The famous Grand Seiko line of expensive timekeepers has recently been updated with a limited edition model. Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their signature Seiko Caliber 9F, the ultra-precise quartz movement that was first brought to market back in 1993, the Japanese watchmaker introduces their new Grand Seiko Caliber 9F 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (Ref. SBGX103).
Probably limited to just the Japanese domestic market (also known as JDM) which basically means that you will have to order it directly from Japan when the SBGX103 finally arrives at online retailers, the new watch features traditionally unassuming design of its compact (even small by today’s standards) 37 mm stainless steel case that is nicely accented with a thin polished bezel and an elegant (although a trifle too “solid” to my taste) bracelet crafted from the same metal and, too, featuring smaller polished accents visually separating its larger satin-finished links.
Sporting the familiar combination of polished and finely machine-brushed surfaces, the case of this watch, as I have already mentioned, is surprisingly compact. Less than 10 millimeters thick, the case is only 37 millimeters in diameter: a breath of fresh air in the world, which is ruled by Swiss watches with their deliberately massive, often insolent design. Sporting such a low profile and featuring an impressively nicely sculpted shape, the case will feel great with formal attire that is rarely friendly to modern watches and often requires tailor-made shirts with wider cuffs in order for the owner to feel comfortable. This, of course, also limits to a degree the spectrum of dresses you could wear this timepiece with, although it is always a matter of personal preferences whether a piece matches a waxed cotton motorcycle jacket as well as it matches a business suit.
Still, the timekeeper’s dial is nicely decorated with a quilted pattern that comprises countless Roman “X” numerals that serve as frames for the brand’s signature lion. The same heraldic beast is displayed on the 20th Anniversary’s solid case back that features a small medallion, which is crafted from 18-karat yellow gold.
Although quartz movements (even the expensive ones) usually come in their “blank” form, this particular Caliber 9F is engraved with the familiar gothic-styled “GS / Grand Seiko” logo, features polished screws and even sports a diagonal pattern similar to Geneva stripes. Easily trumping even some of the most advanced Swiss made “super quartz” calibers, the mechanism has earned such a refined finish.
I mean, for a highly accurate, magnetically shielded king of quartz movements, such an attention to details doesn’t look too far-fetched. The movement that gains or loses no more than 5 seconds per year clearly deserves the lavish decor. Too bad you won’t see it through the piece’s solid case back cover.
Grand Seiko Caliber 9F 20th Anniversary (Ref. SBGX103) specification
Movement: Quartz, Caliber 9F, in-house, ultra-precise with accuracy up to +/- 5 seconds per year, antimagnetic, Made in Japan
Number of jewels: 9
Power reserve: 3 years
Movement decoration: Gold plated, diagonal stripes similar to Geneva Stripes
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case, Bezel and Crown: Stainless steel
Size: 37.00 mm
Case height: 9.90 mm
Dial: White, with a quilted pattern
Hour markers: Applied
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet, solid
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating on the inner side
Back: Solid, 18-karat yellow gold medallion with Grand Seiko Lion