With a commitment to creating a movement that would exemplify Grand Seiko’s dedication to precision, longevity and craftsmanship, development began in the late 1990s. Seikosha’s watchmakers and engineers had set out to produce a movement that could compete with the benchmark watchmaking at the time: the Swiss.
Encompassing numerous technical innovations, the 9S boasts distinctive features that set it apart from other Grand Seiko movements before it. Adjusted to meet the new Grand Seiko “Special” standard, the 9S calibre exceeded the Swiss Chronometer standard for accuracy. Furthermore, a longer power reserve of 72 hours ensured consistent chronometry over an extended period of time compared to many other mechanical movements. With each component carefully finished and polished to a high standard, the newest mechanical calibre in Grand Seiko’s stable became an exemplar of Japanese craftsmanship and refinement.
It’s been 25 years since the launch of this momentous movement and now, Grand Seiko has announced two new GMTs in two emblematic platforms: an elegant dress model and a sportier option.
Celebrating 25 years of Grand Seiko Calibre 9s: The Understated And Sophisticated SBGM253
With a sunray dial in the lovely blue tone of the sky as seen from Mount Iwate’s peak, Grand Seiko’s SBGM253 is about as sophisticated and understated as a GMT timepiece – an undeniably practical complication – can be. This anniversary limited edition adopts a profile from the Elegance Collection: a classic dress watch featuring a mirror-finished bezel and case, gently curved lugs with a distortion-free mirror finish achieved through Zaratsu polishing, and a box-shaped sapphire crystal.
Sans lume or a bezel, the timeless design has a classic profile, yet a see-through caseback provides a view of the thoroughly modern 9S66 GMT movement, which has been outfitted with a titanium oscillating weight rendered in Grand Seiko blue with the same anodic oxidation treatment.
As with all Grand Seiko GMT watches, its ease of use is ensured through the local hour hand, which is independently adjustable so that precision is maintained even when changing the time according to one’s travels. The blue 24-hour scale printed on the pale blue sunray dial displays the second time zone, ensuring that subtlety and legibility distinguish this anniversary edition’s design in equal measure.
Another guise of Grand Seiko: Sporty Yet Dressy SBGJ275
Beyond the expansive windows of Grand Seiko’s Studio Shizukuishi, there is a peak visible but it is often blanketed by a sea of clouds. Now, imagine if this vista can find a home on your wrist with the new Sport Collection SBGJ275 showcasing a dial illustrating the sea of clouds rarely seen at daybreak.
Framed with a GMT inner rehaut and a blue and white rotating sapphire crystal GMT bezel, it’s as if the humid air above Mount Iwate had been forming these wisps of overlapping clouds right there on your arm, creating a beautiful tapestry.
Like the SBGM253, the sapphire caseback of the SBGJ275 also marks the first time that a Grand Seiko mechanical watch with 20-bar water resistance has featured an exhibition caseback. In this case, it is the Hi-Beat GMT Calibre 9S86 which offers stable accuracy, thanks to its frequency of 36,000vph, equal to 10 beats per second or 5Hz. AM
Both boutique exclusives, the SBGJ275 is limited to 2,000 pieces and the SBGM253 is limited to 1,700 pieces
Elegance collection SBGM253 Price + Specs
Case 39.5mm stainless steel with 300-metre water resistance and 4,800 A/m magnetic resistance
Movement Automatic calibre 9S66 with 72-hour power reserve
Sports collection SBGJ275 Price + Specs
Case 44.2mm stainless steel with 200-metre water resistance and 4,800 A/m magnetic resistance
Movement Automatic hi-frequency calibre 9S86 with 55-hour power reserve