A year on from the debut Australian and New Zealand limited edition Grand Seiko, the coveted Japanese watchmaker has tipped its hat to local collectors with the release of another limited edition release. While the first ever LE was inspired by local Australian flora, the Grand Seiko SBGH331 draws its design cues from Naruto’s powerful tidal whirlpools with a hypnotizing blue dial.
The whirlpools in question are located in the eponymous Naruto Strait: between Tokushima and Awaji Island, occurring roughly every 6 hours when powerful tides rip through the narrow passage. To capture these frightening natural phenomena, Grand Seiko has meticulously cut a series of overlapping geometric patterns that radiate outward across the surface of the light blue dial (no, it’s not Tiffany blue).
The dial itself is a work of art, but additional details that complement its design are the faceted diamond-polished hour markers that reflect light onto the dial, and vice-versa. The quintessential Grand Seiko dauphine hour and minute hands cut an imposing figure over the dial; while the real eye-catcher is the golden seconds hand that glides almost uninterrupted around its arc.
This near-perfect smoothness is thanks to the Hi-Beat automatic calibre 9S85, which ticks away at 36,000bph — or 10 times per second — for an impressive accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds per day.
Visible through the exhibition caseback where the Tokyo stripes are on full display, the movement offers 55 hours of power at full wind.
The steel case measures an extremely wearable 39.5mm x 12.96mm; with the screw down caseback and crown helping to secure 100m of water resistance. On the unlikely occasion you find yourself near a powerful electromagnet, it’s also antimagnetic to 4,800 A/m.
Frankly speaking, while the inaugural limited edition GMT SBGJ269 (a.k.a. “Pink Flannel Flower”) was a stunning watch, Grand Seiko has stepped it up a notch with the SBGH331. The dial is truly radiant in the metal; the gold seconds hand is an excellent detail; and the movement is one for the real enthusiasts.
Limited to just 150 pieces, it’s available exclusively to GS9 Club ANZ members starting today; and will go on sale to the public on November 1st.
For Aussie buyers, expect an RRP of $9,250, while the price in New Zealand is $10,650.