Grand Seiko’s focus on inclement weather with the updated Snowflake collection has passed, much like a snowstorm itself, to reveal a beautiful dawn over the peak of Mount Hotaka. Which is just a slightly lyrical way of saying that their newest timepiece is the Grand Seiko “Morning Glow of Hotaka Peaks” SBGE305. It’s on the sportier side of Grand Seiko designs (it’s part of the Sport collection) and features a Spring Drive GMT movement in celebration of the Spring Drive’s 25th anniversary.
The case is made from stainless steel and has a diameter of 40.5mm with a thickness of 14.7mm. The slightly rounded shoulders of the lugs makes it look broader and more chunky than it actually is. Especially as there are less facetted edges to highlight the Zaratsu polishing, a finish that typically helps to create the sharp aesthetic seen on models like the 44GS. Sitting atop the steel case is a black 24-hour scale inspired by the dark rock of Mount Hotaka.
Zooming in on the dial, it’s one of Grand Seiko’s more subtle designs, eschewing the use of a striking, nature-inspired, textural pattern in favour of traditional sunray brushing. It still looks good, presented as it is in a rich, earthy red colour inspired by the first rays of sunlight in the morning over the horizon. Around the periphery of the dial, on the flange, is a second 24-hour scale split into day/night sections in red or white, allowing the watch to display two time zones at the same time when used alongside the white 24-hour GMT hand.
Oddly, both the internal 24-hour scale and external bezel are fixed, meaning they don’t rotate. Conventional logic would dictate that one of them should be able to rotate in order to display a third time zone simultaneously with the others. Instead, we have two scales doing exactly the same job with the only difference being that one features even numerals and the other one odd.
Normally I’m not a fan of Grand Seiko’s dial-side power reserve functions, but here I quite like it, largely because it actually builds on the theme of the watch – sunrise over the mountain peak – rather than being a random feature as can sometimes be the case. It features white, grey and black sections that match the tones of the bezel and hands. An arc of dark rock near the centre of the dial where the sunray brushing emerges… conceptually, you can say that the power reserve is the peak of Hotaka from behind which the sun is cresting and for a watch called the “Morning Glow of Hotaka Peaks” it doesn’t get more thematic than that.
Powering the watch is the same movement as housed in the existing Sport collection GMT watches, the Spring Drive 9R66. It’s a pretty crazy movement with a 72-hour power reserve and an insane accuracy of +/- 1 second per day, which is the same as +/- 15 seconds per month. This is achieved through a unique type of escapement where the mechanical power of the watch is converted into electricity and routed through a quartz crystal for an ultra-high frequency – learn more here.
The Grand Seiko “Morning Glow of Hotaka Peaks” is limited to 1,300 pieces at a price of £5,800. It’s a solid addition to the GS Sport collection lineup and one of the nicer GMTs in my opinion. I particularly like the bezel with its fixed style markings and monocolour design, giving it more of a refined edge compared to the bolder and more colourful day/night versions in the existing range.
Price and Specs:
More details at Grand Seiko Boutique.