Introducing the Limited Edition Grand Seiko SBGJ021 Hi-Beat GMT

Grand Seiko, it seems, never fails to impress. Since 1960, the Japanese firm has been producing truly world-class movements, cases, and dials at a fraction of the cost of their competitors. Grand Seiko’s current line is chock full of some of the greatest bang-for-the-buck value in Haute Horlogerie. One of the best examples of this is the SBJG005 GMT, an elegant GMT throwback to the classic Grand Seiko 44GS. With its Taro Tanaka-inspired case and gorgeous 36000 bph movement, the SBJG005 would be hard to improve upon. With the new Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Limited Edition, however, Seiko has done just that, adding some striking new touches to a modern classic.

grand-seiko-sbgj021-5The 40mm case, markers and handset are the same as the base SBJG005, with blade-polished (Zaratsu), distortion-free surfaces and razor-sharp edges all around. It’s a stunning design, and one that won the coveted “Petite Aiguille” award two years ago at the Grand Prix d’Horologerie in Geneva.


The new Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Limited Edition is a tribute to the northern Japanese countryside where Grand Seiko maintains its Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio. The specific reference, however, are the red hillsides of Mount Iwate at early morning. Underneath the shining dauphine hands, the dial is rendered in a stunning deep-red, brushed sunray reminiscent of the early morning mountainside outside the studio. It’s almost an oxblood color, revealing subtle highlights and texture in the light. Certainly not an orthodox choice for a dial, but a unique look that’s beautiful in typically understated Grand Seiko style.

grand-seiko-sbgj021-2The theme of sunrise continues around back to the watch’s crown jewel—the skeletonized rotor made of titanium and tungsten. The titanium portion of the rotor is treated in a process known as anodic oxidation, which results in a brilliant tableau of oranges, reds and purples, all meant to mimic the colors of dawn light. The process also increases resistance to corrosion. Furthermore, titanium offers greater performance, with the alloy’s ability to absorb shock being ten times greater than that of brass. This maintains the integrity of the movement and bearings, ensuring longer wear. And as one can expect from Grand Seiko, the rest of the movement is superbly finished.

The overall package is a great mixture of classic dressiness and bespoke expression. The limited edition of 500 pieces will be available this November for approximately $8,200.

Related Posts
Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.