Rolex be Damned! Buy A Grand Seiko Quartz


“The most popular Rolex models saw their prices falling 21% since the peak in April,” reports. You know they’re referring to pre-owned Rolex, right? That a pre-owned Rolex costs more than a new Rolex – which you can’t get because they’re sold out? Anyway, why bother? A Grand Seiko quartz is the way to go.

Start with this: Grand Seiko makes better watches than Rolex. Cases, movements and bracelets. What’s more (for less), Grand Seiko Spring Drive and mechanical timepieces haven’t been subject to Rolexian price inflation. Many of GS’s watches (e.g. the not-ghetto-fabulous Omniwatari) sell at a discount, online, from trusted dealers.

I’m talking about new watches.

The quartz-powered Grand Seiko Heritage Collection SBGP005 above lists for $3200. You can buy it box fresh from a Japanese dealer (via for $2079. Or you could tell that to a Grand Seiko dealer and beat them down on price. (Money’s never too tight to mention.)

I know: watch snobs would rather wear an Apple Watch than a quartz timepiece. Big mistake.

First of all, the GS quartz’s case is Zaratsu-polished (by hand) to a mirror-like finish. It’s more fanatically fabricated, more sensuously tactile and more beautifully rendered than anything Rolex manufactures.

In terms of movements, don’t mistake a Grand Seiko for a Seiko. The wristwear in question, the SBGP005, is powered by GS’s 9F85 movement. Like their three other battery-powered engines, it’s a breed apart, right from the git-go.

To ensure longevity and accuracy, Grand Seiko grows their own crystals. After three months gestation, technicians discard the majority. Why? Why wouldn’t they?

The engineers at Grand Seiko . . . test each individual crystal for its response to fluctuations in temperature, and then pair each crystal with an integrated circuit that has been specifically programmed to work with the properties of that crystal.

To ensure that temperature is not affecting timekeeping, the movement samples the ambient temperature 540 times a day, and if any deviation from the oscillation frequency is found, then the difference is immediately adjusted. 

This gets you incredibly accurate and consistent timekeeping, with Grand Seiko rating their 9F calibers to an excellent + or – 10 seconds a year. As a simple point of comparison, your typical run-of-the-mill quartz movement is rated to about 15 seconds a month.

The ignominiously named SBGP005 provides “difference adjustment” (independent hour-hand setting), a Twin Pulse Control Motor (powering the full-size handset and ensuring the second hand hits the indices dead on), shielded construction (against dust during a battery change) and more.

Grand Seiko’s steel watches feel just as luxe on the wrist as any Rolex. Credit GS’s meticulously constructed and perfectly polished bracelets. With push-button clasps that snick home with the satisfyingly silky precision of a Mercedes S-Class car door, GS’s are a joy to have to hold from this day forth.

Testimonial! I backed up my review of the Grand Seiko 60 Anniversary quartz by paying $3800 for the privilege of adding it to my collection. No regrets. My donation to the cause makes the “watch for any occasion” SBGP005 a steel steal at $2049. And you can save a whopping $1,121 off MSRP.

When compared to Rolex, all Grand Seikos are a bargain. Even at full retail. Sure, wealth recognition and Rolexian gestalt, But again, Grand Seikos are better built and finished than their Swiss counterparts. The difference may require some close inspection and a bit of research, but it’s there, and always will be.

Would I buy a new 44mm Grand Seiko Sport Collection 9r Spring Drive GMT for $5,340 over a new 41mm Submariner Date for $15,495? No, but only because the Sub’s an icon and the GS has an ugly power reserve indicator.

But if I did buy the GS Spring Drive diver, I’d be happy knowing the link above saved me $860 off $6200 retail. Before negotiation. At the same time, favoring Grand Seiko over Rolex would leave $10,155 in my pocket.

Grand Seiko has an entirely undeserved rep as a poor man’s Rolex (Grand Seiko – What Kind of Man Buys One?). Actually, considering the price differential relative to Rolex, it’s true. In terms of value-for-money and horological satisfaction, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

Times two if we’re looking at pre-owned Grand Seikos. Times three for new or pre-owned Grand Seiko quartz watches. So if you’re waiting for pre-owned Rolex prices to bottom out or a dealer who deigns to sell you a Rolex at retail, don’t. It’s time for a Grand adventure.

The Truth About Watches is a fully independent website. No commercial consideration provided by the manufacturer. No link compensation


  1. Even weirder than the amount of attention that water resistance gets is the idea that a watch will become a cherished family heirloom that will be handed down from generation to generation. Strapping on a Dan Henry, Furlan Marri, Grand Seiko or a solar powered Cartier after wearing an Apple watch all day at work makes sense: expensive enough to scratch the itch for a little luxury and get offline, not a terribly big deal if the heirs to your estate throw it away while rummaging through your belongings after the funeral.

  2. I was going to get one of the new for 2022 Grand Seiko quartz GMT’s, but made a switch last minute to get The Citizen AQ4091-56M, which has solar, a Japanese paper dial dyed indigo blue, a jumping hour hand, and a perpetual calendar date. The Citizen is a JDM model, and we’ll see how I feel about my first titanium watch.

    I agree with the value proposition, and like the idea of having a nice watch but one that won’t get me mugged like a Rolex. Mine should be here on Monday.

    I’m glad to see the website up and posting again, this is my favorite watch site and I’ve missed you guys over the past year.

      • I might be able to do that as this version of the watch was just released, and there aren’t a bunch of Citizen Chronomaster reviews out there. Can you send me your guidelines for a post?

        • The guideline is simple enough. Tell the truth and don’t be boring. Otherwise, follow the template of any of our previous reviews. My email’s on the home page. Send me your phone number and we can talk it through.

  3. I’m with you on this one – except the claim that GS makes better bracelets than Rolex. You know that’s patently false.

  4. I just ordered a pre-owned Grand Seiko SBGX063 from Japan on March 1st and it’s already in NOLA waiting to be picked up. It’s beautiful and a far better value than any Rolex.

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