As a 55th anniversary piece in celebration of the first Grand Seiko watch produced in 1960, Seiko today has announced a new limited edition Grand Seiko sport watch – and it’s quite lovely. One important thing to note about this new Grand Seiko watch is that the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC013 is the first Grand Seiko watch to incorporate ceramic into the case construction. The bezel of the watch is in “deep black” ceramic which, of course, is a material that is much more scratch resistant than steel.
The rest of the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC013 case is in titanium, and at its core, this is one of the brand’s older, yet more interesting sport watch models that Seiko developed in order to display the versatility of their Spring Drive movement collection. The movement is the caliber 9R96 automatic Spring Drive Chronograph GMT movement made in-house at Seiko’s Shinshi Watch Studio. The last time I believe we discussed a Seiko watch with this movement was this Ananta Spring Drive Chronograph GMT watch here. Seiko Spring Drive movements are mostly mechanical, but rather than use a traditional balance wheel regulation system they use a quartz crystal regulator. The movements are still powered by a mainspring. While purists may not consider the Spring Drive to be in the same category as mechanical movements, I personally find Spring Drive technology to be an excellent hybrid that combines the best of both worlds.
The Seiko caliber 9R96 movement has 72 hours of power reserve and is accurate to about 10 seconds per month. That is better than most quartz movements. The movement has a lot of great functions that include the time with subsidiary seconds, date, power reserve indicator, GMT hand, and 12-hour chronograph. The layout of the dial information is unique, and while it is not symmetrical, Seiko claims that it was designed to improve legibility – especially of the chronograph. A further characteristic of these Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT watches is the large size of the chronograph pushers (which have screw-down locks). They might look a bit too large and funky, but the chronograph is a pleasure to use.
The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC013 is 43.5mm wide and 16.5mm thick. It wears large but is a great watch to show off. Seiko does titanium well, especially with Grand Seiko’s “high-intensity” titanium which is finished very nicely and, I believe, a bit more scratch resistant. For this limited edition SBGC013 movement, Seiko used the signature “deep blue” Grand Seiko color for the dial with gold accents for the hands and labeling. There is an 18k yellow gold Grand Seiko “GS” emblem in the automatic rotor on the movement.
In this particular Grand Seiko watch, you do have a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback window with a view of the very finely finished 9R96 movement. In addition to the limited edition numbering, I appreciate that there is a “1960 – 2015” label so that in the future people seeing this watch will have at least some guess as to what it was a limited edition for. I get really upset when watch brands sometimes utterly forget that by not labeling their watch cases and dial correctly, future generations will have no idea what to make of some of their more unique or limited edition watches.
A beautiful and unique high-end Japanese sport watch, the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC013 is also yet another exclusive limited edition Grand Seiko that will tempt collectors. What I am also interested in seeing is how Seiko continues to develop its ceramic technology as well as its incorporation into future models. An all ceramic-cased Grand Seiko watch should be pretty amazing. The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC013 will be a limited edition of 400 pieces, with a price of 10,500 Euros (currently about $11,600). grand-seiko.com