Despite being a relative newcomer to their range of otherwise elegant watches, the Grand Seiko Sport Collection has been going from strength to lion-like strength. The big, muscularly-proportioned watches balance specs with style and with their latest 140th anniversary celebration, that now includes a retro bi-colour number, the Spring Drive Chronograph SBGC240.
Mechanically, it shares a lot with previous Grand Seiko Sport Chronographs, with its ultra-precise Spring Drive movement gaining or losing just one second a day and a solid 72-hour power reserve. It has over 400 individual components and if you’ve ever seen one of Seiko’s Shinshu watchmakers at work, is an intense bit of haute horology. With specs like that, Seiko claim it’s the most accurate chronograph in the world and I’m not about to argue with them.
Because the chronograph is an innately sporty complication, the big, 43.8mm stainless steel case is built to match and while the 100m water resistance isn’t perhaps as great as it could be, for a watch that’s meant to stay landlocked it’s more than good enough. So far, so SBGC231 Lion.
What sets off this version however are the flashes of gold. Grand Seiko could have undoubtedly done the entire thing in gold, but instead went for the high-contrast look. That means a gold version of the Sport’s signature dodecagonal bezel but with a black ceramic tachymeter. Gold indexes, indicators and hands on a stark black background and even gold pump chronograph pushers and oversized crown.
Honestly, I’d have preferred they went full bi-colour and gone for a silver dial instead for a bit more nuance, but if you’re going to be aesthetically hit over the head at least it’s by something with serious watchmaking chops behind it. The limited edition is certainly more eye-catching than I’m used to from Grand Seiko and for that alone I kind of love it.
At 500 pieces worldwide, it’s not the most limited edition out there – especially given not all that many Spring Drives are made each year – if this and Grand Seiko’s other bejewelled limited edition are anything to go by, the Japanese haute horologist is coming out of their shell a little. It’s about time.
Price & Specs:
Model: Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 140th Anniversary Limited Edition
Case/Dial: 43.8mm diameter x 16.1mm height, stainless steel, Zirconia ceramic and 18K yellow gold bezel
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Calibre 9R86, automatic, 50 jewels
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Power Reserve: 72h (3 days)
Functions: Hours minutes, sub-seconds, 12-hour chronograph, central chronograph seconds, date, GMT hand
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with an additional crocodile strap
Price/Availability: £17,300, limited to 500 pieces
More details at Grand Seiko.