What We Know
Not all press releases hit the same, due to the fact that so many of them are the same. This morning, Grand Seiko announced a brand new anniversary edition of the 44GS with a light blue dial inspired by the sea of clouds commonly seen in Shinshu. And honestly, they had me at “blue cloud dial,” but I’m happy to elaborate beyond that one element … if I must.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the GS44 and the aesthetic it established for Grand Seiko back in 1967. As part of a continuing anniversary collection, this new model is the Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition. Or, as most of us will now call it, the SBGP017. It’s a quartz model with a 40mm case that is 10.7 mm thick and comes with a matching steel bracelet. That jaw-dropping cloud-texture dial is meant to remind one of the clouds that form in the Shinshu region that is home to Grand Seiko’s quartz movements.
The movement, by the way, does not have its head in the clouds. It’s a very accurate 9F85 caliber using specialized quartz crystals that allow the movement to run at +5/-5 seconds/year. Think about that, a non-leap year has 31,536,000 seconds and this movement is good for almost all of them. On top of the insane accuracy, the 9f85 (which can be seen through a display caseback) also features “time difference adjustment,” where the hour hand can be jump set for a new time zone without needing to stop the seconds hand (and thus lose any of that precious accuracy). The date change is instant and the movement even features a special mechanism that removes any shudder in the seconds hand as it ticks. I get that most quartz is boring, but this? 9F movements are anything but.
The SBGP017 is limited to 2,000 pieces, each carrying a retail price of $3,800. Between the dial, the accuracy of the movement, and the ingenious hour jumping, it’s a do-it-all GS that is also drop-dead gorgeous.
What We Think
In case you can’t tell from the above text, I really like the various special elements of the SBGP017 and the way they all come together. Though I sometimes feel a bit cold about Grand Seikos and their many LEs, this dial is so pretty and the movement is such an over-achiever, it’s hard not to see a special appeal in the SBGP017. Also, it has drilled lugs. Just imagine the myriad strap options one could find to suit the dial.
I also love that it’s a successful mix of the 44GS distinctive sporty-meets-elegant design language that neatly treads the line between dressy and everyday versatility. While the movement and its features are not brand-new, when you add in the effect of that dial, the appeal supports the technical side with what I think is a very successful aesthetic offering.
Brand: Grand Seiko
Model: Heritage Collection 44GS 55th Anniversary Limited Edition
Reference Number: SBGP017
Case Material: Steel
Dial Color: Light blue
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Steel bracelet
Caliber: 9F85 Quartz
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Chronometer Certified: No, but runs to +5/-5 seconds a year, so ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Additional Details: Movement features GS’s “Time Adjustment Feature” so the hour hand can be jumped without stopping the seconds hand, allowing you to change time zones without affecting the accuracy of the seconds hand.
Pricing & Availability
Limited Edition: Yes, 2000 pieces.
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HODINKEE is an authorized retailer for Grand Seiko. For more information about Grand Seiko SBGP017, click here.