The 17 Best Grand Seiko Watches In 2024
— Updated on 23 February 2024

The 17 Best Grand Seiko Watches In 2024

— Updated on 23 February 2024
Randy Lai
WORDS BY
Randy Lai

A brand that needs no introduction even if you’re only remotely partial to perusing the digital pages of Boss Hunting, it’s no exaggeration to say that everybody in our office is a big, big fan of Grand Seiko.

Originally the moniker given to a small run of high-end dress watches, manufactured by Seiko for the Japanese domestic market in 1960; over the last decade, Grand Seiko has spun off into its own wildly popular phenomenon – across Asia, North America, and of course, Australia.

At first regarded as a ‘value-for-money’ proposition (with a cult following amongst Japanophiles and watch collectors obsessed with microcosmic details), over the past few years Grand Seiko has undergone something of a rapid transformation into a full-fledged luxury brand.

RELATED: The Best Worldtime Watches For Trotting The Globe In 2024

In Australia, the opening of the first dedicated Grand Seiko boutique back in 2019 signalled the brand’s up-market ambitions; and while it’s assuredly true that prices are now creeping up on the Swiss competition, I’d be the first to argue that — broadly speaking — these adjustments offer a fairer, more accurate reflection of the quality being invested in the average mechanical Grand Seiko watches fitted on integrated bracelets.

Notably, Grand Seiko’s vestigial connection to its parent company of the same name does mean there sometimes feels like an overwhelming number of models to choose from. The brand is doing a fine job of consolidating this approach as time goes on; but meanwhile, we thought we’d provide you with a curated list* of our favourite Grand Seiko watches you can buy in 2024.

Though not all of them have necessarily been released this year; we think the following strike a robust balance between aspiration and affordability. Subarashii!

*Editor’s Note: The inclusions in this Buyer’s Guide have been independently selected by and, where available, handled for an extended duration by James Want, Nick Kenyon, and Randy Lai.


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BH Approved: The Best Grand Seiko Watch Overall That You Can Buy In Australia In 2024

Grand Seiko watches

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT ’44GS 55th Anniversary’

Excellent

98/100

SCORE

PROS

  • Iconic ‘Grammar of Design’
  • Style, substance (and a GMT!)

CONS

  • Relatively short power reserve
  • Limited availability
$12,750 – grandseikoboutique.com.au

Given just how much ferocious competition there is within the Grand Seiko offering for the accolade of ‘best overall watch’, we acknowledge the SBGJ255 (a.k.a. ‘the 44GS 55th Anniversary’) might seem like an unusual choice for top billing — especially when one considers it’s also a limited edition (1,200 pieces globally).

But unlike the red-hot, perpetually sold-out ‘White Birch’ or the technically groundbreaking ‘Kodo’ – both of which are *sigh of relief* on our list — this Heritage collection release manages to capture the spirit of Grand Seiko through time — honouring the company’s past, present…and perhaps even it’s future.

In brief: the basic layout and form language derives largely from the SBGJ005 – a green-dialled GMT with which Grand Seiko won big at the 2014 GPHG Awards – drawing a consistent through-line with the brand’s recent’s history.

That said, this release also tidies up its own near-decade-old design language; with the 44GS-inspired case now imagined in titanium — a decidedly contemporary metal — alongside a very subtle dial treatment that evokes the sensation of neatly raked snow.

Oh, and there’s a GMT: more than enough firepower for a ‘daily wearer’.


The Best Grand Seiko Watches To Add To Your Collection In 2024

$0 – $5,000

SBGN011 GMT

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 12.2mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: Champagne
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Movement: 9F86
  • Power Reserve: 3 Years (Battery)

A stellar introduction to the brand that most enthusiasts remember Grand Seiko as, the SBGN011 offers obvious (not to mention formidable) competition for best-selling tool watches like the Rolex Explorer II and Omega Seamaster.

Being a part of the oh-so-classic Heritage collection, buyers can expect a strong, angular case style and excellent decorative finishing on the dial across the board.

Rounding out the time-and-date functionality is a GMT powered by Grand Seiko’s high-precision 9F quartz movement — meaning that the watch is accurate to within staggering tolerances of ±10 seconds per year (with a battery replacement every three years).


SBGV245J

Grand Seiko watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.8mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Nylon
  • Dial Colour: Champagne
  • Water Resistance: 200m
  • Movement: 9F82
  • Power Reserve: 3 Years (Battery)

A watch loved upon its release by everybody from watch YouTuber Adrian Barker to Jack Forster (formerly of Hodinkee), the SBGV245J — part of the perennially underrated Sport collection — is one of the cleanest, leanest, and indeed, meanest distillations of mechanical watchmaking at Grand Seiko.

Powered by another of the brand’s mindbogglingly accurate 9F quartz movements, this watch’s drive system actually has more in common with that of a mechanical model: meaning there’s enough power to utilise the big hands and date wheel that are essential for a serious tool watch.

In 2023, luminescent GS references remain a relative rarity; and there’s something incalculably satisfying about this model – which manages to make the Lumibrite segments of the dial not just functional, but also beautiful within the constraints of the broader design language.

A clear crowd favourite here at the BH offices — even factoring in grey market prices.


$5,001 – $10,000

Grand Seiko ‘First’ with carved logo (VINTAGE)

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 36mm
  • Case Thickness: 11mm
  • Case Material: 14K gold-filled steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Leather (Epsom calf)
  • Dial Colour: White
  • Water Resistance: N/A
  • Movement: 3180
  • Power Reserve: 45 hours

It speaks volumes about the appeal of a brand like Grand Seiko that this timepiece — colloquially referred to as the ‘3180’ or ‘GS1st’ — is the third most affordable inclusion to crack our shopping list.

Representing the first run of Grand Seiko-branded mechanical watches to be manufactured by the Suwa Seikosha factory, the 3180 was originally conceived to be “as precise, durable, easy-to-wear and as beautiful as possible”. Piece of cake right?

The watch that would subsequently evolve into a fully-fledged brand, this vintage model – dated to June of 1960 – epitomises Grand Seiko’s philosophy of ‘functional beauty’.

Informed by aesthetic norms of the mid-20th century, this is dressy watchmaking at its most refined: the 36mm case in yellow gold is a joy to wear; the mechanical calibre 3180 keeps good time; and, best of all, the dial is among the rarest executions in the OG Grand Seiko line-up — made with a labour-intensive carved logo that the brand moved away from in 1961.


Ref. 6145 ‘Hi-Beat 36000’ (VINTAGE)

Grand Seiko watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 36mm
  • Case Thickness: 12mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Leather
  • Dial Colour: Silver
  • Water Resistance: N/A
  • Movement: 6145
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours

Our other vintage highlight on this list of the best Grand Seiko watches you can pick up in 2024, the Ref. 6145 embodies all of the technical advancements made by Japan’s preeminent watchmaker throughout the 1960s — the crowning achievement of which is undoubtedly the brand’s 4th and 2nd place wins (for mechanical accuracy) at the 1967 Neuchatel Observatory trials.

Beyond the technology it incorporates (i.e. a fast-beating movement that’s accurate to -3/+6 seconds per day – extreme precision for watchmaking that’s over 60 years old) this 61GS is a typically fantastic example of the aesthetic Seiko enthusiasts now refer to as the ‘Grammar of Design’.

Conceived by designer Taro Tanaka as a look that would “sparkle brilliantly” on the wrist, this 61GS model sports the extra-large case flanks and faceted lugs — both polished to a high reflective shine — which are now considered textbook traits for a number of Grand Seiko collections.


SBGA211 ‘Snowflake’

Grand Seiko watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 41mm
  • Case Thickness: 12.5mmmm
  • Case Material: High-intensity titanium
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: High-intensity titanium
  • Dial Colour: White
  • Water Resistance: N/A
  • Movement: 9R65
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours

In many ways the watch that propelled Grand Seiko to stratospheric popularity in the West, the SBGA211 – better known by its ‘Snowflake’ moniker — remains a classic jumping-off point for those who wish to understand what all the fuss is about over high-end Japanese watchmaking.

Sporting versatile titanium cases, Grand Seiko’s groundbreaking mechano-quartz Spring Drive movements, and a dial treatment so vivid in its recreation of the natural world that certain collectors have taken to calling it “an icon” of Japanese design; these Snowflake watches allow wearers to really enjoy the best of everything – still for less than what you’ll pay (in 2024) for an entry-level Speedy.

As we’re so fond of saying here at Boss Hunting HQ: it doesn’t get any better than that, champion.


SBGE257 GMT

Grand Seiko watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 40.5mm
  • Case Thickness: 14.7mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: Ceramic
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: Green
  • Water Resistance: 200m
  • Movement: 9R66
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours

A relatively recent release from inside the past 3 years, this stainless steel SBGE257 is part of Grand Seiko’s performance-led Sport collection: combining the familiar design cues of a watch like the Rolex Submariner with cutting-edge materiel and mechanical technology.

For buyers keen to stick to a 4-figure budget, there’s an almost embarrassing amount of value to be had here: including a ceramic bezel, gradient dial, GMT functionality and, of course, Spring Drive.


SBGA413 ‘Shunbun’

Grand Seiko watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 12.8mm
  • Case Material: High-intensity titanium
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: High-intensity titanium
  • Dial Colour: Pink
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Movement: 9R65
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours

Initially released as part of the US-focused ‘Seasons’ collection, the ‘Shunbun’ – which celebrates springtime and the arrival of the first cherry blossoms in Japan — is handily my favourite watch to grace our list.

Powered by the sweeping calibre 9R65, the Shunbun takes the meditative persona of earlier Spring Drive watches (e.g. the Snowflake) and hones that with tightrope precision.

Whilst not quite the dramatic aesthetic rethink that is broadly evident across the ‘Evolution 9’ collection, it’s clear that every detail in this simple time-and-date model has been unpacked and carefully

This version of Grand Seiko’s influential 62GS case design is the brand’s best yet: boasting thinness and wearability in equal measure, along with a sophisticated box-shape crystal that draws your eye to the dial work — unequivocally, as exquisite as what you’ll find in watches at 4-5 times the price.

RELATED: 5 Vintage Rolex Watches Worth Your Time And Investment


$10,001 – $50,000

SBGY011 ‘Asaborake’

Grand Seiko watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 10.5mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Black (Crocodile)
  • Dial Colour: White
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Movement: 9R31
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours

Given the centrality of Spring Drive movements to Grand Seiko’s overarching identity, it seems strange that historically there hasn’t been a manually-wound iteration of this technology — until recently.

Among a slew of other new Grand Seiko watches unveiled in 2022, the SBGY11 (also known as the Asaborake) bears the distinction of being the first manual Spring Drive model in regular production. As highlighted throughout this ‘best of’ list previously: the Asaborake evinces a number of visual and mechanical characteristics that are specialties at Grand Seiko.

These include a striking textured dial (in this case, finished with a tight cross-hatch motif); loads of polished, distortion-free surfaces; and the calibre 9R31 — a simplified version of the calibre 9R02 that is standard across the ‘Masterpiece’ collection and a beautiful mechanical exercise in its own right.


SBGK009 ‘Thin Dress Series’

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 39mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.6mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: Black
  • Water Resistance: 50m
  • Movement: 9S63
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours

Neither as critically revered as the ‘Masterpiece’ collection, nor as commercially popular as the ‘Heritage’ pieces; the watches of the Grand Seiko Elegance collection are — to my mind, at least — some of the most aesthetically sophisticated coming out of Japan.

One textbook example I always turn to whilst trying to stress that point is the SBGK009: the latest in a series of ‘thin dress’ watches unveiled outside of Japan in 2019. Broadly, a fresh design paradigm for Grand Seiko — inspired by ideas of light, living organisms and the image of a wind-filled sail — it’s no exaggeration to say that these wear very differently from their often flat and two-dimensional Swiss counterparts.

Kiyotaka Sakai — the mastermind behind this burgeoning new subset of Grand Seiko watches — achieves this dynamic effect with a number of deft, but cumulatively palpable details. The surface of the dial is convex in places; each hour index curve flares out gently toward the edge; and the colour treatment is properly graduated — serving up shades of charcoal or inky black depending on where you’re wearing the watch and how you’ve angled your wrist.

Plus, the 9-link bracelet? Let’s just say I wish there was more of that fearless originality in the Heritage line.


SBGH291 Diver’s Watch

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 43.8mm
  • Case Thickness: 14.7mm
  • Case Material: Titanium
  • Bezel Material: Hard-coated steel
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Titanium
  • Dial Colour: Black
  • Water Resistance: 200m
  • Movement: 9S85
  • Power Reserve: 55 hours
 

A professional ‘diver’s watch’ — in the most serious sense of that phrase — the SBGH291 is the definitive answer at Grand Seiko to Swiss flagships such as the Seamaster 300M Professional or Fifty Fathoms.

Sharing the same basic spec sheet as the SBGH289 (also released in 2021), this diver has the added advantage of — at least in our opinion — being the more handsome of the two.

The gold-tone ‘GS’ logo and signature work well alongside the bronzed sheen of the high-intensity titanium case; and if there was any lingering doubt about this being a bona fide dive watch, the 200m depth rating and adjustable bracelet (designed to be worn over a wetsuit) ought to put that to rest.


SLGH005 ‘White Birch’

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.6mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: White
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Movement: 9SA5
  • Power Reserve: 80 hours
 

A watch that I think eloquently expresses the future of Grand Seiko’s creative direction, the SLGH005 — better known by Seiko fans as the ‘White Birch’ — is probably the most popular and sought-after Heritage collection reference we’ve chosen to include.

One of the forerunners of the new ‘Evo 9’ design language (think wide lugs, fluted indexes, and an emphasis on extra-thin watchmaking) the White Birch’s signature characteristic – again, par for the course, for Grand Seiko – is its shirakaba dial, stamped with an irregular arboreal pattern mirroring the wood grain of the trees that are native to GS’ Shizukuishi Studio.

More than dashing looks though, the White Birch represents an important leap forward on the technical front: equipped with the self-winding 9SA5 movement that promises to be an important testbed for mechanical movements at Grand Seiko going forward. Plenty of innovation — and a damn sight prettier than the 9S86 that was the bedrock of a generation.


SBGW295 in ‘Brilliant Hard Titanium’ (NEW FOR 2023)

Grand Seiko watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 38mm
  • Case Thickness: 10.8mm
  • Case Material: Titanium
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Leather (yoroiori)
  • Dial Colour: Black
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: 9S64
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
 

A terrific spin-off of the historic Grand Seiko ‘First’ family of watches, the SBGW295 takes the bones of that series’ aesthetic DNA and transports it, with distinctive Japanese flourishes, into the 21st century.

Nominally a mid-sized titanium watch outfitted with a hand-wound, 72-hour movement — ergo, the sort of thing you’re conveniently able to leave in your drawer at the weekend — the reality is that this dashing black and gold number is a must-have for collectors interested in traditional decorative handcrafts.

The watch’s black dial is painted using the traditional Japanese lacquerware technique of Urushi – constituting numerous layers of hand-applied sap, in order to produce a beautiful lustrous finish — while the markers are created with maki-e — a similarly laborious finish involving alternating applications of lacquer and gold powder.

Despite the use of so many iconic Japanese crafts, the SBGW295 manages to modernise the core tenets of Grand Seiko’s ‘First’ design language. Offering versatility and a beautifully simple wearer experience, few other Grand Seiko watches on this list embrace the ‘say less’ mantra as decisively.


SLGC001 ‘Tentagraph’ (NEW FOR 2023)

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 43.2mm
  • Case Thickness: 15.2mm
  • Case Material: Titanium
  • Bezel Material: Ceramic
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Titanium
  • Dial Colour: Blue (textured)
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Movement: 9SC5
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
 

Best known for being the first fully mechanical in-house chronograph developed at Grand Seiko, the ‘Tentagraph’ gets its name from four of the watch’s signature features: namely, a frequency of TEN beats per second; a Three-day power reserve; Automatic winding; and the addition of the chronoGRAPH complication.

Big, burly and made in the tradition of no-holds-barred luxury chronographs like the Royal Oak Offshore (at least to our minds) the Tentagraph feels a lot like the Grand Seiko sports models of the early 2000s — in a good way.

Here, for the first time, the ‘Evo 9’ design language is utilised in an automatic watch outfitted with a column wheel chronograph; and while reasonable minds differ on whether the case needs to be as substantial as it is (15.3mm in thickness) nobody can accuse Grand Seiko of skimping on the details.

Between the river-inspired architecture of the 9SC5 movement and the dial’s textured blue finish — the signature ‘Mt. Iwate’ pattern — this offers the lion’s share of what collectors find most appealing about Grand Seiko — now in a very sporty package.


SGBY026 ‘Hana-ikada’ (NEW FOR 2023)

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 38.5mm
  • Case Thickness: 10.2mm
  • Case Material: 18K rose gold
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Leather (crocodile)
  • Dial Colour: Champagne
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: 9R31
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
 

Inspired by the same spring equinox which served as the guiding inspiration behind the ‘Shunbun’, the SBGY026 is yet another pink-dialled Spring Drive watch — albeit a limited edition in precious metals at nearly four times the price of the former reference.

There are a number of explanations for this seismic leap in price tag. Most notably, the ‘Hana-ikada’ utilises 18K rose gold, a material that plays into the dusky sunset imagery of cherry blossoms fluttering over water (incidentally, also the motif of the watch’s dial).

Additionally, the movement Grand Seiko has opted to use for the Hana-ikada is their hand-wound calibre 9R31 — a product of the master craftsmen in the Shinshu Watch Studio. Despite its hybrid quartz construction, this 9R movement remains exceptionally beautiful under a loupe and is finished with black-polished jewelled bearings, blued screws and a number of other classic touchpoints in mechanical watchmaking.


$50,001+

SBGZ009 ‘Majestic White Birch’ (NEW FOR 2023)

Grand Seiko watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 38.5mm
  • Case Thickness: 9.8mm
  • Case Material: Platinum
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Leather (crocodile)
  • Dial Colour: Silver
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: 9R02
  • Power Reserve: 84 hours
 

Built around the hand-finished 9R02 movement that is frequently likened to what you’ll find in legendary indie watchmaker Philippe Dufour’s ‘Simplicity’, the ‘Majestic White Birch’ is the third release from Grand Seiko to incorporate Spring Drive technology and a completely hand-engraved case. (Yes, you read that last bit correctly.)

Devastatingly collectible thanks to its combination of ‘special dial’, meticulous metal-working and rarity (only 50 pieces were produced globally) we feel comfortable characterising this new release as less of a ‘luxury watch’ and more like a piece of wearable art.

Even before one gets to the question of pricing, the SBGZ009’s evocation of white birch forests at the foot of the Yatsugatake Mountain range will necessarily be polarising.

As part of the ultra-high-end ‘Masterpiece’ collection, you sort of expect that: given that the appeal of such releases is so intrinsically different to that of the models at the affordable end of the spectrum. But kudos to Grand Seiko for offering both.


SLGT003 ‘Kodo’ Constant-force Tourbillon

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 43.8mm
  • Case Thickness: 12.9mm
  • Case Material: Platinum 950
  • Bezel Material: N/A
  • Bracelet/Strap Material: Leather (crocodile)
  • Dial Colour: Silver
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Movement: 9ST1
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
 

Inarguably the most high-profile release that Grand Seiko has put out in a decade, the SLGT003, better known by its Japanese sobriquet Kodo (‘heartbeat’), represents an important milestone for the Seiko family; not to mention — an enviable display of horological prowess in its own right.

In overly crude terms: a skeletonised watch combining a tourbillon and remontoire constant force mechanism (read Jon Bues’s Hodinkee deep-dive if you fancy some real weapons-grade nerdery), the Kodo’s crowning achievement is that it adds a classical dimension to Grand Seiko’s famously technologic quest for accuracy.

Imagined on the same axis — a shared plane of existence, if you will — the Kodo’s tourbillon and constant force mechanism work symbiotically; tackling all the obstacles to accurate real-world timekeeping that, separately, it would be virtually impossible to.

The fact that the Kodo is given over almost entirely to the pursuit of chronometry is also borne out visually: the first fully open-worked watch offered by Grand Seiko (built on much of the expertise of the ‘meister’ watchmakers at Credor) its 9STI movement is a veritable city-under-glass in the metal — evoking comparisons with eyewateringly expensive Swiss counterparts such as Greubel Forsey and F.P. Journe.

Putting questions like “How do you read the time?” and “Who is this for?” aside, it’s pivotal to recognise how the Kodo epitomises Grand Seiko’s dynamic approach to watchmaking in the 21st century. Whatever comes next, odds are it’ll be made possible by the technical breakthroughs and sheer audacity of the Kodo project.


Frequently Asked Questions About Grand Seiko Watches

How much do timepieces from Grand Seiko cost usually?

One of Grand Seiko’s biggest accolades (and simultaneous critique) is the breadth of its price range.

The brand offers extremely high-end pieces costing upward of $200,000, alongside steel sports watches available for as little as $5,000.

Are 'Spring Drives' a kind of quartz-powered movement?

Short answer: not really.

Although timepieces powered by Spring Drive do utilise components such as quartz crystals and an integrated circuit in order to regulate timekeeping; power is delivered (as with a conventional mechanical watch) via the interaction between a barrel, mainspring and gear train.

What is the difference between 'Seiko' and 'Grand Seiko'

Effectively a separate brand from Seiko – complete with its own watchmaking facilities and corporate identity – Grand Seiko spun off from its eponymous parent company back in 2017.

In the US, where Grand Seiko is habitually ranked as one of the 10 leading watch brands by market share, the company has even operated as an independent corporation since 2018.

Randy Lai
WORDS by
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].