Grand Seiko just announced their new Ladies Quartz Snowflake! Finally, a version of the Snowflake for smaller wrists. The original Snowflake (both the SBGA011 and SBGA211) have 41mm cases, which while perfect for my wrist, is too large for many. This new version brings that way, way down to just 28.9mm. It’s far thinner too at 8.7mm, so it should wear beautifully. Interestingly, GS chose to switch to stainless steel over the almost synonymous titanium case of the SBGA211, perhaps because the weight of such a small watch wasn’t seen as especially burdensome.
Turning to the dial, we’re greeted with many design choices that, to a Grand Seiko fan, are like old friends by now. The iconic Snowflake dial is, of course, still present, and at least in these photos I have, it looks pretty much identical to what you get in the SBGA211 (a good thing in my book). The beautiful hour markers are also more or less faithfully preserved, although miniaturized of course, and these are one of the unsung heroes of Snowflake design. The 6:00 and 9:00 marker are simple sticks now, but it looks like the 12:00 marker retains its trapezoidal look. The hands are a little different as well. The broad, flat dauphine hands are replaced with thinner, sharper designs, although if you look closely you can still see that flat facet on top. The date complication remains, almost identical to the original Snowflake, but absent is spring drive writing or a power reserve complication.
That’s because it’s powered by a Grand Seiko quartz movement, specifically the 4J52, and it’s still accurate to just 10 seconds per year like a Grand Seiko quartz ought to be. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the 4J52 from Grand Seiko, as it’s been GS’ go-to movement for very small (~26mm) watches like the old STGF075, which leads me to assume that the 4J52 was chosen primarily for its dimensions over competing movements like the 9F quartz or the 9R spring drive. Regardless, it’ll be phenomenally accurate and reliable. It also helped, I suspect, keep the price surprisingly reasonable $2,300, or an enormous $3,500 less than its full-sized counterpart. An SBGA211 and an STGF359 may make the case for itself as the best his/hers watch duo ever made. We’re expecting the STGF359 in June and you can pre-order yours by clicking here.