We take a closer look at the newly released Grand Seiko SBGE285 “Mistflake”, an extension to their Evolution 9 styling and textured dials.
Review: Grand Seiko SBGE285 “Mistflake”
Expanding the Evolution 9 Collection into sport, at Watches and Wonders, Grand Seiko has announced a pair of Spring Drive GMTs in High-Intensity Titanium. While firmly grounded in the Grand Seiko’s new Evolution 9 Style, SBGE285 represent the evolutionary steps taken by Grand Seiko’s design team to bring the storied brand forward with fresh energy and direction.
The Case and Dial
This new GMT design measures 41mm in diameter, 13.9mm in thickness, and 48.3mm lug-to-lug. The case has hairline finished surfaces along its top, side, and bezel. As a point of contrast, mirror-polished facets result in an eye-catching play of light and shadow. SBGE285 is made of High-Intensity Titanium, which is 30% lighter than stainless steel. The hairline-finished bracelet is about 50 to 55% of the diameter of the watch case, and its weight and width ensure a stable fit on the wrist.
SBGE285 features Grand Seiko’s exemplary snowflake dial, this time rendered in a subtle light gray. The texture and coloration echo the wintery morning mist that envelops the mountains of Nagano, the home of Spring Drive.
Summary of the new elements of the Evolution 9 design.
The hour hand is clearly distinguished from the minute hand on both models. The multi-dimensional indexes make it possible to read the time with an even greater degree of accuracy. Legibility is furthered through the application of LumiBrite to the hands and indexes.
Inside, 9R66 caliber is rated to +/-15 seconds a month and delivers a power reserve of three days. Like all Spring Drive watches, the second hand moves in a perfect, silent glide motion, a definitive feature of Spring Drive.
Visible through an exhibition case back, caliber 9R66 is what is considered a true GMT movement, which means that the local hour hand is independently adjustable. The GMT hand remains fixed to home time or any time zone the wearer may want to track. The benefit of such functionality is that upon arriving in a new locale in a different time zone, the wearer can advance the hour hand, forward or backward, to the appropriate hour without resetting the watch. The second time zone is tracked along the fixed titanium bezel, which communicates a 24-hour scale.
The SBGE285 wears nicely on the wrist, as the titanium case and bracelet make it light and comfortable. The 41mm case size is also a nice just-right feel. Not too big. Not too small. From an aesthetic angle, the white textured dial works well with the sporty bezel. And as always, the Grand Seiko value proposition is in exceptional level in which the dial, indices, and hands are finished.
The new Grand Seiko SBGE285 has a better looking case than the Heritage line models. It is priced at US$8400, $3000 more than the SBGE211 which is a stainless steel spring drive GMT that shares the same movement. The premium pays for a better looking case in high intensity titanium and even better overall finishing than before. Better – more complex, laborious process given the increase number of angles on the case. It would be more compelling however, if the watch came with an upgraded movement like with the other Evolution 9 models, like the SLGA007 with the 5 days Spring Drive 9RA2 movement. But it is what it is. And still a rather attractive offering from Grand Seiko.