In what’s become something of a tradition, Grand Seiko has just released a trio of watches in its Elegance Collection exclusively for the USA market at the Couture show in Las Vegas. (You’ll remember a few years back when the brand launched its USA exclusive Seasons Collection at the Vegas trade show.) Variations on the classic manual wind dress watch SBGW231, each piece in this this trio is a take on the different shades of green found in the Genby Valley of Iwate. Designated the SBGW273, SBGW275, and SBGW277, each will be limited to 140 pieces available exclusively in the United States.
The trio is based on the SBGW231, a manual wind dress watch that is a Grand Seiko staple. While it doesn’t get as much love in the states as it deserves, I believe the appeal of the Grand Seiko textured dials will introduce the collection to a new demographic. With just Zaratsu polished hands and applied indices (yes, that means there’s no date), the floor is given to the dials to make the subtle and effectively memorable impact that Grand Seiko has gotten so good at.
All three have a subtle, crisply textured green dial. Meant to evoke new growth that comes with the changing of the seasons, the SBGW273 has a light-green dial that’s splashed with a blue seconds hand. While I find myself extra judicious with things like blue hands, Grand Seiko definitely had the right idea here as a steel hand against such a gently colored dial could appear dull or lifeless. Rather, the blue is just the right pop.
The SBGW275 has a teal dial inspired by the rivers of the Genby Valley. Grand Seiko’s design is at its best when the brand leans into nature’s blurred lines and this combination of green and blue is a great example. Successfully balancing the crispness of green with the refreshing coolness of blue, the SBGW275 would probably be my pick out of these three.
Finally there is the SBGW277, which has a beautiful traditional green dial that has an earthiness that’s really accentuated by a brown leather strap.
Housed in a 37.3mm-wide and 11.6mm-thick case with a 44.3mm lug-to-lug height (3om of water resistance), these manual-wind pieces are all done in polished stainless steel with an AR-coated box-shaped sapphire crystal. I’ve long felt that the 36.5-39mm case size range is under-appreciated, so I was happy to see Grand Seiko giving some love here, a happiness that’s only furthered by the fact that these are manual-wind. Is it on the thicker side for a dress watch? Yeah, I’d say 11.6mm is on the upper limit of what I’d accept, though the proportions and wearability are solid.
Turning the case over reveals the 9S64 movement, a manual-wind caliber long used by Grand Seiko. Though these three units were non-operational, I have seen and handled plenty of watches that are outfitted with the 9S64. Accurate to -3 to +5 seconds per day, it has a power reserve of 72 hours when fully wound.
I really think this trio of unisex-sized manual-wind watches with lovely Grand Seiko textured dials is perfect for the United States market where “smaller” dress watches are woefully overlooked and too rarely given any real special attention. With each model limited to 140 pieces, the Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW275 with teal dial will be exclusive to Grand Seiko boutiques and the online store, while the SBGW273 and SBGW277 will be available at select retailers, each with a price of $4,900. You can learn more at grand-seiko.com