Hype and vanity, why I own this 拢500 Grand Seiko - Review.

I'm not a big fan of Grand Seiko. I respect their technological achievements such as spring drive, but I've always looked at their range and found their offerings confusing.

They differentiate themselves from Seiko by focusing on finishing, the highest quality and attention to detail. Yet so often they let themselves down by details like bracelets which don't taper and are nowhere near the quality of the rest of the watch. This creates a discord, where the quality has peaks and troughs rather than being consistent throughout a single piece, let alone an entire range.

I'm also not a fan of Taro Tanakas' "grammar of design". The sharp angular lines are not my cup of tea, I prefer something a little more conservative. Boring aren't I.

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If you love Grand Seiko I understand. Some people love the design language. For some people those dials are enough on their own. That's the beauty of this hobby, we all like different things. If we didn't there would be queues of people in the street lining up for plastic watches with disposable movements and waiting lists for quite ordinary Swiss made tool watches...oh, wait.

So why do I own a Grand Seiko then? I pondered this one for quite a while whilst writing this and came to a conclusion which suprised me. The two main reasons are hype, and vanity.

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For years in my collection I've had a Seiko SJW041. It cost 拢40 from eBay, has 100m water resistance and sapphire crystal. It's been my grab a go watch. Something happens in the middle of the night, you rush out of the house to a crisis and you grab a quartz watch because you know it'll be telling the correct time (because even in times of crisis we're so dependent we need something on our wrist right?).

After years of watching YouTube videos of influencers singing the praises of Grand Seiko, I thought, let's find an affordable quartz Grand Seiko so that my grab and go quartz watch is something more interesting than the 拢40 Seiko. Hype set me on the path.

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The watch I found is a vintage Grand Seiko SBGS001, it set me back just under 拢500. It's the first watch Grand Seiko released after they were relaunched in 1988. It uses a 95GS movement, the first ever Grand Seiko quartz movement which evolved into the much loved 9F. It's accurate to within ten seconds per year...you read that right, not per month, per year. Seiko grew the quartz crystals to make it and unlike most quartz movements it's designed to be serviced, rather than replaced and disposed of.

It has an unmarked sapphire crystal but the zaratsu polished 33mm case has collected many scratches over the last four decades. The tiny push pull crown is beautifully signed and the caseback is expertly engraved with the GS logo. The 18mm lug width makes playing with straps easy, although the lugs aren't drilled, I've enjoyed putting it on some very brightly coloured suede straps this summer. The indices and brand logos are applied and polished to perfection, being a vintage dress watch there is no lume to speak of. The dial is finished very well with a fine champagne sunburst.

So influencer hype led me to want to sample Grand Seiko, and this vintage model was appealing to me because of its size, the fact that it doesn't conform to the Taro Tanakas design language and of course that incredibly impressive movement. Vanity is why I've kept it though. On paper it is far superior to my 拢40 Seiko, but in practice it functions the same. Worse in fact owing to it's lack of lume.

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Why would I keep a watch tens times more expensive than the Seiko which does essentially the exact same thing? Because somehow I've arrived at a point in my collecting where even in the middle of the night when I'm grabbing a quartz watch to rush to a crisis, I need it to be zaratsu polished and accurate to within ten seconds per year.

There is no rationalising that. The mirror finishing of the zaratsu polishing perfectly reflects the absurdity of my investment into this hobby. I'm ok with that.

Sometimes we learn about watches, sometimes we learn about ourselves. This watch has taught me I'm not as rational as I'd like to think.

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Hype and vanity, why I own this 拢500 Grand Seiko - Review.

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  • One of the most accurate Seiko movements ever made.
  • Sapphire crystal provides unusual practicality for a watch of this vintage.
  • Appeals to growing vanity and obsessive collecting behavior.
  • Costs ten times more than the watch it replaces and isn't as functional.
  • Some people may struggle with the 33mm case diameter.
  • When in close proximity to any German cars steering wheel, will cause phone to automatically take photo and post to Instagram..

Great review! I am after a GS myself, I have got it into my head I need one as my first proper watch a Seiko, like you not rational at all, looks like you got a cracker.

weedge

Great review! I am after a GS myself, I have got it into my head I need one as my first proper watch a Seiko, like you not rational at all, looks like you got a cracker.

Thanks for reading, and validating my sickness!

Excellent 馃憣

"Sometimes we learn about watches, sometimes we learn about ourselves." YUP.

Vanity is overrated. Buy and wear what makes you smile 馃槉

Nice watch great article you鈥檝e explained 90 % of watch enthusiasts that go by desire, that alone is an achievement congrats

I think this is a perfect sleeper watch. Congratulations!

Stan1965

Nice watch great article you鈥檝e explained 90 % of watch enthusiasts that go by desire, that alone is an achievement congrats

Thanks for reading!

I fell down the same rabbit hole and ordered my SBGF027 from Japan on Chrono24. And I will likely be back when I have saved for another or a Credor from Seiko for the same reasons you addressed.

Lovely watch by the way and great condition for its age!

I've been looking at these models really nice,I love most grand seikos like the vintage pieces and do like the design,but also like traditional as you do and can see why people are turned away,most the models I'd like are too big for what they are shame,you have rationally upgraded from seiko to grand seiko and have more than noticed and appreciated the upgrade 馃憣sounds worth it and rational,but don't listen to me I'm not rational I wind my watch backwards an think I'm going back in time 馃ぃ馃お

There is only one GS that I would consider buying, the SBGV245

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A great post and a good synopsis of where your affliction is at! I'm not far behind you.

I have handled a couple of grand seikos and listened to an enthusiast with a love for them telling me why I want one and I do!

The issue is I have other expensive watches on my list. If you can get one like yours for 拢500 odd quid I may be getting one sooner than I thought!

I am o e of those that love grand sieko the level of work on the dial and the hands just move me. I could stare into the dial for hrs on most grand sieko. I love your vintage grand sieko. You have given my an affordable path to my first gs. I neve thought to look at vintage just assumed they would be even more out of reach than the new ones. Enjoyed the read and the watch.

Guvnor64

A great post and a good synopsis of where your affliction is at! I'm not far behind you.

I have handled a couple of grand seikos and listened to an enthusiast with a love for them telling me why I want one and I do!

The issue is I have other expensive watches on my list. If you can get one like yours for 拢500 odd quid I may be getting one sooner than I thought!

You definitely can. I know it wasn't a fluke price because while visiting my mother she commented on it and I managed to pick up another for her, for basically the same price. Both were purchased on eBay. Happy hunting!

evensteven5150

I am o e of those that love grand sieko the level of work on the dial and the hands just move me. I could stare into the dial for hrs on most grand sieko. I love your vintage grand sieko. You have given my an affordable path to my first gs. I neve thought to look at vintage just assumed they would be even more out of reach than the new ones. Enjoyed the read and the watch.

I've bought two vintage GS for around this price, both excellent condition and full working order. I found both of mine on eBay within the last twelve months. Hope you find one!

DoesAnybodyHaveTheTime

You definitely can. I know it wasn't a fluke price because while visiting my mother she commented on it and I managed to pick up another for her, for basically the same price. Both were purchased on eBay. Happy hunting!

Thank you! Great idea!