Coming into their own in recent years, Grand Seiko has successfully become the thorn in Swiss watchmaking’s side that Seiko envisaged all of those years ago when they decided to start their luxury division in 1960. While the name “Seiko” hasn’t exactly conjured up particularly luxurious imagery in recent years, a shift in thinking thanks to some incredible horological engineering has propelled Grand Seiko into the ranks of Rolex, Omega and others.
Today, Grand Seiko is undeniably positioned to become the next hot brand as collectors finally accept their watches can stand toe-to-toe with just about any Swiss brand out there, and the SBGE257 is a perfect example of that. Released in 2020, the SBGE257 combines the latest in Grand Seiko technology with their most up-to-date aesthetics to create a truly contemporary timepiece. Utilising aspects that Grand Seiko are renowned for and design cues from competing brands, the SBGE257 is effectively the ultimate watch.
Powered by Grand Seiko’s infamously innovating Spring Drive technology, the SBGE257’s cal. 9R66 movement integrates the accuracy of quartz technology, that the Japanese pioneered, with the aesthetics and craftsmanship of mechanical horology. Bursting onto the market in 2006, the self-winding cal. 9R66 was so far ahead of its time that 15 years later, it still transcends the competition. With 72 hours of power reserve and an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds a month the 9R66 is virtually without fault.
Beyond the movement, however, we have what Grand Seiko is most appreciated for, their dials. Coloured in a rich matte forest green, the dial is staggeringly beautiful. Featuring a rehaut half-board with green and silver halves to indicate night and day, the SBGE257’s GMT function is only used as a subtle design influence. Furthermore, the SBGE257’s dial seamlessly integrates its date function into itself as a false 4 o’clock hour marker, providing some balance to the power reserve indicator positioned at 8 o’clock. Finally, the SBGE257 features a subtle pop of colour in the form of a yellow GMT hand and matching yellow GMT inscription.
While some brands use the GMT function as a major piece of the design influence by giving their timepiece a two-tone bezel, Grand Seiko has opted to give the SBGE257 a solid forest green polished ceramic bezel to match its dial. Furthermore, the SBGE257 features a complex case construction to further exemplify Grand Seiko’s commitment to craftsmanship. With Zaratsu polished banana-shaped sides and bevelled lugs, the SBGE257’s case is as technically challenging as one could imagine, rounding off an incredible timepiece.