Arizona Fine Time is extremely proud to bring you a hands on review of a Grand Seiko that, while it has been out for a number of years, has never before been seen in the US market. One of the finest utilitarian movements in the Grand Seiko line up is their 9R86 Spring Drive Chronograph GMT, with 416 components, 50 jewels and a power reserve of 72 hours, including standard use of the chronograph feature and using only one barrel. Take this incredible caliber, and house it inside an immaculately mirror finished, 43.5mm 18k pink gold case. We now introduce you to the incredibly rare and luxurious, SBGC004.
To conclude our series of reviews on the Grand Seiko Snowflake Special Editions in 18k gold, we today introduce the pink gold variation SBGA092. As there were only one of each shade (white, yellow and pink) for the US market, these highly anticipated and beautifully crafted timepieces are truly collectible and in very limited supply.
The rarity of this model is something that any collector can appreciate, but the craftsmanship itself is enough to grab the attention of most avid watch connoisseur. The level of finish is something that can easily be admired with the distortion free and high sparkle thanks to the katana blade finishing technique. While its 39mm 18k pink gold case has this tremendous finish, the hands and indexes also partake in the same type of finishing, with diamond cut edges catching the smallest glimmer of light and reflecting, which adds to its legibility. Its classic and simplistic design is complimented by a clean white dial that has far more detail than one can see from a distance.
The “Snowflake” dial is made to mimic the resting snow in the city of Suwa, in the Nagano prefecture of Japan, during their winter. The 6 step process of manufacturing the Snowflake dial consists of patterning by a press, cutting, applying a silver plating and thin clear coating, then applying a thick clear coating, polishing, and then printing and applying the indexes. This tribute to Suwa’s winters has sentimental value to the employees of Seiko’s Shinshu watch studio, as we learned at our 1st Grand Seiko Roadshow in 2010. Master Spring Drive watchmaker, Junya Kamijo, wore the SBGA011 titanium snowflake with great pride and was the 1st to share this beautiful watch hands on with our store. Today, the SBGA011 is one of the best selling models of Grand Seiko, and the 18k versions pay tribute to its success.
Precious metals are not the only attribute of the 18k Special Editions that make these models so unique. The use of Seiko’s 9R15 caliber is something very uncommon throughout the entire Grand Seiko series, as it is only used in the most special Spring Drive models. Seiko literally manufactures every part and component for this movement (as they do with all Grand Seiko’s), but one of the more unusual items they produce in house is their high-grade quartz crystals. With the 9R15, the in-house grown quartz crystal selected keeps an even higher rate of precision than your typical Spring Drive. On the 9R65 (standard GS Spring Drive movement), the accuracy rating of these are +/- 15 seconds a month (equivalent to 1 second a day), but always out performs this rating tremendously. The 9R15 succeeds the 9R65 with a monthly deviation rating of +/- 10 seconds, which makes it even more accurate than the most accurate mainspring powered watch in the world!
At an MSRP of $19,000, it is not inexpensive. In comparison to other brands in the high-end watch world, however, it is incredibly reasonable for an 18k gold cased timepiece. It’s over the top accuracy and very limited availability make this piece well worth every penny and still proves to be an excellent value as compared to competitors.
See our video review below…
With the celebration of some of the world’s finest timepieces coming here to AZ Fine Time, we would now like to formally announce the return of the GRAND SEIKO ROADSHOW!
On Friday, December 13th 2013, Arizona Fine Time will once again be hosting the Grand Seiko Roadshow here in our store. If you haven’t heard or seen the GS Roadshow in the past, we will have a master Grand Seiko watchmaker here actually building one of their prestigious mechanical watch movements. There will be more staff from Seiko (both US and Japan) and if you would like to purchase a GS watch during the event, you can have the watchmaker, and/or others, from the event autograph the box for your watch. For our customers who cannot attend, we do offer pre-orders to be held for the event so you can obtain an autograph from one of the most skilled craftsmen in the industry. It is always best to call ahead to make sure we will have the watch in stock for the event as they are still small production items. We’ll also have live feed of the event, pictures and other videos to help make you feel as if you were there for the event (if you cannot attend). One thing I know for sure is that this is the BIGGEST event we have all year, and it is well worth attending! We will have free food, drinks, and cigars by Diamond Crown, should you choose to indulge. If you plan to fly in for the event, we are more than happy to help in making your arrangements (finding a close hotel, places to eat, etc), so please call us at 1-800-486-3996 with any questions. See below for our details…
AZ Fine Time
7830 E Gelding Dr Suite 100
Scottsdale AZ 85260
Friday, December 13th 2013 from 3-7pm.
Thanks for reading!
See all the pictures below…