What We Know
Grand Seiko is adding a new variation to its Hi-Beat Elegance GMT collection by way of this new SBGJ27, also called “Yukigesho.” This watch takes everything we know about GS’s travel-oriented design ethos and brings the winter coolness with a white, textured dial surface.
That’s where the name Yukigesho comes into play. In Japanese, it’s a poetic expression used to describe the dusting of snow. Not a full blizzard mind you, but a dusting. These distinctions are important when you consider the thoughtful execution of these watches.
And that’s because there is really nothing different about this one from other Hi-Beat GMTs in the Elegance collection other than the new dial, so let’s talk about it. The pattern itself was first introduced in a red coloration with the SBGH269. From an aesthetic perspective, that watch was meant to evoke the changing leaves of autumn and the red was striking, making for a dial pattern that was intended to stand out.
With the SBGJ27, the use of a flat white while maintaining the detailed pattern and dial work makes the entire presentation feel more muted, a bit softer – the way life feels during a light dusting of snow. Beneath that light dusting (eg, inside the watch) beats the Hi-Beat GMT Caliber 9S86 with 55 hours of power reserve and a pretty stunning accuracy rating of +5/-3 seconds a day. It’s in the name, but this is a hi-beat watch with a beat rate of 36,000 vibrations per hour resulting in a much smoother sweep.
Adding to the muted, snowy aesthetic of this watch are the oh-so-polished hands as well as the brushed and polished steel bracelet with a push-button deployant clasp signed with the GS insignia. The Yukigesho will be available in March and has a price tag of $7,100.
What We Think
Grand Seiko knows how to make a watch dial. More than any other brand, it’s news when an existing model gets a surface glow-up because the dial work is just that good. Having not seen this piece in the metal, I can only speak from my experience with other GS models. And that experience tells me that this dial will look very good, and should satisfy fans of the brand with a GMT obsession that have long been fascinated by the Snowflake but wished it was a bit more travel friendly.
No, this is not the same dial design as the Snowflake, but it evokes similar vibes. As the kids say, it’s giving Snowflake. And honestly, it’s literally inspired by snow dust which is enough of a connection for me. I like the use of vertical lines on the dial because it’s something of an obvious connection to trees. This was true on the SBGH269 with its autumnal leanings, and is equally true of this watch. But while each watch shares a dial pattern, the watches themselves are very different in almost every other way (at least by Grand Seiko standards).
First of all, the autumn-themed model was not a GMT but rather a simpler time and date piece. This allowed for the red hue to stand out and not interfere with legibility. With the use of a busier dial layout in the Yukigesho via the GMT complication and extra 24-hour hand, the white dial allows for a harmonious design.
If you look closely at this piece, you’ll see, in addition to the verticality, an almost swirling motif that evokes a windy snow. A windy dusty snow. Okay, I’ll stop – with the snow stuff at least. If you look closer still, the numerals and dial text almost float atop of the white surface below. It’s a testament to the attention to detail GS pays to its dials (in addition to the mechanics). Of course, with this watch, you’re not only getting the high beat rate, you’re getting a true GMT with independent hour-hand functionality and manipulation of the date both forward and backward.
It can be easy to get lost in the constant flow of new Grand Seiko dial updates. But every so often, a new watch comes along that just looks right. This is one of those for me from both a form and function standpoint and I look forward to possibly getting hands-on with it soon.
Brand: Grand Seiko
Reference Number: SBGJ27
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: White
Indexes: Applied and Arabic
Water Resistance: 30m
Caliber: Hi-Beat GMT Caliber 9S86
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, GMT
Power Reserve: 55 hours
Frequency: 36,000 vph
Chronometer Certified: No
Pricing & Availability
Availability: March, 2023
Limited Edition: No
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For more information on this watch, visit Grand Seiko online. Hodinkee is an authorized retailer of Grand Seiko watches.