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Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Watch Is Japan’s Rolex GMT Master

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Watch Is Japan's Rolex GMT Master Watch Releases Everyone is really interested in Seiko’s Spring Drive movement, and what Seiko is going to do with it. The Spring Drive watches that have come out thus far are technologically superior to anything out there regulated by a quartz crystal, but the “Spring Drive” line is aesthetically lacking, and not very interesting to look at. The idea behind the Spring Drive movement is simple. Meld the benefits of an automatic watch with the benefits of a quartz watch. The result is an intricate mechanical movement that is as accurate as a quartz. A perfect blend indeed. The precursor to the Spring Drive movement was the Seiko Kinetic movement. This movement used a rotor to charge a battery, and provided a charge reserve indicator that the wearer could activate. While the Kinetic movement was popular, it still suffered from that worst aspect of a quartz movement – the ticking hand.

The Spring Drive solves the “ticking hand dilemma” by allowing for a sweeping seconds hand that is far more desirable. A full explanation of the complex and alluring Seiko Spring Drive movement can be found here. Now, having said that most Seiko Spring Drive watches are boring looking, there is an exception worth noting. The Grand Seiko line of watch from Seiko is sold mainly and Japan, and is considered to be a very high-end Japanese watch. Grand Seiko watches mainly used mechanical movements, but the development of the Spring Drive movement allowed for its obvious inclusion in the Grand Seiko line up. The result is the Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Ref. SBGE001 that is Japan’s Rolex GMT Master.

The Grand Seiko Drive GMT is a serious watch from Seiko with a price around $5000, but still an excellent value given the quality and like offerings from Switzerland. The closest example is the Rolex GMT Master II which is easily double the price. The Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT offers a lot. Solid construction using the highest grade steel and a ceramic 24 hour bezel just as the Rolex now uses. This ceramic bezel is very resistant to scratching, and the numbers are actually inside the ceramic with luminant. This means the number will never rub off, and will glow nicely in dark conditions, highly enhancing legibility. At 43.5 it is a comfortably large and attractive size. This is a watch meant to be seen, but not overly obtrusive.

Complication wise you get the extremely innovative Spring Drive movement that contains a power reserve and GMT indicator. The Rolex does not have a power reserve. This is another example of a the sublte power of high-end Japanese watches. To most people, The Grand Seiko GMT is just another nice dive-looking watch. The owner will know the strength of the movement inside, the rarity of the watch, and the sophistication involved in producing it. Seiko actually spent over 20 years trying to make a movement like the Spring Drive and only recently succeeded.

See Grand Seiko and Spring Drive watches available on eBay here.

See all Seiko watches on eBay here.

See Seiko watches on Amazon here.Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Watch Is Japan's Rolex GMT Master Watch Releases

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  • Thomas

    I have owned the Grand Seiko GMT SBGE001 now for some two years. The first 15 months or so were trouble free, and I absolutely loved this watch: extremely accurate, good looking and practical. Then suddenly, I found if I didn’t wear it all the time, it would stop after about 2 days, versus the supposed power reserve of 3 days or 72 hours. OK, disappointing, but I just made sure it didn’t fall that low in the power reserve. Then after about 20 months, it would stop, regardless of the power level, simply when there was little or no movement — such as when I slept. After about 22 month of ownership it began to stop randomly and then start again, so sometimes I didn’t realise it had lost half an hour or so. Lately, about 2 years in, it just refuses to go at all… At any rate, once a watch starts to loose time in unpredictable ways you can’t wear it for the purpose of telling time anymore. I am hugely disppointed, $6500 out of pocket, and tell time by a (Seiko)quartz watch these days. (Alternatively I take out a very old Rolex that my father-in-law gave me. I don’t particularly care for the flashy image Rolex project, but I have to admit they do make a very accurate and reliable automatic movement.)

    • All watches exit the factory having been tested. Seiko is known to have a very small failure rate. A number of things could have caused your watch to malfunction – including damage. Doesn’t sound like you ever sent it to Seiko for repair either?

  • Thomas

    The retailer suggests a Seiko “complete service”, quoting more than US$700! That’s about as funny as a kick in the head. This is not some antique!

  • S B Lee

    I have similar experience with my 3.5 year old Spring Drive GMT.

    If the power reserve is over 48 hours, it runs perfectly. But once the reserve drops below 48 hours it will either run slow or stop completely – looks like a design flaw. I am concerned whether a pricey “complete service” will solve this problem.

  • sdchew

    Thats my worry about the Spring Drive. Seems that too many things could go wrong with it as its an electro-mechanical watch. The electronics could die, the mechanical parts could fail and not to mention the mechanism can be affected by magnetic fields.

    Anyway I’m going Tokyo later this month to have a look at them. Let’s see whether any take my fancy

  • OscarGrant

    @Thomas I think you learnt your lesson. Next time just go and buy a rolex or omega. That will work for 30 years without any issue.