While I’m unashamed to say that I’m a fan of Grand Seiko’s Birch texture watches, after the White Birch, Green Birch and Night Birch it’s a relief to have a different timepiece from the Japanese maestros on my desk. Specifically, the Spring Drive 44GS SBGY009 ‘Tsuki Tenshin’, aka ‘High Moon’.
Strapping the watch on, my eyes are immediately drawn to the dial, which is a fair bit darker than I was expecting. It’s a navy blue number that looks almost black without decent lighting and has a delicate sun ray texture of grooves running outward from the centre of the dial. Or perhaps ‘moon ray’ texture might be a more accurate description as it’s designed to represent to diffused light of the moon in the night sky, hence the name Tsuki Tenshin/High Moon. However, similar to the blue tone, the texture is really only noticeable when you go looking for it in direct light.
It makes for a subtle, understated dial with enough character to intrigue without drawing unwanted attention from across the room. What might draw attention though is the case, which follows the Heritage-inspired 44GS design that Grand Seiko have been celebrating the anniversary of all year. Here it has a 40mm diameter is stainless steel with Zaratsu polishing, which provides a striking mirror-like finish that works incredibly on its facetted angles.
On the wrist it’s nice and sleek but at the same time it isn’t too light, hitting the sweet spot. The crocodile leather strap is both comfortable and easy to wear thanks to its clasp-buckle combination. Although I’m now unbuckling it to get a look at the rear of the piece.
Through the sapphire exhibition caseback you can see the Grand Seiko 9R31 Spring Drive movement. It’s a manual calibre, meaning there’s no rotor obstructing your view, and it has an impressive 72-hour power reserve that you can monitor via the rear mounted power reserve indicator. More impressive still is its accuracy of +1/-1 second per day, averaging out to +15/-15 seconds per month. The 28 years of Spring Drive development that it took to get here were definitely worth it.
Tsuki Tenshin Spring Drive 44GS SBGY009 is limited to 1,500 pieces worldwide. It’s priced at £6,900 solidly in the midrange of GS prices, which makes sense because it’s not as dramatic as the White Birch Spring Drive at £8,100 but it also has more interesting design than Spring Drive models like the SBGA467 at £4,150.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Grand Seiko Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition SBGY009
- Ref: SBGY009
- Case/dial: 40mm diameter (46.2mm lug-to-lug) x 10.5mm thickness, stainless steel case, ‘Limited Edition’ and serial number on the caseback
- Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
- Movement: In-house calibre 9R31, manual winding, spring drive, ±15 seconds per month(±1 second per day), 30 jewels
- Frequency: 32,768 Hz
- Power reserve: 72h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve
- Strap: Crocodile leather
- Price/availability: £6,900, limited to 1,500 pieces