Utility, staying power, and accuracy are the values that the Grand Seiko watches live up to. Otherwise known for quartz movements, Seiko proves its versatility with this collection's high-quality, in-house mechanical calibers.
Seiko has been making mechanical calibers for the Grand Seiko collection since the 1960s, with several interruptions in production over the years. These interruptions were triggered by the Quartz Crisis that was also driven by Seiko. The collection's production resumed in 1991, and the first mechanical caliber after the break in production was launched in 1998. Every Grand Seiko watch is assembled meticulously by hand and examined via the in-depth Grand Seiko Test. The criteria for passing this test are purposely set at a higher level than those of the COSC test (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres).
Seiko manufactures all of its components in-house, from the lever to the mainspring. The brand's lion logo symbolizes their desire to produce luxury watches surpassing the quality of their Swiss competition. Due to this ambition, Seiko promotes the development of new technologies – the Spring Drive caliber being one example. This hybrid technology pairs mechanical and quartz components, reaping the benefits of both. The caliber works like an automatic movement and the model's hands glide smoothly over the dial, plus it boasts the precision of a quartz watch. This movement has a power reserve of 72 hours.
Since the watches with chronometer quality were only available on the Asian market until 2010 and are still only produced in small quantities each year, Grand Seiko watches enjoy a cult status in the European market. The collection is especially versatile and ranges from classic dress watches to professional diving watches and chronographs that stop with extreme precision due to their gliding Spring Drive hand.
|Model||Price (starting at)||Caliber||Design|
|Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 Professional 600m Diver's (SBGH255)||11,000 euros||Automatic||Titanium, black dial|
|Grand Seiko Black Ceramic Spring Drive Chronograph GMT (SBGC221)||8,500 euros||Automatic||Titanium and ceramic, white dial|
|Grand Seiko (SBGR055)||4,900 euros||Automatic||Stainless steel, white dial|
|Grand Seiko (SBGR057)||4,900 euros||Automatic||Stainless steel, black dial|
|Grand Seiko Snowflake (SBGA001)||4,700 euros||Spring Drive||Titanium, snowflake dial|
|Grand Seiko (SBGX063)||2,500 euros||Quartz||Stainless steel, silver-colored dial|
|Grand Seiko (Vintage)||1,200 euros||Quartz||Various Versions|
Since Grand Seiko watches have been in production since the 1960s, there are many vintage models available at affordable prices. Watches from the 1980s with quartz movements cost around 1,200 euros. A newer, unworn quartz watch (SBGX063) in this collection with a stainless steel case and bracelet can be bought for about 2,500 euros.
You can buy an unworn Grand Seiko (SBGR055) made of stainless steel with an automatic movement for around 4,900 euros. These models have a screw-in crown that is protected from shocks by a crown protector. In addition, this sporty luxury watch is waterproof up to 100m (10 bar) and can be worn as a dress watch due to its 39.4-mm size as well as its tidy, white dial. You can find the same Grand Seiko with a black dial (SBGR057) for a similar price.
Another popular model in this collection is the Grand Seiko Snowflake (SBGA011). The name comes from the dial's design, which is reminiscent of freshly fallen snow. The Snowflake with the Spring Drive caliber 9R65 has a date display and a power reserve of 72 hours that is displayed on the dial. Together with its gliding hands, the titanium watch looks sublime and costs 4,700 euros in fine condition.
If you want to buy a chronograph with a Spring Drive caliber, you should be prepared to spend more. These models are listed for around 8,500 euros. A limited run of 500 Grand Seiko Black Ceramic Spring Drive Chronograph GMT watches (SBGC221) combine a sporty nature with an exquisite crocodile leather strap. The case is made of titanium and especially scratch-resistant black ceramic. Even though Seiko tends to focus on the accuracy of their watches, this chronograph has several useful complications. In addition to being able to measure up to 12 hours, it also has a GMT complication, a date display, and a power reserve display. Silver-colored line indices mark the hours, and the chronograph looks clean despite having multiple subdials; largely due to its spacious 46.4-mm case.
The automatic caliber 9S85 in the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 Professional 600m Diver's (SBGH255) has 36,000 vibrations per hour, making it a high-frequency watch. The benefit is improved accuracy – the higher the frequency, the more accurate the movement. However, its waterproofness to 600 m (60 bar) is not to be ignored, as 200 m (20 bar) is sufficient for professional diving watches. Furthermore, it is resistant to magnetic fields up to 200 Gauss. The bezel can be set easily while wearing diving gloves thanks to its ribbed design. The bright indices and hands also contrast against the black dial, making it legible even at great depths with little light. A date display and the crown are located at the 4 o'clock position while the Grand Seiko logo and inscription are at 12 o'clock. This is unique to the newer generation since they were previously located at 6 o'clock. Mint condition models of the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 Professional 600 m have a list price of 11,000 euros.