Don’t know about you, but I believe watch brands turned up to 11 tend to be fun. Not always the most tasteful, timeless, or beautiful, but definitely fun. Grand Seiko is one such brand, especially when it goes overboard with its cases, dials, colors, and functions all at once. A case in point is the Grand Seiko Sport Collection Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC275 which overwhelms even with its name.

The new Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC275, for short, is a fresh take on 2019’s SBGC231 that we covered hands-on here. While that watch had a metallic brown dial to mimic a lion’s mane — with the lion being the symbol of Grand Seiko — this time we are looking at a color-shifting pink-orange spectrum. As you’d expect, a very specific place and time in Japanese nature has served as its inspiration: “The vast Hotaka mountain range rises in the Shinshu region of central Japan, where all Grand Seiko Spring Drive creations are made. The sun reflecting off this soaring landscape at dawn creates beautiful mountain scenery with ebullient colors transforming from pink to orange as the early morning progresses.”

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As much as I applaud Grand Seiko in its tireless efforts to pay homage to its origins and cultural heritage, I would find it very refreshing if, for once, it just said: “It is fiery red because we like it.” After years of soaring “sunset this,” and “seas of icy clouds that,” I absolutely cannot wait for such an announcement. Because we are fascinated by how watches are made, we compared the texture of the dial on this new Grand Seiko SBGC275 to that of the 2019 model and found that it looks identical in every little detail. Dials with apparently random textures are sometimes exactly that: They are subjected to surface treatments that create a comparable effect, albeit never in the same way. This time, Grand Seiko has apparently made a tool that creates the same texture, which isn’t good or bad, it is just fascinating.

Speaking of spectrums, and I’m sure we will capture this at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024 where we’ll see the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC275 watch hands-on, you can witness the color-shift of its dial on this official photo just above. The flange ring has, of course, been carefully color-matched to the hue the dial displays when viewed head-on, but its deep red deviates considerably once the dial reveals its orange tone when viewed at a steep angle. This might drive some folks mad, but we certainly are a fan.

The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC275 watch measures a hefty 44.5mm wide and a chunky 16.8mm thick, with a remedying feature being that both the case and the bracelet are crafted from “high-intensity titanium” to keep the weight down. Grand Seiko ranks among the very best when it comes to working with titanium in luxury watches, as the high-end Japanese watchmaker developed its own techniques to create sharp edges, flat surfaces, and a high polish — with all three of these things being a considerable challenge for many of its European competitors, even at this elevated price point.

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Inside the SBGC275 lives the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT Caliber 9R96, arguably one of the most technically impressive mainspring-powered movements ever made. All you need to know about Spring Drive you will find here; and all you’ll want to know about the 9R86/9R96 movement you can read in my review of its elder brother, the SBGC201. That’s about 8,000 words on Grand Seiko and Spring Drive knowledge, so buckle up.

We’ll focus on the most important specs here: The 9R96 is the yet more accurate version of the 9R86, as Grand Seiko processes its quartz crystals according to more stringent requirements. The 9R turns 20 this year, and it being a Spring Drive movement there is a mainspring that you can wind through the crown or through the self-winding system. Its power reserve is a modern and impressive 72 hours, and the accuracy provided by its rotor (you’ll find the reason why it’s a rotor and not a balance wheel in the articles we linked to above) is rated to +/-0.5 seconds per day. Now, that would amount to roughly 15 seconds per month, but, over the course of the month, Grand Seiko claims the 9R96 is even more accurate, within a +/-10 seconds range, which is incredible for a mainspring-powered, mass-produced (relatively speaking) watch.

Featuring a quick-set hour hand, power reserve indicator, 12-hour chronograph, GMT functionality, and a lumed 24-hour bezel, the SBGC275 could be considered feature-packed even without Spring Drive technology. With that included, it’s all the more technically impressive — albeit in a rather peculiar presentation. The new Grand Seiko Sport Collection Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC275 is priced at $13,400 USD and is limited to 700 pieces. You can learn more at the brand’s website.

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