Grand Seiko SBGN005 – $3,200
This watch hit me like a truck. At first glance, I felt that its dressier elements (e.g. the dial, the polished indices, the moderate sizing, and hand shapes) should clash with the sportier elements of its design (e.g. the pops of red, the lume, the bracelet, and—of course—that bezel), but it all comes together in a harmonious whole that could easily dress-up or dress-down, on the road or at home.
Some here might say, “But that bezel: I’ve seen it before…” Ok, so let’s talk about it. I am not fond of watch companies trying to replicate popular models from other companies, all so a buyer can have the same (or very similar) design for less money. Here, we’re talking about Rolex’s Explorer II 16570 (maybe my favorite watch design of all time), which most certainly served as inspiration for the bezel on this GS. But, unlike other GMT’s that interest me exactly zero for the proximity of their design to the Rolex (e.g. Sinn’s 105 UTC, Christopher Ward’s C60 Trident, etc.), I don’t feel that this watch is trying to be a less-expensive alternative to the Explorer II (Seiko’s Sportura SUN025/28 is, however, another story…); rather, I think that GS was trying to make a watch that could fill that same space (i.e. a ~40mm sporty GMT with fixed 24-hr bezel) that is still a GS.
This isn’t a watch that you buy because it looks like it could be a cheaper version of a 16570; it’s a watch that you buy because you like the type of watch that both it and the Explorer II are, AND—importantly—because it’s a watch that doesn’t look like it’s trying to be the Explorer II, despite that bezel. Make sense? No? Ah, well. The heart loves what it loves.