Seiko’s Galante brand was sold in Japan for nearly 8 years before it made its first presence in the US market. Introduced in 2005, the Galante series focuses on bold and unique designs, that cater to the fashionable and the “more then egoist” crowd, who still appreciate outstanding craftsmanship and mechanics. AZ Fine Time became the 1st authorized dealer for Galante in the states last year, with our first piece being the SBLL021, the FC Barcelona Limited Edition. Earlier this year, we saw our first Spring Drive GMT variation in the SBLA079, or the Blue Rose Limited Edition. Today, we are proud to bring you the first Spring Drive Chronograph model the SBLA081, otherwise known as the Snow Leopard Limited Edition.
As stated in the name, the watches inspiration comes from the illusive snow leopard, not only in color of the design, but also in elegance and intelligence. The motif of white is expressed throughout the watch including the strap and dial, which represents the cool, calm and distant nature of the snow leopard. Black accents are found for the roman numerals 6-12 and every the even numbers on the 24 hour chapter ring for the GMT feature. There are also 2 shades of grey accents, the darker acting as guidance lines from the polished GMT hand to the 24 hour counter as well as the sub dials, and the lighter shade used for the unusual font of the even numbers on the 24 hour counter. The roman numerals from 1-5 are white resting atop a vibrant mother of pearl layer expressing unique beauty, symbolic of the snow leopard. The dial itself uses a radial finish in the center, while the rest of the portion with the black roman numerals has a very subtle granite texture to it. The center seconds for the chrono is also unique, with more granite texturing to is silvery hand, creating a semi-sparkly effect. As you will find on many Galante models, the dual sided continuous second hand at 9:00 is curved, as well the indexes the hands are gliding over.
There are 4 diamonds making up the 8:00 marker. These diamonds are in reference to the snow leopards intelligence, symbolizing 8 multiple intelligences. The theory of multiple intelligences suggests that all people have different types of intelligence and breaks it down into eight categories. These eight categories are bodily/kinesthetic (meaning physically coordinated or learning well through physical activity), musical (for the musically inclined), mathematical/logical (meaning good with numbers), verbal/linguistic (for those good with reading, writing, speaking, etc.), spacial/visual (for those who are good at creating mental images to execute a plan), interpersonal (knowing how to work well with other people), intrapersonal (for those who know and can control their own emotions and thoughts), and naturalist (or knowing nature such as plants, animals, etc). The significance of the diamonds implies that the one to wear this Galante possesses multiple intelligence’s
The case size is large at 44.4mm wide and 18.8mm thick. The cases design is the signature of the Galante brand, using four “pillars” (one at each of the cases lugs) in part of its assembly. The screws at the top of each pillar are what hold the case together, aside from giving it the unique design element. Throughout the series of Galante, you will find variations of case sides, mostly faceted and very distinct. The SBLA081 features what they call a “Coin Edge V Cut”. This extravagant layout has rounded edges giving a similar appearance to what would be a coin edge (like you might typically see on a bezel), but in a much larger scale. The “V cut” aspect is between each rounded edge, giving it the shape as described, a v cut facet between each groove. What adds compliment to this elaborate case design is the Zaratsu finish, giving it a mirror finish throughout the entire piece that can only be achieved by hand. Only a handful of craftsman are capable of accomplishing this technique.
The movement used in the Galante Snow Leopard is Seiko’s in house manufactured 5R86 Spring Drive caliber. As we all know, Spring Drive has become coveted by collectors, proving its proprietary “hybrid” movement to be not only the worlds most accurate caliber driven by a mainspring, but also retains the artistry that collectors long for. The 5R86 features a chronograph with vertical clutch and column wheel for optimal performance, GMT, 72 hour power reserve display, has an impressive 416 components, 50 jewels, and the astounding +/- 15 seconds per month accuracy rating thanks to its Tri-Syncro Regulator mechanism that replaces the traditional escapement with a quartz frequency regulated glide wheel that rotates only 8 times per second because of an electromagnet relaying the information from the quartz crystal. This ingenious feat in watch mechanics not only is extremely precise and consistent, but is also built by hand. Very few craftsmen in Seiko Epson’s Shinshu Watch Studio are capable of assembling these movements. Another note you may have already noticed is that the 5R86 movement found in Galante is not the same finish as other 5R86 movements. Galante has a unique gunmetal colored and striped rotor, with a unique ribbed pattern on the top main plate of the movement.
The rare Seiko Galante Spring Drive Chronograph Snow Leopard Limited Edition is limited to only 100 pieces for the world. These include a grey rubber strap with tang buckle as an option. The white strap it comes on includes a 3 fold deployment buckle, and as another option, AZFT will also include a black leather strap with deployment buckle to give another totally new look to this timepiece. The MSRP on this model is $9,800 and is extremely limited in the states.
Thanks for reading! Please see our video review below…
See more pictures below…