Grand Seiko Celebrates 20 Years of Spring Drive at WatchTime LA

Grand Seiko is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Spring Drive movement this year with three freshly designed sports models. For those unfamiliar, Spring Drive is a groundbreaking movement originally produced by Seiko in 1999, which maintains extremely precise timing by seamlessly combining a traditional mechanical mainspring with a quartz regulator and an electromagnetic rotor break. Together these elements form the “Tri-Synchro Regulator” heart of the Spring Drive movements, which, when placed in combination with Grand Seiko’s renowned ability for movement finishing and watch design, has resulted in some of the most positively viewed watches on the market today.

These three new models — two chronograph GMTs and a time-only piece — feature a refreshed case design for the Grand Seiko brand, and work to advance the collection to the forefront of luxury sports watches.


The first of these anniversary models is the 18k rose gold Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 9R96 (ref. SBGC230). The 44.5-mm watch uses a unique faceted case design (specially finished with the brand’s Zaratsu-style polishing) with two prominent chronograph pushers and a LumiBrite accented black GMT bezel. Beneath the dual-curved sapphire glass is a deep red dial to match the crocodile leather securing it to the wrist. It uses an outer racing minute track common to chronographs, along with large applied indices, a 3 o’clock date window, power reserve indicator, and three sub-dials for running seconds, chronograph 30-minute counter, and chronograph hour counter. Passing over the dial are two adjusted diamond cut hands that have acted as another signature of the Grand Seiko Sports line, along with a simple pointer for the chronograph seconds. Powering the watch is the automatic Spring Drive 9R96 capable of a 72-hour power reserve, accurate to +/- 0.5 seconds per day, and visible with a gold lion embedded rotor through a sapphire case back. This rose gold model will be limited to 100 pieces, and will be priced at $42,000.

The next of these models is a titanium Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 9R96 (ref. SBGC231), limited to 500 editions and priced at $12,900. This model is much the same as the previous rose gold model, but differentiated with its textured brown dial and H-link bracelet over the previous crocodile leather.

The last of the watches is the Spring Drive 9R15 (ref. SBGA403), a time-only model retailing at $10,600 and also limited to 500 pieces. This watch uses the same case as the two chronographs, but is differentiated in its 60-minute outer black bezel rather than the 24-hour GMT design. The painted brown dial of the watch is also quite different, using a curved outer minute ring over the split-second chronograph style, as well as exclusively featuring a power reserve indicator and 3 o’clock date window. The watch is relatively thick at 14.3-mm, as are both of the chronograph models at 16.8-mm, though Grand Seiko has made wearability a priority thanks to the curved shape of lugs, the low center of gravity on the wrist, and the H-shaped links that offer a more secure fit over traditional metal links.

To see these new watches and many more from Grand Seiko alongside 26 other industry leading brands, click here to get your tickets to the upcoming WatchTime LA fair at Hudson Loft in Downtown LA.

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  1. Franco

    Too ”bizarre” and ”Hublotesque” for me, I much prefer the regular line up

  2. What’s not to like about this watch… it has classic 1960s styling with a modern flair!

  3. Derik Andreoli

    I last set my spring drive Grand Seiko (snowflake) on 3/28. After almost exactly one month, it is slow by slightly more than one second. And the 72 hour reserve is legit, as well. I left on a Thursday night and returned on a Sunday night. The watch was still running but the reserve was almost at rock bottom.

    The fit and finish on this watch is as good as it gets, too. This is certainly not an inexpensive watch, but it has to be among the best values in terms of luxury watches. Your mileage may vary, of course.

    -Grand Seiko fan

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