Editor’s note: This hands-on review of the Grand Seiko SBGA413G has been photographed with the assistance of J Farren-Price Sydney. For our usual detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here. This is NOT a sponsored post.
What Is The Grand Seiko SBGA413G
In mid-2019, Grand Seiko launched the US only Four Seasons collection, named after Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. The 40mm x 12.7mm Grand Seiko SBGA413G is the spring version of the same, featuring a light pink dial with a texture that’s intended to mimic “cherry blossom petals scattered by the wind cover the surface of a river”.
Given I haven’t had the privilege of visiting Japan yet, I can’t really say how well the dial does it justice, but from an everyday standpoint, it’s texture and colour remind me of cotton candy. There is a flaky appearance to it, one that’s almost brought to an enchanting level when the Spring Drive’s smooth seconds hand glides over.
Let me say from the onset that as happy as I am that the Grand Seiko SBGA413G is now a global release, I don’t particularly appreciate the brand’s strategy to first release this as a US-only model. I feel as a consumer that when I buy a limited edition or a limited run or region-specific piece, it’s meant to come with some exclusivity. At this point I am just glad I didn’t buy one off a US website for a fair bit of premium.
Also as reasonable as the 9’850 AUD price tag is, it seems a bit higher than the US-exclusive release’s 6’600 USD (which converts to roughly 8’900 AUD). Perhaps the US pricing is without taxes though if we visit their US page, it doesn’t appear to be the case?
Talking about things that could be improved, how about introducing micro-adjustment on the clasp? And while they are at it, please kindly remove the ‘sticker’ from the exhibition case-back so we can actually enjoy the movement and finishing. I also find it funny that on one hand the dial is meant to evoke the sense of a natural beauty and on the other hand GS opts for a non-symmetric power reserve indicator that takes a decent amount of dial real-estate. We know GS can include this on the case-back too, and perhaps that’s a better idea given we can marvel at the dial in its full splendour.
Anyway, that’s just a couple of features that bother me personally about this gorgeous, gorgeous watch, and ignoring those, the Grand Seiko SBGA413G is nothing short of being an absolute beauty.
J Farren-Price Sydney, 80 Castlereagh St, Sydney (02 9231 3299) and GS Boutique at Westfield Sydney
Who Is The Grand Seiko SBGA413G For
Those who would like to venture beyond just the top few Swiss names, and would like to own a different piece of both beauty and differing mechanics. Men’s pink — not salmon or beige — dialled watches are not commonplace, and the Grand Seiko SBGA413G changes that, and leads the way for ‘interesting’ watch under the 10K AUD mark.
It also features the brand’s calling card movement, the Spring Drive calibre, and those watch lovers who haven’t had the privilege of owning one of them now have another reason courtesy the light pink dial and Spring Drive combo.
Basic Specs Of The Grand Seiko SBGA413G
The Grand Seiko SBGA413G features the calibre 9R65 which was made famous by the Grand Seiko ‘Snowflake’ and ‘Skyflake’. It is a hybrid movement, one where a traditional spring-driven movement is paired with Grand Seiko’s electronic technology that functions without batteries or other external power sources. The mainspring, as used in traditional mechanical watches, drives a series of gears as in any other mechanical watch. GS does it differently by making use of a rotor that is connected to the end of these gears that generates a small electrical charge that activates an electronic circuit and quartz oscillator.
Courtesy the fame, Grand Seiko is using these movements generously, with a trio of other Grand Seiko Spring Drive release this year already: reference SLGA009 — part of the Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Collection — along with a Sport Collection Grand Seiko GMT 20th Anniversary Limited Edition ref. SBGE275 and Sport Collection Grand Seiko Chronograph 15th Anniversary Limited ref. SBGC247.
Retailing for 9’850 AUD, the Grand Seiko SBGA413G’s 9R65 Spring Drive movement boasts of an impressive 72-hours power reserve and ±1 second per day / ±15 seconds per month (average) accuracy.
The watch face shows the functions of central hours, minutes, and gliding seconds, a date at 3’o clock, and a power reserve indicator between 7 and 8. It features a screw-down crown and decent water resistance of 100m (10 ATM).
The Hands-on Experience
Grand Seiko is no novice when it comes to releasing limited edition timepieces. They are also not allergic to paying homage to the 24 weather seasons or twenty-four sekki they have in Japan. It seems like every couple of months there is a new edition, whether be it US only (SBGA471 and SBGH295), Japan only, Europe only (SBGW267 & SBGW269 European Editions), some special anniversary LE, or a global release. Fortunately, the new Grand Seiko SBGA413G, that was once a US-Exclusive release, is now a regular production model finally available here in Australia.
The interesting thing is, that given Grand Seiko has 24 different variations to play with, this Shunbun ‘Vernal Equinox’ is very different from the Shunbun ‘spring equinox’ ref. SBGJ251. It, however, belongs to the Elegance collection whereas the ‘new’ Grand Seiko SBGA413G follows the design codes of the Heritage family.
The SBGJ251 retails for 10’600 AUD and even though this season is famous for the pink cherry or sakura blossom season, GS went for a green dial with rose gold-tone accents to represent the fresh green vibe of the first rendezvous with spring.
The colouring of these watches is beginning to be hard to keep up with, considering the SBGH271 released in 2019 was marketed as the summer edition but featured a similar green dial with gold accents.
Decoding the seasons and their colours aside, the Grand Seiko SBGA413G is rather interesting timepiece, mostly due to the combination of that pink dial and the Spring Drive movement.
On my ~16cm slim wrist, the watch sits quite well and thanks to the titanium body, feels very light as well. It is 40mm in diameter — 43mm with the crown — with 12.75mm thickness and 46mm lug-to-lug spacing. The titanium bracket has solid end links, which means the overall reading of the Grand Seiko SBGA413G comes to 50mm. The 20mm lug interhorn spacing is welcome, and personally if I was to buy this, I would swap out the bracelet for a strap to take advantage of that 46mm reading and the short, sharply curved lugs. Also straps usually give me a better fit anyway.
The case features polished and brushed surfaces that not only bring in a textural play but also complement the same treatment of the bracelet. The date wheel is white, though I would have preferred it to be in the same shade of pink. I like that the date aperture is framed, and becomes a cohesive part of the indices. Unlike some Swiss brands, there is also minimal text on the dial, allowing one to actually appreciate the beauty of this dial rather than reading a manuscript.
It is a rather mesmerising watch when you put it on, and feels just about right for any wrist size. The lack of a very prominent bezel or a thick internal rehaut ensures that the dial retains maximum real-estate, and the clean-cut aesthetics ensure high legibility.
Of course all the other Grand Seiko elements that we have to come to fall in love with such as the Zaratsu polishing, characteristic sharp edges, and distortion-free surfaces are all present in good measure.
The Grand Seiko SBGA413G is available for just south of the 10k AUD marks, and frankly, is a bargain for what it offers. It has evolved nicely since its Grand Seiko 62GS days from 1967, and with modern specifications such as a screw-down crown with 100m water-resistance, the use of high-intensity titanium for aide against scratches and corrosion, and oft-the-beaten-track colour such as the light pink cherry blossom, it is definitely and defiantly a keeper.
To find out more about the Grand Seiko SBGA413G and other GS timepieces, please head to there 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.