Grand Seiko quietly released three new GMT watches today, clearly modeled after one of the most popular GSes ever made, the SBGE001/SBGE201. Despite the close resemblance, these three are actually new models with several important differences to set them apart from their inspiration.
For starters, in a move that will please many, many Grand Seiko fans, the new case is a far more versatile 40.5mm, down from a rather large 44mm on the SBGE201. This makes it a far more daily-wearable watch. Despite this improvement, it remains the same thickness, a not-insignificant 14.7mm.
The other big difference is the bezel. One of the elements that made the SBGE201 famous was its sapphire bezel. The sapphire bezel is gone, but fear not, it has a lovely color-matched replacement that should be just as tough. It’s hard to say for sure, but it appears to me that the new watches won’t have a rotating bezel (judging from the smooth edge), unlike its older brother. This means you’ll “only” have two time zones, but that’s plenty for most people.
The final difference is the price. Although the price is close, the new watches cost about $400 more than the SBGE201 at $6,200 each, perhaps owning to their new ceramic bezel.
Despite these differences, a lot remains the same. They’re both powered by the superb 9R66 spring drive GMT movement and both remain water resistant to 200 meters, so these watches are pretty much ready for anything you can throw at them. They both have closed case backs. Styling remains quite similar as well. While there are minor differences in the bezel and the crown seems to be more pronounced on the new models, they all maintain that classic Japanese tool watch look, and, of course, have independent hour hands. All three are expected somewhere from July to August of this year and are available for pre-order.