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Thread: Thoughts on an incoming: Grand Seiko SBGX009

  1. #1

    Post Thoughts on an incoming: Grand Seiko SBGX009

    Kazuamata
    kakeshi tokei no
    kotogotoku
    Kuruwanu oto no
    kokochi yoki kana.





    This Grand Seiko SBGX009 is new to me - but it already feels both comfortable and familiar, for reasons that have little to do with watches.


    * * *


    Some years ago, I owned a Honda NSX. It’s hard to approach the NSX; nothing makes sense. You see, supercars are brash. Supercars are styled not for speed itself but rather to proclaim that they speed; to hit the gormless hoi polloi over the head with the notion of their speed, even while straddling the paranoid two spaces of a supermarket car park. Even while being winched unto the tow truck. Supercars are stroppy. Conveniently, they can be romanticized into something organic, something living. Because living things are supposed have foibles and shortcomings. Supercars are cack-handed. But the NSX didn't fit easily into this formulation. The motoring press reached lazily for a way to decipher Honda’s car and, coining “the Japanese Ferrari,” left it at that. Here's one of their silly number with my car:




    Forget the innovative open-heart surgery that saw more F1 viscera transplanted into a road car in one fell swoop than ever before or since. Forget the watershed of day-to-day driveability and reliability that was unmatchable in any other car at that level of performance. Forget, indeed, that the 328/348 Ferraris were never the benchmark for the NSX design team (seeded with unattributed commentary in early press reports) and that the targets of their early attentions were in fact the F-16 fighter jet and light, manoeuvrable cars of many stripes and lowly displacements. It’s about as accurate to call the NSX “the Japanese Ferrari” as to call Warhol “the American Velázquez.” (Actually, the Velázquez formulation isn’t so bad as all that.)


    * * *


    The Grand Seiko is immediately familiar, then, for two reasons. First, it is sui generis, so the human mania for compartmentalisation keeps wanting to talk about it in terms of other watches (everything from Patek Philippe to Mr G), missing the point of talking about it as a thing in itself. Second, it's a technological tour de force that over-achieves to an extent whereby its critics must call it "soulless" (because, well, that's what you grab for when there is nothing substantive to criticise).







    Instead, let's consider how this watch came to be this watch.

    The first Grand Seiko was released in 1960 (caliber 3180, accurate to within +12 / -3 spd with 45hr power reserve). It represented a desire from Seiko to "build a watch that would be as precise, durable, easy to wear and beautiful as humanly possible."

    After 28 years of innovation and mastery (the Swiss famously abandoning timekeeping competitions when it became clear that the prize would be destined for Seiko), the first Grand Seiko quartz, the 95GS, came along in 1988. Right from the get-go, the GSQ's offered accuracy of ±10 seconds per year. Nothing was outsourced and nothing was left to chance. Grand Seiko produced every aspect of the watches in house, growing their own quartz crystals from which they selected those with the greatest temperature, humidity and shock resistance.

    The following year, 10bar water resistence (another feature inherited in the SBGX009) was introduced in the 8NGS. Then in 1993 the Caliber 9F83 was introduced, with four innovations that would come to define the GSQ: Backlash Auto-Adjust; Twin Pulse Control System; Instant Date Change (not a feature of the three hander, obvs), and the Super Sealed Cabin. With so much technological innovation the quartz movement had reached maturity, and the 9F series concentrated more on case finishing and aesthetics when it was introduced in 1997 (which is, incidentally, the year that my second generation "NA2" NSX rolled off the production line at the Takanezawa R&D Plant, Tochigi - 130 miles east of Seiko's Suwa workshop where every one of its Grand Seiko quartz watches is made).










    On the wrist, the watch is very nice, a comfortable 36.5mm case width and 10.4mm height. Full tech specs are:

    • Caliber 9F61(Quartz); Hour, minute, second display; accuracy 10 seconds per year; 3yr battery
    • Dual Curved Sapphire Glass with nonreflective coating
    • Shockproof Structure
    • Anti Magnetic
    • 10 BAR Water Resistant (non screw crown!)
    • Weight 50 grams
    • 18mm between the lugs
    • Beautiful 16mm "GS" signed tang buckle





    Originally fitted with a brown croc strap featuring Seiko's "oil matt finish", I have fitted a chocolate shell cordovan, but the watch also dresses up very nicely on black alligator still complimenting the nine design principles of Grand Seiko:

    1: DOUBLE WIDTH INDEX AT 12 O’CLOCK
    2: MULTI-FACETED RECTANGULAR MARKERS
    3: HIGHLY POLISHED BEZEL
    4: HIGHLY POLISHED PLANES AND TWO DIMENSIONAL SURFACE
    5: HALF RECESSED CROWN
    6: FLAT DIAL
    7: MULTI-FACETED HOUR AND MINUTE HANDS
    8: CURVED SIDELINE
    9: REVERSE SLANTED BEZEL WALL AND CASE SIDE





    I get the sense that there is going to be a lot to discover and enjoy about this watch. For instance, the twin-pulse control motor (the GS solution to providing torque to moving a large, broad, "mechanical" type handset with a quartz) is not discernible to the naked eye, but I have already been able to view it with time-lapse iPhone video through a loupe.




    Hope you enjoyed reading this and do let me have your thoughts. Oh, and that verse at the start? It's the the Emperor Meiji’s Clock Poem. Clicky.
    Last edited by JGJG; 6th January 2019 at 14:01. Reason: Re-loading images post Flickr

  2. #2
    Craftsman
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    Wear in good health

  3. #3
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Very nicely written, and a lovely watch!

  4. #4
    Banned
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    Brilliant post, thanks. Love the NSX and the GS. As far as I am concerned the 9F is one of the best watch movements ever made.

  5. #5
    Craftsman
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    I like the cat.














    And the watch if course, but mainly the cat.

  6. #6
    Master
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    Eloquent and informative so thanks. I prefer your colour taste in watches over cars of yesteryear

  7. #7
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    That is a tremendous post about and outstanding watch (and car!)

    Thanks for that

    Dave


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Master
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    Smile

    Lovely review,keen to see how you get on with it.

  9. #9
    Grand Master
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    It's................




























    Ok.

  10. #10
    Craftsman
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    My fave Grand Seiko. Lovely.

  11. #11
    Lovely watch & an enjoyable write-up, thanks.

    I was beaten to the punch on a 'for sale' post re that same GS model this week, and so have just placed an order for a GS SBGX263 in the Jura sale.

    Looking forward to seeing how the lauded GS champagne dial & finishing stacks up in 'person'.

  12. #12
    Apprentice
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    Congrats on the new beautiful incoming and thank you for taking the time to share such a well-written review.

    The well-chosen comparison really allows the reader to share in your recent acquisition.

  13. #13
    Craftsman
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    Great post.
    Great watch - probably the best quartz watch in the world.
    Great car.
    Great cat photo.
    What a good way to start the day.
    Thank you.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jmitch View Post
    I like the cat.
    And the watch if course, but mainly the cat.
    I seem to have developed a thing for photographing my watches on books. This is Chiro, My Love by Nobuyoshi Araki.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by learningtofly View Post
    Very nicely written, and a lovely watch!
    Thanks Tony. It's a ways off your amazing 130th SBGW033, but a chap's gotta start somewhere :)

  16. #16
    Probably upsetting the purists, mine's on a Toshi...

    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
    Craftsman
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    Thoughts on an incoming: Grand Seiko SBGX009

    I’m a huge Seiko fan and that is Lovely write up of a lovely watch . Great pics too
    Last edited by charlies; 18th February 2018 at 14:25.

  18. #18
    What a pleasure it is to read such a thoughtful and well written piece.

    Being small and not overtly masculine, it is easy to overlook this watch and that is what most will do. On the beach it isn’t the pebble which initially grabs you, but in the hand it feels so immediately right and natural as to be almost soothing. Closer examination reveals it to have an intricate curvaceous form finished to a higher standard than the international line SBGX models. There is a distilled simplicity and purity about it coupled with an inherent robustness and modest profile which makes it easy to wear unaware.

    But let’s be honest with ourselves, it is in its own way still a style statement.

  19. #19
    Craftsman
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    That cat looks exactly like mine!!

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan C View Post
    That cat looks exactly like mine!!
    That is your cat Alan. Bit of modelling on the side.

  21. #21
    With apologies (ish) for dragging up this thread, I just came across an interesting post from another owner elsewhere, and thought that anyone looking on this thread for info and views on the SBGX009 might benefit from a looksie: http://forums.timezone.com/index.php...89#msg_7349926

  22. #22
    Master reggie747's Avatar
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    Had one, my very first GS.
    Loved it, gutted that I moved it on actually, but one thing led to another etc etc.



  23. #23
    Master Tokyo Tokei's Avatar
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    Very enjoyable write-up of a lovely watch (with capped second hand!)

    With no summer-time malarkey in Japan, a no-date GS really makes for a simple ever-ready and accurate timepiece. I think I prefer the balance of the dial on this one to its successor the SBGX209 too.

  24. #24
    Master Yorkshiremadmick's Avatar
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    Great review of both Car and watch. Yes I can see your analogy of this watch with the NSX.


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

  25. #25
    It’s come to my attention that the original images have disappeared - ignore this post but I’ll try to re-upload them here via Tapatalk and then knit the new versions back into the OP :)


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  35. #35
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGJG View Post


  36. #36
    Master
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    Thoughts on an incoming: Grand Seiko SBGX009

    Sadly, Grand Seiko seem to be drifting away from their austere and classic design heritage. In pursuit of market share, their designs are moving steadily towards a more ‘modern’ look, which often looks unsure and awkward. Couple that with the endless special and limited editions and you have a brand trying to grow by ignoring their past.
    Which is perhaps why, to me, their simple, austere quartz models are both the the best and the least expensive things in the catalogue.

  37. #37
    Totally agree

    Sent from my SM-G950F using TZ-UK mobile app

  38. #38
    Journeyman
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    Good luck, hope you enjoy


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

  39. #39
    Craftsman
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    Excellent post and a beauty of a watch! Thanks for sharing!

  40. #40
    Master wadsy's Avatar
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    Great post, lovely watch!

  41. #41
    Craftsman Strnglwhank's Avatar
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    I absolutely love the case design - flowing and elegant. Enjoyed reading your thoughts too

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk

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