Grand Seiko‘s newest collection of watches, including a range of items with new calibers and a couple of high-end limited editions that stray from the brand’s usual wheelhouse, was just released two weeks ago. It made us wonder if the Grand Seiko of today is the same Grand Seiko that so many of us fell in love with years before when it was almost unheard of outside of die-hard enthusiast circles?
How is Grand Seiko integrating evolution and progress while remaining faithful to the qualities that made it so special in the first place? And, one may ask at the end of it all, how “Grand” could Grand Seiko be? You will definitely understand why the company has stood strong for all these years after reading this article.
It’s clear that while the brand hasn’t purged its most accessibly priced watches from the catalog, the emphasis is definitely on slightly more expensive core releases in the Spring Drive and Hi-Beat collections and the excellent limited editions coming out of the Micro Artists Studio.
We’ll discuss what makes these watches noteworthy (aside from their price tags), how they blend into Grand Seiko’s overall trajectory, and the most significant developments in the company and its watches for collectors.
It is time to upgrade the old Grand Seiko Buyer’s Guide to include the various new versions and new movements and a daring new design direction in general, as the company has had a particularly explosive and game-changing year. There has never been a great time to be a fan of Grand Seiko.
Despite these early efforts to organize Grand Seiko coherently, the brand remains fundamentally distinct from other legendary brands such as Rolex and Omega. It’s difficult to break down Grand Seiko into specific styles since it was, until recently, a range of Seiko rather than a brand in and of itself.
For example, in Omega, various representations of the Planet Ocean bear a striking resemblance to a variety of Planet Oceans. On the other hand, Grand Seiko is structured around broad stylistic themes, so we have to go through nearly every model one by one.
We’ll start with the Heritage Series, which is Grand Seiko’s largest and most famous collection. By going through each set one movement at a time, I’ll try to maintain some semblance of order.
Classic Japanese dress watches are the highlight of the Elegance range. Elegance is described by reserved, tasteful styles that often harken back to trends from the 1960s. This is still the perfect place to look for ladies’ and hand-wound watches. Stick with Elegance if you want the most elegant Grand Seiko available.
We’ll start with one of my favorite Grand Seikos, the SBGR299, and SBGR301, which are always forgotten. This three-hander, driven by the 9S61, foregoes the fussy date complexity in favor of a minimalist dial. The fact that they are 42mm each sets them apart from the rest of the collection.
The Heritage range is perhaps Grand Seiko’s most diverse, concentrating primarily on contemporary dress watches and daily timepieces. The Heritage line is generally bolder and more vivid, with a touch of sportiness in many pieces.
The Snowflake, Grand Seiko’s most popular watch, can also be found here. Heritage is an excellent place to start if you’re new to Grand Seiko.SBGN009 Grand Seiko Heritage Collection Quartz Limited Edition SBGN009.
A 40mm stainless steel case with a steel bezel and a blue GS clock, a gold second hand, and a GMT hand with a quartz dot pattern adorned with a crystal. The bracelet is made of brilliant stainless steel and has a three-fold buckle and a push-button unlock.
As you would expect, the Sport collection is the three sportiest and is rapidly gaining prominence. Grand Seiko has also stepped up their game in the last few years, despite not being a genre that they have historically concentrated on.
In addition to all of Grand Seiko’s timepieces, you’ll find the famous SBGA229 diver here. SBGE201, a widely sought-after model, is also available. Here you’ll also find the highly sought-after SBGE201. Start with Sport if you like lime, big watches, dive watches, or sport watches in general.
Grand Seiko has updated the way it organizes the collections since we last checked in. GS did not have collections in the past; instead, watches were grouped by action type (i.e., quartz, spring drive, mechanical). Since that scheme was ineffective for collectors, GS implemented a modern, more straightforward system.
The iconic household has indeed found a way to adapt to the modern trends that the industry is seeing today. In retrospect, the household wasn’t as dynamic and flexible when it came to innovation. Fortunately, the old ways are slowly getting replaced with present ideologies that will secure Grand Seiko’s future for generations.
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