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Where Nature Never Sleeps: Grand Seiko SLGH017 Hands-on Review 

Experience The Beauty Of The Night Time Glory Of Hiraniwa Plateau With The Grand Seiko SLGH017.

Editor’s note: This Hands-on Review of the Grand Seiko SLGH017 has been photographed with the assistance of J Farren-Price Sydney. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here. This is NOT a sponsored post.

Grand Seiko SLGH017

What is it

The Grand Seiko SLGH017 retailing for 15’500 AUD continues the road taken by Grand Seiko to foray into nature inspired dials. This Evolution 9 Collection Hi-Beat model features the rather recent in-house 9SA5 movement that’s cased inside a 40mm x 11.7mm titanium case offering a decent 100m water-resistance.

Grand Seiko SLGH017

Why 

Grand Seiko has developed a tradition of honouring nature through its timepieces. A wonderful tradition we might add. The recent White Birch model GS SLGH005 was inspired by the namesake forests on the Hiraniwa Plateau near the GS studio in Shizukuishi. It was also a commercial and critical success (it won the ‘Men’s Watch prize’ at GPHG 2021). Continuing this evolution of the ‘Evolution 9 Collection’ was first the Green Birch SLGH011 and now the Grand Seiko SLGH017. 

Who is the Grand Seiko SLGH017 For 

Now if you have ever wondered how those forests looked in the darkness of the night, you are in luck. The new Grand Seiko SLGH017 is the ‘night’ version of the GS SLGH005, also featuring a lighter — the ‘Night Birch’ weighs 114g while the White Birch weighs 178g — titanium body. 

Same beauty, just more stealth.

Grand Seiko SLGH017

Where

J Farren-Price Sydney, 80 Castlereagh St, Sydney (02 9231 3299)

Grand Seiko boutique Sydney

Grand Seiko SLGH017

Basic Specs of the Grand Seiko SLGH017

The Grand Seiko SLGH017’s calibre 9SA5 debuted recently in 2020 and impressively combines high frequency with a more than 3-day power reserve courtesy its Dual Impulse escapement. It follows Omega’s Co-axial movement — George Daniels’ co-axial escapement — as the second non-Swiss-lever escapement that’s been put under regular production. 

Grand Seiko Comparison 10
Movement as found in the White Birch version

The Hi-Beat calibre 9SA5 measures 31.6mm in diameter, 5.18mm in thickness, and beats at a frequency of 5Hz. This dual impulse calibre comprises 47 jewels, offers an 80-hour power reserve thanks to two barrels arranged in sequence, and has a stated accuracy of +5/-3 seconds per day (mean daily rate). 

If you are not a movement theorist, simply put, you can be glad telling others that powering the Grand Seiko SLGH017 is a movement that is rather impressive deal. 

Grand Seiko SLGH017

Grand Seiko SLGH017 – The Hands-on Experience 

The SLGH017 features a 40mm x 11.7mm titanium case, whose overall aesthetic is referred to by the brand as the “Series 9 Design” that they inform will be “an important part of the Grand Seiko’s signature in the years to come”.

Grand Seiko SLGH017
Grand Seiko SLGH017 on 16.25cm wrist

For those who are familiar with other GS watches, in terms of sizing, you can think of the Grand Seiko SLGH017 as the best of the Elegance collection (with the foundations of 1967’s 44GS architecture thrown in for good measure): it is an ‘evolved’ combination, taking the best of both the GS SBGW283 and SBGE271 watches.

To put this in perspective, for reference, the GS SBGE271 measures the same 40mm in diameter, but with a larger 15mm thickness; the SBGW283 on the other hand measures a smaller 37.3mm in diameter, but features the same 11.7mm thickness.

Grand Seiko SBGE271G 1
SBGE271 on 16.25cm wrist
Grand Seiko SBGW283 Elegance Sky Blue 13 1024x683
SBGW283 on 16.25cm wrist

Grand Seiko SLGH017’s lug-to-lug spacing of 47mm is also in the middle, purifying the wearing experience: the SBGE271 features a greater 48.5mm lug-to-lug spacing while the SBGW283 comes in at only 44.3mm.

For those who like to wear imposing timepieces on their wrist but have slim wrists to work with, the SLGH017 is simply a great offering. 

Grand Seiko SLGH017
Grand Seiko SLGH017 on 16.25cm wrist

I also like the case side profile architecture: the case-band is fairly curved, like moustache, taking the natural arc of the wrist in its stride, providing for a better fit. The mixture of polished and brushed surfaces here further provide for a visually well-fitting watch aesthetic as well. 

Grand Seiko SLGH017

My only two griefs here are the presence of 22m lug interhorn spacing, that stops the Grand Seiko SLGH017 from fitting on my slim 16.25cm wrists as nicely as the SLGA013 (with its same 40mm diameter case but lesser 19mm lug interhorn spacing); and the bracelet execution. The bracelet on the Grand Seiko SLGH017 is all matt and I personally prefer the polished and brushed mixture as found in the SLGA013. 

Grand Seiko SLGH017

Of course, these are personal preferences and gripes, but I don’t think anyone would argue that the tree-bark inspired dial isn’t a beauty. 

Grand Seiko SLGH017

That’s All Folks! 

At the end of the day, as is expected from any Grand Seiko timepiece, the Grand Seiko SLGH017 delivers.

The finishings are simply superb too: you really have to look closely at the multiple treatments within appliqué induces and hands here to fully appreciate the value from a watch such as this. 

Grand Seiko SLGH017
Grand Seiko SLGH017

Even the case-back is enriched with attention to detail: observe carefully and you will see gently curved bridge mimicking the outline of Mt. Iwate and a bend in the nearby Shizukuishi River.

It’s time to experience the beauty of the night time glory of Hiraniwa Plateau with the SLGH017. 

Grand Seiko SLGH017

To find out more about the SLGH017 and other Grand Seiko timepieces, please head to their website here, or visit their authorised retailer J Farren-Price Sydney at 80 Castlereagh St, Sydney (02 9231 3299). All images unless otherwise stated are ©WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt. 

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