New Releases Watches

Grand Seiko Launch Elegance Collection SBGW301 and SBGW305 to End 2023 in Classy Style

Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW301 SBGW305

Grand Seiko has had an impressive release slate this year, ranging from the award-winning Majestic White Birch to the stunning Yuka-Momiji and their first hi-beat chronograph, the Tentagraph. One thing all these watches have in common (and indeed something the vast majority of Grand Seikos have in common) are their richly textured dials. However, for the end of the year they’re revisiting one of their most pared back designs with the launch of the new Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW301 and SBGW305.

Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW30

Both watches are based on the SBGW001 from 2001 and the subsequent SBGW231 from 2017, with some key quality of life improvements. Specifically, the cases and sapphire crystals have been redesigned to improve their serviceability, increasing the lifespan of the watches and generally making maintenance easier. However, the style and appearance of the cases remain largely the same. They’re made from stainless steel with Zaratsu polishing and a svelte diameter of 37.7mm and a thickness of 11.7mm, topped with a retro style box crystal.

Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW301

Where the SBGW301 and SBGW305 differ are the dials. SBGW301 is the more traditional of the two with an ivory coloured dial that is incredibly smooth. To me, seeing a flat Grand Seiko dial with only the barest hint of a sunray brushed finish feels a little uncanny, like it’s missing a piece of its core identity. But in its extreme smoothness, it almost has a textural impact all of its own and on a technical level it’s been executed wonderfully. It has classy, faceted hour markers and diamond cut hands that pair beautifully with the refined simplicity of it all. Plus, Grand Seiko and Seiko do actually have a tradition of smooth dials if you look at pieces like the original Laurel and a minority of other watches in the Elegance collection.

Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW305
Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW305

SBGW305 is broadly similar in overall design and style but instead of a creamy ivory colour it’s silver-white. A little bit colder and a little bit purer. It also makes the watch feel more contemporary and new while the SBGW301 kind of has the feel of a vintage piece that’s slightly faded or tropical. Not that you’d really notice that unless you had them side by side. A further difference between the watches is the fact the SBGW301 is presented on a leather strap while the SBGW305 is on a five-link steel bracelet.

Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW305

Beneath the surface, both watches house the calibre 9S64 manual movement.. It’s a really solid movement with a weekend proof 72-hour power reserve and an accuracy of +5/-3 seconds per day. It also looks great through the exhibition caseback, where the finishing is just as quietly refined as the dial with a three-quarters plate and striped finish.

Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW301 SBGW305
Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW301

I really like the Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW301 and SBGW305. They’re not the most visually striking Grand Seiko watches out there, not by a long shot, but they have a quiet sincerity to them that comes from the receiving the same level of attention and craftsmanship as their more extravagant and intricate designs. As for pricing, the SBGW301 £4,400 while the SBGW305 is a bit more at £5,000 due to the full metal bracelet.

Price and Specs:

Model: Grand Seiko Elegance Collection
Ref: SBGW301 (ivory dial, strap), SBGW305 (silver dial, bracelet)
Case: 37.3mm diameter x 11.7mm thickness, stainless steel
Dial: Silver or ivory
Water resistance: Splash only
Movement: Grand Seiko calibre 9S64, manual winding, 24 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 72h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet crocodile leather
Price: £5,500 (silver dial, bracelet) and £4,400 (ivory dial, strap)

More details at Grand Seiko Boutique.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.