2012 commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the 1st Grand Seiko to posses a fourth hand, displaying GMT time. To honor this achievement, Seiko has released 2 Limited Editions. One, SBGM031 to pay tribute to SBGM003 (leather strap) and another SBGM029 to honor SBGM001 (bracelet). Today, Arizona Fine Time has received the 1st small allotment of the new SBGM029, and much earlier than anticipated.
Arrival for these exquisite time pieces was originally planned for October. Luckily, production was completed early and AZ Fine Time was one of the 1st to receive them in the US. I am very happy to share this commemorative piece for the 1st time with pictures of it in the metal.
The design of the SBGM029 replicates the SBGM001 (the 1st GS GMT), with a few new changes. The dial is a gorgeous deep blue with gold GMT hand, boasting the official Grand Seiko colors. This is the 1st time a Grand Seiko mechanical GMT has ever been exhibited with a blue dial.
The blue dial is incredibly executed, with a pretty vast range of hue. In bright lit settings, the dial is obviously a rich royal blue. Take it to a slightly darker room and it deepens to a navy blue. In a fairly dark setting, the dial looks black. The nice part of the dial, is that you can get the range of all three shades, depending on the angle you look at the watch. As you will see in some of the pictures, the dial almost appears to be a gradient from certain angles. Seiko has done a tremendous job (as they usually do) making the dial more than it appears.
The gold GMT hand has perfect contrast and compliments the blue perfectly. Legibility is a key element to Grand Seiko and this watch lives true to the tale. The combination of brushed and Zaratsu polished hands and markers only add to the legibility. Even in dark settings, the non-luminescent timepiece will be legible. The polished aspects reflect the most minimal amounts of light giving near an outline of the hands and indexes. The more broad brushed attributes show contrast over the dark dial, so the hands and indexes do not reflect more of the night sky. If the hands were fully polished and reflecting the dark, the hands would show no contrast to the dial and make it near impossible to read.
One of my favorite parts on this piece (as well as on any Grand Seiko) is the movement. Seiko has taken the impressive 9S66 movement with 35 jewels, Spron 610 hairspring (for supreme durability and elasticity), and Spron 510 mainspring (for 72 hr power reserve as well as supreme durability and elasticity) and added something special to this commemorative Limited Edition. The oscillating weight of the SBGM029 takes up near the entire case back is made of titanium, making the watch more resistant to corrosion and shock. The titanium can actually absorb 10 times the shock of the more commonly used brass, which will help in the prevention of movement damage if the piece is dropped. Because the rotor is so lightweight and so large, one side is weighted with tungsten to ensure the rotor moves effortlessly.
The case and bracelet are the exact duplicate as the SBGM001. Because Grand Seiko has only been available in the US only 2 years, I never had the opportunity to see the original SBGM001. Now, after seeing the SBGM029 in person, I know why there was so much admiration for the 001. It is a beautifully constructed design. The 39.2mm case is a perfect size and shape, curving nicely to the wrist. The engraved bezel looks spectacular. Very detailed and precise. The bracelet fits very comfortably and is built solid. I like that the bracelet is mostly brushed, which will help hide signs of wear.
Overall, the SBGM029 is a truly gorgeous and collectible timepiece. Only 700 were made and will surely sell out fast. This is a piece that I would love to add to my collection, and I’m sure many others out there would agree. Retail on this piece is $6,700 .
I hope you enjoyed the read and pictures. Please stay tuned for the delivery of SBGM031 at the end of August.