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Thread: Grand Seiko - Most Underwhelmed

  1. #1

    Grand Seiko - Most Underwhelmed

    I was in Kingston this afternoon and stumbled upon the new Grand Seiko display at Chisholm Hunter.

    In the flesh I think they looked mediocre, and on comparison with the cheaper Swiss brands of Raymond Weil, Maurice Lacroix, Baume & Mercier etc. But the prices are very much top drawer.

    I’m sure someone will enlighten me, such as the parts are fashioned on the thighs of Japanese virgins.

    The Tudor display next to it are twice as nice for half the cost.

  2. #2
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    It's not compulsory to like any brand, maybe GS is just not for you

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  3. #3
    Grand Master Raffe's Avatar
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    Their designs will appeal to some and not to others, but their workmanship and attention to detail beats the standards employed by Tudor, Rolex and many others. That will be important for some and not for others.

    Such is life.
    Pfffft

  4. #4
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    They are understated. Attention to precision and detail is way above their price point.

  5. #5
    Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    You need to handle and wear one, and look more closely at the finish and detail.

    Some of their designs lately leave me cold, but the earlier, simple three-handers are among the most beautiful watches I've owned.

    I should have put this in one of the many "Regrets… " threads:





    Unfortunately my rubbish pictures don't capture the way the hands and indices catch the light, or the delicate sunburst finish on the dial, or the mesmerising polish finish on the case. It's hard to describe.

  6. #6
    Craftsman bedlam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    I was in Kingston this afternoon and stumbled upon the new Grand Seiko display at Chisholm Hunter.

    In the flesh I think they looked mediocre, and on comparison with the cheaper Swiss brands of Raymond Weil, Maurice Lacroix, Baume & Mercier etc. But the prices are very much top drawer.

    I’m sure someone will enlighten me, such as the parts are fashioned on the thighs of Japanese virgins.

    The Tudor display next to it are twice as nice for half the cost.
    Looking for flash or to be wowed? GS is probably not for you.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    I was in Kingston this afternoon and stumbled upon the new Grand Seiko display at Chisholm Hunter.

    In the flesh I think they looked mediocre, and on comparison with the cheaper Swiss brands of Raymond Weil, Maurice Lacroix, Baume & Mercier etc. But the prices are very much top drawer.

    I’m sure someone will enlighten me, such as the parts are fashioned on the thighs of Japanese virgins.

    The Tudor display next to it are twice as nice for half the cost.
    When you say “in the flesh” - did you handle them and wear them? Or just look at them from a foot or so? Or just see them through glass?

    They’re not shouty watches, more like a little secret on the wrist :)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    I was in Kingston this afternoon and stumbled upon the new Grand Seiko display at Chisholm Hunter.
    So was I on the way home from work. I’ve looked at the GS display several times. Nice compared to gaudy alternatives but haven’t really grabbed my attention yet. There was a snowflake dial in the display several weeks ago that I liked. Overall, I thought the nicest in the window were a little Hamilton Khaki for about £300 and the Black Bays


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  9. #9
    Master Glen Goyne's Avatar
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    Each to their own ofcourse. What was underwhelming to you? Design? Finish?


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  10. #10
    I have a Timex that I think is nicer than a Day Date therefore all Rolex are rubbish.

  11. #11
    Master
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    It's good to see them in the shops, where people can judge for themselves.

  12. #12
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    I looked at the display at CH in Edinburgh and was underwhelmed, but then they didn't have any of the good Hi-Beat 36000 ones, with or without GMT. Or the new quartz GMTs.
    You can live in your car but you can't drive your house.

  13. #13
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    I totally agree with the OP. I was really looking forward to seeing them and buying one in Japan while I was there the other month. The bracelets especially, imho, felt flimsy and poor.

    Luckily for me I'd bought a Longines VHP in Heathrow on the way out which I was very impressed with.

  14. #14
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    Love my two.



  15. #15
    Master sweets's Avatar
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    I think GS can ony really be appreciate through a loupe, where the precision of each machined facet of the indices and of the hands (plus the dial textures) can be properly seen.
    Macro photos on here also do the same job, but through a window? That's not the way to appreciate their strengths.
    Dave

  16. #16

    Grand Seiko - Most Underwhelmed

    I was underwhelmed when I bought my first GS SBGW001 off the forum, it just didn't do anything for me and my initial thought was to move it on but I stuck with it. Then it clicked, the detail on the dial was wonderful, size was perfect for me (although I was use to larger) and the finish is superb. I have since added the SBGX061 to the collection.


  17. #17
    Ruling out a brand based on a few models is a bit rash. I’ve found that most GS leave me cold, but a few really hit the spot. Luckily I’ve come across a couple of the range which are subtly sublime.

    Keep looking.


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  18. #18
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    They are definitely growers. You have to wear them for a bit and see how they react in different lighting, get to know them a little. Then one day you’ll look at your wrist and think, hang on, that’s actually perfect. People are suspicious of the bracelets because a very heavy solid link bracelet seems impressive, but the GS are the most comfortable of any watch I’ve owned. Perhaps not something that will motivate you to buy like an Overseas or Royal Oak bracelet, but effective and they seem to last - I wouldn’t assume that heavy means good, certainly not from a comfort point of view.

    I’m no GS zealot, the divers and chronos leave me cold and I think the autos should all be thinner. But that still leaves more watches in the range that I’d happily wear than most other brands. I suspect this is more a discussion about style than quality though. If you prefer the look of those other brands then sure, why shouldn’t you. They’re not for everyone, you have to like the design language and the brand story. And they’re expensive enough that it’s fair enough to ask if they’re worth it, particularly at UK prices. I think I preferred them being a good value secret to having ‘super luxury’ prices, and still prefer the more attainable quartz at used prices. But they do have something about them and it’s quite addictive.

  19. #19
    Journeyman ChromeJob's Avatar
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    Some people say precisely this about Rolex, PP, Breitling, et al. “I looked at one, don’t see what all the fuss is about. Way overpriced.” For ALL these brands, it may help to know about the manufacturing, or the attention to detail, or the obsession about fit and finish. For some, the history of the brand or the vintage watch in view matters a lot.

    As someone said, a loupe can reveal detailing that is otherwise lost until you see the light catch them (like diamonds). A glance in a stores != wearing and admiring a watch over time.

    Or ... maybe you’re just not into prestige watches, or only into a certain brand that commands some cachet. No fault there.

    As far as opinions go, I tend to side with those who’ve spent more time examining and appreciating a watch/model/brand than those who “looked, wasn’t impressed.” No insult intended, I just respect the viewpoint of someone who’s invested more into developing their interest.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onelasttime View Post
    You need to handle and wear one, and look more closely at the finish and detail.

    Unfortunately my rubbish pictures don't capture the way the hands and indices catch the light, or the delicate sunburst finish on the dial, or the mesmerising polish finish on the case. It's hard to describe.
    Sums it up perfectly for me.

  21. #21
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    When my SBGH001 arrived I was underwhelmed by it, I'd seen lots of lovely detail pictures of it as the three or four previous owners listed it on SC. It didn't help that it arrived at about the same time as an X33 Skywalker and a Flightmaster - three watches I've wanted for a long time. But then I started wearing the Seiko, to give it a good go. And then one day I stuck it on a leather strap and it all clicked. I don't have an issue with the quality of the bracelet but I think it distracted you from the dial, or there was just too much silver metal and not enough dial. Either way it looks superb now and I wear the watch three or four days of the week, which is bad news for the rest of the collection. As has been mentioned it's hard to describe - and even harder to photograph - how the light catches the dial, hands and case, and how the dial changes colour in different light.
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  22. #22
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    I think they look worse on a bracelet. On leather you really get the full detail.

  23. #23
    Craftsman trott3r's Avatar
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    My grand seiko spring drive SBGA099 was underwelming to start with.
    It is as someone else has mentioned only really appreciated when you have worn it a while and see how it catches the light and the purity of the crystal.

    It doesnt help being winter and looking at it in artificial light.
    Natural light seems to make them look better.

  24. #24
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    I put all my Grand Seikos on leather straps; they look much better like that.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onelasttime View Post
    You need to handle and wear one, and look more closely at the finish and detail.

    Some of their designs lately leave me cold, but the earlier, simple three-handers are among the most beautiful watches I've owned.

    I should have put this in one of the many "Regrets… " threads:





    Unfortunately my rubbish pictures don't capture the way the hands and indices catch the light, or the delicate sunburst finish on the dial, or the mesmerising polish finish on the case. It's hard to describe.
    Which model is that? Look so much nicer on that leather strap to me.

  26. #26
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    Top quality, under the radar watches. I loved mine, and now asp have a Seiko MM300 which I love for the same reasons as my Gw5000-1Jf to other it’s just a seiko or Casio.


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  27. #27
    Journeyman ChromeJob's Avatar
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    One thing the GS' have going for them, is stealth prestige. To some chav, it probably just looks like a 100 quid Seiko. But when you LOOK at it, you start to see the exquisite sparkle.

  28. #28
    Master kaiserphoenix's Avatar
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    Design is ofcourse subjective but i find many of GS design not that great or rather quite plain in many ways.

    The case and hand finishing however are top grade, on par with anything the swiss has to offer including and surpassing patek or vacheron etc.

    Movement architecture again needs improvement as they are unecessarily thick and contrary to popular conception they are NOT as accurate as say Rolex or Patek seal standard. Check the allowances on the GS movements and they are far more lenient.


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  29. #29
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    I'd agree that GS movements are generally less precise than those from firms such as Rolex; where GS score is in quality of finish. Personally, I think they are top-rank with their quartz and Spring-drive products, less so with purely mechanical movements.
    Given higher prices, they also need to offer longer guarantees. They need to try a little harder because the European competition is tough. Still, that said, an attractive alternative.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiny View Post
    They are understated. Attention to precision and detail is way above their price point.
    Such a pity they have 'Seiko' on the the dial.

  31. #31
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave in Wales View Post
    Such a pity they have 'Seiko' on the the dial.
    Yes, it would be much better if they were rebranded with another name, not made available to the general public and only sold to the kind of people who stick them on here a few days later for a nice £2k+ profit. Seiko has a fantastic history and the first Grand Seiko came out around 1960, with lots of the current designs modern versions of the originals. I'm pretty sure they make GS in-house too. It's nothing different to Honda building the NSX (the original cars, that is).
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  32. #32
    Master Der Amf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave in Wales View Post
    Such a pity they have 'Seiko' on the the dial.
    Quote Originally Posted by NickRed71 View Post
    The new ones don’t.
    Such a pity the fantastic SEIKO logo has been abandoned. My eyes have finally got used to the naff Gothic script used in Motörhead Grand Seiko logo, but they still feel the absence of the Seiko logo.

  33. #33
    Craftsman bedlam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paskinner View Post
    I'd agree that GS movements are generally less precise than those from firms such as Rolex
    If you know anything about the history of competitions for movement accuracy that is a strange claim.

    https://www.grand-seiko.com/global-en/about/history
    Last edited by bedlam; 3rd December 2018 at 12:36.

  34. #34
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Amf View Post
    Such a pity the fantastic SEIKO logo has been abandoned. My eyes have finally got used to the naff Gothic script used in Motörhead Grand Seiko logo, but they still feel the absence of the Seiko logo.
    Hasn't the logo been in that script for a while though?

    https://www.grand-seiko.com/uk-en/about/history
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  35. #35
    Master Der Amf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy100 View Post
    Hasn't the logo been in that script for a while though?

    https://www.grand-seiko.com/uk-en/about/history
    Oh yes, it's got over fifty years of history. I rather like late sixties examples where you get SEIKO in the top half and only GS in the bottom half, just enough to differentiate it from KS or LM. Or the ones where GS is in Gothic, but Grand Seiko in something more plain, eg



    Anyway, just wanted to express my love for the SEIKO logo. Having a Seiko without it would bother me. Hurrah for having to shop at the other end of the ladder
    Last edited by Der Amf; 3rd December 2018 at 13:09.

  36. #36
    Master PreacherCain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    I was in Kingston this afternoon and stumbled upon the new Grand Seiko display at Chisholm Hunter.

    In the flesh I think they looked mediocre, and on comparison with the cheaper Swiss brands of Raymond Weil, Maurice Lacroix, Baume & Mercier etc. But the prices are very much top drawer.

    I’m sure someone will enlighten me, such as the parts are fashioned on the thighs of Japanese virgins.

    The Tudor display next to it are twice as nice for half the cost.
    As with so much else, it's in the eye of the beholder. FWIW I feel the same way about Rolex: I understand why others love them, but I just don't get the attraction. Doesn't make anyone right, or wrong.

    For me, the attraction of GS is less about the imagination or originality of the design than it is the bewildering attention to detail in execution; for example, the power reserve cutout on my Snowflake - even the inside surface of the cutout is mirror-polished, such that it reflects the (perfectly polished and faceted) markers and the subdial texture. Despite being titanium, the case sides are beautifully polished, and the slight inwards rake of the case sides adds a degree of grace and lightness to the whole shape. These are all tiny factors and individually don't matter - but their cumulative impact on the whole is, for me, considerable.

    As a separate point, I also enjoy the fact that Seiko make everything in-house. Vertical integration of that sort speaks to me of a kind of purity of purpose. Again, not objective and very possibly not relevant - but I like it. :)

    Finally, nobody else makes Spring Drive. And I think it's ace.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedlam View Post
    If you know anything about the history of competitions for movement accuracy that is a strange claim.

    https://www.grand-seiko.com/global-en/about/history
    It is based on my ownership of several Grand Seiko mechanical watches, including hi-beats. None has been quite as precise as any of my Rolexes. Indeed, GS do not claim the same level of precision in their published specs. Whether it 'matters' is a personal thing. And, of course, other people may have found a different result.
    Now, the spring-drive is another matter.

  38. #38
    I quite like mine :) the dial and hands are amazing (imo) and the sweep of the second hand is really mesmerising.

    Having wanted a sub for 20 years I was totally underwhelmed with it when I got it and moved it on quickly, each to his own.


  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by TheTigerUK View Post
    I quite like mine :) the dial and hands are amazing (imo) and the sweep of the second hand is really mesmerising.

    Having wanted a sub for 20 years I was totally underwhelmed with it when I got it and moved it on quickly, each to his own.
    Hi John... good to see you here showing your fabulous Titanium SBGC005.

    Here's my SBGC013 I bought new a couple of years ago. I absolutely love it.
    It doesn't get better than this!....


  40. #40
    And then there's the amazing Snowflake. I bought this one from the forum about 3 years ago.
    I love the understated beauty, the driven snow effect of the dial, and the gentle sweep of the mesmerising second hand.
    Made of bright titanium this must be one of the lightest and most comfortable quality watches in the world. Fabulous.


  41. #41
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    I took 17 watches with me to the recent Bristol GTG. The one which had the most positive comments was the Grand Seiko sbgj021


  42. #42
    Master shalako's Avatar
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    I remember during the summer I was sat outside with some friends from my local tennis club and one of them who is not big into watches wanted to have a look at the Grand Seiko Snowflake I was wearing as he had become intrigued by some of the different watches I had been wearing of late.
    I took it off and he looked at it really closely and tried to guess the value and between three of them they come up with £100-150. I guess that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective, great from a stealth point of view but also interesting that too non WIS people it looks like any other Seiko you could pick up from H Samuel even after close inspection......
    Last edited by shalako; 3rd December 2018 at 21:59.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by shalako View Post
    I remember during the summer I was sat outside with some friends from my local tennis club and one of them who is not big into watches wanted to have a look at the Grand Seiko Snowflake I was wearring as he had become intrigued by some of the different watches I had been wearing of late.
    I took it off and he looked at it really closely and tried to guess the value and between three of them they come up with £100-150. I guess that could be a good thing or a bad think depending on your perspective, great from a stealth point of view but also interesting that too non WIS people it looks like any other Seiko you could pick up from H Samuel even after close inspection......
    A lot of it comes down to people's reactions to the Seiko logo. Some probably think it's Japanese for 'Cheap' and can't see past that. If you'd put the logo of a certain other famous brand on the dial they'd have looked at exactly the same watch and confidently told you it cost £5k. That's life...

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim W View Post
    And then there's the amazing Snowflake. I bought this one from the forum about 3 years ago.
    I love the understated beauty, the driven snow effect of the dial, and the gentle sweep of the mesmerising second hand.
    Made of bright titanium this must be one of the lightest and most comfortable quality watches in the world. Fabulous.

    That truly is fabulous. And i'm truly jealous.

  45. #45
    Master PreacherCain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shalako View Post
    I remember during the summer I was sat outside with some friends from my local tennis club and one of them who is not big into watches wanted to have a look at the Grand Seiko Snowflake I was wearring as he had become intrigued by some of the different watches I had been wearing of late.
    I took it off and he looked at it really closely and tried to guess the value and between three of them they come up with £100-150. I guess that could be a good thing or a bad think depending on your perspective, great from a stealth point of view but also interesting that too non WIS people it looks like any other Seiko you could pick up from H Samuel even after close inspection......
    To be perfectly honest, that pretty much underlines the appeal for me; I don't really like "showy" and the stealth aspect is attractive in itself.

  46. #46
    Grand Master Foxy100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PreacherCain View Post
    To be perfectly honest, that pretty much underlines the appeal for me; I don't really like "showy" and the stealth aspect is attractive in itself.
    I always thought no one would mug me for my Marine Chronometer but the GS isn't going to be of interest to anyone but a committed WIS robber.
    You can live in your car but you can't drive your house.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy100 View Post
    I always thought no one would mug me for my Marine Chronometer but the GS isn't going to be of interest to anyone but a committed WIS robber.
    Which may be me.

    Damn it i've just revealed myself!
    Last edited by WillHarris2306; 3rd December 2018 at 19:20.

  48. #48
    Master zelig's Avatar
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    That’s exactly the response I want others to have when I wear this...



    I work in a client facing role - so don’t want misconceptions with perceived wisdom on ‘flashy’ brands.

    This is just a Seiko to most.

    But to me - it’s a Grand Seiko (said in a Yorkshire accent) - & that matters only to me.

    z

  49. #49
    Master hhhh's Avatar
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    Definitely a brand that need to be viewed first hand to fully appreciate.

    And to prove that here is a shocking photo of mine...


  50. #50
    Master mindforge's Avatar
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    I completely like the stealth under the radar factor, but recently for the first time someone recognised my GS for what it was, rather than assuming it was a Rolex. I was in New York at a client's office and he recognised it as the Snowflake and wanted to see it as he'd never seen one before and said not many people have them.

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