Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-Beat GMT ‘Special’ Limited Edition SBGJ229-A Hands-On

Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-Beat GMT ‘Special’ Limited Edition SBGJ229-A Hands-On

The  Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-beat GMT “Special” Limited Edition SBGJ229-An is the most defective watch that I still truly – and rather mysteriously – need. It’s loaded with deficiencies which we’ll take a gander at, however it actually had something that made me need it just after I put it on my wrist. Here’s me attempting to translate what simply occurred and what Seiko’s rationale had conceivably been the point at which they made this monster.

All pictures by David Bredan

Let’s start with the greatest issue of all: the cost. At $14,800, this is about twofold what other Grand Seiko GMTs are running for – or possibly had been running for, before GS began focusing on rather more aggressive value levels as a component of their odd non-Seiko-Grand Seiko marking technique, presented a year ago. Close as has no effect, 15 grand for any four hand watch is amazingly steep in my book thus there’d should be many and strong legitimizations to make my – and other dependable watch collector’s – wallet open wide enough to neglect this large entirety out.


When I learned Grand Seiko had created a four-hand variant of the ceramic-titanium chronographs that we’d been seeing in earlier years, I, rather rashly, got my up expects it coming in a more modest size… however that was not to be. The Grand Seiko SBGJ229-A will be an astounding 46.4mm wide and 14.6mm thick – that is the thing that prepared watchmakers would call a major ass watch. Both the case and the wristband are produced using a combination of Seiko’s “high-force titanium” and their new, blue zirconia ceramic, multiple times harder than pure steel.

The immense size, I accept, is because of the manner in which the case is built. Clearly there is a titanium center case that folds over the development like a customary case would and it is onto this titanium cladding that the ceramic boards are fixed. It’s like a titanium watch wearing ceramic defensive layer. The thing is, in any case, that ceramic’s exorbitant surface hardness (and resulting protection from scratches) comes at a value: a propensity to break upon sway. I have insufficient solid data on whether this “cored” ceramic, or a full ceramic case is more impervious to stuns, however toward the day’s end, you’ll need to be actually rather cautious. Great job on Seiko’s end that the catch is from titanium and not ceramic.

So, this dazzling pair of obvious issues at hand – the cost and the extents – tended to, let’s proceed onward to the more simple to-like parts of the graphically named Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-beat GMT “Special” Limited Edition SBGJ229-A. First is comfort which, despite the fact that wasn’t precisely simple to survey with the show piece’s mile long wristband, felt great gratitude to the manner in which the generally lightweight case sat on the wrist and how the titanium and ceramic connections of the arm band folded over it – in light of the fact that the two materials are hotter than steel, the wristband felt like a column of little, smooth rocks, for absence of a superior comparison.


Craftsmanship working on this issue and wristband is noteworthy – however I was less dazzled than I feel I’d should be to legitimize burning through 15 huge ones. I can’t help however think that the “let’s screw ceramic pieces onto a titanium case” is neither a sound, nor an exquisite answer for presenting ceramic, and, in truth, I’d like to see a full ceramic alternative at this cost. Talking about craftsmanship: while I comprehend a completely flush fit is amazingly hard to achieve and I’ll concede that this might be an annoyance of mine, I’d in any case really like to not have the option to see through the hole between a bracelet’s end-interface and the lug.

I said we’ll talk positives however, so I’ll add this: many say (apparently dependent on pictures alone) that ceramic looks like plastic and keeping in mind that I question that’s the case on these pictures, close by anybody with an ambiguous sense for quality will actually want to disclose to GS’s ceramic separated from different materials. The edges are all around characterized yet aren’t excessively sharp, the surfaces are precisely shaped and the surface has a profound sheen and a propensity to go from immersed blue into pale, silk blue. To the touch, as I said, it is smooth with no hard or horrendous edges anyplace – it really resembles an advanced piece of reinforcement folded over a more common Seiko.

Or so it would look, on the off chance that it wasn’t for the extravagant – and rather wide – dial that says “GS 9S” on it multiple times. I asked and, after a couple of Grand Seiko in-group requests, discovered that these dials are stepped – not engraved or laser scratched. The dial’s shading goes from extremely blue to purple-blue, contingent upon the sort of light that hits it, and the blued lists and tempered blue steel GMT hands all take care of business to implement the exceptionally blue look. The red GMT bolt tip albeit intelligible looked a gnawed off to me – maybe a gold one to coordinate the “SPECIAL” text on the dial would have been a more classy choice.

Hiding under the inadequately AR-covered sapphire precious stone is a fundamental handset made in average Grand Seiko fashion: silk completed top surfaces, thin, lumed triangles and perfect, cleaned edges guarantee fine intelligibility and abundant gorgeous sight for quite a long time to come. To date most any remaining enormous brands could not hope to compare with regards to nature of hands – which is nothing unexpected while considering the way that most all huge Swiss brands depend on lethargic, yet costly providers for their hands who seem, by all accounts, to be hesitant to up their game in the lone thing that they do, while Grand Seiko produces its hands and files in-house.


The Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-beat GMT “Special” Limited Edition SBGJ229-An imprints the principal appearance of a 9S mechanical type in ceramic for Grand Seiko. This ought to clarify the unnecessary bragging on the dial and the adorable “Since 1998” text on the rotor. According to normal for a Seiko Hi-Beat development, the 9S86 runs at 5Hz (that’s 10 beats each second or 36,000 every hour) for as long as 55 hours. This specific type is continued running by a titanium and tungsten swaying weight, created from these materials “to oppose twisting in any event, when the watch is exposed to shock.” The titanium center segment got an anodic oxidation treatment to repeat the shade of the dial and the ceramic outside – the facts confirm that these common, extraordinary twisting rotors of Grand Seiko never neglect to amaze.

The dial’s “SPECIAL” text alludes to the “Special” standard to which this specific development had been set up: exactness should fall in the middle – 2 and +4 seconds, which is an impressively smaller reach than the COSC chronometer certification’s prerequisite of – 4/+6 seconds out of every day. This is additionally stricter than the Grand Seiko standard itself. That, alongside the smooth, 5Hz float of the seconds hand make for a noteworthy combination in current watchmaking performance.

So what is it, at that point, about the SBGJ229 that actually makes me wish to have one? Remembering that this will be an individual note that does not have all sorts of objectivity, there was a sure appeal to this 4-hand, utilitarian watch that needs to win your heart with this inquisitive combination of a truly valuable GMT usefulness and noteworthy precision… and childishly reckless, yet self-defensive looks. It really helped me to remember a computer game that I used to play as a child – and, in the wake of checking a little while ago, I could scarcely accept that the game is additionally from 1998, something the winding rotor could always remind me of.


Its name was Shogo and all you needed to do was slobber over a silly introduction video and afterward shoot from superfluously enormous robots at pixelated things in an ocean of low-goal surfaces. The idea was however missing as it seems to be behind this spruced up titanium Grand Seiko and investing energy in the general experience was as difficult to guard for what it’s worth to drop $15k on this four-hander GS… And yet, something clicked, something that could best be portrayed as “charming” – and you either feel that or you don’t, there just is no chance to get around it.

In the middle of one more Baselworld long distance race, sitting inside this gathering and accepting this watch as the manyeth Grand Seiko into my hand, it wasn’t until I folded it over my wrist that it ticked and I felt this charming (and in all reasonableness actually very terrible) experience rehash itself. Wearing the SBGJ229 would brighten me up, yet I couldn’t potentially clarify – or anticipate that others should comprehend – why. Really awful this in itself won’t make it a more adjusted and competitive package.

Again, cost for the Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-beat GMT “Special” Limited Edition SBGJ229-An is $14,800 and it will be a limited edition of 350 pieces. grand-seiko.com