Grand Seiko released six new watches today, seemingly from totally opposite ends of the GS spectrum. We get two extremely reserved and demurely-sized quartz dress watches alongside two large Hi-Beat dive watches. As if that weren’t a great enough contrast, these are offered alongside a pair of two-tone spring drive chronographs. What do they have in common? Who can say, but join me as we take a quick glance at each.
We’ll start with my favorite, the SBGX349. This steel watch comes in a very modest size, 34mm, and it has a classical dial to match. It’s a traditional dress watch par excellence, although the movement, a 9F61 quartz, is thoroughly contemporary. Aside from the superior accuracy, this movement also has the benefit of minimizing the profile of the watch, which is quite reasonable at 10.7mm.
It’s paired with the SBGX347, which is identical in all respects except for, of course, its white dial. Like nearly all of the models today, it’s not a limited edition, an appreciated break from a brand that is becoming somewhat notorious for its extreme focus on LEs. They’re priced reasonably as well, and at $3,300, both the blue and white versions make an attractive entry point for the GS traditionalist.
Next we spy the SBGH289, which will undoubtedly be the most popular watch from this announcement. This dedicated tool watch comes in a predictably large 43.8mm steel case, which, while indisputably plus-sized, is at least far smaller than the 46.9mm SLGA001 that recently came out. Powering the watch is the venerable 9S85 Hi-Beat automatic, one I personally wear very frequently. This, of course, gives the watch that iconically smooth sweep hand that beats 10 times per second. This steel model comes in at $7,300, but for $1,500 more ($8,800) you can also get it in titanium.
That watch, the SBGH291, comes in a black dial, albeit with gold accents (somewhat washed out in this photo, but much more appreciable in real life), reminiscent of the popular SBGA031. Although the case is high-intensity titanium (the brand’s proprietary flavor of Ti), the size is the same at 43.8mm. It’s also powered by the same 9S85 Hi-Beat automatic, so it has the horological credentials to back up the tool watch looks. That said, I’m not sure I’d personally spend the extra $1,500 for this model over the SBGH289. For one thing, it’s difficult for me to understand how the upgrade to titanium alone results in such a significant price difference, but more importantly, I like how the SBGH289 looks more too. Still, for those who want a more austere black dial or love lightweight watches (which will be particularly appreciable in a large watch like this), this is still an attractive option.
The last two are by far the most exotic, both being two-tone spring drive chronographs. We’ll start with my preference of the two, the SBGC242, which combines stainless steel, yellow gold, and a dark blue dial, giving it, to my eyes anyway, an almost maritime appearance. The 12-sided bezel gives it a touch of Genta vibes, reminding me ever so slightly of classics like the Royal Oak and its octagonal bezel; that said, it seems that I see Genta everywhere I go these days, so perhaps that’s in my head. In terms of movement, you get a top-of-the-line 9R86, one of the most complex movements Grand Seiko has ever mass-produced. The watch, like the divers above, is rather large at 43.8mm, but then, you don’t buy a watch like this to fly under the radar. At $18,100, however, this will likely appeal only to the most die-hard adherents of Grand Seiko.
Or, if you’d prefer rose gold for your two-tone Grand Seiko spring drive chronograph, check out the SBGC244. It’s also got a brown dial that accents the rose gold quite nicely, and a unique limited edition sapphire back with gold GS writing on it, denoting its boutique-only availability. In all other respects, including the 43.8mm size and $18,100 price, it’s the same as SBGC242.
Grand Seiko has been extremely active with new releases lately, so if one of these didn’t pique your interest, check out these three new green dress watches or these all-new spring drive watches, or just keep checking in at Timeless Luxury Watches as GS will undoubtedly be back soon with more new watches.
As always, you can see all of these in our Grand Seiko section here (well, all but the SBGC244; you’ll have to call the boutique for one of those).