Just released by Grand Seiko is this new trio of US-exclusive watches inspired by that most ubiquitous of Japanese swords, the katana. All three of the watches are done in the 44GS case (which happened to turn 55 years old last year in 2022) in stainless steel with Spring Drive movements. While two of these new Grand Seiko’s will be standard production, one of them is a limited edition of 500 pieces.
Before getting into the respective dial variations, let’s establish what’s common throughout the three. All are housed in a 40mm wide and 12.5mm thick steel case with 100m of water resistance. They are outfitted with the classic Spring Drive Caliber 9R65 which has a power reserve of 72-hours and is accurate to +/-1 second per day. The 44GS case isn’t just the quintessential Grand Seiko style that established the brand’s “Grammar of Design” but it is also the case style that maximizes the surface area that shows off the Zaratusu polishing.
Now, on to the watches. The SBGA489 has a black dial that is inspired by kawagane which is the carbon steel used for the outer sharp edge of a katana blade. The second watch, the SBGA491 has a dark green dial that is inspired by shingane which is the inner core of the katana blade. You’ll notice the granulated texture on the dials which is meant to evoke the unique textures of tamahagane which is the “jewel” of steels used to create the sword. The contrast of the Zaratsu polishing and what appears to be a more matte finish on the dial should make for some of that classic Grand Seiko magic that the brand has gotten so much acclaim for in recent years.
Finally there is the limited edition SBGA493 which has a fiery red dial with a unique dial pattern evoking the heat and intensity from the fires of the forge crafting the katana. In Grand Seiko’s own words “The deep red color with yellow gold-tone accents is influenced by the heated blade during the forging process. The pattern emulates the radiating sparks created when the hammer strikes the blade.” I have not handled this watch yet so I can’t comment on how the dial looks in the metal but having seen dozens and dozens of Grand Seiko dials (and having owned several myself) I do not find it hard to believe that this is going to be an absolute stunner. The gold power reserve indicator against the red dial looks to be a particularly excellent touch, as well.
The Grand Seiko SBGA489 and SBGA491 are priced at $5,600 and should be available now while the SBGS493 (which also comes with a Kimono fabric strap) is priced at $6,000 and will be available in September at Grand Seiko boutiques, the online boutique, and Authorized Retailers in the United States.
To learn more, visit Grand Seiko, here.