The Elegance Collection is, as the name suggests, home to Grand Seikoís dressier watches. You wonít find one of Grand Seikoís big chronos or divers here. Instead, the watches making up the Elegance Collection fall on the dressier side of things ó the dials are generally cleaner and more classic, the only major complications youíll find here are a date and GMT function, and most of the watches share the same basic case design that, to my eye, looks less severe than some of Grand Seiko’s other cases and, therefore, I think is more universally palatable. Personally, Iím a big fan of the Elegance Collection, and the Ref. SBGM221 is one of my favorite watches in my collection and, generally speaking, in Seikoís catalog.*
A few weeks back, I wrote about Grand Seikoís announcement of a new caliber and with it four new watches for their Elegance Collection. But the movement is just part of the story. This release also introduced a new case design to the Elegance Collection.
I find that to truly appreciate a Grand Seiko watch (and to a lesser extent any watch, really), one does need to see and handle it in the metal. Most Grand Seiko naysayers are only familiar with the brand and its watches from afar, and Iíve known my fair share of converts who ďgot itĒ only after getting to try one on. I recently got to go hands-on with the new collection and I was not disappointed. In person, the watches are every bit as nice as I suspected theyíd be, and the case, dial, and hands are finished to Grand Seikoís highest standard.
There are four references in this release:*



SBGK002 (18k rose gold case with a red Urushi lacquer dial finished with a Mt. Iwate pattern)*


SBGK004 (18k rose gold case with a black Urushi lacquer dial)*


SBGK005 (stainless steel case with a blue dial finished with a Mt. Iwate pattern and applied markers)


SBGK006 (18kt yellow gold case with a white dial and gold applied markers)



$7400






Hands-On: Grand Seiko Elegance Collection (Refs. SBGK002, SBGK004, SBGK005, and SBGK006)

Case
Stainless steel, 18kt rose gold, 18kt yellow gold

Movement
9S64

Dial
Various

Lume
n/a

Lens
Domed sapphire

Strap
Leather

Water Resistance
3 bar

Dimensions
39mm

Thickness
11.6mm

Lug Width
19mm

Crown
Push/pull

Warranty
yes

Price
$7400







Letís start with the movement powering this new range. The 9S63 is Grand Seikoís newest manual-winding caliber in eight years, but it isnít a new generation of movement from Grand Seiko; rather, it builds on the well-established architecture of the 9S64, which is a tried-and-true Grand Seiko caliber. It features a small seconds complication at 9 oíclock and a power reserve indicator at 3 (together, the horizontal positioning of these two functions* creates a pleasing balance on the dial). The movement boasts 72 hours of power reserve on a full wind, and the accuracy is rated to +5/-3 seconds a day. Furthermore, it has 33 jewels and a beat rate of 28,800 vph.
What I really like about these watches is the way the new case maximizes the thinness of the movement. In profile, the mid-case is quite thin, and on the wrist the watches wear even thinner than their dimensions suggest.*As far as finishing is concerned, itís Grand Seiko at its best. The polishing is perfect, the brushing is intricate, and the points where the two meet is without fault. This is true across all four models.









Urushi is an old technique, and rather than attempting to explain it myself, Iíll offer this link for a breakdown of how it’s done and its history.*Ref. SBGK002 features a red Urushi lacquer dial finished with the subtle Mt. Iwate pattern that weíve seen in select Grand Seiko references, and Ref. SBGK004 has a unique black Urushi lacquer dial.*These two dials are also finished using the Maki-e lacquer technique, which involves using gold or silver powder as decoration. It’s used here for the numbers and markers. Note the precision in these macro shots ó it’s pure mastery, and Grand Seiko employs only the best craftspeople to get this done.
Then thereís Ref. SBGK006, which features a simpler white dial with golden hands and applied markers. But my favorite of the four is Ref. SBGK005. The dial here isnít lacquered, but it is finished in the same dynamic pattern that is meant to mimic the texture of Mt. Iwate. I cannot overstate how special this one looks ó the way the dial catches the light just elevates the piece to new heights.
Refs. SBGK002, SBGK004, and SBGK005 are limited editions (150, 150, and 1,500 units, respectively), and Ref. SBGK005 is a general release model.
Iíve read and heard complaints and concern regarding Grand Seikoís upmarket push, an analysis that, to me, seems a touch unfounded. Yes, the three editions here in rose and yellow gold are quite expensive ($29,000 for both Urushi dials and $19,000 for the regular dial), but the stainless steel edition is $7,400. Thatís still a lot of money, but it does feel appropriately priced relative to the rest of the Elegance Collection given the truly special execution of the dial. Overall, however, Grand Seiko pieces still run the gamut price-wise, much like the way many mainline Seiko ranges do, and I donít expect that to change.* I do, however, expect more show-stopper pieces like this in the future, and those will be on the pricier side of things, especially if they’re rendered in precious metals.*But as long as Seiko continues to offer stainless steel models, I can be relatively certain that Grand Seiko watches wonít become unobtanium.
In my book, this new collection is a clear winner, and Iím excited to see it grow with new references. Piggybacking off of what I wrote above, I’d *definitely love to see more being done with stainless steel, however, because precious metals can be limiting for many in terms of pricing and even styling. Grand Seiko






Images from this post:







































































The post Hands-On: Grand Seiko Elegance Collection (Refs. SBGK002, SBGK004, SBGK005, and SBGK006) appeared first on Worn & Wound.



More...