Tim Mosso loves quartz watches, and he's not afraid to admit it. While watch collectors often hesitate to embrace electronic watches, Tim touts the best quartz watches for collectors and watch enthusiasts. Among the finest is the 2022 Grand Seiko SLGA009 "White Birch" from the Evolution 9 collection. This 40mm stainless steel sports watch is Grand Seiko's latest development of its signature Spring Drive movement technology, dial design, and case construction. Anyone looking to buy a luxury watch in 2022 needs to make the newest Grand Seiko Spring Drive watch part of his shopping list.
The 2022 Grand Seiko SLGA009 is a Spring Drive interpretation of 2021's SLGH005 "White Birch" dial. Grand Seiko designed the SLGA009 as the flagship of its new "Evolution 9" collection. At 40mm in steel, the 009 is suitable for most wrists, but its outstanding dimension is 11.8mm in thickness. This ensures that the Grand Seiko flagship is competitive with the Rolex Datejust 41 and similar Swiss watches. A full bracelet permits watch collectors to exploit the Grand Seiko's 100-meter water resistance.
Truth be told, it's not clear that "Evolution 9" offers many decisive breaks with previous Grand Seiko watch designs. For 2022, the new Evo 9 products of Seiko's luxury brand gain a case that approximates a fusion of the old 9S and 44GS case styles. The mid-case and arched profile resemble the 9S, and the faceted lug tips recall the historic 44GS. But even comparisons to the mechanical 2021 "White Birch" model yield few obvious changes. On close examination, the primary differences between the SLGH005 and SLGA009 appear to be the Spring Drive watch's thicker crown, broader date window, and different printing on the dial.
Everything that was great about the 2021 Grand Seiko White Birch remains in the new Spring Drive model. The wooded splendor near Shinshu watch studio is reflected in the color and texture of the "White Birch" dial design. "Shirakaba," or the white birch tree that grows in Shiojiri, informs the appearance of Grand Seiko's newest watch.
All polished facets of the case continue to use Seiko's "Zaratsu" Sallaz machine tin-plate polishing; this manual process confers hand-crafted status on the $8,600 Grand Seiko SLGA009. Finally, the hands and hour indices retain their crisp details, and all of the dial furniture is decorated manually with diamond-tipped tools. In launching the Evolution 9 collection, Grand Seiko has declared that broader indices and hands will play a greater role in the appearance of future watch designs within the series.
Mechanically, the Grand Seiko SLGA009 adopts the caliber 9RA2. Based on the 2021 caliber 9RA5, the 9RA2 adds a caseback power reserve indicator. Both movements include the 2021 Spring Drive upgrades including twin mainspring barrels, a power reserve of 120 hours (five days), and upgraded quartz technology yielding precision of +/- 10 seconds per month. Seiko watchmakers also upgraded the finish and appearance of the Spring Drive caliber. The SLGA009 benefits from a cleaner dial due to the caseback reserve indicator. Dial-side power reserve gauges have been a source of long-running controversy among Grand Seiko collectors and critics.
Grand Seiko Spring Drive technology remains unique in watchmaking. Compared to competitors including the Rolex Datejust 41 and the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, the Grand Seiko is rarer and technologically distinct. It's not a watch for those seeking immediate recognition for their status, wealth, or taste in designer brand names. The Grand Seiko SLGA009 is a watch for buyers who love watchmaking, don't covet the approval of strangers, and prefer to focus on value over image.
All of this plus watch collector wrist shots will be featured in this episode of "Watches Tonight!"
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