Two years ago, Grand Seiko introduced SLGH002, the first model to feature the Evolution 9 Style. Emphasizing new standards for legibility, comfort, and beauty, this design philosophy preserves the fundamentals of the Grand Seiko Style, which have been at the heart of Grand Seiko’s design ethos since 1967, while also pushing toward new ideas that are set to define the brand’s aesthetic for many years to come. At Watches and Wonders this year, Grand Seiko has introduced several new sports models in the Evolution 9 Style, including SBGC251, the first Evolution 9 Collection chronograph in continuous production.
SBGC251 measures 45.3mm in diameter, 15.8mm in thickness, and 52.6mm lug-to-lug. The case, bracelet, and three-fold clasp are made of High-Intensity Titanium. This titanium alloy is a mainstay in Grand Seiko’s catalog, and it is prized for being 30% lighter than steel and yet more impervious to scratches and corrosion. High-Intensity Titanium can also be finished to a high standard, allowing Grand Seiko artisans to create the combination of mirror-polished and hairline-finished surfaces you see here. The finishing also emphasizes the intricate Evolution 9 case geometry.
The bezel rotates in both directions without a click, and has a sapphire insert with a 24-hour scale. The redesigned chronograph pushers have been made smaller without any detriment to functionality. A dual-curved sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface is used on the dial-side of the watch, and a sapphire crystal on the case back offers a view of the movement within.
Powered by caliber 9R86, SBGC251 delivers state-of-the-art precision in measuring time and elapsed time. This Spring Drive movement measures elapsed time up to 12 hours, and the second hand moves in a perfect glide motion—a defining characteristic of Spring Drive.
Despite the feature-rich dial layout, the functionality is highly legible, thanks partly to the implementation of the Evolution 9 Style hands and indexes. Their size makes reading the time clear, and legibility is enhanced with LumiBrite on the hands, indexes, and bezel. The light-blue GMT hand allows tracking time in another time zone, generally utilized for your home time. The hour hand can be adjusted to a new time zone without compromising the timekeeping accuracy. The 12-hour bi-directional bezel allows the user to track a total of three time zones.
SBGC251 will be available in September 2022 for $11,400.