[VIDEO] Hands-on Impressions of the Beautifully Slender Grand Seiko SLGW002 and SLGW003

Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 series has, since its inception, been a collection that has veered toward the sporty. The outright sports models are commanding in their wrist presence for sure, but even the “standard” Evolution 9 watches have a robust quality to them that makes them ideal daily drivers. Now, for Watches & Wonders 2024, Grand Seiko has introduced an all new branch of the Evolution 9 collection with a pair of watches they have specifically identified as being in the dress category: the SLGW002 and SLGW003, featuring the all new manually wound 9SA4 caliber. 

The cases, crafted in rose gold for the SLGW002 and Brilliant Hard Titanium for the SLGW003, measure 38.6mm in diameter and 9.95mm tall. The lines of the case recall other watches in the Evolution 9 collection (these watches still have a ton of wrist presence thanks a wide stance and clearly executed facets) but are more refined overall. Also, like other Evolution 9 cases, these wear as if the center of gravity is lower, and the watch plants satisfyingly on the wrist, and especially in titanium it feels very ergonomic. 


The big news here though is the new movement that allows for such a sleek rendition of the Evolution 9 principles. The 9SA4 caliber is effectively a hand wound version of the 9SA5, Grand Seiko’s next generation high beat rate movement with their proprietary dual impulse escapement. But Grand Seiko has done more than simply strip the 9SA5 of its winding rotor. Much of the gear train has been rebuilt with newly designed components, and Grand Seiko engineers have paid particular attention to the winding feel, sound, and tactile feedback experienced while using the movement. In practice, it’s a very satisfying experience, to wind, and it’s clear that Grand Seiko has spent considerable effort on the details of the caliber to get it exactly right. 

Just as the “White Birch” was an early standout when the Evolution 9 collection was launched, the SLGW002/3 takes the same aesthetic in another direction. Instead of a textured dial representing many birch trees in a forest, this dial specifically conjures birch bark. This is a new dial execution for Grand Seiko and is definitely in the more subtle category. It’s less in your face but still has a lot of detail. 

For years, Grand Seiko has produced beautiful watches that many collectors griped were just a bit too thick, but with the SLGW002/3, they’re made something in their most contemporary design language that is also beautifully slim. While they officially call it a dress watch, this kind of watch can easily be dressed down and worn casually with the right strap. And, unlike a lot of Grand Seikos, this watch has an easy to match 20mm lug width, which should please the chorus of regular Instagram commenters who think 19mm and 21mm lug widths should be made illegal. 

The retail price on the titanium SLGW003 is $10,700. The SLGW002, a limited edition of 80 pieces, is $45,000. Grand Seiko

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.