Seiko‘s history with dive watches dates back to 1965, when they produced Japan’s 1st dive watch. Back then, diving was a relatively unusual sport that not many people partook in. Since then, the evolution of sport diving and the evolution of Seiko’s dive watches have come to full speed. The reputation Seiko has for a great dive watch is hard to surpass, and today, the new evolution of luxury and sport has come into one beautiful new limited edition. The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver Limited Edition SBGA071.
Originally announced as a limited edition of 150 at the Basel Fair March 2012, the piece has been highly anticipated and adored by customers. So much in fact, due to the high demand, the initial quantity produced has been adjusted to 200 pieces for the world, coincidentally matching the pieces water resistance.
The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Diver SBGA071 is stainless steel case and bracelet, using Seiko’s impeccable Zaratsu (Katana Blade) polishing technique. The mirror quality finish can be found on the case sides as well as middle links of the bracelet. The case is 44.2mm wide, 14mm thick and has a solid case back engraved with with the watches 1-200 serial number. The crown is fairly large, and makes for very easy smooth setting, but is also guarded by a crown protector in case of any potential damage that can occur in diving. Should the crown be opened, there will be a red stripe exposed to help prevent you from jumping in the water before screwing down the crown.
The bracelet on this piece is quite special. Not only does it have a unbelievable finish, but also has an elaborate expansion clasp for going over a wet suit. The ratcheting expansion is extended by pushing back on the locking mechanism of the clasp and pulling on the side of the bracelet where it extends out. When pushed back, you can extend the clasp to the desired position and it will lock in place when released, which makes for a quick and easy adjustment. On top of that, there are micro adjustments on the clasp to add even more comfort.
The movement utilized is Seiko’s in-house manufactured and developed 9R65 Spring Drive caliber. There is much to be said about Spring Drive, all being great. For such a utility watch, only the finest movement is worthy of being inside of the timepiece. Spring Drive’s immaculate accuracy, durability, and 74 hour power reserve are the perfect fit for this diver. The gliding motion is mesmerizing, not to mention incredibly accurate. Rated at +/- 1 sec a day, the performance is most likely to fall within a 1-3 sec a month deviation, judging by customer feedback and personal experience.
The lume on this piece is very powerful. Helpful in the darkest of settings and made to last long throughout the night (or in really dark waters). The proprietary Lumi Brite luminescence is the same utilized in the highly acclaimed Seiko Space Walk. This is some of the brightest natural lume you can find in the watch world.
So what really sets this apart from it’s counterpart (SBGA029) is its beautiful blue dial. The blue ranges in shade from a very dark navy blue to a lighter royal blue, depending on the lighting. Its color has more of a glossy finish compared to the prototype we saw in Basel, which ended up giving the piece even more gorgeous look than expected. This along with the black hard coated uni-directional bezel adds a nice contrast and subtlety. Some other nice attributes are the gold colored “GS” and “Seiko” logo on the dial. There is also a matching gold second hand, that has a tail end in a sky blue color with a lumed dot, making it easy to read the seconds in the dark.
Retailing for $8,000, it is not inexpensive, but well worth every penny. Grand Seiko lives up to the Seiko slogan “Dedicated to Perfection” in every way imaginable. Perfection is something that is unattainable in most eyes, but when it comes to Grand Seiko, it is difficult to find imperfection.
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