Contact [email protected] for pricing and availability; Either I have it, or I can get it!
The Grand Seiko "Snowflake" is a category-best luxury watch with a brand-defining dial and Seiko's signature Spring Drive technology. In this video, Tim Mosso showcases the history and merits of the most recognizable Grand Seiko watch of the modern era. A buyer's guide of pricing, sizing, and features provides viewers with the background to make the choice of whether or not to add the Grand Seiko Snowflake to their watch collections. This is the "Collector's Guide."
Although often compared to the Rolex Datejust and the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, the current Grand Seiko SBGA211 and the prior SBGA011 are distinct enough to stand apart from the competition and succeed on their own merits. Originally launched in 2010, the Snowflake is a rare Grand Seiko for which the factory itself was responsible for the nickname. The Shinshu Watch Studio that produces Spring Drive Grand Seiko watches is located in Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture, a region that is blanketed with snow during the winter months. The rolling ridges of snow drifts near the Grand Seiko factory lend their texture and name to the dial of the Grand Seiko Snowflake.
At 41mm in diameter, the Snowflake is a sizable all-around men's watch that wears light on the wrist thanks to its titanium construction. Although Grand Seiko describes this variant of titanium as "high intensity," its ability to take and hold a polish suggests that the material is similar to the "grade five titanium" used by European watchmakers. All polished surfaces on the Grand Seiko Snowflake are buffed to a shine by the tin plate finishing method that Grand Seiko brands "Zaratsu polish." This method, which requires approximately three years to master, ensures that the Snowflake can be regarded as a true hand-finished watch. The Snowflake is equipped from the factory with a matching titanium bracelet and single-fold deployant clasp.
The snowflake dial requires at least six steps to complete; stamping and silver plating are two of the most important steps. Additional diamond-cut hands, hour indices, date window, and logo letters are crafted by specialized artisans who dedicate their full-time attention to creating these components for Grand Seiko watches. The fired blue stainless steel seconds hand glides smoothly in the distinctive fashion that remains virtually unique to Seiko Spring Drive.
Grand Seiko caliber 9R65 provides 72-hours of power reserve with automatic winding. A dial-side power reserve indicator keeps track of the remaining mainspring energy. The Spring Drive technology permits monthly precision of +/- 15 seconds, but it is not a conventional quartz caliber. The Spring Drive technology employs no motors, batteries, or capacitors. This showcase for Japanese watchmaking genius required all of the years between 1977 and 2005 to bring to market in its automatic form.
A unidirectional governing wheel driven by spring torque creates an induced electrical current; this current powers a quartz oscillator; the quartz timing unit controls an electromagnetic braking force that speeds or slows the unidirectional governing wheel; the wheel is geared to the hands and the time display. Water resistance of 100 meters ensures that the Grand Seiko SBGA211 can provide service as a sports watch when necessary. Hacking seconds and a quickset date permit easy setting of the watch.
The Grands Seiko Snowflake SBGA211 has a retail price of $5,800 in the United States, and it includes a three-year Grand Seiko watch warranty. Prior to 2017, the Snowflake's reference code was SBGA011, and its dial featured a prominent "Seiko" signature in place of the later "Grand Seiko" atop the dial.