New: Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT 60th Anniversary Limited Edition

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Grand Seiko announced yet another limited edition in the string of watches this year, marking the brand’s various anniversaries. From the 60th Anniversary of Grand Seiko, to the 160th anniversary of the birth of Kintaro Hattori (covered in a separate article later this week). Today’s novelty is the Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT SBGC238.

Press release information and photographs with commentary in italics.

Grand Seiko Sport Collection
Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 60th Anniversary Limited Edition

This new watch’s design takes inspiration from the traditional Japanese armor worn by samurai warlords during the Sengoku period, a time marked by civil wars and social upheaval in the late 15th to early 17th century. The timepiece expresses the unwavering spirit of the samurai and Grand Seiko’s continuous pursuit for the ultimate in watchmaking on its 60th anniversary.

The distinctive blue color of indigo dye, known as “Katsu-iro,” was favored and used by the Samurai for their armor and represented their bravery.

This “Katsu-iro” color is applied for the dial and together with the watch case reminiscent of a powerful lion, the timepiece expresses the martial warrior’s noble spirit.

The grooves of the Katsu-iro colored crocodile strap are applied rose gold to reflect the strength and dignity of the armor that has been used in battle over a long period of time.

The watch case is a new design in Grand Seiko’s sport collection that was introduced at Baselworld in 2019 and showcases the watches’ capabilities to withstand the most demanding sport environment. It resembles the intense strength and dignity of lions and is angled inwards to ensure a soft fit on the wrist.

The lug of the case evokes a lion’s claw and has a flat surface without distortion by Zaratsu polishing and a hairline finish. The dial has a pattern representing the lion’s mane.

The new timepiece carries the lion symbol in the form of an 18k gold insert in the oscillating weight, denoting the enhanced accuracy of the specially adjusted movement (+/-0.5 seconds a day). As a proof of the limited edition, “Limited Edition” and the serial number are printed on the case back, with “60th Anniversary 1960-2020” on the crystal sapphire glass in rose gold.

Caliber 9R96 is specially adjusted Caliber 9R86, to deliver an even higher level of precision. Caliber 9R86 is ±15 seconds a month (equivalent to ±1 second per day), whereas Caliber 9R96 is ±10 seconds a month (equivalent to ±0.5 seconds per day). The difference between the two movements lies in the quartz crystal oscillator, which delivers accurate electrical signals.

The 9R86 movement seen here in the SBGC003 is less elaborately decorated than the 9R96.

All 9R Spring Drive use quartz crystal oscillator with stable accuracy. Among them, only quartz crystal oscillator, which exhibit particularly excellent performance, are selected and mounted on the Caliber 9R96.

The Grand Seiko lion in 18K gold graces the oscillating weight to symbolize the enhanced accuracy.


The new model might perhaps be considered as a product extension of the existing Spring Drive Chronograph collection. An early example of this is the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SGBC003 (9R86 movement) owned by our Chief Editor, which is now superseeded by the SGBC203 with new GS livery. It bears close family resemblances to the following:

Grand Seiko Spring Drive 55th Anniversary Chronograph GMT in 2015 SBGC013 (limited edition 400 pieces).

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT in 2016 – SBGC015 (limited edition 500 pieces) shown above has the classical black dial. And the SBGC017 (limited edition 600 pieces).

Both these earlier editions use the same movement – the Caliber 9R96. The main difference is that both the earlier editions are in high intensity titanium cases. The 2016 edition in addition feature a ceramic cladding over the bezel and lugs. What is new is the Samurai armour theme, and the beautiful deep blue used in the dial and bezel.

Grand Seiko Sport Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 60th Anniversary Limited Edition

Case Material : 18k rose gold
Glass Material : Dual-curved sapphire crystal
Glass Coating : Anti-reflective coating on inner surface
Lumi Brite : Lumibrite on hands, indexs and bezel
Case size : Diameter 44.5mm × Thickness 16.8mm
Band Material : Crocodile leather
Clasp type : Three-fold clasp with push button release

Caliber no. : 9R96 Instructions
Movement Type : Spring Drive
Power reserve : Approx. 72 hours(3 days)
Accuracy : ±0.5 second per day (±10 seconds per month)

Water resistance : 20 bar
Magnetic resistance : Equipped

Other details / Features :
・24-hour hand (dual time display function)
・50 jewels
・Calendar-linked time difference adjustment function
・Case back with lion emblem
・Chronograph with 30 minutes & 12 hours
・LIMITED EDITION on the case back
・Power reserve display
・Screw case back
・Screw-down crown
・See-through case back
・Serial number engraved on the case back
・Stop second hand function


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