Introducing the Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Sports Collection

Grand Seiko kicked off 2022 with a torrent of new releases before taking a breather over the last two months. Clearly, they were saving their breath for the sprint that is their Watches & Wonders 2022 releases. We aren’t looking at just some new dials and LEs, rather whole new watches with new cases. To kick things off, we’re going to look at a trio of sports watches based on the Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Collection.

Introduced with the 9SA5 caliber in 2020, but rebranded in 2022, the Evolution 9 Series is Grand Seiko’s new flagship line of luxury watches, with prices currently averaging around $9k. Unlike their “Heritage” and “Elegance” collections, which feature varying case designs, the Evolution 9s are based around a single DNA that draws from the grammar of design and historical models but focused into a new modern concept that shows of the best of their aesthetic. As I said in my review of the SLGH005 “White Birch” – it’s Grand Seiko turned up to 11.



Now, we get to see the next evolution of the Evolution 9 Collection, if you will, with three Spring Drive models (but five watches in total) that are clearly based on this same DNA, but look a bit like they all went to the gym for a few months. Common across all is the use of Grand Seiko’s excellent high-intensity titanium, which is bright like steel, hardened for durability, and 30% lighter than steel. The new cases vary in size depending on the model, but in a very sporty, and somewhat surprising twist, feature an asymmetrical design that encases the crown for protection. An undeniably aggressive element, it gives the new watches a sleek look that is atypical for the brand.

First, we have a duo of fixed bezel GMTs – the SBGE283 and SBGE285. Measuring 41mm x 13.9mm, they are slightly larger and more robust than the original Evolution 9 Collection models. The SBGE283 is fit with a flat black dial while the SBGE285 has a textured white surface that is very similar to that of the iconic “snowflake”. Both have applied markers and hands in the same style as the White Birch, but with the welcome addition of lume, which cleverly fits into the valleys of the ornate markers. In one last pleasant surprise, the GMT hands are tonal, rather the commonly brightly colored variety, to not overemphasize the complication.

Both watches are equipped with Grand Seiko’s tried-and-true 9R66 Spring Drive GMT caliber with local jump hour and accuracy +/-1 second a day. The GMTs will be available in August for approximately $8,400.

Next is also a duo, but this time with Grand Seiko’s mighty and criminally underrated Spring Drive GMT Chronograph movement. The SBGC249 and SBGC251 take the new format to 45.3mm x 15.8mm, the largest of the new offerings. While certainly large, Grand Seiko forewent the oversized screw-down pushers typically found on their SD chronos, giving a more compact appearance. The SBGC249 is an anniversary model celebrating 15 years of Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronographs. Limited to 700 pieces, the SBGC249 is all deep blue, and has the 9R96 movement, which has a greater accuracy of +/-10 seconds per month. The SBGC251 is an open model in all black with the 9R86 movement. They will be available in July at $12,400 and $11,400 respectively.

Last up is a diver with a 43.8mm x 13.8mm case called the SLGA015. Grand Seiko divers are relatively uncommon and seem to have a cult following of their own, making this an exciting part of the lineup. The SLGA015 fits in with their other divers, but is a bit thinner, and benefits from the general sleekness of the Evolution 9 design. The dial sports a new texture inspired by the Black Stream, which has a smokey, mysterious quality that adds some intriguing depth. Powering the SLGA015 is the 9RA5 5-day Spring Drive. This model will retail for $11,600 and will be available in August. Grand Seiko

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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