It’s a known fact Grand Seiko loves to play around with colours, shapes, textures and all sorts of other details. This often results in a mix of historically inspired designs and the incorporation of natural elements surrounding the Shizukuishi and Shinshu watchmaking studio onto the dials and, sometimes, even the exterior of a case. We’ve seen it with the Birch sub-collection, we’ve seen it with the Lake Suwa models, and we’re about to experience it all over again with the brand’s latest offering. Reserved for Europe only, this all-new Grand Seiko Heritage 44GS SBGW303 captures the essence of the top of Mt Iwate at dusk in autumn, translated into a finely textured, shimmering green dial.
Styled after the emblematic 44GS from 1967, the stainless steel case comes in a compact 36.5mm diameter and a thickness of 11.6mm. You could argue that it’s a little thick compared to its diameter, but the slight curve in the profile reduces the visual thickness. On the wrist, it never felt unbalanced or out of place. The faceted shape of the exterior is dominated by the Zaratsu-polished flanks, intersected by a finely brushed band running from end to end. This smaller size works wonders on the wrist for the vast majority of people, no doubt, although some might find it a touch too small. Nevertheless, the fit and finish are very good, as we’ve come to expect from Grand Seiko in recent years. The case features a Zaratsu-polished bezel, a sapphire crystal, a screw-down crown and a solid caseback with the Grand Seiko Lion emblem.
It’s impressive how simply changing colour and texture can completely alter the look and feel of a watch, especially when Grand Seiko is concerned. This all-new SBGW303 has a dial inspired by the peak of Mt Iwate when seen at dusk in autumn. Although many of you will probably not have seen this in real life, you do get a sense of what it could be like. The dashing tone of green, the fine texture, and the applied golden GS logo symbolising the Moon are a new spin on the very familiar 44GS style. It also has a very fine golden sunburst effect, further enhancing the spectacle. The applied indices and hands are faceted and provide great contrast against the green backdrop of the dial. As ever, the distortion-free Zaratsu polishing on the hands and markers creates a shimmering play of light.
Underneath the solid caseback, you’ll find the in-house Grand Seiko calibre 9S64. This manual wound movement is also found in the beautiful SBGW289 “Sakura-Kakushi”, as well as a number of other watches. It is one of GS’ staple calibres and has a shock-resistant and anti-magnetic balance spring. It runs at a rate of 28,800vph (4Hz) and is regulated to a deviation of no more than +5/-3 seconds per day. The power reserve is 72 hours, which is very decent. And honestly, it wouldn’t hurt for this movement to be seen through a sapphire crystal caseback, as the finishing on Grand Seiko movements is usually very impressive.
This Europe-exclusive Grand Seiko 44GS SBGW303 is limited to 400 pieces and available through Grand Seiko Mastershops, Salons and Boutiques for a retail price of EUR 6,300. For this, you get a brushed and polished three-link stainless steel bracelet and an additional calfskin leather strap. It’s far from the first regional limited edition we’ve seen from Grand Seiko, but time and time again, this brand knows how to liven things up by changing the dial colour and texture. At this size, with this dial and this specific movement, it’s very likely to be quite the hit!
For more information, please visit GrandSeiko.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.