Grand Seiko – The Pinnacle of Japanese Watchmaking
Grand Seiko watches stand out with their exceptional workmanship and extreme precision. The Japanese manufacturer exclusively uses high-end, in-house calibers. Top models are made of precious metals and adorned with diamonds.
Grand Seiko – A Class Above Seiko
Luxury watches from Grand Seiko represent the pinnacle of Japanese watchmaking. The timepieces enjoy cult status with watch fans from around the world. Since 1960, the company has been producing high-quality and innovative watches that are on par with timepieces from well-known Swiss luxury manufacturers like Rolex and Omega. The brand boasts an exceptionally high level of vertical integration and attaches great importance to the precision of its calibers, all of which are developed in-house.
Every Grand Seiko is built at the Seiko Watch Studio in Shizukuishi, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Around 60 watchmakers and engineers work at the studio, producing each watch by hand using the latest technologies. Seiko's Spring Drive hybrid technology, which is used in numerous Grand Seiko timepieces, has garnered extensive praise in the industry. You can find watches with quartz, automatic, and hand-winding calibers in Grand Seiko's portfolio. High-frequency automatic movements like the 9S85 and 9S86 offer unparalleled precision.
The current Grand Seiko lineup is divided into four collections: the Masterpiece, Heritage, Sport, and Elegance. The Masterpiece series is home to – you may have guessed it – Grand Seiko's top-notch masterpieces. The series consists of a handful of strictly limited, artistically designed platinum watches with Spring Drive technology.
The Heritage series is much more comprehensive and offers sporty, elegant three-hand watches with a date display. Some watches have additional functions like a GMT or power reserve indicator. The watches in this collection are powered by either automatic or Spring Drive movements, depending on the model. The Sport collection includes sporty diving watches, GMTs, and chronographs with Hi-Beat automatic or Spring Drive movements.
The watches in the Elegance series are, as the names suggests, on the more elegant side. In addition to men's watches with a GMT or chronograph function, you will also find three-hand women's models and versions made of yellow or rose gold. The watches are powered by hand-winding, automatic, Spring Drive, or quartz calibers, depending on the model.
Reasons to Buy a Seiko Watch
- High-speed precision: Grand Seiko Hi-Beat movements
- New technologies like the Spring Drive caliber
- Luxury watches of the highest order
- Diverse range of diving watches, chronographs, and dress watches
- Cases in stainless steel, ceramic, or precious metals
Prices for Grand Seiko Watches
|Reference number||Price (approx.)||Caliber, diameter|
|SBGD207||188,000 USD||9R01, 43 mm|
|SBGZ005||99,000 USD||9R02, 37.5 mm|
|SBGD202||41,000 USD||9R01, 43 mm|
|SBGW258||24,500 USD||9S64, 38 mm|
|SLGH005||8,400 USD||9S64, 40 mm|
|SBGC003||6,500 USD||9R86, 43.5 mm|
|SBGA211G||5,400 USD||9R65, 41 mm|
|SBGE257||5,300 USD||9R66, 40.5 mm|
|SBGA293||4,900 USD||9R65, 40 mm|
|SBGW231||3,800 USD||9S64, 37 mm|
|SBGV245||3,100 USD||9F82, 40 mm|
|SBGX261||1,900 USD||9F62, 37 mm|
|SBGX259||1,700 USD||9F62, 37 mm|
How much does a Grand Seiko cost?
The most affordable entry point into the world of Grand Seiko is via a pre-owned vintage model, which you can find on Chrono24 for just over 400 USD. If you are looking for a model from a more recent collection, expect to see prices closer to 2,100 USD. For around 1,900 USD, you can purchase the ref. SBGX265, a three-hand quartz watch on a stainless steel bracelet. For just over 5,000 USD, you can get your hands on the Grand Seiko ref. SBGA293, a stainless steel watch outfitted with a Spring Drive caliber.
Models made of precious metals like gold or platinum are significantly more expensive. The three-hand ref. SBGD202 is made of rose gold and powered by the Spring Drive caliber 9R01. Expect to pay around 40,000 USD to call one your own. Watches from the Masterpiece collection are made of platinum and some are elaborately set with diamonds. The ref. SBGD205 is limited to a run of just 10 pieces and costs around 183,000 USD. For that amount of money, you'll get a lavishly built platinum watch adorned with precious stones and powered by a Spring Drive caliber.
Grand Seiko Sport Watches – Prices & Details
You will find a large selection of diving watches, GMT watches, and chronographs in the Sport collection.
The Spring-Drive-powered ref. SBGA461 is a classic, 44.2-mm diver with a stainless steel case. Both the dial and ceramic bezel are black, while white LumiBrite dot and bar indices serve as the hour markers. A triangle marks the 12 o'clock position. The watch is powered by the Spring Drive 9R65 caliber, which boasts a 72-hour power reserve. It has a depth rating of 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft) and comes on a stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp. Prices for an unworn model are around 5,400 USD on Chrono24.
If you like the look of the ref. SBGA461, but prefer automatic watches, the ref. SBGH289 is a good alternative. The 43.8-mm, stainless steel case houses the Hi-Beat caliber 9S85, which runs at 36,000 vph. It has a power reserve of 55 hours when fully wound. The watch comes on a stainless steel bracelet and costs around 6,600 USD in new condition.
Grand Seiko Sport Watches With a GMT Function
If you're a frequent traveler, have family abroad, or just like the complication, a GMT watch may be for you. Grand Seiko offers a number of GMT models in the Sport collection powered by either automatic or quartz calibers. At the end of 2021, the brand released the ref. SBGJ255 to mark the 55th anniversary of its first ever timepiece. This model boasts an automatic Hi-Beat 36000 movement with a GMT function.
The SBGJ255 has a 40-mm case made of so-called High-Intensity Titanium, which is 30% lighter than stainless steel and supposedly more resistant to scratches and corrosion. The white dial features applied silver bar indices coated in luminous material. The blue GMT hand indicates the time in a second time zone in conjunction with the 24-hour scale around the dial's edge.
Inside this model, you'll find the caliber 9S86, a Hi-Beat movement with a power reserve of approximately 55 hours. The five-piece link bracelet is also made of titanium and features a fold-over safety clasp. This timepiece was released in January 2022 in a limited run of 1,200 pieces. At the time of writing, there were no active listings on Chrono24, but the watch's official list price is 8,500 USD.
The ref. SBGM245 is likewise powered by an automatic caliber, the 9S66. However, it isn't a Hi-Beat movement and oscillates at the more leisurely pace of 28,800 vph. The power reserve, in turn, is 72 hours. The stainless steel watch measures 40.5 mm in diameter and features an elegant blue sunburst dial with silver bar indices. The red GMT hand displays the additional time zone together with a 24-hour scale on the stainless steel bezel. This reference comes mounted on a stainless steel bracelet and costs around 5,200 USD new.
The ref. SBGM247 is visually and technically identical to the former reference, except for its green sunburst dial. Expect to also see prices around 5,200 USD for an unworn example.
Another interesting and popular Grand Seiko with a GMT is the ref. SBGJ237. Measuring 44.2 mm across, this stainless steel watch has some serious wrist presence. The model features a dark blue dial, silver hands and indices, and a blue and white bezel complete with a 24-hour scale. The in-house caliber 9S86 powers the watch and offers a 55-hour power reserve. The SBGJ237 comes with a five-piece link bracelet and costs around 6,100 USD new.
The ref. SBGJ239 is technically identical, but features a green dial, black and white bezel, and red GMT hand. The watch is delivered on a brown crocodile leather strap and sells for some 5,400 USD new.
Quartz-Powered Grand Seiko Sport GMT
Would you prefer a high-quality GMT watch with a quartz caliber? Then be sure to check out the ref. SBGN019. This 40-mm, stainless steel watch is powered by the particularly precise and durable caliber 9F86. The movement deviates by no more than +/- 10 seconds a year, and the battery only needs replacing every three years. This reference has a black dial and applied silver bar indices. The red GMT hand displays the second time zone in tandem with a white 24-hour scale on the watch's black bezel. The rehaut is particularly striking; it features the same red hue as the GMT hand between 3 and 9 o'clock. The watch sells for around 3,100 USD new on Chrono24.
The ref. SBGN021 is technically identical, but boasts blue color accents. The price for this variant is the same at roughly 3,200 USD. The ref. SBGN023 is a special edition of the same watch with gold accents that is limited to a run of 2,021 pieces. This watch sells for just over 1,000 USD more than its siblings.
Grand Seiko Heritage Collection
The Grand Seiko Heritage collection is made up of sporty and elegant watches for both men and women. All models share the classic Grand Seiko design, which is based on the brand's early watches from the 1960s. Both three-hand watches and models with a GMT function are available in this series. Some variants also come with a power reserve indicator.
The ref. STGF359 is a relatively understated stainless steel women's watch with three hands and a quartz caliber. The modestly-sized 28.9-mm case suits slimmer wrists. The silver dial is outfitted with applied silver baton indices. The case, bezel, and three-piece link stainless steel bracelet are all satin brushed, underscoring the watch's reserved character. The quartz caliber 4J52 displays the standard hours, minutes, and seconds, as well as the date in the 3 o'clock position. This model will set you back around 2,100 USD on Chrono24.
The stainless steel ref. SBGP009 has a similar design, but measures 40 mm across, making it a perfect unisex watch. This timepiece is powered by the caliber 9F85. The champagne dial features a sunburst finish, affording the watch a particularly elegant look. Expect prices around 1,800 USD for this timepiece on a three-piece link stainless steel bracelet.
The ref. SBGP011 is technically identical, but boasts a black dial and is priced closer to 2,300 USD. If you like the look of this watch, but would prefer a dark blue dial, check out the ref. SBGP013. Be prepared to spend around 2,400 USD on a new watch.
Grand Seiko Heritage Watches With Hi-Beat Calibers
A selection of Grand Seiko Heritage watches feature Seiko Hi-Beat calibers. One example is the 40-mm ref. SBGH273, which is powered by the high-speed caliber 9S85. The movement runs at 36,000 vph and offers a 55-hour power reserve.
This watch's dark blue dial is inspired by the night sky over Japan at the fall equinox. The rich dial color is complemented by a golden Grand Seiko inscription on the dial as well as a golden second hand. On Chrono24, this watch costs around 5,200 USD on a stainless steel bracelet.
The ref. SBGH271 is identical except for its dark green dial with golden indices and hands. According to Grand Seiko, this timepiece is inspired by "rikka," the seventh of Japan's 24 "sekki," or seasons. Expect prices around 5,600 USD for a new example.
Grand Seiko Heritage Watches With a GMT Function
There are also a number of watches in the Heritage collection that feature a second time zone. The classically elegant ref. SBGE205, for example, features the quartz caliber 9R66 with a GMT function. The champagne dial features a 24-hour scale around its edge and an additional blue hour hand for telling the time in a second location. This watch comes on a three-piece link stainless steel bracelet and costs around 2,400 USD new. The technically identical ref. SBGN013 features a black dial and red GMT hand and is priced slightly higher at roughly 2,500 USD.
The ref. SBGE211 has a slightly more sporty appearance. The watch features a black dial with applied silver indices and silver hands for the hours, minutes, and seconds. The additional GMT hand and GMT inscription located above the 6 o'clock position both stand out in red. The Seiko Spring Drive caliber 9R66 powers this 41-mm stainless steel watch, providing it with a 72-hour power reserve. The power reserve indicator between 7 and 8 o'clock is a practical addition. Plan on spending 4,000 USD to call this model your own.
If you'd prefer a Grand Seiko with a GMT function and a high-speed caliber, be sure to take a closer look at the ref. SBGJ203. This 40-mm stainless steel timepiece is outfitted with the caliber 9S86, which boasts a 55-hour power reserve. The polished black dial features the so-called Mount Iwate pattern, a series of contoured lines inspired by the eponymous mountain in Shizukuishi, Japan – the location of Grand Seiko's headquarters. The dial's GMT inscription and GMT hand are both red, offering the watch a sporty touch. This watch sells for some 5,400 USD new.
Grand Seiko Elegance – The Elegant Series
The Grand Seiko Elegance collection is comprised of a wide range of distinguished watches that make ideal companions for festive occasions. In addition to stainless steel models, you'll also find watches made of precious metals like yellow or rose gold.
The ref. SBGY002 is a particularly elegant men's watch in 18-karat yellow gold. The watch was first released in 2019 to mark the 20th anniversary of Spring Drive technology. The white dial features a fine texture, which contrasts nicely with the gold case. The applied indices and dauphine-style minute and hour hands are in gold, the second hand is blued, and all the inscriptions are black.
The Spring Drive caliber 9R31 powers this timepiece and provides it with a 3-day, or 72-hour, power reserve. Prices for unworn examples on Chrono24 run around 19,500 USD, which is significantly less than the official list price of 25,000 USD.
60th Anniversary Elegance Watches
In 2020, Grand Seiko introduced three special edition models to mark the brand's 60th anniversary. The 18-karat yellow gold ref. SBGW258 is a particular highlight of the trio. The watch embodies classic 1960s style with a light dial, gold baton indices, and dauphine hands. The Grand Seiko inscription at 12 o'clock is likewise in a gold hue.
The beating heart of this timepiece is the hand-winding caliber 9S64, which offers a 72-hour power reserve. You can view the beautifully-decorated movement through the sapphire glass case back. This watch has been on the market since mid-2020 and sells for roughly 24,000 USD on Chrono24, a slight discount from the MSRP of 26,000 USD.
The ref. SBGW259 is identical in size and design bar its titanium case. This variant features a dark blue sunburst dial and a color-coordinated crocodile leather strap. The indices, hands, and inscription match the case color. Be prepared to spend around 7,000 USD for this reference.
The third and final anniversary edition is the platinum ref. SBGW257. The dial, indices, and hands are all silver to match the case, while a black crocodile leather strap keeps the timepiece securely on the wrist. At just shy of 36,000 USD, this is the most expensive of the anniversary models.
Grand Seiko Elegance Watches With a GMT Function
Within the Elegance collection, you'll also find several GMT watches. The ref. SBGJ217 is one of just two Hi-Beat models that offer this complication. The watch is made of stainless steel and has a diameter of 39.5 mm. Its champagne dial is adorned with silver indices and hands. The blue GMT hand and inscription above 6 o'clock add a welcome splash of color. The second time zone is displayed via a 24-hour scale around the dial's edge. The Hi-Beat caliber 9S86 powers this reference. Expect to see prices around 4,700 USD for a new watch on a brown crocodile leather strap.
The ref. SBGJ219 has the same technology but features a black sunburst dial. Plan on spending about 5,400 USD for a new watch.
The Grand Seiko Elegance SBGM221 likewise has a GMT function, but is powered by the automatic caliber 9S66. In contrast to the high-speed 9S86, this movement oscillates at the more modest pace of 28,800 vph. The 38.5-mm stainless steel watch is outfitted with an ivory-colored dial and applied silver indices. Prices run around 4,200 USD for unworn examples.
Grand Seiko also has an Elegance GMT watch with Spring Drive technology: the ref. SBGE271. The dark textured dial celebrates "kanro," another of the 24 "sekki," or seasons, in Japan. Applied bar indices mark the hours, while the GMT time can be read via the 24-hour scale around the dial's edge. Both the scale and the additional hour hand have a golden tone. The caliber 9R66 also supplies this watch with a convenient power reserve indicator between 7 and 8 o'clock.
This 40.2-mm stainless steel watch comes on a steel bracelet and costs 5,900 USD.
Prices & Details for the Grand Seiko Masterpiece
At the time of writing, the Grand Seiko Masterpiece collection was comprised of four different watches, three of which are strictly limited editions.
Grand Seiko only made 50 copies of the ref. SBGZ007. This fine timepiece was released to mark the company's 140th anniversary in 2020. The watch's 38.5-mm platinum case is elaborately hand-engraved by Grand Seiko's master watchmakers.
The engraving depicts the starry sky over the Japanese village of Achi, which is considered the most beautiful village in Japan. The deep blue dial with a purple undertone is coated with multiple layers, resulting in a three-dimensional texture that shimmers like a starlit night. Silver applied baton indices and hands round off the watch's overall look. Grand Seiko equips this masterpiece with a crocodile leather strap matching the dial color.
This timepiece is powered by the Spring Drive caliber 9R02, which boasts a so-called Torque Return System and a double barrel, resulting in a power reserve of 84 hours.
The MSRP is 79,000 USD, but you can find the watch on Chrono24 for closer to 74,000 USD.
The ref. SBGD201 is another Grand Seiko masterpiece complete with Spring Drive technology. This 43-mm platinum watch is equipped with the caliber 9R01, which offers an impressive 8-day power reserve. The snow white dial features silver applied indices and dauphine-style hour and minute hands. The second hand stands out in blue and the watch comes mounted on a black crocodile leather strap.
The market price for this watch is around 57,000 USD, compared to the official list price of 59,000 USD.
The refs. SBGD205 and SBGD207 are both rarer diamond-encrusted platinum watches that were sold exclusively through select Seiko boutiques. The latter has a limited run of just 15 pieces. At the time of writing, there was just one listing for this timepiece on Chrono24. The watch was listed at 176,000 USD (MSRP 185,000 USD).
The ref. SBGD205 had a limited run of just 10 pieces and is very difficult to find on the secondary market. The official list price is also 185,000 USD.
About Grand Seiko
Grand Seiko's story began in the late 1950s. The brand's full history, however, is closely linked with that of former parent company Seiko, which was founded in the late 19th century by Japanese businessman and watchmaker Kintarō Hattori. The first Grand Seiko timepiece was released in 1960 with the goal of outperforming the Swiss chronometer standards. Until the mid-1970s, however, the brand only produced mechanical watches for the Japanese market. The so-called quartz crisis, in which Seiko flooded the market with cheap quartz watches, caused the demand for mechanical watches to fall so dramatically that Grand Seiko had to stop producing them altogether.
It wasn't until the early 1990s that mechanical watches started making a comeback and Grand Seiko re-entered the scene. Grand Seiko debuted their first new watches at the end of the decade, outfitting them with newly-developed calibers like the hand-winding 9S5. Today, Grand Seiko has around 60 employees working at their Shizukuishi Watch Studio some 300 miles north of Tokyo. Every last detail of a Grand Seiko watch is completed by hand at the studio. Since 2017, Grand Seiko has been a fully independent brand.