In 1967, Grand Seiko introduced the 44GS. With its distinct case, distortion-free finishing, and mesmerizing dial, the 44GS came to embody the Grand Seiko Style. In 2013, Grand Seiko unveiled the modern interpretation of the design, adapting the brand-defining model from ‘67 to more contemporary standards. In 2022, we saw the release of a new mid-size 44GS design with the smallest case diameter at 36.5mm of the series. This Grand Seiko introduction presents two new mid-size 44GS references in the Heritage Collection, SBGW297 and SBGW299.
At 36.5 mm in diameter, 11.6 mm in thickness, and just 42.7mm in length from lug tip to lug tip, the cases of SBGW297 and SBGW299 feature proportions closer to that of the ’67 original, even coming in a bit smaller in width, though slightly thicker than the historical model. To achieve this, every aspect of the case’s construction had to be reconsidered to take full advantage of Grand Seiko’s slim, manual-winding Caliber 9S64.
The case finishing is immediately eye-catching and polished using Grand Seiko’s signature Zaratsu method. These mirror-polished planes are contrasted against surfaces adorned with Grand Seiko’s hairline finishing technique. Both techniques are performed via a hand process by a dedicated Grand Seiko artisan, and these skills take years to master.
The dial of SBGW297 is rendered in white, and SBGW299 has a cool, dark-blue dial. Both feature a dramatic sunray pattern that plays beautifully with the light, creating countless combinations of light and shadow. The bezel, multi-faceted indexes, and hands have also been reimagined to fit the scaled-down dimensions. Protecting the dial, a box-shape sapphire crystal imparts warmth to the design, further connecting the watch to its mid-century predecessor.
Both models come paired with a matching stainless steel bracelet. Drilled lug holes and an 18mm lug width allow for endless leather strap combinations.
Caliber 9S64 is a mechanical manual-winding movement hand-assembled by the tremendous craftsmen and women of Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi. 9S64 is tested in six positions over 17 days — which exceeds the chronometer standard — to comply with the Grand Seiko Standard of -3 to +5 seconds mean daily rate in static conditions. When fully wound, it also features a 72-hour power reserve.
SBGW297 and SBGW299 are both Mastershop models and will be available at Grand Seiko Boutiques and authorized retailers for $5,400 starting November 2023.