Grand Seiko SBGY002 – Worth $25K?

Grand Seiko Spring Drive

Grand Seiko Spring Drive

If you’ve got 25 large burning a hole in your wallet, the Grand Seiko SBGY002 is within your budget. Not so the Holy Grail watches (e.g., the Patek Philippe Nautilus). Then again, all the high horology brands have a timepiece within that 25 large budget (e.g., the Vacheron Constantin Overseas). So why in the world would you spend that kind of cash on a Grand Seiko SBGY002?

The SBGY002 has Spring DriveĀ 

Others have tried, but none have succeeded. Only Seiko offers timepieces powered by a combination of kinetic cool, mechanical moxie and quartz reliability. The Spring Drive movement is an engineering marvel, a profound innovation in the history of watchmaking.

Spring Drive Seikos are damn accurate. But then, so is an Apple Watch. More importantly, a Spring Drive second hand doesn’t tick. The Grand Seiko SBGY002’s second hand is the only second hand that sweeps in a single, smooth, uninterrupted arc. Now that, watch lovers, is the shit. It’s a fundamentally different way of viewing time. A source of constant joy.

Yes, but, there are much cheaper Spring Drive Seikos. So . . .

The SBGY002 doesn’t have a power reserve indicator or a date window

Good lord, what was Seiko thinking when they added a power reserve indicator to the vast majority of its Spring Drive Grand Seikos? Utility? Puh-lease. Date windows? Don’t get me started.

I don’t care where Seiko puts the power reserve indictor on the watch face or the mind-blowing precision of it execution, operation or manufacture. It’s a needless affectation. I don’t care how much the market demands a date window. They’re the horological equivalent of lipstick on a pig.

Yes, but, the limited edition Grand Seiko SBGY003 doesn’t have a power reserve indicator or a date window and its “only” $7600. So . . .

The SBGY002 has the snowflake dial

Gtrand Seiko SNowflake

The snowflake dial is an insanely artistic achievement. A surface that evokes (without imitating) the snow-capped mountains outside Grand Seiko’s Japanese workshop. The unique texture catches the light in so many different ways; it’s a source of endless satisfaction and delight.

In short . . .

The SBGY002 is the only Spring Drive Grand Seiko with the snowflake dial that doesn’t have the power reserve indicator or a date window.

But it is NOT perfect. It’s made of gold. The holiest of Holy Grails would be a Spring Drive Grand Seiko with a snowflake dial in steel.

If they build it, it will sell. Especially if it costs less than $25k. Which it should for lots of reasons, some of them personal.


  1. Excellent article. It reminds me of, well, me – in a rant on Watchuseek from nearly 4 years ago:

    This was admittedly before the SBGY003, but with that being a limited edition and apparently no longer available (at least in the US) the only remaining options are the nosebleed-expensive gold and platinum models (oh and the Credors). I wonder if these models come with a free tourniquet for the nosebleeds.

    I would love a SBGA211 without the date window. I could take or leave the power display; I don’t love it, but at least it doesn’t lazily destroy one of the indices. Christ, leave them both out and CHARGE ME THE SAME AMOUNT! They’d make even more profit!

    But I’m not holding my breath. Just more evidence that you have to pay more… for less.

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