Here's My Favorite Dress Watch of the Year (Thus Far)

I'm dead tired of limited editions. But this one's different.

grand seiko elegance collection us limited edition
Grand Seiko

If I'm pitched one more damn limited edition watch I swear to God I'm throwing out my collection and buying an Apple Watch and calling it a day.

But this one's different. Actually, these are different — there are three of them. They're part of the Elegance Collection from Grand Seiko, and they're everything I hoped and dreamed for as a child. (They're totally not, but they're really nice, and I kind of want one.) They're simple. They really are elegant. And they're blueish-greenish — my favorite color, after black. (Is black technically even a color, or is it a shade? Did black get canceled as a color when Pluto was canceled as a planet? I don't remember. It's late in this time zone.)

Here's the deal. I'm busy — I'm not even going to paraphrase this. From Grand Seiko: "In Northeast Japan lies a natural monument formed by the ash of Mt. Kurikoma and the flowing waters of the Iwai River. Named the Genbi Valley, this area in Iwate is famous for its dramatic and picturesque topography. With its steep, rocky cliffs and lush greenery, this storied landscape serves as the inspiration for a trio of new manual-wind, green dial, U.S. limited edition timepieces – the SBGW273, 275, and 277."

Grand Seiko

Truthfully, I don't care. Every other day Grand Seiko announces a new limited edition based on the greenery of some leaf in some forest in Japan. And I get it — Grand Seiko is Japanese. Japan has forests. Forests are green. Watches can be green, too. BOOM — limited edition. Dedicated collectors must buy every limited edition. Ka-ching!

I would vastly prefer if every other Grand Seiko watch wasn't a limited edition based on a leaf, but that's neither here nor there. What counts is that they make really nice freakin' watches, and these SBGWs are some of the nicest. They're just gorgeous.

Grand Seiko

The Grand Seiko Elegance Collection U.S. Limited Edition pieces are based on the SBGW231 — sort of the Calatrava of the Grand Seiko lineup, if I can be so bold as to make that comparison. (Wait, I'm a watch editor — I can totally make that comparison. I am qualified to do so.) Simple and beautiful, the SBGW231 features a beautifully proportioned 37.3mm steel case, a simple, unadorned dial with faceted markers and dauphine hands, a sapphire crystal, the in-house, hand-wound 9S64 movement with 3 days of power reserve, and a leather crocodile strap.

The new SBGW273, 275 and 277, however, turn up the heat with three incredible new textured dials — light green matched to a navy blue seconds hand on the 273; teal on the 275; and a darer, leafy green on the 277. While the 273 and the 277 are matched to brown leather straps, the 275 ships on a black version. Each features an exhibition case back.

Grand Seiko

But there's more refinement here beyond the dial colors: as usual, Grand Seiko has upped the ante with their attention to detail, including their faceted, polished indices and beautiful dauphine hands. (The case architecture is also beautiful, as on most Grand Seikos.) And though perhaps these colored beauties no longer make for the ideal dress watch given their attention- (and light-) grabbing nature, surely they're the perfect wristwear at a less formal event, or even as everyday watches in an office setting.

The only unfortunate bit here is that these are, again, limited editions: though exclusive to the U.S. market, each is being produced in a run of just 140 pieces, available at Grand Seiko boutiques and online (SBGW275) and select specialty retailers (273 and 277) beginning in November. Luckily, the price is reasonable for such a stunning piece of art, IMO: $4,900. And even if I can't snag one in time, I totally want one.


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