Famed by watchmaking aficionados across the globe for their incredible level of detail, stunning craftsmanship, and heritage-rich designs, Grand Seiko has emerged as one of the fastest-growing watchmakers on the market in recent years. Founded with the express purpose of elevating Japanese watchmaking and challenging the Swiss' dominance within the industry, it is no surprise that Grand Seiko's timepieces have indeed adhered to strict levels of quality control that ensure their watches are a joy to wear.
Released in 2021, the Grand Seiko Heritage "Omiwatari" SBGY007 is one of the latest hand-wound time-only Spring Drive timepieces to come from the iconic Japanese watchmaker, and it is a joy in just about every way possible. Inspired by the frozen surface of Lake Suwa in Central Japan, its light blue dial features a subtly texturized surface that reflects the ripples made in the ice sheet that forms when the gentle waves of Lake Suwa freeze over in the depths of the Japanese winter. These frozen ridges are thought to be the tracks left behind by the Shinto deity, Takeminakata-no-kami - the patron deity of the ancient Suwa Taisha Shrine. In turn, these ridges create tracks named the Omiwatari, the pathway of the god.
Of course, on the other side of the SBGY007's stainless steel case is the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback that provides a view of the impeccably finished manual-wind Spring Drive cal. 9R31 that powers the SBGY007. A relative rarity within Grand Seiko's offerings as the brand typically focuses on automatic Spring Drive movements, the cal. 9R31 provides the SBGY007 with a power reserve indicator on its immaculately finished baseplate next to its exposed mainspring barrel, which provides 72-hours of power reserve.
With its stunning blue textured dial and immaculately finished movement, it is no surprise that the SBGY007's case is another triumph in watchmaking. Measuring 38.5mm in diameter, the SBGY007's stainless steel case is simplistic and understated. Just 10.2mm tall, the case is traditional and easy on the wrist. Decorated with Grand Seiko's signature finishing technique, Zaratsu polishing, across the entirety of its surface, this 38.5mm beauty is an elegant piece on the wrist, with it balancing a gentle understated elegance with an intriguing design language wrapped in Japanese lore and mystique.