In the midst of Watches & Wonders, Grand Seiko dropped a surprise release that was not technically part of the show at all. The new SBGW283 Kishun and the SBGW285 Byōka are the latest watches to make use of Grand Seiko’s excellent 37mm Excellence Collection case and 9S64 manually wound movement. You probably remember that a trio of these watches in different shades of green caused something of a stir late last summer, and those limited editions were snapped up almost before they made it to dealers. These new references are similar in execution, but are not limited, so represent an opportunity for collectors who really love the style but might have missed out last year.
Like many of Grand Seiko’s most successful releases over the last few years, these are both inspired by seasonal changes and rooted in Japanese culture. The SBGW283 has a sky blue dial meant to evoke early summer breezes, while the SBGW285 has a green dial that represents late summer, when the days get shorter and vegetation in the Iwate prefecture is reaching maturity. Both dials have a light texture that appears to be similar, if not exactly the same, as the watches that were released last year in the same case.
At a hair over 37mm, the Excellence Collection case that Grand Seiko is using here is one of the unsung heroes of their entire lineup. It’s a size that’s pretty much perfect for a dress watch, and because of the playful tones and textures on these dials, they’re easy to dress down as an easy to wear casual watch. As a watch on the more formal end of the spectrum, this one is heavier on the highly polished surfaces and lighter on the beveling and dramatic transitions found on, for example, 44GS style cases, but a close look at the zaratsu polished surfaces on this case is quite rewarding, and reveals that Grand Seiko doesn’t cut corners on their more affordable pieces.
The 9S64 movement is wound by hand visible through the caseback, and offers a power reserve of 72 hours. The watches come mounted to crocodile leather straps in colors complementing their respective dials.
The SBGW283 and SBGW285 are both available immediately through Grand Seiko authorized retailers, and as mentioned at the top, are not limited editions. The retail price is $4,800. Grand Seiko