The Battle of Elegant Time-Only Watches Part 2 – Grand Seiko Hand-Wound SBGW231

This SBGW231, which has a place with Grand Seiko ‘s Elegance Collection, probably won’t have the most enticing name, yet this steel dress watch with exemplary feel and estimating, immaculate hand-cleaned highlights, a standout mechanical development, and an appealing cost is an unshakable contender for our upcoming skirmish of exquisite time-just watches. It probably won’t grab your attention in pictures and come across as disarmingly basic, however trust us this watch is totally dazzling in the metal and compensates for its collectedness with refined subtleties that underline the Japanese mission for perfection.

Editor’s note: this review of the Grand Seiko SBGW231 is section two of a progression of three articles where we will compare two rich time-just watches at present available. Two watches with a similar idea, yet two distinct flavors. The third article, which will be distributed after our two separate reviews, will pit them side-by-side.

The transient ascent of Grand Seiko outside Japan

With its blend of bleeding edge innovation and respected Japanese craftsmanship, Grand Seiko is vanquishing the Western watchmaking scene and acquiring adepts by the second. From relative indefinite quality in the West, since 2010 Grand Seiko has been accessible universally and is quick becoming a presence for the Swiss to battle with. One of the principle obstacles for Grand Seiko was to separate itself from the overall picture many had of Seiko as a purveyor of modest quartz watches.

The objective for Grand Seiko in the US and Europe is to become one of the main five extravagance watch brands with items situated in the USD 5,000 – 10,000 value portion. What’s more, based on the positive responses around the watch community, it’s going to happen exceptionally quick. In 2014, for instance, a Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 GMT won the GPHG Petite Aiguille prize for a watch retailing for under CHF 8,000.

The Japanese Pursuit of Perfection

Since its introduction to the world in 1960, Grand Seiko was Seiko’s vision of the “ideal watch”, an extravagance line that should have been however lovely as it seemed to be strong, clear and exact. Intended to communicate a novel Japanese thought of excellence, severe guidelines with respect to extents, completes and points administered and still oversee the plan precepts of the Grand Seiko today. These have to do with an extremely Japanese fixation on light and shadow. Shadow in Japanese style is just about as significant as light and the play of light and shadow on a completely cleaned surface is the substance of congruity, the yin and yang in the event that you like of aesthetics.

Seiko utilizes the case of conventional Japanese Shoji sliding ways to show this idea of interchange of light and shadow. The nine center style components of the Grand Seiko Style were set up by creator Taro Tanaka in 1967 with the 44GS watch and incorporate everything from commands for the case development and finish to exact subtleties on how the components on the dial ought to be faceted and cleaned. (You can find out about the 2017 reissue of the 1960 Grand Seiko in this article .)


A parcel of watch perfectionists will cheer when they find the components of the SBGW231: 37.3mm in width and 11.6mm in thickness. It’s absolutely not a slender watch, and some may contend that its thickness excludes it as a dress watch, however the case measurement and stature contrive to make an amazingly proportional watch. There isn’t anything progressive about the round case, however stand by until you find the way the bezel and other cleaned surfaces get the light…

One of the nine orders for the Grand Seiko set up by Taro Tanaka in 1967 was that level surfaces working on this issue (and somewhere else) be cleaned to a mirror finish (shimmer of value) utilizing a strategy known as Zaratsu cleaning. Like Japanese katana swords, the cleaning was to boost the cooperation of light on the level surface to make sharp, fresh edges and a mirror-like surface without any mutilations. The inquisitive certainty is that Zaratsu is not a Japanese word or method by any means. It is the Japanese way to express the German word Sallaz, the name of the German maker which showed up on cleaning machines obtained by Seiko during the 1950s. Don’t be tricked into feeling that on the grounds that a machine is included the cycle is any less demanding; Zaratsu cleaning requires three years of preparing before a skilled worker can rehearse the technique.

The dial of the SBGW231 is a grayish smooth tone and is practically austere in its highlights. With only three hands, hour markers and the GS logo, the straightforwardness and moderation of the dial summons the main Grand Seiko of 1960. Look again – if conceivable with a loupe – and the view on the dial abruptly comes to life. The stretched hour markers resemble smaller than normal metallic models with articulated aspects and the hands are so strongly characterized you could utilize them as careful blades.

The sharp meaning of the components makes an interesting exhibition as light ricochets off certain features while different surfaces are dove into the shade. What’s more, I’m not misrepresenting when I say that gratitude to the mirror cleaning, you can see yourself reflected in the hour markers and the hands. It’s this tender loving care and refined completions that truly separate Grand Seiko from the group. By chance, this model is one of only a handful few hand-wound GS models without a date window… did we simply hear an enormous moan of relief?

Calibre 9S64

Turning the Grand Seiko SBGW231 over uncovers the 9S64 type tucked under a lovely strong and mirror-cleaned caseback with 6 screws and a rib spotted with metallic circles. Type 9S64 is a mechanical, manual-winding development brought into the Grand Seiko line in 2011. One of only a handful few manual-wind developments at GS, it respects its 1960 archetype (furnished with type 3180, a manual-winding, 25 gem, chronometer-grade development). The development is equipped for conveying a 3-day power save because of a more slender and longer origin made of Seiko’s exclusive compound (SPRON510).

As you know, Grand Seiko covers the whole assembling measure, from in-house hairsprings to get away from wheels made utilizing miniature electro-mechanical frameworks (MEMS) innovation that are 5% lighter than standard ones. The equilibrium spring is additionally made of an exceptionally stun safe and against attractive combination. The watch is changed in 6 positions and its timekeeping exactness is – 3 to +5 seconds out of each day, a level tried by Grand Seiko’s demanding norms, the most elevated distributed norm in the business. With a stop-seconds capacity for sure, all the components in the dial, including the ruby rotate stones, are made in-house. The scaffolds are beautified with Seiko stripes (note how they figure out how to play with light and dim) and cover the greater part of the development, in spite of the fact that you can see the equilibrium wheel swaying at 28,800vph and the fastener wheel.


Traditionally measured and proportioned, downplayed at this point seething with refined subtleties, an accuracy hand-twisted development with a liberal force save and a truly sensible sticker price, it’s elusive deficiency with this Grand Seiko model. The execution of every single component of the SBGW231 is brilliant mirroring the brand’s mission for flawlessness. Indeed, it may seem like metaphor, however craftsmanship in Japan is taken very seriously.

The experts are really apparent, yet what are the cons of this watch? Some may bandy that for a dress watch the case could be a small piece more slender and a force hold would be a helpful addition… What do you think?

Strap and Price

In keeping with its dress watch character, the lash is an exemplary dark crocodile cowhide with a pin clasp and twin-trigger delivery catch. The pin clasp has an iced foundation and the words Grand Seiko in help reviewing the 1960s model. The Grand Seiko SBGW231 retails for USD 4,300. Note that this watch isn’t accessible on each market (particularly very elusive in Europe).

More subtleties at .