Mmm… chocolate. Yes, that’s how I’m starting this hands-on with the delicious Grand Seiko SBGW293. Deal with it. This is a watch I was eagerly awaiting when, earlier this year, Grand Seiko announced the SBGW289 LE, which featured a new, 36.5mm case based on their superb 44GS design. I didn’t know the 293 would be coming, but I assumed, correctly, that Grand Seiko wouldn’t introduce a new case design for a one-off LE. What I didn’t expect, however, is that they would follow it with two core models, including one with a silky smooth chocolate dial.
Not into chocolate? How about tobacco, espresso, or crunchy fallen leaves under your boot on a fall hike? No matter how you slice it, the 293 features a rich, earthy, and smooth dark brown dial with a subtle, sunray texture. As I discussed in my owner’s review of the SBGA375, which features a blue dial with the same finish, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill sunray texturing. Though Grand Seiko might be known for its more exotic textures, their mastery of basics is not to be overlooked. This “sunray” is impossibly smooth, creating a surface with a dynamic color range and surprising depth. Sticking with the chocolate theme, you’ll find everything from family-friendly milk chocolate to savory dark in the range of tones on display.
Why am I raving over a brown dial? Well, they aren’t very common, which is a shame, and the 293 being a core model immediately makes it a unique offering on the market. Blues, blacks, grays, and even greens, are so common at this point that you have your fair pick. But, want a brown, especially a brown that is not in use for the purposes of simulating a “tropical” patina, and you are highly limited. The 293 fills a gap in the market and does so deliciously.