If you’re into watches, you certainly have noticed that this year, Japan’s top watchmaker Grand Seiko is celebrating its 60th anniversary. As such, we’ve seen multiple new releases, most of them based on a dark blue colour for the dial and certain elements of the habillage. Think about the Hi-Beat SBGH281, the elegant SBGW259 (recreation of the 1st even GS watch) or the simple SBGR321. Today, it’s all about boldness, luxury and high-tech, with the new Grand Seiko Sport Collection Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 60th Anniversary Limited Edition… or to put it simply, the new reference SBGC238.
This new limited edition should feel familiar to most GS enthusiasts, as it is indeed based on the shape and design introduced at Baselworld 2019 with the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Sport Collection. Sharp, angular, almost aggressive in design and with masculine proportions, we’re here in a different territory than the elegant and restrained Hand-Wound SBGW231 for instance. But that’s the purpose of the Sports collection.
As a declination of the existing (but also limited) SBGC230, the new 60th Anniversary Limited Edition is still based on the same 18k rose gold case with polished and brushed facets and sharp lines. The whole watch is actually inspired by the lion… Which in Grand Seiko’s nomenclature means a lot, as being the brand’s emblem. For instance, the lugs look like a lion’s nail (according to the brand). Despite the 44.5mm diameter, the brand has worked on the proportions, with angled lugs to ensure a soft fit on the wrist. The watch is equipped with two oversized pushers and a screw-down crown, ensuring a robust 200m water-resistance.
The case of the SBGC238 is topped by a double-domed sapphire crystal and a fixed bezel, with sapphire insert, to display a second time zone with a 24h scale. This colour is actually the conducting line of this edition and pays tribute to Japanese culture. “This distinctive blue colour of indigo dye, known as “Katsu-iro,” was favoured and used by the Samurai for their armour and represented their bravery.”
The dial of this Grand Seiko SBGC238 also combines blue and lion inspiration, with the same deep colour and texture the recalls he mane of the lion – the pattern is actually quite pleasing and gives the watch a unique look. The hands, typically facetted and bevelled as most GS watches, are large and combined to oversized applied markers. All are largely filled with Lumibrite. The chronograph hands are all treated in gold colour, matching the case. Complementing the design is a bold strap, made of crocodile leather in indigo blue with gold-coloured grooves. It is closed by an 18k rose gold triple-fold clasp.
The display is typical to Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive Chronograph GMT watches, with small seconds at 9 o’clock and two originally-positioned sub-counters on the right side – 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers. The second time zone is independent and displayed classically in the centre. Finally, a power reserve indicator and a date will be helpful on a daily basis.
Under a sapphire caseback with transferred GS lion logo, the SBGC238 features the in-house calibre 9R96, a hybrid movement with Spring Drive technology. Combining the beauty of a mechanical engine, the practicality of an automatic winding and the precision of a quartz regulator, this engine is here complemented by a column-wheel chronograph, which benefits from the smooth motion of the seconds hand. This 72-hour power reserve movement has an accuracy rated at ±0.5 second per day.
Price and availability
The Grand Seiko Sport Collection Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 60th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGC238 is a limited edition of 100 watches, which will be available as of October 2020. It will be priced at JPY 5,060,000 (incl. taxes in Japan). As a reference, the SBGC230 was priced at EUR 44,800, so expect this new model to be around the same price.
More details at www.grand-seiko.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.