STGF385, the SBGX355 has a domed sapphire crystal covering the dial, although the SBGX355 has a case made from ‘High-Intensity Titanium’, which Grand Seiko says is harder and more scratch-resistant than regular titanium.

The water resistance is the same, though, at 100m. Inside this watch is the quartz calibre 9F62 which has the same accuracy and battery life as the STGF385. The price of this one is $5500.

These are great watches, but they’re quite expensive. It’s a shame that Citizen didn’t make their AQ4103-16E Black Washi Paper Dial watch a full production model; that one is more accurate, more affordable, is similarly sized to the SBGX355 and has an interesting dial with their ‘Eco-Drive’ technology behind it. Oh well, if you want a modern-day icon on your wrist that isn’t Swiss it’s hard to beat a Snowflake.