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Thread: Thoughts on Grand Seiko?

  1. #1
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    Thoughts on Grand Seiko?

    Hi,
    I have tended to dip in and out of watches for probably the last 20 years, I've had several Omegas, Explorer, Sea Dweller, Submariner ceramic and Zenith, all but a couple gone and have been wearing a smart watch for the last few years.

    I was on the waiting list and was offered a Sub date and a CHNR during the pandemic, however I had to turn them down (yes, I am still kicking myself, but in truth I had no choice as my contract job was under severe threat) and consequently am now off the waiting list.

    Circumstances now changed, job is secure for the next couple of years, and have also been left some money recently.

    It's my 60th in a couple of months and yet again I'm thinking of a, watch to mark the occasion. Can't bring myself to plead to go on waiting list again and tbh I'm not sure I haven't looked at Rolexs in the past (almost) purely based on "kudos" residual value, although I did really like the CHNR.....

    Anyway, I recently bought a Seiko King Turtle, great price in the sale and have to say I love it, very comfortable and great looking, I think.

    To get to the point of my post, I've been looking at the Grand Seikos and really like the Snowflake and some of the high beats. Looking at reviews they seem to be well thought of with some excellent high accuracy movements. Just wanted to get people's thoughts who do or have owned them, does the quality/finish stand out etc. I haven't seen any in the flesh so will have a look in store once I shake off this bloody covid.

    Will probably keep an eye out on the usual places for second hand as there seems to be quite an initial drop from new to second hand, I'm looking to keep long term but makes sense to me to try and eliminate initial depreciation.

    Would welcome any experience/thoughts on the Grand Seikos?

    Thanks Michael

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  2. #2
    Master reggie747's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmagla View Post

    Would welcome any experience/thoughts on the Grand Seikos?
    Go for it. Excellent quality watches, well made and very articulate in design/detail.
    Buy 2nd hand because for some bizarre reason, they tend to depreciate after the first ownership (purchase). Some of the chronos tend to wear big with outlandish pushers on them but by and large, beautiful watches.

    A shameless pic of one of mine to highlight it.


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by reggie747 View Post
    Go for it. Excellent quality watches, well made and very articulate in design/detail.
    Buy 2nd hand because for some bizarre reason, they tend to depreciate after the first ownership (purchase). Some of the chronos tend to wear big with outlandish pushers on them but by and large, beautiful watches.

    A shameless pic of one of mine to highlight it.

    That a real beauty! Is it a standard or limited edition model?

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  4. #4
    Master reggie747's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmagla View Post
    That a real beauty! Is it a standard or limited edition model?
    It's a standard SBGJ201...

  5. #5
    They are truly gorgeous





    Some people don't like the bracelets but I'm quite happy.

  6. #6
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    Lovely quality - hands and indices just sparkled on my sbgx261. Wish I had never sold it


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gyp View Post
    They are truly gorgeous





    Some people don't like the bracelets but I'm quite happy.
    Lovely photos, what are the gripes about the bracelets?

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  8. #8
    The bracelets seem to be a bit of an afterthought. I owned the GS Ti Diver and the bracelet and clasp was EXACTLY the same as that on the Orient Sat Diver albeit with a different stamp on the clasp. The ratchet adjustment was just a pressed steel affair. Functional but for the money and the exclusive GS moniker I would expect more. The watch itself though was exceptional in every way.

  9. #9
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    Very well made beautiful watches with precision engineering. For me though too dressy. Some of the examples above would be in my collection if the handset and hour markers had lume and were a bit more sporty. Also, the bracelets have very little in the way of micro adjustment and no half links. For me itís a case of close but no cigar.

  10. #10
    Craftsman jimmbob's Avatar
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    My Snowflake is amazing. Superbly made, and fantastic to look at.


  11. #11
    Master zelig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuno1 View Post
    Very well made beautiful watches with precision engineering. For me though too dressy..
    Ahem, GS also make diversÖ



    z

  12. #12
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    I'm wearing a snowflake right now and it's close to being the perfect watch. You can wear it with anything, looks amazing and keeps near perfect time (currently running 6 seconds fast and I last set it at the start of December).

    I've never really got the complaints about the bracelet, no micro adjustment but that keeps the clasp nice and discreet and the way the links work you can get it spot on. It's a faff at first but then you never think about it. Looks great on a strap as well.

    If you want something real to complain about; titanium is not for everyone (works for me, some people like a bit of weight), spring drive watches are a bit chunky, and some people don't like the power reserve (I find it a bit pointless but I like the way it looks against the pattern on the dial). Also there's a special edition every 5 minutes and the prices are creeping up. These things may or may not bother you.

    Have you seen one in the metal?

  13. #13
    Grand Master ryanb741's Avatar
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    They'll certainly look more special than the Rolexes you were on the list for so. Definitely need to see them in the metal. Hopefully you feel better soon and then I'd advise a day trip to London and head to the Seiko Boutique

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zelig View Post
    Ahem, GS also make diversÖ



    z
    They do but they are massive and I am not a fan of the case shape on those.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanb741 View Post
    They'll certainly look more special than the Rolexes you were on the list for so. Definitely need to see them in the metal. Hopefully you feel better soon and then I'd advise a day trip to London and head to the Seiko Boutique
    Located in Newcastle, so will trawl the local AD's to see what they have in, Goldsmiths is the best, never had much luck negotiating in there, but also in Florida in February so if not purchased by then will see what the prices are like over there.

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  16. #16
    Master M1011's Avatar
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    I like them and the SBGN005 9F GMT is up there on my wish list.

  17. #17
    Grand Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    The dials are mesmerising. But they never lasted long with me. Canít quite say why. Maybe the case width to depth ratio not to my liking.

    "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly soĒ. HHGTTG

  18. #18
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    I agree with the bracelet comments. Another really minor comment that most people donít really care about is that the presentation of GS watches is not at the same level as high end Swiss watches. Things like the unboxing experience, box, watch cushion, etc feel really cheap for a high end watch manufacturer.

  19. #19
    I've had 4, still have one. Would echo Martyn's comments about the case height being a bit chunky for some. And I think the HAQ or Springdrive are the pick of the marque; it seems contrary to chose a brand that does this technology so well and settle for a mechanical movement that can be had in so many alternatives.


  20. #20
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    Only Berryís do GS in Newcastle. They started with a decent selection but donít seem to be replenishing it. I had a look a couple of days ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmagla View Post
    Located in Newcastle, so will trawl the local AD's to see what they have in, Goldsmiths is the best, never had much luck negotiating in there, but also in Florida in February so if not purchased by then will see what the prices are like over there.

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    Only Berryís do GS in Newcastle. They started with a decent selection but donít seem to be replenishing it. I had a look a couple of days ago.
    Aah, that's not good then, thanks for the heads up.

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  22. #22
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    I owned a white quartz but a chance came up to get a Snowflake so I reluctantly let it go. Both are wonderful watches.
    The dial, polishing and attention to detail on the Snowflake are better than any watch I have owned. Although the case on it wears slightly on the large size it is again beautifully finished, especially for titanium.
    The packaging is quite simple but I have no issues with that. Rolex is not great either and other companies go OTT in my view.
    If you canít find an AD in Newcastle try Berryís in Leeds or York and CW Sellors in Leeds.

  23. #23
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    I have 2 in the line up currently. An older Seiko grand Seiko marked model non spring drive and a more recent shunbun spring from the four seasons collection which I picked up on this forum. I have to say, of my current collection which includes Rolex and Omega, they are by far the most beautiful watches. I catch myself just looking at them, which I don't really do with the others. There in lies the the problem, I love them but because they are so "pretty" I never wear them in any situation that I think they could come even close to a bump or bruise ( I know they are likely robust enough for daily activities). I'm worried about scratching the zaratsu polish etc... However they are definitely both keepers.
    Pics taken from the webs




  24. #24
    Master 50kopek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGJG View Post
    I've had 4, still have one. Would echo Martyn's comments about the case height being a bit chunky for some. And I think the HAQ or Springdrive are the pick of the marque; it seems contrary to chose a brand that does this technology so well and settle for a mechanical movement that can be had in so many alternatives.

    That looks very nice. Which model is it?

  25. #25
    Journeyman theancientmariner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmagla View Post
    Located in Newcastle, so will trawl the local AD's to see what they have in, Goldsmiths is the best, never had much luck negotiating in there, but also in Florida in February so if not purchased by then will see what the prices are like over there.
    I'd honestly take a run down to London (train from Newcastle to Kings Cross) and either spend the day or a couple wandering around the various watch shops and boutiques. While you're there, call in to the Grand Seiko boutique in Knightsbridge and you'll meet the nicest bunch of sales people of any boutique. Thoroughly recommended, just a shame it's a relatively small boutique - lots on display though.

    As for the watches themselves, definitely amongst the best quality watches out there and in my opinion, they make Rolex look second rate. I agree with an earlier comment that they do, overall, tend to look more of a dress watch than a sports watch although they do have a number of sports variants.

    if they have a flaw, I would say it's entirely perception. Where as Rolex have managed to gain a reputation with the general public as the watch to show off your wealth with, Grand Seiko are relatively unknown in the UK and like it or not, most people will wonder why you have paid potentially over £5k for a Seiko, a brand sold in their local H Samuel. Whether that bothers you or not is entirely up to you.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by theancientmariner View Post
    I'd honestly take a run down to London (train from Newcastle to Kings Cross) and either spend the day or a couple wandering around the various watch shops and boutiques. While you're there, call in to the Grand Seiko boutique in Knightsbridge and you'll meet the nicest bunch of sales people of any boutique. Thoroughly recommended, just a shame it's a relatively small boutique - lots on display though.

    As for the watches themselves, definitely amongst the best quality watches out there and in my opinion, they make Rolex look second rate. I agree with an earlier comment that they do, overall, tend to look more of a dress watch than a sports watch although they do have a number of sports variants.

    if they have a flaw, I would say it's entirely perception. Where as Rolex have managed to gain a reputation with the general public as the watch to show off your wealth with, Grand Seiko are relatively unknown in the UK and like it or not, most people will wonder why you have paid potentially over £5k for a Seiko, a brand sold in their local H Samuel. Whether that bothers you or not is entirely up to you.
    Does the boutique offer discounts though? I've popped in before and it's a good place to try stuff, they also have cool models of the movements to look at, but never really thought of going there with serious intent to buy given decent discounts are available on most Grand Seiko models (granted not all!) and my perhaps misplaced impression was the boutique was limited to RRP.

  27. #27
    Master pacifichrono's Avatar
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    I've never seen a model that appealed to me, and never understood the logic in paying big dollars for its movement. But that's me.

  28. #28
    I currently own a SBGA407 and the SBGY007 both very similar in looks on the dial colour but both very different in size and wear.

    I find them beautiful watches and never have I been disappointed with the quality. Like many have said already, the pictures donít do the watch any favours, itís a watch you need to see and feel to appreciate.

    SBGA407




    SBGY007





    The 007 the right one has a much thinner case and fits superbly.


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  29. #29
    Craftsman djjuk's Avatar
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    I bought my first GS recently - a 9F quartz GMT variant (SBGN003), and I have been really pleased with the overall quality and attention to detail. It punches well above its price point IMO and the 9F accuracy is outstanding.



    Agreed with other comments that the bracelet is probably the weakest component, but as it wears so well on leather or rubber, which I prefer, it's not a problem for me.

  30. #30
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    I too have bought a 9f85 quartz GS, the same as 'Gyp' earlier in the thread, which arrived over Christmas. I love it and the Doxa Sub and Omega haven't seen light of day since.
    In my view, the dial, fit and finish, case and handset and the case polishing are the real standouts, better than any other watches I've owned.
    The bracelet has no microadjust but with the two half links provided I got the right fit after a couple of attempts.
    I would highly recommend going to see them in person as there are lots of options.
    I would say either go quartz for 2-3k, as these are quartz watches on another level, or spring drive for around 4.5 -6k. Spring drives are only available from GS and are insanely accurate. These tend to be thicker cased though

    Needs a picture ...



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  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by jimmer42 View Post
    Spring drives are only available from GS and are insanely accurate. These tend to be thicker cased though
    They have started to do a thinner case now for the spring drive. SBGY007 (Left) and SBGA407 (Right) the 007 being the later model with a different movement.




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  32. #32
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    Until you see one in the flesh I don't think you can make a decision.
    Try not to get into the big rolex vs grand seiko debate... if you want rolex then wait for rolex but if you want something different then grand seiko are definitely that.
    I sold my Tudor black bay to fund my grand seiko bought from this forum and I've not regretted it, in fact its the watch I reach for over any others at the moment.
    The price is definitely moving upwards and grand seiko is a more expensive option than say 3 years ago and as others have said people will think your mad for paying big money for a watch with seiko on the dial.. buy a good one 2nd hand and I don't think you'll regret it.

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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by M1011 View Post
    Does the boutique offer discounts though? I've popped in before and it's a good place to try stuff, they also have cool models of the movements to look at, but never really thought of going there with serious intent to buy given decent discounts are available on most Grand Seiko models (granted not all!) and my perhaps misplaced impression was the boutique was limited to RRP.
    FWIW they told me there was zero chance of a discount when I went in there. And there's plenty of discounts available elsewhere as you mention. Very nice and helpful though and well worth a visit.

  34. #34
    Worth noting that the thickness thing comes down in part to which model you choose.

    <grabs micrometer>

    My GS:

    SGBP013 - quartz, no display back - 10.5mm
    SBGJ001 - hi beat GMT, display back - 14.4mm

    For comparison, reaching into the watch box:

    Seiko 5106-9000, auto, no display back - 10.1mm
    Speedbird PRS22 - auto, no display back, 11.5mm
    Bremont Airco, auto, display back - 12.4mm
    Precista PRS18Q - quartz, no display back - 12.5mm
    Tag Heuer 1000M Super Pro - auto, no display back - 14.1mm
    Smiths Everest PRS25 - auto, no display back - 14.1mm
    Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch - hand wind, no display back - 14.4mm
    G-shock MTG - quartz, no display back - 16.6mm

    That was interesting.

    The SGBP013 is right at the slim end of the collection, beaten only by a Seiko from the 1970's. The SBGJ001 is at the top end, just beaten by the huge G-shock, but the surprise is that the Moonwatch is the same and Everest and Super Pro and very close behind.

    The SBGJ001 feels thicker on the wrist than the Moonwatch, so I suspect case shape and aspect ratio (height/width) will have a lot to do with it. The Moonwatch may well feel slimmer because it is broader.

    Well, that was an interesting experiment and taught me that measurements alone can't tell you how it will feel on the wrist and there's no alternative to trying in the metal

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by zelig View Post
    Ahem, GS also make divers…
    They certainly do.





    This is the only GS I've had & I was very impressed with the quality.
    Last edited by andy tims; 5th January 2022 at 11:40.
    Andy

    Wanted - Damasko DA38 or DC80 Green - not the black versions.

  36. #36
    Master zelig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuno1 View Post
    They do but they are massive and I am not a fan of the case shape on those.
    It was the case shape (& the 9F quartz movement) that really appealed to me on this one.

    It'd be boring if we all liked the same.

    z

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmagla View Post
    Hi,
    To get to the point of my post, I've been looking at the Grand Seikos and really like the Snowflake and some of the high beats. Looking at reviews they seem to be well thought of with some excellent high accuracy movements. Just wanted to get people's thoughts who do or have owned them, does the quality/finish stand out etc. I haven't seen any in the flesh so will have a look in store once I shake off this bloody covid.

    Will probably keep an eye out on the usual places for second hand as there seems to be quite an initial drop from new to second hand, I'm looking to keep long term but makes sense to me to try and eliminate initial depreciation.

    Would welcome any experience/thoughts on the Grand Seikos?
    I bought my first GS - a Snowflake around a month ago. I did make a trip to my local-ish AD to look at a few different models, including the Snowflake and the newer slightly smaller cased Spring Drive GMT (SBGE255).

    I did ask about discounts/movement on price and was told Grand Seiko are being much stricter with ADs in that regard and so it was RRP only.

    A bit of digging turned up that Watches of Mayfair (https://watchesofmayfair.com/brand/grand-seiko) - which seem to get good reviews - are offering new GS at under RRP, although they aren't ADs, for whatever difference that makes. CW Sellors don't appear to be listed as ADs on the GS site either.

    Anyways, I ended up picking up my very tidy Snowflake secondhand and I'm very impressed with it generally. As with others, I'd definitely recommend handling the Grand Seikos in person if you can - they look much better in person than most photos and the light really catches the dials, hands, batons and case in a way that just doesn't come over in photos.

    For the Snowflake, being titanium, you probably want to be sure you're happy with the lighter weight - it was initially a little surprising to me (I'd swapped from a Sinn 857, which is pretty chunky, when the Snowflake arrived) but after a while I found the Snowflake sits well on the wrist and the slightly lighter weight is a good thing.
    For other models, some Grand Seiko cases can run on the thicker side, and again, it's a personal thing if that works for you or not. I was a little disappointed with the proportions of the Spring Drive GMTs in the metal.

    I find the Snowflake's bracelet very comfortable, although it took me a couple of tries to get it sized just right as there's no micro-adjustment on the clasp (which is small and unobtrusive because of it), but there are both half and full sized links available to get a good fit.

    I was a little surprised that the date change on the Spring Drive starts rolling for most of the hour from 11 to midnight before ticking over, but it's not the end of the world. 3 day power reserve is rather welcome as I can wear something else and not have to reset the watch after the weekend. After almost a month it's currently running at +5s which isn't to be sniffed at.


  38. #38
    Master reggie747's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 50kopek View Post
    That looks very nice. Which model is it?
    Looks to be an SBGX209

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kippax View Post
    They have started to do a thinner case now for the spring drive. SBGY007 (Left) and SBGA407 (Right) the 007 being the later model with a different movement.




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    Good to know.....I could see a Spring drive in my future

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  40. #40
    Master Glen Goyne's Avatar
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    Love my snowflake and keep looking at it. Considering adding a blue dial quartz, have tried both versions and canít choose between them 😀.

  41. #41
    Master 50kopek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reggie747 View Post
    Looks to be an SBGX209
    Thanks!

  42. #42
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    I love my two quartz divers - they are hefty, large watches but beautifully finished, superbly legible and very comfortable, aided by the crown at 4 o'clock (they are an SBGX335 and an SBGX337).

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  43. #43
    Grand Master ryanb741's Avatar
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    For those buying the GS quartzes as the pinnacle of quartz, please also consider the Citizen Chronomaster. They are as well finished as the GS but have arguably a superior movement than the 9f as the movements in the The Citizen range are solar powered and with perpetual calendars. As standard they are accurate to 5 seconds a year however there are variants at hefty prices that are accurate to 1 second per year.

    You will need to import from Asia however

  44. #44
    when I manage to get back into the City Iím going to try and take a look at the white birch

    Assuming the dial isnít too silver ( think jlc) then it could find itís way up to the top of the list.

  45. #45
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    Thanks for all your thoughts and comments, I'm definately interested in one, probably snowflake or more likely hi beat GMT, will have to find somewhere to view them a little farther afield.

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  46. #46
    Grand Master ryanb741's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j17ykp View Post
    when I manage to get back into the City Iím going to try and take a look at the white birch

    Assuming the dial isnít too silver ( think jlc) then it could find itís way up to the top of the list.
    It is very silver TBH which is what put me off

  47. #47
    Master SeanST150's Avatar
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    I'm certainly a fan, and currently have 2. The hi-beat GMT and the new Suwa Lake. I absolutely love them, the finishing and dials are top notch. I've always found a good fit with the bracelets.

    I've just bought the Suwa Lake to commemorate my first born, due in May. As such I'll be moving the GMT on when I can be bothered to list it.


  48. #48
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    I'm getting more and more interested in Grand Seiko as time goes by. Popped by the boutique in Knightsbridge the other day & can confirm that the staff there are refreshingly pleasant & friendly. Very different to the experience of some high end boutiques. I'm not generally a fan of overly light watches, so that worries me a little with the snowflake, and the bracelets in general I can take or leave, but as others have said, in the metal they are things of great beauty.

  49. #49
    Craftsman trott3r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanb741 View Post
    For those buying the GS quartzes as the pinnacle of quartz, please also consider the Citizen Chronomaster. They are as well finished as the GS but have arguably a superior movement than the 9f as the movements in the The Citizen range are solar powered and with perpetual calendars. As standard they are accurate to 5 seconds a year however there are variants at hefty prices that are accurate to 1 second per year.

    You will need to import from Asia however
    Yeah they are beauts heres mine:

    Citizen e168 Bezel removed.jpg

  50. #50
    Grand Master ryanb741's Avatar
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    Lovely with the Washi paper dial

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