This past summer, Grand Seiko unveiled a trio of Spring Drive GMT Sport models to great acclaim. Refs. SBGE253, SBGE255, and SBGE257 pair a Spring Drive GMT with a classic sport watch design, and though it’s not the first Grand Seiko to bring these elements together, this latest series offers a new form factor for those who prefer smaller watches with a case measuring 40.5mm wide. Today, on the day that Grand Seiko officially celebrates its 60th birthday, the brand is unveiling an exciting US-exclusive model that offers another variant of this popular blueprint, Reference SBGE263.
From the coloration to the pattern on the dial, SBGE263 is directly inspired by the eagle. Grand Seiko often pulls inspiration from nature, especially from the scenes that surround their ateliers in Japan. With SBGE263 being a US-exclusive model and the bald eagle being the national bird of the United States, the pairing is a natural fit.
The brown dial and bezel are a nod to the eagle’s plumage, and the golden GMT arrow is a stand in for the eagle’s powerful beak. The dial pattern, a swirling motif that emanates from the center of the dial and twists as it reaches the outer edge, represents its wings as it soars through the vista. And then there’s the second hand, which has a smooth sweep thanks to the Spring Drive caliber inside, evoking the eagle gliding through the sky.
Inspiration aside, the package here is incredibly appealing. At 40.5mm, the case is highly versatile for larger and smaller wrists alike, and the curvature of the mid-case ensures that the watch stays planted when worn. The ceramic bezel, other than simply looking great, offers long-term scratch resistance on a section of the case that is most vulnerable to contact. A mix of Zaratsu-polished and hairline surfaces can be seen throughout the case, the contrast of the two finishes creating the distinct sparkle Grand Seiko watches have come to be known for. The dial also catches the eye, and it’s not just because of the pattern. The hands are large and broad, with hairline centers flanked by polished bevels. They’re also generously filled with LumiBrite for nighttime visibility. The indexes are equally complex, featuring different surface treatments along their many facets.
The watch is powered by Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive Caliber 9R66. This is what is known as a true GMT movement. What this means is that the local hour hand is independently adjustable, and the GMT hand remains fixed to “home” time. The benefit of such an arrangement is that upon arriving to a new locale in a different time zone, the wearer can simply jump the hour hand to the appropriate hour without having to reset the watch. This way they’re tracking the local time with the hour and minute hands, and the GMT hand remains on home time. With the 9R66 being rated to an accuracy of +/-15 seconds a month, not having to reset the time allows the wearer to enjoy this excellent precision.
This watch is offered as a U.S. limited edition of 110 pieces and will be available in January 2021 at Grand Seiko Boutiques and for GS9 Club members.
You can view or pre-order this model directly on the GS9 Club Shop. To pre-order SBGE263, click HERE.