Tim Mosso picks his favorite Grand Seiko watches at price points from $5,800 to $79,000. Grand Seiko is Japan's best-known luxury watch brand and a true rival to Swiss watchmakers including Rolex, Omega, and Breitling. Tonight, Tim counts his favorite Grand Seiko Spring Drive, Hi-Beat, sports watches, and dress watch models. Far from just a Rolex rival or volume watchmaker, Grand Seiko is a soulful and innovative watch brand that shows no fear of tackling Patek Philippe at the top of the watch market.
The 2010 Grand Seiko SBGA011 "Snowflake" was the root of Grand Seiko's watch design innovations in the 2010. The Spring Drive Automatic "Snowflake" technically was part of the Grand Seiko Heritage collection, and its 2017 update, the Grand Seiko SBGA211, followed suit. But there's nothing retro or vintage about this Grand Seiko's 41mm titanium case, 100-meter water resistance, or sophisticated Spring Drive caliber 9R65 movement. Grand Seiko used a variant of its "9S" case shape for the so-called Snowflake, but it was the namesake dial that defined this watch.
To be clear, "Snowflake" is a name bestowed on this Grand Seiko by the watchmakers and designers who created it. Designed to echo the snow-covered landscape around Shiojiri, Nagano prefecture, the textured white Snowflake dial is a poetic nod to the snow drifts, storms, and ridged peaks that define wintertime in northern Japan. The Grand Seiko Snowflake dial includes stamping, galvanizing, and varnishing, and its creation is a six-step process.
Externally, the Grand Seiko SBGA211 incorporates the company's storied "Zaratsu" case finish. Watch buyers know that Grand Seiko cases finished in this fashion are hand-crafted works of art. The artisans who create the mirrored "Zaratsu" effect hold the watch case directly against spinning tin plates and rely on hand pressure to achieve an optically flawless shine. The same degree of hand crafted attention to detail is lavishing on Grand Seiko dials by artisans who polish the hands, hour indices, and brand logos that grace the faces of the company's watches.
Finally, Seiko Spring Drive is an electro-mechanical marvel. Using only spring potential energy, Grand Seiko watchmakers achieve accuracy of +/- fifteen seconds per month. Spring Drive includes traditional watchmaking as well as quartz technology to delivery reliability, precision, and the emotional appeal of a conventional mechanical movement.
All of this plus watch collector wrist shots will be featured in this episode of "Watches Tonight!"
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