Grand Seiko is a genuine free production without a muddled history. The line was established in 1960, and it was the beginning of Seiko’s endeavors to create top of the line watches that could compete against those of the Swiss. In 1962, incredible Seiko fashioner Taro Tanaka built up a progression of rules named the Grammar of Design , and his all encompassing way to deal with what watches ought to resemble would advise Grand Seiko’s plan language for quite a long time to come. In 1972, Grand Seiko stopped creation for a time of 16 years, until the brand was carried back in 1988 with Grand Seiko’s first quartz-fueled watch — the 95GS. However, it wasn’t until 1998 that Grand Seiko delivered the 9S5 mechanical arrangement highlighting Grand Seiko’s first new mechanical type in 20 years.
My love for Grand Seiko was solidified when I visited the brand’s offices toward the end of last year. Seeing the watches come together, that brilliant blend of hand create and mechanical creation, was truly something to observe, and I finished the experience more infatuated with the Grand Seiko on my wrist.
Setting the hands. Checking the developments. “Zaratsu” cleaning a case. Changing the hairspring.
Grand Seiko is a genuine pioneer. The brand’s spearheading Spring Drive developments proceed to noteworthy even 21 years after they were first acquainted with the world, and I for one think Spring Drive to be one of a small bunch truly intriguing improvements with regards to timekeeping mechanics of the most recent a very long while. What’s more, obviously, there’s Grand Seiko’s 9F quartz line, which is ostensibly the crème de la crème to the extent quartz is concerned.
The watch we’re seeing today is one of my top choices in Grand Seiko’s current index; truth be told, it’s a watch that I own. The Ref. SBGM221 sits in Grand Seiko’s Elegance range, which is home to Grand Seiko’s dress(ier) watches. At $4,600, it’s likewise evaluated on the lower end for a Grand Seiko mechanical watch, yet regardless of the lower cost, it’s still a Grand Seiko totally and quite an incentive for what you get. Let’s hop right in.
Review: Grand Seiko Elegance GMT Ref. SBGM221
Case Stainless steel (Zaratsu cleaned) Movement in-house 9S66 programmed GMT Dial Cream Lume n/a Lens Box sapphire Strap Alligator w/deployant Water Resistance 3 atm Dimensions 39.5mm x 46.3mm Thickness 14.5mm Lug Width 19mm Crown Push-pull Warranty Yes Price $4600
Measuring 39.5mm wide, 14.5mm thick, and 46.3mm carry to-drag, the watch hits such a sweet spot. Being that it’s a touch dressier given the general dial and case completing, it’s decent that the case comes in just shy of 40mm. All things considered, I wouldn’t group this as a direct dress watch, so the reality the case isn’t a smooth 37mm doesn’t trouble me.
While 14.5mm peruses to some degree thick on paper, the actual case doesn’t look excessively thick, nor does it wear particularly tall on the wrist. To begin with, the mid-case isn’t a goliath section. Second, the thickness is circulated among the situation back, mid-case, and sapphire box precious stone. Furthermore, third, the case back plunges into the wrist when worn, and the hauls bend down, which eventually considers a truly pleasant fit that ought to accommodate an assortment of wrist sizes and shapes.
The milder idea of the case configuration holds it back from looking excessively thick. Bending drags and a bowl-formed case back consider a comfortable fit on the wrist.
Unlike the watches making up Grand Seiko’s Heritage and Sport lines, the watches of the Elegance assortment highlight softer cases. At the point when I say delicate, I’m not commenting on the nature of finish; indeed, everything here is just about as fresh and exact as anyone might imagine. By “soft” I imply that the cases aren’t as unforgiving and precise as a portion of those propelled by Tanaka’s Grammar of Design. While I appreciate those watches in the theoretical — and I’m a gigantic devotee of a considerable lot of the vintage partners — I haven’t completely got used to a portion of the more mainstream present day takes on the tasteful. Actually, I locate that a large number of them will in general rule my 7-inch wrist. I completely comprehend that this is my inclination and that’s it, and that there are numerous Grand Seiko fans without this issue, yet I needed to offer setting for why I’m especially attracted to Grand Seiko’s Elegance range.
Now, one thump that I do have against this watch — and to be more explicit, the case — is the water obstruction rating of only 3 atm, which Grand Seiko classifies as “splash resistant.” As I composed over, these are clearly intended to be dressier watches from Grand Seiko (and 3 atm is common for dress watches), yet they’re not dress watches in the most genuine sense — not to me, at any rate, however I understand that’s a matter of point of view. I’d contend that this watch can be an ideal one-watch competitor given how it wears and its implicit usefulness. Thus, all things considered, 3 atm is bit baffling (however in no way, shape or form a dealbreaker, clearly, since I own this watch). To make it understood, I’m not expecting jump watch specs here, yet I’d like favor something a touch more robust.
One of the things that I truly love about Grand Seiko is the brand’s commitment to faultless wrapping up. I really accept that at the cost you won’t locate a superior completed watch. For hell’s sake, regardless of whether you attached a couple additional grand to the comparison, Grand Seiko would in any case come out on top when set in opposition to the competition.
Just take a gander at the case. From the start, it may resemble an average high-clean case. In any case, note the nature of that clean. Note the inclines on the drags, and consider how sharp they look even without the advantage of having blended completing for contrast.
Grand Seiko’s known for something many refer to as “Zaratsu” cleaning, and it’s a key motivation behind why Grand Seiko watches look as great as they do. There’s a ton of secret around what Zaratsu really implies, however basically, the word “zaratsu” is gotten from an etching found on a vintage cleaning machine received by Seiko in the ‘50s. The etching read “GEBR.SALLAZ.” In German, SALLAZ sounds more like “zallats,” which prompts the Japanese elocution, “zaratsu.” These Sallaz machines are generally uncommon today, and, yet for a couple of Japanese and Swiss producers, they’re not actually utilized in the business. What makes them particular is that they utilize the side of the circle, and not the front, to clean surfaces, and that’s what brings about those obviously characterized focuses where plane meets plane that Grand Seiko watches have come to be known for. Dominance of one of these machines and this procedure requires a long time of training, and Seiko just permits their best craftspeople to play out this function.
Turning to the dial now, the dial of the SBGM221 welcomes you to take a gander at it through a circle. The hands are well honed; the etched files, applied Grand Seiko symbol, and date window outline are entirely completed; and the dial printing is without slop. I have a standing of being a piece falcon peered toward here at W&W HQ, and I genuinely can’t discover any issue here. Furthermore, that’s what’s cool about Grand Seiko. Getting an entirely completed watch is the standard and not the special case.
Let’s invest some energy on the hour markers and hands. A solitary marker has nine completely cleaned surfaces, besides at the cardinal spots where the markers are multiplied (here you have twelve particular surfaces). At the point when you factor in how little these markers are, the level of chiseling and completing becomes even more amazing. Once more, I rehash: this is the standard with Grand Seiko and not the exception.
The jewel cut hands are exemplary Grand Seiko: wide, tightening cutting edges with inclines along their edges. Like the lists, the completing here is without deficiency. The second hand is a straightforward stick with a hand-bowed tip and an exquisite stabilizer. The GMT hand is a warmth blued bolt, and it offers a decent visual difference against different hands and dial. FYI, these hands are blued individually and by hand. I’ve seen it myself, and it’s carefully awesome.
The dial itself is cream-hued so it has a satisfying warmth to it, and the printed text is dark. Indeed, to the extent quality goes, the printing here is blameless. Cream-shaded dials aren’t all around common today. Ordinarily you see white, or something with even more a brilliant metallic look, so the hotter vibe here nearly feels like a legacy. I truly like the shade of the dial, and I feel that it offers something else from what’s to a great extent available. I’ve additionally saw that relying upon the light source, the tone certainly transforms. Outside the glow is a touch tempered, however under hotter shading temperatures the dial advantages up.
At three is an outlined date window. The date wheel is a metallic silver with dark content. While I typically incline toward a coordinating date window, the unobtrusive piece of difference here between the matte, cream-hued dial and metallic date wheel looks incredible. My primary issue with confounded date circles is that they accentuate date windows that frequently feel like untimely ideas, which is certainly not an issue here. The date incorporation here functions admirably, and it’s in the rights spot. Furthermore, this is a GMT, and a GMT without a date would feel so wrong.
Powering the watch is Grand Seiko’s 9S66 programmed GMT development. It includes a three-day (72 hours) power hold, a beat pace of 28,800 vbh (or 4 hrz), 35 gems, it’s directed to six positions, and it’s appraised to +5/ – 3 seconds for every day.
The 9S66 is a “true” GMT. Here’s what that implies. The watch includes a bouncing nearby hour hand, which is by and large what it seems like — by means of the crown, you can hop the hour hand forward or in reverse (and carry the date with you when you move past 12 PM) to set your watch to the new neighborhood time after you’ve crossed timezones. The 24-hour hand stays connected to home time or some other timezone you’d like to track. This is by a wide margin the favored execution for GMTs.
Because the hour hand hops in the two ways through the crown, there’s no conventional quickset date by means of the crown. To propel the date rapidly, you need to hop the hour hand past 12 PM until you arrive at your ideal date. It sounds more monotonous than it truly is, and I’d contend that the additional GMT usefulness as is merits the little penance here.
The 9S66 is a perfectly completed type, obvious through the open case back. At specific points on the precious stone, you can see the Grand Seiko lion seal — a gesture to the excellent emblems that once enhanced vintage Grand Seikos.
But it’s not simply all looks — the 9S66 is likewise actually great. Miniature Electro-Mechanical Systems — also called MEMS — is a profoundly progressed semi-conductor fabricating innovation utilized by Seiko here to create lightweight exactness parts for their 9S types. Utilizing MEMS, Grand Seiko can make get away from wheels that are 5% lighter and bed forks that are 25% lighter. Grand Seiko likewise utilizes their own enemy of attractive metallic combination for their hairsprings. Their most recent is Spron 610, and it’s exceptionally versatile to stun, attraction, heat, and corrosion.
The SBGM221 comes on a 19mm croc tie with an extraordinary collapsing deployant. Both are very much made and satisfactory with the quality found on the remainder of the watch. Having said that, I’m not a colossal enthusiast of deployant applauds, nor do I for the most part like gator ties, so I selected something a smidgen more dressed down. While lashes are positively a matter of inclination, I do like the SBGM221 on earthy colored cowhide. I locate that earthy colored functions admirably with the cream dial and the fly of blue on the GMT hand.
I started this audit by expressing that the SBGM221 is perhaps the most moderately evaluated mechanical Grand Seikos presently available. After all that I covered here, you can see that notwithstanding its cost, it’s in no way, shape or form a lesser watch. From the development to the completing, this is an undeniable Grand Seiko completely. At $4,600, you’re getting a degree of accuracy, dominance, and plan that overwhelms the competition. Individuals frequently talk about Grand Seiko offering astounding value for-money in the extravagance portion, and they’re not off-base. This is quite a watch, and unmistakably deserving of the moniker “Grand.” Grand Seiko