Beginning its life as the brand set up solely to prove just how good Japanese engineering could be, Grand Seiko has successfully challenged the status quo within Swiss watchmaking to become one of the most highly regarded brands around. Ever since their 1960 founding, they have pumped out genuinely innovative creations and aesthetically astounding timepieces, both of which the SBGY003 that I have here is a testament of.
While some brands gain reputations for their iconic bracelets like the Nautilus, or bezel like the Royal Oak, Grand Seiko, as a brand, has established itself as one of the best dial makers in the business, and the SBGY003 is a testament to that. Fitted with a gorgeous silver radiant sunray pattern dial, itself decorated with mirror-finish hand-polished hour markers and a razor-sharp handset, the SBGY003 is a feast for the eyes. Perfectly symmetrical with no off-center details, the SBGY003 has relegated its power reserve to the back of its movement.
Upon examining the power reserve, we uncover what is perhaps the most special aspect of the SBGY003, even more so than its dial – its movement. The SBGY003 doesn’t just get a normal Grand Seiko movement, it gets one of the very best Seiko has to offer, the Spring Drive cal. 9R31. Based on the Micro Artist Studio’s 9R02, the 9R31 is a self-winding movement with 72 hours of power reserve making for a more than functional timepiece. Combining elements of mechanical and quartz watchmaking, the Spring Drive movement is famous as a hybrid solution that delivers superior performance and accuracy when compared to both conventional movement types.
On top of the incredible movement and dial, the SBGY003 is a timepiece that is executed to near perfection. As demonstrated by the Zaratsu polished surfaces and beautiful satin-brushed finishing throughout, the SBGY003’s 38.5mm x 10.2mm case is a notch above the competition. With just 700 examples released, the SBGY003 makes for an excellent avenue to experience the craftsmanship Grand Seiko put into their watches, and own a timepiece that few others will own too.