It’s been said time and time again, but the Grand Seiko Snowflake is a contemporary classic and is the most recognizable timepiece that the Japanese watchmaking powerhouse creates. Today, Grand Seiko has acknowledged the Snowflake mania once more by announcing the SBGZ001, what is without-a-doubt the most extravagant and lavish Snowflake design ever.
Not only does the SBGZ001 feature the traditional Snowflake dial design — meant to recall the alpine environment surrounding Grand Seiko’s Shiojiri manufacturing center — but it features a platinum case that has been imbued with the same Snowflake motif. Yup, you heard that right: a Snowflake-carved platinum case.
This watch is truly remarkable and a testament to the potency of Grand Seiko’s watchmakers, a true indicator of their ability that extends beyond sheer horological aptitude and into the realm of micro artistry. It may sound like I’m being overly laudatory, but after seeing this watch for a few minutes yesterday, it’s hard not to feel this way. Of course, the downside of this release is it comes at a premium with a price tag at $76,000 (!).
The SBGZ001 features more than just aesthetic attributes as well. Released as part of a larger, luxury-driven collection to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Spring Drive with a brand-new, manual-winding Spring Drive Caliber. This new movement is Caliber 9R02 that has two mainsprings set in parallel within a single barrel and uses Grand Seiko’s unique Torque Return System to deliver a power reserve of 84 hours and an accuracy of+/- 1 second per day.
In Grand Seiko’s own words, the Torque Return System works like this:
When the mainspring has been fully wound and the torque output is at its highest, approximately 30% of the available power is not needed to maintain the precision of the watch, and is in effect wasted in a normal movement. The Torque Return System uses this energy to rewind the mainspring, resulting in an increase in the power reserve. In Caliber 9R02, this system is activated for 48 hours after the mainspring has been fully wound.
The new SBGZ001 is limited to 30 total pieces and will be available in July.