Grand Seiko Black Ceramic Spring Drive Chronograph GMT Watches Hands-On
It’s no mystery that watch devotees will in general have an adoration for Grand Seiko that I’ve consistently compared to that of an outside the box music snob’s attachment to a dark band that’s cherished by their companions however moderately obscure to the majority (any old Broken Social Scene fans out there?). Grand Seiko watches are astoundingly made and the encapsulation of “stealth wealth” from multiple points of view. Presently, things are changing with Seiko putting an expanding significance on their extravagance watches as a component of their more extensive technique in an evolving market, which means Grand Seiko must go standard outside of Japan. Seiko (sagaciously) chose for the current year that “Seiko Grand Seiko” would now be the self-governing “Grand Seiko,” and one of the deliveries pair with the rebranding was the new Grand Seiko Black Ceramic Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC219, SBGC221, and SBGC223 watch collection.
You’ll recollect that in 2016, we saw the Grand Seiko Black Ceramic Limited Edition Chronograph SBGC017 watch (seen above) which highlighted the quiet and dazzling green rehashing tree design dial that went ahead a calfskin lash. This watch was essential for a progression of four limited edition ceramic watches which were the main ceramic cases from Seiko and accompanied some sticker stun, evaluated at $13,000. Indeed, presently we realize that this was Grand Seiko certifiably trying things out, as these new ceramic games watches have light and sturdy ceramic-titanium arm bands, the new Grand Seiko marking, and sticker prices of $14,800 for the non-limited SBGC221 and SBGC223 and $15,800 for the limited edition of 500 SBGC219.
I need to now pause for a minute to address that Grand Seiko makes probably the best watches today, and their Spring Drive development is without exaggeration one of the best large scale manufacturing developments out there. Since this involved piece can’t conceivably contain the subtleties of these assertions, I’m going to allude the unenlightened to two articles composed by our own David Bredan. The first is his top to bottom clarification and history of the Spring Drive development and the second is his audit of his #TheGrailSeiko, the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph SBGC001. Done in steel, the SBGC001 is estimated at $7,700 however we are presently discussing a 2.5X expense premium with the ceramic body and new titanium-ceramic bracelet.
All three of these new watches have a 46.4mm wide (an obvious indicator this is a watch showcased to Western business sectors) and 16.2mm thick case with the bezel, hauls, and focus joins on the wristband done in Zirconia ceramic, an especially solid and scratch safe ceramic. The remainder of the dial and wristband are done in titanium, and you’ll notice the ceramic parts are brought on the arm band up in request to shield the titanium from scratching. The rationale here being that if the ceramic can take the lion’s portion of mileage, the scratches won’t show. The dial design is unaltered from past Spring Drive GMT watches, with the chronograph sub-dials on the correct side of the dial, seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock, and force save pointer directly beneath. Obviously, at 11 o’clock is the solitary marking you’ll see on the dial, with the Grand Seiko name and GS insignia.
The hands are completely done as one would anticipate from Grand Seiko and I’m truly happy to see that the moment hand and GMT hand are stretched out long when compared to last year’s introductory Black Ceramic watch. I’m likewise happy to see that lume was added to the hour, moment, and GMT hands just as the hour markers (however the limited edition model has non-lumed red gold hour and moment hands). Above you can compare last year’s dial the latest trend Black Ceramic dial.
On that note, I really need to momentarily return to the recently planned seconds sub-dial. The refinement of the dial currently causes it to seem like the force save pointer nearly falls down normally from the seconds sub-dial, which additionally includes the new “propeller” formed seconds hand of differing length. The more limited hand relates to and coordinates to the internal seconds ring (demonstrating the initial 30 seconds of a moment) and the more extended hand compares to and coordinates with the external seconds ring (showing the second 50% of the minute).
The actuality that the force save pointer part of the way blocked the Grand Seiko logo on last year’s Black Ceramic models truly annoyed me and I’m so glad to see the recently done dials. I’m happy the gradual refinement of their items is consistently in the front of the personalities at Grand Seiko. This helps me to remember the “Rolex way” of persistent refinement, for example, when they fixed the issue of the dreadfully brief minutes hand on their Explorer with a corrected variant in 2016.
You’ll notice a few contrasts between the limited edition rendition and the other two, so I’ll clarify those here. The non-limited edition SBGC221 (white dial with the alluring Clous de Paris example) and SBGC223 (black dial) have a 24-hour scale on the bezel and have the Caliber 9R86 Spring Drive development. This development has a 72-hour power hold and is exact to ±1 seconds of the day, or ±15 seconds per month.
The SBGC219 is a limited edition run of 500 pieces, intended to commend the 10-year commemoration of the Spring Drive Chronograph GMT development. This model has a few contrasts, beginning with the way that the bezel includes a tachymeter scale. I guess this is an approach to separate the limited edition from different forms however I for one could never select a tachymeter scale and discover them especially minimal just as very ugly. That’s just me, though.
Other recognizing factors for the limited edition model are a blue dial tone, rose gold hands and markers, a 18k rose gold Grand Seiko lion on the wavering weight (sorry we needed to utilize a press picture of this), and a 18k rose gold Grand Seiko logo on the clasp. The development is likewise unique, with the 9R96 “specially adjusted” development, which has an exactness of ±0.5 seconds out of every day or ±10 seconds per month.
The extravagance sports watch field is savagely competitive and stuffed with probably the most mainstream watches from the absolute most notable brands. The Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph Dark Side of The Moon Black Ceramic ($12,000), Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT Deep Black ($11,700), Rolex Daytona ($12,400), and Hublot Big Bang 44 ($13,600) are on the whole more affordable than any of the three Grand Seiko Black Ceramic Chronograph watches I talked about here. That’s some solid competition, in any event, when you consider the way that the purchaser of these top of the line Grand Seikos will normally be searching for something not as common as the “competitors” I just referenced. Maybe another (truly altruistic) approach to see it is that the Grand Seikos are essentially more affordable than the chronograph steel contributions like the Patek Philippe Nautilus, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, or Vacheron Constantin Overseas watches, which are all into the mid to high $20,000 mark. That is an extremely aspiring investigation, to be honest.
Part of the trouble is pinpointing precisely where the “new” Grand Seiko (without the Seiko) contributions like these Black Ceramic games watches will land, in deals as well as how well costs on the dim and recycled market hold up. The item quality, completing, and development are there however the “X-factor” of brand situating in the all around packed non-Japanese market they are focusing on will be intense for Grand Seiko. That being said, with contributions like their SBGD001 Spring Drive 8-Day Power Reserve watch, we know Grand Seiko can’t be blamed for an absence of endeavoring, not to mention their achievement in idea and execution of very good quality timepieces.
Once once more, valuing for the Grand Seiko Black Ceramic SBGC221 and SBGC223 is $14,800 and the limited edition SBGC219 is evaluated at $15,800 with a run of 500 pieces. grand-seiko.com