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Grand Seiko SBGT241 / SBGV238 Limited Edition Watches Honor 25 Years Of High-End 9F Quartz Movements

Grand Seiko SBGT241 / SBGV238 Limited Edition Watches Honor 25 Years Of High-End 9F Quartz Movements Watch Releases

Two new limited edition watches known as the Grand Seiko SBGT241 (all steel) and the Grand Seiko SBGV238 (steel and 18ct gold) were just announced in honor of the 25th anniversary of the popular Seiko 9F movement family. Grand Seiko originally introduced the caliber 9F in 1993 after a reported five years of development – in order to be the finest "daily wear" quartz watch movement in the world. Seiko is no doubt proud of the fact that many people (including myself) still consider the 9F movement family to represent the best performing quartz movements in the world.

I just wish Grand Seiko stopped making so many of their new watches limited editions. Our friends in Japan need to receive the memo that not all new watches require some type of "anniversary justification," or production as some type of finite set in order to get us excited. I for one would be more than happy if Grand Seiko just called such models "limited production," and stopped emphasizing the arbitrary reason for which these watches are being made. While I'm complaining, can Grand Seiko look forward as well as in the past? I'm sure there are some truly excellent designers at the company who are really excited about doing more than revisiting yesterday's designs (again). With that said, there are some fun design elements in here if you know what you are looking for. Oh, and if they must be limited editions... at least Seiko explained the reason why these models were made right on the watch itself!

Grand Seiko SBGT241 / SBGV238 Limited Edition Watches Honor 25 Years Of High-End 9F Quartz Movements Watch Releases

Grand Seiko SBGT241 / SBGV238 Limited Edition Watches Honor 25 Years Of High-End 9F Quartz Movements Watch Releases

I'm back on Seiko's side with the importance of the 9F movement family and high-end quartz movements in general. I for one anticipate a major return to interest in specific types of high-end quartz watches coming in the next few years. Grand Seiko is bucking the trend by offering a display caseback sharing a view of the 9F movements inside the SBGV238 model (solid caseback on the SBGT241). Look everyone, metal parts and real finishing! In these two watches the 9F is represented as the caliber 9F83 (time with day and date) as well as the 9F82 (time with date). What makes these quartz movements so good? I'll offer the basic reasons. First is that they are incredibly accurate. Seiko claims accuracy of plus or minus 5 seconds per year. Let's put that into perspective... Mechanical watches are considered decently accurate if they vary by under 5 seconds per day. A standard quartz watch is accurate to about 15 seconds per month. Most thermocompensated quartz watches (which are rare) are accurate to about 10 seconds per year. That means the Seiko 9F is the top performer, only practically beaten by connected watches. The beauty here is that all this accuracy is contained within one little mechanism.

Seiko's 9F family isn't just popular because it looks cool and is very accurate. One of my favorite things about the movement is how Seiko designed it to hold heavier hands than most quartz movements, and to make sure that the seconds hand ticks with extreme precision and stability (no shuddering) thanks to their "backlash auto-adjust mechanism." The 9F movement was also designed to be as service free as possible, going very long periods of time without maintenance. Battery life is a few years just like any standard quartz movement-based watch. I wrote more about the Seiko 9F movement when reviewing the Grand Seiko SBGX093 watch on aBlogtoWatch here. These two Grand Seiko quartz watches are also rather uncommon because of the date or day/date complication in them. Most Grand Seiko quartz movement-based watches are time only.

Grand Seiko SBGT241 / SBGV238 Limited Edition Watches Honor 25 Years Of High-End 9F Quartz Movements Watch Releases

Grand Seiko developed a new dial (as far as I know) for this set of 25th anniversary 9F watches. With an aesthetic borrowed from how Seiko once represented a quartz oscillator crystal for product marketing purposes, the dials have a repeating pattern that says "GS" (for Grand Seiko) and "9F." One small set of letters near the 25 minute marker (4 o'clock) replaces these letters with "25" in honor of the 25th anniversary purpose of the watch. There is also placement of an 18ct gold five-pointed star on the dials of both the watches. Seiko says that these stars represent the watch's 5 second per year accuracy. I just think they wanted a reason to put a gold star on the dial.

The first of the two caliber 9F 25th anniversary limited edition watches is the Grand Seiko SBGT241 (limited to 1,500 pieces). It is a relatively straightforward recreation of the original 1993 Grand Seiko watch that housed the first 9F movement. Seiko changed the dial a bit and of course made the watch a bit larger. In steel, the Grand Seiko SBGT241 is 39.1mm wide and 10.9mm thick (water-resistant to 100m). What's neat about the SBGT241 is the bracelet, which is a design that to my understanding Seiko doesn't produce in other watches today. It has central "rice grain" style links between thicker steel links. I am rather curious to know what this will feel like on the wrist.

Grand Seiko SBGT241 / SBGV238 Limited Edition Watches Honor 25 Years Of High-End 9F Quartz Movements Watch Releases

The second of the two limited edition 9F 25th anniversary watches is the Grand Seiko SBGV238. More limited (limited edition of 600 pieces), this watch is visually different than the SBGT241, which is a bit odd since they are being debuted in the same move. The SBGV238 has a steel and 18ct yellow gold case which is 40mm wide and 10mm thick (water-resistant to 100m). While most of the case and bracelet are in steel, this model has a gold bezel with matching gold hands and hour markers. Also, unlike the other model, this dial has just the date – but the same cool 25th anniversary dial. Over the dial of both of the watches is an AR-coated sapphire crystal. According to Seiko, the case of the SBGV238 watch is inspired by the 1967 Grand Seiko 44GS (and other watches in the Grand Seiko collection have this case design as well).

Price-wise, quartz has certainly seemed more affordable in other instances (even at Grand Seiko), and each watch is said to be available in May of 2018. The limited edition of 1,500 pieces Grand Seiko SBGT241 has a retail price of  $3,400 USD, and the limited edition of 600 pieces Grand Seiko SBGV238 has a retail price of $4,800 USD. grand-seiko.com

About the Author

Fueled by an unshakable love for horology and a general curiosity for intricate things, Ariel Adams founded aBlogtoWatch in 2007 as a means of sharing his passion. Since then, ABTW has become the highest trafficked blog on luxury timepieces, and Ariel has become a contributor to other online publications such as Forbes, Departures and Tech Crunch, to name just a few. His conversational writing style and inclusive attitude brings a wider appreciation for watches the world over, and that's just the way he likes it.

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  • Tea Hound

    It’s the usual Seiko story: beautiful hands, nice dial, dull albeit well finished case, and simply awful bracelet. Not sure I’d pay €5,000 for a quartz movement, but it’ll be a great movement of its kind, no doubt.

  • Anthony Dimaano

    The SBGT241 with rice grain bracelet is beautiful and would make a fantastic daily wear.
    The 9f movement brings a level of polish that you do not often see with quartz, and is super functional and reliable to boot.
    If I was in the market for a new daily wear watch right now, this would def be on my list.

  • Marius

    I find it absolutely hilarious how in most articles covering Seiko, Ariel Adams uses the expression: “Our friends in Japan.” What exactly do you mean by that? Are you personally friends with the people from Grand Seiko? Also, how would you rate your “friends” from Seiko? Are they as cool, cooler, or less cool than the fearless and intrepid English Twins?

    As for the watch, I have to say that this is definitely one of the most horrible Grand Seikos that I have seen in a long time. Granted, the 9F movement is probably the best high-end quartz caliber on the market right now, and the hands and hour markers have the usual superb finish & decoration that Grand Seiko is known for. However, the overall design of this watch is just awful and dated. The steel reference with its ugly bracelet, dial, and day-date display looks just like a cheap Seiko 5. In fact, it looks like a cheap knock-off of a Seiko 5. The model with the gold bezel looks even more bizarre. Not to mention that the €3,400 and €5,000 prices are also extremely optimistic.

    It seems that Seiko`s decision to transform Grand Seiko into an “autonomous and independent” brand has transformed this manufacturer into a parody of itself. I don’t think I have seen a recently-released Grand Seiko that I would rate as even acceptable. Most of their new releases are rather strange-looking watches sold for unjustifiably increased prices, which is a shame considering Grand Seiko`s top quality and potential. If GS offered some good-looking designs coupled with a smart pricing strategy, I’m sure that this brand would be a serious rival in the €5,000 – €10,000 segment.

    • ProJ

      Among their relatively recent offerings, the SBGW251-3 were great looking.

    • IG

      Ariel Adams uses the expression: “Our friends in Japan.” What exactly do you mean by that?

      He means that the A-bombs were the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    • Ariel Adams

      My use of that statement is a tongue-in-cheek form of playful sarcasm designed to indicate that while our colleagues at Seiko in Japan see eye-to-eye with us on many topics, Japanese watch brands are known for making decisions in a “domestic market vacuum” meaning that don’t always know how their decisions are met by others. Its a way to create familiarity before saying “yet we don’t agree with you on this.” Would you like for me to explain further if this notion is strange to you?

      • Buy and Sold

        I lived in Japan for 15 years and it is a turn of phrase that makes me smile, and it is one that is spot on.

        As for this watch, I prefer to pick up GS and KS vintage quartz for $500 and under and put them on $200 straps. You still get the dial and hand detail and the refreshed package looks great.

      • Marius

        “…our colleagues at Seiko in Japan…”

        What do you mean by “our colleagues?” Are you also manufacturing watches?

    • Lincolnshire Poacher

      I was expecting to see another exquisite, slightly boring, but very wearable sport casual type watch.
      But you’re right, these are pretty ugly. I don’t like the dial surface, the star, or rice bead bracelets. I have a feeling that we’re going to see a lot more two tone steel/gold (80’s) style watches soon. This is the advance warning of a coming retro informed fad.
      A lost opportunity, I love the 9F movements, but not these.

    • BNABOD

      Could not agree more these offerings are just simply hideous and outdated.

  • ProJ

    Seiko seriously needs to hire a better photographer for their press images.

  • IG

    The ‘Five Grand’ Seiko… MWUAHAHA

  • Joe

    I like the non-gold version more (apart from the beads of rice bracelet, which I think is hideous).
    The open caseback is cool too, although I would find it frustrating to be able to see the battery but not be able to change it myself, when the time comes.
    Whilst I’m sure their quartz movements are up there (amongst the best in the industry), I’d rather have kinetic or solar (if going quartz) or simply stick with their Spring Drive and Automatic.

  • Howie Boyd

    Article states: “These two Grand Seiko quartz watches are also rather uncommon because of the date or day/date complication in them. Most Grand Seiko quartz movement-based watches are time only.” This seems puzzling. When I look at grand-seiko.com and filter for 2017 models with 9F movements five for five have a date complication. What gives?

    • riposte

      There is 6 version of modern GS quartz movement:
      -Bigger movement size 9F83 (with day/date complication) and 9F82 (only date complication)
      -9F61 (no date) and 9F62 (with date), usually found on small case size, while GS diver is exception
      -4J51 (no date) and 4J52 (with date), for ladies watches but still accurate just like 9F
      Next month in Basel 2018, Seiko will releasing new quartz with GMT complication but it’s limited

  • I love Grand Seiko, but that is a very ugly watch.

  • Bozzor

    One thing i am beginning to realise is that there is a very real difference in taste for watch design between much of Asia, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Americas. This GS is definitely playing to much of the Asian region: I doubt it will appeal to that many in the West, but that is not the target.

  • As attractive as a 1982 Ebel

    • Gin Tub

      I liked that watch when I was 12

  • I’m sure someone, somewhere is excited by this. Exceedingly wealthy blind men, perhaps. A niche market to be sure. Seiko really has its finger on the pulse of 1972.

  • Edmund Choy

    They looked very dated in terms of design. But put this aside, I really do see grand Seiko quartz watches as the best value all rounder luxury watches. Came across quite a few during my trips to Japan and they were all well finished and sharp looking.

  • SuperStrapper

    Thanks goodness they aren’t offering that horrid bracelet on anything else

  • There is something oddly fun in the use of an exhibition back on a quartz movement. But the bracelet design is really strange……..

  • Andrew C

    Grand Seiko promotional images are terrible, of this we can be certain. The reason I LOVE the beads of rice though however, is because when I see the promo images, I see the SBGW035/SBGW235 but in quartz and a new dial (not sure if this link works: https://shop.r10s.jp/asr/cabinet/seiko4/sbgw035_6.jpg). There’s a certain quality with GS that you just have to experience in person; Oftentimes even hi-res images don’t capture it (case in point, images of the Peacock)

  • Katnip Everlean

    They need to replace the “GS” applied logo with their little lion

  • leo tam

    Something about the case shape looks a bit Seiko mall jewelry. How about something 38xx inspired?

  • Yan Fin

    I did not read the article, just stopped on this lonely gold star on the dial. What a novel design feature! My $70 automatic Orient circa 1990 had 3 golden stars, and looks even today way more modern.

  • Playboy Johnny

    Another garbage “GS” offering. How much are they asking for this $150 watch??

  • Phil

    So 9F is 25 years old?

    That explains why it doesn’t have a perpetual calendar, independent hour hand for daylight saving changes and why the date doesn’t change at midnight.

    Time to bring out a replacement Seiko?