Back when Grand Seiko announced the SBGW289, their pink dialed limited edition with a smaller, vintage inspired 44GS case, I speculated that it could be a sign we’d see more watches in a general, non-limited release with this same case at some point down the line. This, of course, was not a dangerous prediction to make. It’s basically the Grand Seiko playbook at this point to introduce a new product family via a limited edition, and then follow up models that are more accessible to the general public at a later date. Still, I probably wouldn’t have guessed that we’d see the first of those watches less than four months removed from the original’s announcement. But here we are, right in the middle of Grand Seiko’s big 44GS anniversary year, and we have a pair of new watches featuring this smaller case that you shouldn’t need an AD hookup to purchase.
The previously mentioned SBGW289 was an exciting release for a lot of Grand Seiko enthusiasts because of that case shape, but the pink dial was certainly more of a niche choice by the brand. While a great choice for an LE, a pink dial isn’t quite as versatile and doesn’t cast a wide net in terms of interest from the public. For the first watches in this new case shape that are part of Grand Seiko’s permanent collection (they’ll live in the Heritage line), the brand has gone with decidedly more sober and classic choices.
The SBGW291 has a silver dial with a sunray finish and the SBGW293 has a chocolate brown dial with the same sunray finish. Both dials are quite sparse, featuring the Grand Seiko wordmark near 12:00 and not much else. The hour indicators are the expected diamond cut and faceted applied markers, which really stand out in contrast with the brown dial, and blend in for a cooler and much more reserved look silver dialed watch. Both watches, because of their size and inherent simplicity, give strong vintage vibes. You could easily imagine that the earliest Grand Seiko customers in the 1960s experienced watches that are not too far removed from these at all.
Like the SBGW289, these new watches run on the hand wound 9S64 movement, which is what allows for the slender 11.6mm case height. The diameter comes in at 36.5mm, which is a great medium size that should wear a bit bigger than the numbers would let on thanks to the unique and highly faceted construction of the 44GS case. While these releases are certainly being positioned as dress watches (they each come mounted to matching alligator straps), the 44GS case is quite versatile, and in this size should be able to easily be dressed up or down depending on the strap pairing.
The retail price for both the SBGW291 and the SBGW293 is $5,200, and they’re available now. Grand Seiko