Over the last year, Grand Seiko has released several variations on what was always something of an under the radar enthusiast’s choice: the SBGW231. This simple 37mm dress watch in the Elegance Collection was a fan favorite for years, but never reached “hype” status. So when a trio of green dialed takes on the dress watch surfaced a year ago as US limited editions and promptly took over our collective Instagram feeds and quickly sold out, it was a bit of a surprise. Here was Grand Seiko applying something a little extra to tweak their simplest watch just a little bit. The green dials had a subtle texture but kept the same reliable hand wound movement and simple, almost elemental case. More variants would arrive in the following months, including a Europe-only release, another US exclusive, and a pair of watches that would be part of the permanent collection.
The SBGW231 always felt like Grand Seiko stripped down to its core. It’s remarkably well finished for such a simple watch, and while it wouldn’t immediately capture your eye like a Snowflake or White Birch, a close examination of the dial reveals that Grand Seiko wasn’t pulling their punches. These new variants, though, are a bit more eye-catching, featuring colorful and textured dials, and they add complexity to what was once a very simple (but well executed) formal and classic watch. In fact, you could argue they drive this watch right out of the dress watch genre altogether.
What’s the draw of these simple little watches? Both Zach Weiss and myself have picked one up since Grand Seiko started adding some color and texture to the dials of the SBGWs, and in this video we explore what makes these watches special. Grand Seiko