Grand Seiko Announces the SLGH013, Part of their 44GS Anniversary Celebration and Featuring an Ever-Brilliant Steel Case and Bracelet

Sometimes over the course of the last year or so, I’ve really felt like I’ve been on the Grand Seiko beat. That’s not a complaint or a slight at Grand Seiko – they’ve released a ton of new watches and I’m personally a huge fan of the brand, so it’s a pleasure to write about them. But as they’ve gone from one anniversary 44GS release to another (or one Birch to another, etc) I sometimes think to myself that we’re just dealing with small variations here, and only the Grand Seiko obsessives (myself included) could possibly care at this point. Their latest release falls into that familiar 44GS anniversary release strategy (it’s September, folks, we’re in the home stretch), but I think this one rises above the normal limited or special edition for a few reasons, and is truly worth taking a closer look at whether you’re deep into Grand Seiko or a total newcomer to the brand. 


First things first, the SLGH013 is not a limited edition, like many of the recent Grand Seiko drops that we’ve covered recently. This is a permanent addition to the catalog, and represents the first time that a mainline Grand Seiko with an Ever-Brilliant steel bracelet has been part of the collection. Ever-Brilliant steel is Grand Seiko’s proprietary alloy that has a noticeably brighter appearance than their normal steel and is considerably more corrosion resistant. According to Grand Seiko, Ever-Brilliant steel has a PREN (pitting resistance equivalent number) that is 1.7 times higher than that of steel used in “most high-class watches.” This is a premium material that Grand Seiko tends to bring out mainly for special occasions, so it’s a big move to have a new piece with a case and bracelet made out of the stuff that, in theory, anyone could acquire by walking into a boutique, now and on into the future. Like most other 44GS cases, this one measures 40mm in diameter and is 11.7mm thick. 

The dial is light blue and has a texture inspired by Mt. Iwate, the peak that can be seen from Grand Seiko’s studio in Shizukuishi. Mt. Iwate has been the starting point for many Grand Seiko dials over the years, and they typically take the shape of a ridged pattern that brings to mind a mountainous landscape. Here, though, Grand Seiko has gone with Mt. Iwate theme that is perhaps a bit more abstract, and we see a textured pattern that is said to represent snow high atop the mountain. Grand Seiko, of course, has a bunch of snow inspired dials, so this is not exactly new territory for the brand, but it is undoubtedly nice looking. As always with Grand Seiko’s nature inspired dial designs, if it resonates with you, that’s great – but it’s also completely fine if you find it aesthetically pleasing without seeing any connection to Mt. Iwate at all. No prior or future knowledge of what snow actually looks like in this specific location is required to enjoy this watch. 

The SLGH013 is powered by the 9SA5 Hi-Beat movement, which is Grand Seiko’s next generation high frequency caliber with 80 hours of power reserve and their in-house designed dual impulse escapement. This movement made its debut in a limited edition gold watch in early 2020, and since then it has gradually found its way into more and more designs across the Grand Seiko lineup, which can only be seen as a positive development for the brand as they navigate a competitive market. At this early date in the production history of the 9SA5, it’s fair to say that it occupies a definitive upper tier in Grand Seiko’s movement hierarchy without being extremely uncommon. It’s worth noting that the new SLGH013 also represents another example of a next generation caliber finding its way into a new watch that’s outside of Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 Collection, which only happened for the first time earlier this year as the 44GS anniversary celebration began in earnest. 

The retail price of the SLGH013 is $9,500, and deliveries are expected to begin in October. More information can be found at the Grand Seiko website right here

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.