Featured Grand Seiko Hands-On

Hands-On: Grand Seiko SBGW231
Perfect Dress Watch?

As some of you might know, I have been searching for a true dress watch for quite some time. That search has for example led me to the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso. Even though the Reverso is considered a “dress watch” in the modern sense, it was originally designed for sports purposes. With that in mind, my hunger for a true dress watch had yet to be satisfied. 

As a result, I decided to go after the Grand Seiko SBGW231. Hidden in Grand Seiko’s Elegance line of watches. The SBGW comes with a nice classic case size at 37.3mm and 11.6mm tall, with a good 2mm of it from the box sapphire crystal. Before I lose you with praises, let me show you why I chose it.

Dial & Hands

Without a doubt, Grand Seiko is known for their finishing. While the dial isn’t of intricate design or pattern, this cream off-white color just works for a classic no date watch.  

The indexes are made of stainless steel that is polished on all sides and has a nice sharp beveling, finishing to the degree that is usually in price ranges 3 to 4 times more expensive.  

The applied indexes look amazing on the dial and despite the proximity in color tone, offers great contrast and legibility due to the polishing.  

The hands are finished in the typical Grand Seiko fashion, while it has become expected, it still amazes me when seeing them in person with the zaratsu polishingZaratsu Polishing Zaratsu polishing is a type of polishing technique used in watchmaking, specifically for the polishing of steel components, such as the case, lugs, and bracelet. It is a process that uses a spinning circular disk with an abrasive surface. The craftsperson, holding the watch part, applies a certain level of pressure and uses a specific angle to ultimately achieve a mirror-like finish. [Learn More].  I did not notice this before, but the hour, minute and seconds hands all curve slightly downwards to the dial.  Providing a nice extra touch.

Case & Calibre

Known for their sharp edge cases such as the famous 44GS case which the sides slope aggressively and the 62GS case with no bezel and nice side bevels, the case of the SBGW231 features none of the above. 

Grand Seiko decided to use a round case shape with zaratsu polishing all around since this is a dress watch with 30 meters of water resistance. The lugs have a nice downward slope with bevel on the outside edges.

Beating inside is the manual wind 9S64 movement beating at 4Hz with 72 hours of power reserveRéserve de marche Also known as Power Reserve. A watch's power reserve refers to the amount of time a mechanical watch can run without being wound. The power reserve of a mechanical watch can vary depending on the size of the mainspring, the efficiency of the gear train, and the rate at which the mainspring releases energy. If a watch has a Power Reserve 'complication' it simply means that the status of the power reserve can be seen on the watch itself (either on the dial or movement side of the watch). [Learn More] and MEMS technology in the mainspringMainspring The mainspring is a spiral-shaped metal spring that stores energy in a mechanical watch movement. It is located inside the barrel. The mainspring is wound, either manually or automatically. The mainspring unwinds over time, and the watch will stop running when the mainspring is fully unwound. [Learn More] to provide excellent timing even at lower power.  The movement is adjusted in 6 positions and has a +5/-3 second daily tolerance.  

The movement is decorated nicely with the striping and if you play with the light, you can catch the Grand Seiko emblem.

Final Thoughts

I absolutely adore this watch with it’s timeless design and case size while boasting the details that beats many brands that cost 3 or 4 times more the price. 

If there is one negative,  it’s a small and insignificant one:  the odd lug width of 19mm. With a beautiful dial like this, I can see this being a total strap monster but now will have to add multiple 19mm straps for a proper fit..


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