Back in the day, my CNN cameraman and I were blasting down the autobahn at 130 mph. Doing more than twice my home country’s federally mandated double nickel, I missed our exit. We arrived at Porsche HQ fifteen minutes late. The CEO glared at us as if we’d totalled our 911 loaner. “Nice watch,” I said, nodding at his Porsche Design Sportivo Chrono. “Ja,” he replied pointedly. “Very accurate.” Not as accurate as the Grand Seiko Anniversary quartz . . .
For the record, I’m not German. I don’t consider tardiness a personal insult or a character flaw – especially if the person in question misses an exit ramp at 130 mph in an air-cooled Porsche Carrera. But I understand the deep desire for the kind of accuracy produced by the Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary limited edition quartz watch.
A watch that’s accurate to ±5 seconds a year helps you make successful life choices.
Knowing when Floor is Lava starts is an accomplishment in itself. Knowing when to start the microwave so the popcorn’s ready in time to bring beer and bowl to bear on the couch surfing adventure? That take serious timing.
Sure, Einstein totally blew that whole “time is a constant” thing out of the water. But there’s no denying the GS SBGP007 takes the concept of a “reliable wristwatch” to another level.
Well, it would have raised the accuracy bar if Citizen and Seiko hadn’t invented watches that automatically grab a reference time from satellites pinging the atomic clock. Before cell phones. Before smartwatches synced to cell phones. And smartwatches communicating with cell towers.
So really, the GS’s independent accuracy is only a marvel for technologically backwards anal retentive watch nerds.
Guilty as charged.
The big news here: you can adjust the Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary’s hour hand OMEGA style, without interfering with the progress of the minute and seconds hands. Another pull on the crown and you can adjust the minute hand without messing with the second hand.
As it took me ten attempts to set the Seiko’s 9F85 caliber’s second hand to the exact time, modifying the movement so owners can leave the second hand alone while traveling – or wishing they had a perpetual calendar – was the right move.
Was setting the time to the second worth the effort? Hell yes. OCD impulse satisfied, I could finally focus my attention on the rest of the SBGP007. Which is just as well. There’s a lot of there there – if you look really, really closely. For example . . .
There’s a repeating 2020 pattern embossed onto the 60th Anniversary quartz’s inky blue dial. Unless you shine a very bright light on the dial from a particular angle, you’ll never see it. Once you do, you’re left wondering which spy agency devised the technique.
Proof (if proof be needed) that there’s subtle, and there’s Grand Seiko subtle. Another example?
The indices on the Grand Seiko Anniversary quartz are raised rectangles, high polished along their edges and satin finished on their surface (as are the watch’s sword-shaped hour and minute hands). The indices are designed to glint gently. And never all at the same time.
The fatter indices at the 6, 9 and 12 and the tiny square to the right of the date window are etched with minuscule horizontal striations. These indices are a fraction – and I mean a fraction – more visible than the other markers.
The result: subconscious legibility. Seriously. You don’t see the Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary quartz hands’ position on the dial. You perceive them. Who does that?
The same company that uses a different matte satin finish for the date window frame and places a high-polished three-dimensional gold star above the 6. A company that prints the watch’s caliber and serial number at the bottom of the dial in text so small a 5X jeweler’s loop is barely capable of revealing the data.
Speaking of size, the Grand Seiko Anniversary quartz is a 40mm watch. Its slim high polish bezel makes the dial look larger – but not so big that the face overwhelms the case or removes the watch from female consideration.
According to the GS website, the bezel’s high polish finish matches the Anniversary model’s sharply curved case side “so that more light reflects off it [adding] to the ‘sparkle of quality’ that is an essential part of the Grand Seiko Style.”
Quality “sparkles” works best presented against a sedate backdrop. Hence Seiko satin polishes the rest of the 60th Anniversary’s stainless steel case (with Explorer lugs) and bracelet (with a three-fold clasp).
Except for a barely perceptible high polished “lip” circumnavigating the side links’ outermost edges. Ridiculous.
If there is any bling to this thing, it’s the red second hand and the 18k gold Seiko logo lion looking to high-five someone on the screw-down caseback.
Neither dings the 10.8mm-thin watch’s overall geshutaruto. If I had to describe that vibe in English, I’d say the Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary quartz is a Japanese rock garden made of stainless steel.
Does that make that this quartz watch – or any quartz watch – worth $3800?
If standalone accuracy is your jam, the $1000 Longines Conquest V.H.P. is equally precise and has battery-saving, anti-magnetic and anti-shock sleep modes. If timeless design and better-than-Rolex quality materials, workmanship and assembly float your independent accuracy-seeking boat, the Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary quartz is a Riva on your wrist.
It’s also a limited edition timepiece, restricted to 2500 watches worldwide. If you want one, don’t be late.
Model: Grand Seiko 60 Anniversary quartz (SBGP007)
Case: 40mm × 10.8mm
Material: Stainless steel / 18k yellow gold case back
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective coating on inner surface
Movement: Grand Seiko anti-magnetic quartz caliber 9F85
Accuracy: ±5 seconds per year
Functions: Hour, minute, second, date
Water resistance: 10 bar
Bracelet: Stainless steel, three-fold clasp with push button release
Weight: 5.29 ounces (150g)
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
Minimalist masterpiece with a hint of fugu.
Legibility * * * *
Cleverly realized via a combination of subtle design and surface treatments but it’s not a
Mondaine Ultra Thin Swiss Railways watch.
Comfort * * * * *
Overall * * * * *
Accurate and immaculate.