Among the HODINKEE staff, Grand Seiko is one of the absolute favorite watchmakers. A meticulous focus on dials, a movement technology without parallel in Spring Drive, and a design language that’s really all its own are just a few of the reasons why the Japanese brand has captured and kept our attention. Perhaps because the brand arose outside of the conventional Swiss watchmaking ecosystem, it’s been able to chart a unique identity grounded in its own unique principles, standards, and technologies. The three new watches that we are announcing today in the HODINKEE Shop are really fine examples of what we continue to find so appealing about Grand Seiko.
Grand Seiko divides its watches into a few logical lines – Elegance, Heritage, and Sport – enabling enthusiasts to make selections based on their specific tastes and needs. If you want something that exalts Japanese tradition, Heritage is there. Something refined and understated? Check out Elegance. As you can probably tell from these colorful, highly water-resistant stainless steel GMTs on bracelets, they fall squarely within the Sport Collection. One of the most notable benefits of models from the Sport Collection is legibility, from the broader layout down to details like the lume on the dial. The watches we have here today acutely illustrate this and serve as one of the best executions in terms of wearability and versatility.
What we have here today are three similar takes on two Grand Seiko specialties – the Spring Drive movement and the GMT complication – presented in a very wearable 40.5 mm case size. Spring Drive is, of course, a mechanically powered movement that melds a fluidly sweeping seconds hand with quartz precision. In the case of these three watches, it’s the cal. 9R66. Spring Drive is one of the most compelling technologies Seiko has developed to date and one that is often put to service by Grand Seiko. Quite honestly, there’s nothing quite like it on the horological landscape. GMT watches are another GS specialty, with a range of styles to be found across its Spring Drive, quartz, Hi-Beat, and conventional-rate mechanical offerings.
With the new 40.5mm x 14.7mm GMTs available today in the HODINKEE Shop, Grand Seiko is offering a very wearable Spring Drive GMT option within the Sport line, and these compact traveler’s watches are some of our absolute favorite Grand Seiko models to date.
Each offers a stunning color combination with a ceramic bezel that adds plenty of personality as well as scratch resistance to the equation. The cases are immaculately Zaratsu polished, of course, with bold beveled edges. The crown placement at four o’clock ensures a comfortable wearing experience for righties and lefties. This is particularly important, as these are some sporty watches that you will want to be active with. Did we mention that they are water resistant to 200 meters?
The dials don’t disappoint either. They feature a power-reserve indicator (72 hours) and a well-integrated date window, making for a harmonious and balanced display – no easy feat when integrating these extra elements into a design. The diamond polishing that has come to be regarded as a Grand Seiko calling card is on display to be enjoyed. The dial is the watch’s interface, after all. It’s what you look at most, even if you find yourself just glancing at your watch without even noting the time. And that might be another Grand Seiko specialty: inspiring watch lovers to tilt their wrists and admire a finely finished dial even when they don’t really care to know the time. While pulling this off with a dress watch dial is one thing, making it work with sport models like this one feels like more of a challenge, and Grand Seiko has definitely risen to meet it.
The SBGE253 pairs a black dial and black ceramic bezel with a bright contrasting red GMT hand, a classic combination for Grand Seiko. The SBGE255 mixes things up by pairing a blue dial and blue ceramic bezel with a light blue 24-hour hand. There’s plenty of contrast between the two blue hues to ensure great legibility. It’s clearly been well thought out from a design standpoint, but it also has a charming capacity to catch you a bit off guard. The last thing it feels is obvious. At first, it seems like a GMT for summer, and one with real star potential at that, though its cool blue tones also vibe well with the energy of winter. The SBGE257 brings a third color of ceramic, green, to the mix and matches it with a green dial and a yellow 24-hour hand. Plus, all three new Spring Drive GMTs come on Grand Seiko bracelets that offer plenty of options for fine adjustment so that you can get the size just right.
Grand Seiko has so much going for it on so many different levels that it’s tough to think of any watch that ticks quite so many boxes, and the three models we have here today are perfect examples. The Grand Seiko SBGE253, SBGE255, and SBGE257 are available now, in the HODINKEE Shop, for a price of $ 6,200. You can explore each of these unique colorways in full-detail and make one your own right here.