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Review: the Grand Seiko SBGA211 “Snowflake”

Review: the Grand Seiko SBGA211 “Snowflake”


Many watch brands have a model that characterizes the company. Rolex has the Submariner, Omega the Speedmaster, Audemars Piguet the Royal Oak, etc. At the point when you hear the name, you picture the watch and the other way around. Grand Seiko is unique. A brand that is as of now having a recovery, or maybe broadened US-debut is more precise, they don’t have one model that fundamentally comes to mind when the brand is referenced. They have a wide range of ideas that do, notwithstanding, like completing, “Zaratsu,” surface, Spring Drive, hey beat, esteem (in an extravagance feeling of the word), and art, to give some examples. Yet, while there isn’t a particular model that characterizes them or their stylish, there is a model that fills in as many’s passage into their list (regarding mindfulness, not value), the SBGA211, a.k.a. the Snowflake (as it will be alluded to from here out).

Before I truly thought a lot about the brand, nor their developments, nor before they were promptly accessible in the US, I did, some way or another, think about the Snowflake. First presented in 2010 as the SBGA011, I realized it had a white dial with a surface that set it apart from the group. I dubiously realized that inside was a restrictive development, and – well that may have been it for quite a while. Quick forward quite a while and Grand Seiko is currently a brand on the lips of each devotee. The watches are accessible at ADs across the US, and there are even boutiques in NYC . The Grand Seiko list has developed and changed with the seasons, yet the Snowflake stays a fixture.

As a watch that brings you into the brand, regardless of whether it’s not the watch you wind up buying from the brand (should you go that far), it epitomizes a lot of what they do so well, and what makes Grand Seiko extraordinary. This last certainty is the most significant as there is a x-factor of character and appeal that makes Grand Seiko contrast Swiss competitors. In spite of the fact that initially, the Snowflake may appear to simply be a white-dialed sports watch, there is quite a lot more, which gets uncovered in layers as you find out about it, and surprisingly better, experience it.

At $5,800 the SBGA211 is certifiably not an economical watch, nor is it a section estimated alternative for Grand Seiko. Their SBGX 9F quartz watches stand firm on that situation, beginning at a smidge more than $2k at the hour of composing this survey. All things being equal, the SBGA211 is towards the center of their non-valuable metal offerings, and highlights an incredible blend of highlights, from an extreme focus titanium case and wristband to the one of a kind and exceptionally precise Spring Drive development inside, not to fail to remember Grand Seiko’s standout wrapping up. Regardless of whether anything that is $5,800 is a decent worth is a discussion best put something aside for one more day, it is sure that when taken a gander at in comparison with like-estimated watches, the Snowflake especially stands its ground, and maybe offers considerably more than the competition.


Review: the Grand Seiko SBGA211 “Snowflake”

Case High-Intensity Titanium Movement Grand Seiko 9R65 Spring Drive Dial White Lume NA Lens Sapphire Strap Titanium Bracelet Water Resistance 100 Dimensions 41 x 49mm Thickness 12.5mm Lug Width 20mm Crown Screw-down Warranty Yes Price $5800


While the Snowflake is named and known for its dial, its focused energy titanium case shouldn’t be disregarded. Estimating 41 x 49 x 12.5mm it’s on the huge side for a period just ordinary games watch at this current second as expected, when 39s and 38s and more stylish, yet given it was first dispatched in 2010, not in the slightest degree amazing. It likewise includes misleadingly astute calculation, a strength of both Grand Seiko and Seiko, permitting it to look and wear more modest and more slender than anticipated. Also, on account of being titanium, it is 30% lighter than it would have been, had it been made of steel.

As with the finished dial, initially or from a remote place, the case may appear to be exemplary and direct, just uncovering itself under nearer examination. From above, long, thick lugs stream from one side to the next, enwrapping a cleaned bezel. A 6mm crown sits somewhat settled in the side at three when sunk. One of the main stunts of the eye this case plays comes from the blend of completing and how it is utilized to present the defense seem to drop off at the edge of the bezel. Wide groups of brushing stumble into the sum of the watch with a vertical grain, tenderly bowing out to be digression to the bezel at three and nine. Despite the fact that known for their cleaning, this brushing is totally first rate, with a surface I haven’t very seen somewhere else. The brushing ends in an entirely sharp line, prompting a Zaratsu cleaned angle that runs along the edge of the instance of both sides.

Zaratsu cleaning is something that should be capable to be completely valued, sad to report. How might one sort of “black” or mirror clean be superior to another? Indeed, when you see it you comprehend. An uncommon kind of cleaning (essentially just GS does it and a few trained professionals) that is finished by hand using the level side of a cleaning wheel, simply by experienced craftspeople, it brings about surfaces so level, so intelligent, it’s practically like they are not there. It’s like you aren’t seeing what they are reflecting yet through them. At the point when matched with brushed surfaces, the difference is obvious. One diffuses light seeming strong, different drops away into a void. Along these lines, while the Snowflake is 41mm edge-to-edge, it can peruse, if just momentarily, as 37.5mm, which is the measurement of the bezel.

When you see the Snowflake down the lugs, the manner in which the Zaratsu cleaning takes into consideration the point of the incline and the point of the bezel to consummately coordinate is striking. They consolidate, just momentarily, making a completely cleaned band, before the bezel dismisses, and the slope streams down the lugs. It’s one of those little minutes that advises you that there is a more significant level of art at play.

Additionally, from this point, you can perceive how the case tightens in towards the back beginning at the edge of the slant. A stunt I’ve seen on numerous a Seiko jumper also, it makes the watch look and wear somewhat more slender. It likewise gives the Snowflake a general more present day and even streamlined look. This surface is likewise completely cleaned, however since it’s a bigger surface and somewhat of a unique mark magnet, I do wish it highlighted level brushing, which would have additionally emphasizd the slope also. With no guarantees, I generally consider a to be tone as it mirrors my skin.

An fascinating element of the case is that Grand Seiko incorporates bored drag openings. I’m normally a devotee of this component, as it takes into account a lot simpler tie changing, yet I can’t help however feel it is odd on the Snowflake. The position of the openings simply feels off by one way or another, similar to they are excessively near the edge of the slope. All things considered, maybe accommodation wins around here, which I can live with.

Flipping the watch over you’ll discover a genuinely exemplary presentation back with the prominent detail of some engraved adornment encompassing the window. Obviously, the 9R65 type inside is likely the thing you’ll be focusing on. I’ll dive into it in more prominent detail later, however the striking pearlescent quality made by Grand Seiko’s adornment procedures is difficult to turn away from.


There are numerous accounts that watches tell, regardless of whether in a real sense imprinted on a dial or through a mark detail, that are normally about the historical backdrop of a brand, some outrageous condition a watch can endure, or some mechanical accomplishment inside. Grand Seiko adopts an alternate strategy, ordinarily recounting an account of nature or specialty, bringing something regularly beautiful and inconspicuous into an item that is generally manufactured. As you’re effectively mindful, the Snowflake brings a hint of the outside onto your wrist.

Meant to inspire snow-covered landscape, the finished dial is really controlled and rich. All things considered, a white dial, however it is made through silver plating, the expansion of slight cleft at apparently irregular situations sets out the freedom for shadows to project. These somewhat hazier minutes make a field of always changing dark clamor that brings out nature. It’s basic, powerful, and in its haphazardness remains rather than the demanding flawlessness of the case, hand, and marker finish present. While fabricated through a machine cycle, the surface likewise summons the possibility of a talented craftsman cautiously scooping out material with a little device, loupe in eye.

Studding the dial like inconceivably amazing outsider constructions emerging from a blanketed cold field are Zaratsu cleaned markers. At the point when first wearing the Snowflake, my consideration was all on the dial surface, however as I’ve lived with it somewhat, more has gone to these markers. Like the slopes of the case, the extraordinarily level reflected surfaces on all sides of the markers mirror light sublimely. While simple to see as strong metal, they can likewise make odd hallucinations, like seeming like dark pits into the dial, or as straightforward glass structures drifting simply over the fragile surface. Whenever hit by direct light, the broke shafts they venture will illuminate your divider (and drive your feline crazy).

Incredible subtleties Date at three The disputable force hold

Between these markers are little dark lines to demonstrate the minutes and seconds in a reasonable design. Just underneath the marker at twelve is an applied GS marker followed by Grand Seiko in a grand Black Letter type. Reflecting this content at six in little sort it peruses “spring drive” in a kind that feels a touch excessively sterile by comparison.

There are two dubious components to the Snowflake dial, both as complications. At three is a date window instead of a marker with a square cleaned outline and a dark on white date circle. While it’s expected, and not offensive by any stretch, it seems like it’s coming up short on the nuanced treatment that all other details appears to have gotten. All things considered, it doesn’t feel like a similar degree of fit and finish.

The power save is a trickier component. The shell formed hold, which is noticeable on a sub-layer slice through the dazzling frigid surface, sits somewhere in the range of seven and eight, practically somewhere between the middle and edge of the dial. At the point when full, the sharp cleaned hand focuses towards nine, when unfilled, up towards twelve. There are no numbers to show that there are 72hours of force when full (which is something worth being thankful for), yet a marginally graduating scale communicates the assumption unmistakably enough. It’s top notch and appealing in its own right, however off-kilter when taken in as a feature of the whole.

I’m a fanatic of force saves. On physically twisted watches, they are consistently welcome. On watches with extra long force saves (I’ll say five days and up), they are additionally beneficial. On genuinely ordinary automatics, they can be cool contingent upon their execution and the soul of the watch, however pointless. The Snowflake is a quiet and peaceful watch. From the feelings the dial brings out of peering out over a field of immaculate day off, the unnaturally smooth movement of the skim movement seconds hand, it’s peaceful, tranquil and predictable. The force save marker upsets the experience, as does the date window, making slight interruptions in the smaller than expected otherworldly minutes one is quieted into while peering at the dial. They don’t ruin anything, nor do they detract from the watch’s other extraordinary highlights, however one can envision an adaptation without them, and long for what that may be like.

The signature Grand Seiko handset is used on the Snowflake. The hour and moment hands are in the dauphine style and are completely cleaned on top just as on the dangerously sharp slants that give them GS’s particular look. The excellence of these hands truly can’t be downplayed. There is an explanation there are many full scale photographs of them drifting around Instagram, they are simply great. This is what top of the line completing really resembles. The warmth blued seconds hand is drop-dead exquisite too, assuming the type of a marginally tightening stay with a more extensive stabilizer on the far side. The lone tone on the dial, the dark/blue that solitary comes from treating is the ideal emphasize to the Snowflake surface. Notwithstanding its own magnificence, it likewise causes somewhat more to notice itself, which thus puts the mark float of the Spring Drive development into the spotlight.


If in-house developments are uncommon in the plan of things, developments that are absolutely novel are genuinely unicorns, and normally just found in the domain of the haute free thinkers. Developments that manage boundaries, like hyper exactness, steady power, theoretical escapements, and so forth, just aren’t commonly found in large scale manufacturing. Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive innovation is genuinely in its very own class, as it goes past the specs of common mechanical developments, yet rather than doing as such with customary techniques brings in innovation as quartz guideline (don’t run, this is a long way from your opinion about as a quartz watch). The outcome is a half breed that is frequently considered as the most awesome aspect both worlds.

Rather than clarifying it in extraordinary detail, as that would take a whole article and a video, here is a link to a whole article with a video that does exactly that. Peruse that now, or later, yet for those in a surge, here’s the truncated adaptation. Ordinary mechanical watches use escapements, ordinarily of the Swiss switch assortment, to deliver the energy put away in the heart in small, exact augmentations that are converted into hours, minutes, and seconds by a stuff train. They likewise make the obvious ticking of a watch, just as the ventured clear of the seconds hand.

Spring Drive renounces the customary escapement for a skim haggle “tri-synchro regulator” (see the above article for additional on that). Instead of a locking instrument to deliver the energy, an electromagnetic stopping mechanism is utilized, controlling the pace of the skim wheel, which is turning one way without interference, consequently the movement of the seconds hand. The quartz component comes into play here as the rate at which the brake is applied is managed by a coordinated circuit that is utilizing the quartz oscillator as a kind of perspective sign, comparing the coast wheel against it, changing as needed.

It doesn’t require a battery on the grounds that the electromagnetic brake really creates sufficient current to run the framework. Eventually, what you have is a mechanical development with 72 hours of force hold that is wound like some other programmed/mechanical watch, but instead than ticking, utilizes a novel arrival of energy that is, basically, observed by a quartz mind to deliver exactness of +/ – 1 second a day. This escapement-elective is likewise contact free, lessening mileage, relieving perhaps the greatest issue of mechanical watchmaking. Also, Spring Drives don’t capitulate to positional change, so no tourbillon required here.

With that brief training far removed, within the Snowflake is the 9R65 type. As “in-house&rdquo, surprisingly to the nines, and completely exclusive, it’s the not-so-seemingly insignificant detail that makes the watch genuinely extraordinary. From the dial side, the ethereal, quiet consistent coast of the seconds hand is an indication that what is inside isn’t your standard watch and an inconspicuous update that time is a steady stream. Despite the fact that by all account not the only watches in history with genuinely smooth scopes (the first tuning fork Accutrons had a similar movement, for instance) realizing it is connected to the instrument with extraordinary exactness, and an immediate impact of how it functions, causes it to seem like it’s accomplishing something special.

From the back, you’d be unable to tell this wasn’t a conventional mechanical development initially. Perfectly beautified with profound stripes and angled edges, Grand Seiko’s developments are the lone I’ve seen that make such a rainbow-gleam in direct light. Obviously, when your eye chases for the escapement, you’ll find rather a bunch of wheels turning at unfathomable rates, the lone pointer that there is more having an effect on everything. For a view underneath, make certain to look at The Naked Watchmaker’s breakdown.

In practice, it’s simple to fail to remember that the watch you are wearing is extraordinary, and at any rate as far as precision, better than any mechanical watch you own (there is a sure measure of incongruity in the way that Grand Seiko’s own 9F quartz watches are undeniably more exact even than Spring Drive, and normally at a lower cost as well). Without a doubt, the compass of the seconds hand is an update, however hyper exactness is, in any event in little portions, kind of difficult to get a handle on. In any case, in the wake of wearing the watch on and off for half a month, not letting it at any point completely pass on, and finding that it’s still in accordance with my reference (ahem, cell) is amazing. Combining an attention to the precision with the way that it’s remarkable to Seiko/Grand Seiko/Credor, causes the watch to feel extraordinary and stand apart from other time-just looks like it had a special complication or function.


The Snowflake comes mounted to a strong focused energy titanium wristband. It’s a five-interface plan with three brushed connections rotating with two slim cleaned joins that tightens marginally down to a wonderfully little catch. As far as looks, I wouldn’t consider it my #1 plan, coming off somewhat elaborate and a touch like the currently resigned Speedy arm bands, however it is pleasantly got done with, including cleaned slopes along its external edges and wonderful brushing that coordinates the lugs impeccably. I will say, in any case, that it is up there as quite possibly the most comfortable wristbands I have ever tried.

I normally attempt an arm band for a piece, and afterward eliminate it as I discover it bothers me, definitely wearing the watch on a calfskin lash more often than not. With the Snowflake, I’ve kept it on the arm band almost the whole time it’s been in my ownership. Despite the fact that it doesn’t include any miniature changes, nor does it tighten a lot, it wears easily. It’s very lightweight, and gratitude to titanium’s low conductivity, has an impartial temperature making it essentially less observable. I surmise I’ve never invested a lot of energy with a titanium arm band previously, as I’m very impressed.

In terms of style, the wristband is certainly on the formal/business side of things. Fortunately, the Snowflake takes well to calfskin and can be spruced up or down likewise. I tried it on a dim blue shell cordovan lash, which plays pleasantly off of the blue seconds hand, and gives the watch a somewhat more easygoing mentality, yet would in any case look great with an overcoat. On a rough earthy colored nubuck tie, the Snowflake is in end of the week mode, looking sportier and undeniably more easygoing. The adaptability shouldn’t truly be astounding considering the Snowflake is a white-dial sports watch toward the finish of the day.

On The Wrist

I recall the first occasion when I got a platinum watch. It was at a watch meetup and I was overwhelmed by its weight. It resembled the actual mass of this thing addressed its worth. It was crazy, at this point strangely engaging. Ordinarily, we do connect some degree of weight with esteem. It’s one reason individuals think quartz watches are “cheap” – they essentially do not have the metal to have heave. The Snowflake made me fully aware of extravagance as softness. Why add discomfort when extravagance can likewise be characterized as simplicity? Smooth sheets, cowhide insides – titanium watches. In spite of the fact that the actual material isn’t expensive, the experience of a really lightweight watch is unquestionably luxurious.

It’s considering this that I found the Snowflake, arm band and all, so charming on my wrist. Indeed, it’s 41 x 49 x 12.5mm, which by today’s norms are plunge watch specs, yet on the wrist, it works. I never felt like I was wearing a major watch, and I think the absence of weight prompted that duplicity. All things considered, I saw a watch that stood its ground on my wrist. A watch that felt present day completely, however classy too. Might I want to envision it somewhat more modest? Without a doubt, however not at all like with different watches where that may be the situation, it wouldn’t essentially improve anything. With no guarantees, the Snowflake uses cleaning and solid lines to seem more modest. The distinction among being and showing up, however, is that Snowflake has a startling roughness to it.

While I may initially consider the insightful dial and the quiet floating seconds hand, the Snowflake is a 100m watch with a screw-down crown also. This isn’t a dress watch, regardless of whether it functions as a conventional watch. While more modest watches absolutely have these equivalent details or considerably more prominent, I think had the Snowflake been more modest and more slight, the rich components might have felt too beautifying, bringing the entire watch into a too dressy and even fastidious area. I will say a touch more slender would be welcome however. I realize this is a common evaluate for Grand Seiko, yet I can’t help however think even a couple of millimeters would simply make it wear even better.


One can think about the white-dial sports watch as such a dispassionate ideal inside watches. It’s a thing, much the same as a dark dial/bezel jump watch. A staple, a go-to, something each authority could have in light of the fact that it’s flexibility in bodily form. Like a couple of earthy colored cowhide shoes, or a blue coat, should you need it, it’s there and will work paying little mind to the circumstance. But then, similar to those shoes, you can go for the fundamental variant to take care of business, or horse up for ones from Alden that are almost indistinguishable from far off, yet are made of cordovan and cost ordinarily more. The thing that matters is make, materials, history… the entirety of the intangibles that make you, the proprietor and taught shopper, eager to wear them.

The Grand Seiko SBGA211 Snowflake is similarly. It’s a white-dialed sports watch that may seem like numerous others initially, however after looking into it further has a ton more going on, should you need to make a plunge. Everything about to something with more prominent profundity from the cleaning, to the dial surface, to the development inside. It’s not simply a white-dial sports watch, it’s an assortment of stories that as watch devotees we can truly become tied up with (and should a non-watch individual challenge to get some information about the watch, we can tell in incredible detail).

In terms of cost, at $5,800 the Snowflake isn’t modest, nor is it impractical, particularly second hand. In setting of other also estimated and themed watches, for example, the Omega Aquaterra 150m ($5,700 on a wristband), it bodes well as they are comparable, by all accounts, from multiple points of view. Both are 41mm games watches that can be spruced up or down. Both have in-house developments with novel angles, one being a Master Co-Axial, the other Spring Drive. Both are from regarded brands with rich accounts. Both even have finished dials.

What makes the Snowflake, and likely numerous other Grand Seikos likewise, stand apart is that the degree of completing showed looking into it, dial, and hands is normally on one more level. A most loved brand for full scale photography on Instagram, Grand Seikos confront watches with one more decimal in their sticker prices. Without a doubt, you can just genuinely see this degree of detail with a loupe, yet when wearing it, there is a feeling that everything is more honed and cleaner than on different watches you’ve worn. Include the interesting and exceptionally exact development, and you have a watch that truly holds its own.

So, regardless of whether the Snowflake is the correct Grand Seiko for you (or me) is another story, however as a path into understanding the brand and what separates it, it actually fills in as an incredible spot to begin. In the wake of investing some energy with the watch, the charm of a Grand Seiko and of Spring Drive is solid, however I should say that so is the possibility of their 9F type. More affordable, significantly more exact, and the watches are as yet completed to a similar level. Choices, choices. Grand Seiko