Grand Seiko encompasses a full spectrum of contemporary watchmaking united by the single, simple principle: that every GS model is the best the company can sustainably make. In mechanicals, quartz and the electro-mechanical hybrid unique to the company that is the Spring Drive, a watch that wears the GS logo is the pinnacle achievement of Seiko’s considerable resources in terms of industrial process, human craftsmanship, corporate resolve and technical ingenuity; in Seiko’s own words, a Grand Seiko is nothing less than “the ultimate practical watch”.

The SBGM235G is part of a flurry of Grand Seiko models that Seiko released to mark the 20th anniversary of its 9S self-winding movement which forms the base upon which mechanical Grand Seiko watches are built, from time-only to complication models. Limited edition watches released thus far to celebrate the 9S include three-hand date models in platinum, gold and steel featuring the cal. 9S85, a high beat variant of the 9S beating at 5hz, and a ladies watch driven by a thinner version of the 9S, the cal. 9S25.

Grand Seiko SBGM235G 9S Mechanical 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (Image © Revolution)
Grand Seiko SBGM235G 9S Mechanical 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (Image © Revolution)

Of these, the SBGM235G arguably scores highest for utility, with the added flourish of the signature anniversary dial, a swirling mosiac radiating from dial centre bearing the letters “G” and “S” for Grand Seiko and a stylised “S” used in the 1960s to brand watches made by Daini Seikosha, known today as Seiko Instruments Inc. Unlike the high-beat (5hz) GMT models elsewhere in the Grand Seiko collection that utilizes the cal. 9S86, the SBGM235G is driven by the cal. 9S66 which runs at 4hz. In return, the SBGM235G benefits from a generous power reserve of some 72 hours, as opposed to the 55 hours of its speedier siblings.

Grand Seiko SBGM235G 9S Mechanical 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (Image © Revolution)
Grand Seiko SBGM235G 9S Mechanical 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (Image © Revolution)

In addition to the GMT being one of the more useful complications in a watch, Seiko’s cal. 9S66 is also very easy to operate: the blued 24-hour hand displays home time prominently on a clutter-free dial, while the hour hand shows local time without fuss, being adjustable in one-hour increments with synchronised date both forward and backwards as one crosses time zones without a care.

Grand Seiko SBGM235G 9S Mechanical 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (Image © Revolution)

Every part of a Grand Seiko is fabricated in-house to the highest precision, borrowing processes from semiconductor manufacturing where necessary, then hand-assembled, and tested for more days and in more positions than COSC to achieve higher standards of precision and reliability than that mandated by the Swiss certifying body. It is also finished to a finer degree than most (in this it is facilitated by a clean aesthetic, enabling crisp lines and mirror-smooth facets all over that would have been more difficult to execute in something more baroque). In other words, the 9S is an achievement worthy of celebration, and the SBGM235G happens to be one of the most daily wear friendly vehicles to trumpet its virtues.

Technical Specifications

Movement

Caliber 9S66, 72 hours Power Reserve, Automatic with manual winding capacity

Case

39.5mm Stainless steel

Strap

Crocodile leather with Three-fold clasp with push button release

Limited edition of 1,000 pieces

Grand Seiko SBGM235G 9S Mechanical 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (Image © Revolution)