It was only a few weeks ago that Grand Seiko premiered three limited edition dress watches for the US market with lightly textured green dials that the watch community immediately hailed as a sensation. These new takes on the much loved SBGW231 format received almost universal acclaim when they were unveiled at the Couture show in Las Vegas last month, but you might not have been quite as excited if you received the news on foreign shores. A limited release (140 examples of each watch) and a deal to sell them solely through US channels means that these watches would be a tough get for international collectors. Luckily, if you’re in Europe, you now have a regional release of your own, also based on the SBGW231, and while it gives a very different impression than the US exclusive green dials, it’s every bit as cool, and will likely make some stateside collectors think about their European import options.
The Grand Seiko Elegance SBGW267 and SBGW269 are inspired in part by the brand’s new boutique located in the the heart of Paris, and by shōji, which in Japanese architecture refers to a movable paper screen used to diffuse light. These screens are a feature of the Paris boutique, and the dials have been given a subtle paper-like texture that evokes this type of traditional Japanese decor.
The SBGW267 has a silver colored dial, and the texture appears far more pronounced on this watch than the SBGW269, its counterpart in a deep brown. While shōji certainly provides a direct link to Japanese culture for these releases, it’s worth noting that the pattern here appears to be somewhat indebted to classic “linen dials,” which have been a fixture in watchmaking for decades and used by Rolex, Omega, and many other brands, usually in dressier and more formal pieces. It certainly makes sense on these watches, which have a case size that measures just over 37mm and utilize the 9S64 hand wound caliber to keep the height at a minimum. These present as pure, classic dress watches, while the US exclusive releases, with their unique shades of green, are perhaps a bit more playful.
As a regional release, these watches obviously won’t be available through official channels in the United States. But as longtime collectors and enthusiasts know, there are few real limitations on watches when it comes to geography, and there’s an obvious appeal that’s inherent in obtaining something that’s a little tougher to find than what would typically be involved in sourcing a watch made for your own geographic market. There’s a built in story to tell in the very acquisition of the watch – if that doesn’t get your collector blood pumping, it’s hard to say what will.
Pricing for the SBGW267 and SBGW269 is set at EUR 4,800, and they’ll be available at European boutiques and authorized dealers beginning next month. Grand Seiko