While it’s understandable that some people, even the casual watch connoisseur, haven’t heard of Seiko, it’s a travesty if you haven’t heard of its more ubiquitous sister brand, Grand Seiko, which arguably is the pinnacle of Japanese and East Asian watchmaking. Of course, when it comes to luxury watches, the focus is on the Swiss-made brands, but Grand Seiko is up there with the greats if it comes down to it.
Grand Seiko is a Japanese luxury watch brand that came from the main brand, Seiko, previously known as Seiko Crown. In 1960, a team from the company was formed to focus on making the best watch with the company’s latest movement, with the mission to create a watch that is so accurate, it’s the best representation of the company. Grand Seiko was born.
Ever since, Grand Seiko has been the luxury arm of the mother company, producing luxury watches with the best in class in terms of precision, proportion, finish, and other essential components. In its modern iteration, the brand has had quite the success in its homeland and neighboring countries. Unfortunately, it’s still cracking the West demographic.
Getting a Grand Seiko will be the maverick choice in a sea of Swiss-made watches. It’s also an alternative brand in some respect, and if you’re wearing one, it will certainly break the room into a conversation. So hold on to your hats and ready yourself up for a deep dive into the wonderful world of Grand Seiko watches.
Grand Seiko Snowflake
Probably the most popular of the Grand Seiko watches, the Snowflake or SBGA211G is the best artisanal watch on this side of the world. Its iconic, layered, white dial resembles snowflakes on the ground and is lacquered to perfection it’s seriously a contender of watches that should never be worn more than 10 times.
It looks so good, it should stay that way forever. But under the almost dainty exterior is a tough Grand Seiko watch. In its heart is a spring drive movement, so accurate that it competes with the bests of Omega.
The movement is a combination of the power of a mechanical watch plus the accuracy of quartz. Grand Seiko has always been about the accuracy and precision, so if your heart is set in getting this watch, do yourself a favor and choose the one in stainless steel clasp.
Grand Seiko Chronograph
What’s a luxury watch without a chronograph? Well for starters, still a luxury watch. In fact, most people don’t realize that most luxury watches aren’t chronograph watches, but just regular watches with really great mechanical movement.
Add in a chronograph and the price hikes up. But if you want a luxury chronograph watch that won’t quit, Grand Seiko’s iteration of the classic is worth a look. With a spring drive movement under the hood, the movement also boasts of standard power reserve and quality exterior materials.
The Grand Seiko Chronograph is a fairly young collection in the brand’s tenure. It debuted in 2007, with a spring drive type movement that’s perfected within an inch of its mechanical life. The chronograph in this watch is dual-register and a GMT function. In its latest iteration, it is one great-looking watch.
Grand Seiko Spring Drive
One of the more popular models under the Grand Seiko collection, the Spring Drive SBGC230 is a literal lion of a watch. It’s one of those watches that need to be seen to be believed. The original manual spring drive movement for the company was created in Nagano and carried a diamond-dust dial that stunned the watchmaking companies the world over.
Today, the Spring Driveline under the brand continues to push the boundaries of watchmaking. The SBGC230 is a limited edition watch that combines top of the line materials with arguably the best spring drive movement in the world. In it’s the latest iteration, the Caliber 9R96 is one of the most accurate watches in the world, with at least +5/-5 seconds per day accuracy.
When it comes to buying your first luxury watch, researching and knowing the limitations of your budget is key. While most of us are partial to a brand and will immediately gravitate towards it, make sure that you play the field first and try to search for alternatives. They might prove to be better, if not the best choice for you. Like Grand Seiko watches.