Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

For our second installment of reviews on the Grand Seiko 18 gold Snowflakes, we introduce the yellow gold variation, SBGA090.  As I mentioned in yesterdays review of the white gold SBGA089, this piece is a limited production model that pays tribute to one of the best selling styles of Grand Seiko, the SBGA011.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

The dial for the SBGA090 is just like the dial found on SBGA011, replicating the snowfall in Suwa, where Seiko manufactures their Spring Drive movements.  This 18k yellow gold model adds yellow gold to the hands and indexes, as well as the SEIKO and GS logo, and the 72 hour power reserve indicator.  The hands and indexes are diamond cut at multiple angles, brought to razor sharp edges and finished in the Zaratsu katana blade polishing technique making light reflect at every angle.  These little glimmers of light make for easy legibility in low light settings.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

The case width is only 39mm (which is slightly smaller than the SBGA011 at 41mm).  The case is also finished in the blade polishing technique, which is only entrusted in a small amount of craftsmen.  This hand applied finish is done by pressing the case gently against a rotating tin plate over and over again at specific angles until the case has reached its mirror like finish.  It takes tremendous experience and skill to achieve this distortion free finish.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

In our previous review of the white gold we discussed Yoshikazu Akahane and the near 30 years it took him to develope Seiko’s Spring Drive movement.  Today, the discussion lies more in how it actually works.  First, Spring Drive is solely powered by the mainspring, as with any other mechanical watch.  The power from the mainspring (Seiko’s proprietary alloy Spron 510), drives not only the movement of the hands, but also a very small amount is used to propel a magnetic rotor.  This provides the electricity to power what Seiko calls a Tri-Synchro Regulator.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

The Tri-Synchro Regulator replaces the traditional escapement found in mechanical watches.  Instead of the balance wheel bouncing back and forth on a sensitive hairspring, Seiko has a glide wheel that rotates in one direction.  This is what allows the unbelievably smooth gliding motion of Spring Drives second hand as well as relieving tremendous stress on the movement.  The electricity from the magnetic rotor powers an integrated circuit and high quality quartz crystal.  The frequency from the crystal is transferred through the IC tells an electromagnetic brake to allow the glide wheel 8 rotations per second.  This is what allows for the quartz like precision in a mechanically powered watch.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

For the 18k Special Edition Snowflakes, the quartz crystal utilized is very unique.  After extensive testing and aging, only a small amount of crystals are qualified to go into the special 9R15 movement utilized.  These crystals give the 9R15 an astonishing +/- 10 second a month accuracy rating.  This is symbolized in the 18k gold medallion on the rotor.  Spring Drive already has the highest accuracy rating for a spring powered watch, and apparently, only Seiko can out do themselves.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

Only one of each color (white, yellow and pink gold) came to the US market, and are exclusively sold at AZFT.  The SBGA090 is $18,000 MSRP.  If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-486-3996 or submit an inquiry through AZFineTime.com.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special 18k Yellow Gold SBGA090

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See our video review below…

 

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Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA011 And New SBGA089, SBGA090, SBGA092

Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA011

I write this article today for two reasons… 1. The Snowflake has been the No. 1 selling Grand Seiko out of the entire line up.  I have been privileged enough to own this piece now for a year and a half, and wanted to share my personal experience with this amazing timepiece. 2. I want to introduce a new very special Snowflake that will be coming exclusively to AZ Fine Time in the USA.

Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA011

With the Snowflake being a part of my collection for sometime now, I feel it is only appropriate to sing it the praise it deserves.  This piece has become my everyday wear, and I almost never remove it from my wrist.  It has been through thick and thin (and sometimes I feel I abuse it), but still manages to be by far my favorite piece I own with no exceptions.  I currently own 19 watches, most have not seen my wrist in a long time.  There is nothing but pride when I wear my Snowflake, and for many good reasons.

Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA011

We were 1st introduced to the Snowflake during our 1st Grand Seiko Roadshow back in 2010.  At the time, we had only seen pictures of the model and never had the watch hands on.  Master watchmaker from Shinshu Watch Studio, Junya Kamijo, was in store building a Grand Seiko Diver.  We noticed on his wrist the pure white dial and asked him to show off the beautiful timepiece.  He did not speak very much english, so he had another gentleman from Japan (Kosuke “Reggie” Kiryu) explain how the piece had acquired the nickname “Snowflake” at the factory.  The watches inspiration was, in fact, the winters of the Suwa Nagano region of Japan (where Shinshu watch studio was located).  The dial resembled the snow fall in Suwa.  Since it is in central Japan, with less humidity, the snowfall is light and airy and leaves snowdrift patterns as also seen in the alps surrounding.  The titanium case is to make it as light as a snowflake, and blue second hand and text is to give it the cold feel.  There was much pride in this piece and since one of the top Spring Drive watchmakers considered it his favorite, it was hard for the rest of us not to.  Ever since then, I had been drawn to this piece and decided it was a must to have in my collection.  Apparently, I was not the only one.

Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA011

In my experience, my Snowflake has managed to maintain only gaining 1 second every seven weeks or so.  It has been this way since I purchased it well over a year ago.  There has been no change in its 72 hour power reserve, still maintaining perfectly.  The most incredible part as that there has been no love lost since I first purchased the piece.  I still find myself staring at its mesmerizing gliding of the second hand, as well as the beauty of the dial and finish on the case and bracelet.  The “honeymoon period” of this watch has not gone away, nor do I think it will.

Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA011

As a brief overview of the watch itself, it is a 41mm proprietary Seiko alloy of titanium, that is not only lightweight, but also has an incredible finish allowed by this alloy.  The Zaratsu katana blade polishing technique is incredibly impressive and comes to a mirror finish.  It is highly unusual to see titanium in this quality of finish. The 9R65 Spring Drive movement utilized is truly unique and extremely high quality.  The uni-directional flow of Spring Drive is something incredibly unique, and something no one else in the industry has achieved.  At its new MSRP of only $6,300, it is truly an amazing value.

Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA011

Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA011

With the popularity of the Snowflake SBGA011, a new, very special Snowflake has emerged.  The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake Special has officially been announced, and will be delivering exclusively to Arizona Fine Time in the US towards the end of August.

Grand Seiko Snowflake Special 18kt Gold, - SBGA089, SBGA090, SBGA092

Grand Seiko Snowflake Special 18kt Gold – SBGA089, SBGA090, SBGA092

Only one each of the SBGA089 18kt White Gold, SBGA090 18kt Yellow Gold, and SBGA092 18kt Rose Gold will be coming stateside, and AZFT is extremely proud to have all 3 exclusive.  These new 39mm case with black leather straps will have a very special attribute never before seen in the US market.  The Spring Drive 9R15 movement is an even higher accuracy rating than typical Spring Drive at only +/- 10 seconds a month deviation.  The quartz crystals utilized in the Tri-Synchro Regulator have been specially aged, tested and hand picked to ensure the highest quality.  Since there are very few of these crystals available, this model will be extremely limited availability.  To show the uniqueness of this piece, Seiko has an 18kt gold GS medallion on the rotor of the 9R15, which will be visible through the exhibition case back.

If you are interested in reserving one of the 18kt Snowflakes, highly recommend acting fast.  Due to the recent price decrease, these will be the least expensive 18kt gold pieces to ever hit the US market.  Please feel free to call us at 1-800-486-3996 with any questions or check out AZ Fine Time to see more.

Thanks for reading!

See our video review below…

See more pictures below…