BASELWORLD 2018 REVISITED:

Hands-On with the Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-Beat GMT ‘Special’ Limited Edition


Back during the early days of Baselworld, we covered the wide variety of new introductions from both Seiko and Grand Seiko. Today, we’re highlighting one of the more visually appealing releases from the monolithic older sibling: the Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-Beat GMT ‘Special’ Limited Edition with a vibrant blue dial featuring a swirling mosaic monogram pattern that is unique to this specific model.

The new GMT is part of multiple new releases from Grand Seiko celebrating the 20th anniversary of the brand’s 9S Caliber. First introduced in 1998, the movement has long served as a landmark moment in Grand Seiko’s, and Seiko’s, history. Over the years it has been improved bit-by-bit with new Spron alloys for both the main and balance springs and MEMS engineering that allow key components to be manufactured to tolerances as small as one-thousandth of a millimeter.

Inside the rather large (46.4 mm X 14.6 mm!) watch, which has been given the name SBGJ229, the existing Hi-Beat 9S86 caliber has been updated, given a special tune-up to the Grand Seiko ‘Special’ standard, which offers a rate of +4 to -2 seconds per day, a level higher than normal Grand Seiko standard.

The inner case and outer bracelet links are crafted from the very light high-intensity titanium. The outer case and the center links of the bracelet are made from a new proprietary material called blue zirconia ceramic that is seven times harder than stainless steel. This also means that despite its hefty demeanor, the SBGJ229 is surprisingly light on the wrist.

Behind the sapphire case back, titanium and tungsten combine in the oscillating weight to resist distortion even when the watch is subjected to shock. The Grand Seiko lion emblem is set inside the rotor in 18k rose gold. The titanium section of the weight is treated with an anodic oxidation process that creates a new, rich, and vivid blue that complements the Grand Seiko blue of the ceramic and the dial.

As you might expect, this model really shines when viewed in person. When I first viewed the press pictures, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the monogrammed dial. Unsurprisingly, I was wrong. The rich blue feels both loud and delicate at the same time, something I attribute directly to the mosaic pattern, which allows for a softer dial texture. While this is a different look for fans of previous Seiko GMT models, its uniqueness is a quality that enhances the watch’s appeal rather than lowers it. And, like all timepieces, it deserves to be seen in person to be fully appreciated before judgment is cast.

Limited to 350 total pieces, the watch will be available starting in July for $14,800.

2 Responses to “Hands-On with the Grand Seiko Blue Ceramic Hi-Beat GMT ‘Special’ Limited Edition”

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  1. Glad to see an article on the Grand Seiko. Although this watch is quite impressive, at 46mm it’s just too large for me. I’m getting quite acquainted with the other models in the line, have a few dealers nearby and hope to see them in person very soon.

    Reply
  2. Cyrus yu

    I would to ask at Hong Kong where can buy this limited blue one, thanks.

    Reply
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