Battle of Artistic Dial: Grand Seiko SLGA007 (Lake Suwa) vs SLGA009 (Shirakaba White Birch)

The Grand Seiko brand have always been associated with craftsmanship and Japanese artistry. Their dedication to perfection and culture was exhibited in their flawless Zaratsu polishing, unrelenting advancement for accuracy, and beautiful dials deeply rooted in Japanese tradition.

Grand Seiko has recently released their Evolution 9 series, a fresh design based from the classic 44GS grammar of design powered by either the new Grand Seiko 9RA2 5 days spring drive movement or the 9SA5 80 hours 36 000 bph high-beat movement. 

Two design that caught my eye is the the SLGA007 and SLGA009:

SLGA007 "Lake Suwa" displayed a blue dial with wave patterns that "evokes the gentle sway of the surface, or minamo, of Lake Suwa." The more you look at the dial, the more it looks like the ripples of waves of the lake.

SGLA009 "Shirakaba" (white birch) "captures the quiet mood of the white birch tree forests near the studio in Shinshu". Compared to the SLGH005 white birch that seems metallic, the SLGA009 represent a whiter, flatter, and subtler dial that is more pleasing to the eyes.

You cannot go wrong with these two watches, but personally I love that blue that represent continuous ripples of waves with golden hands that represents the shimmering light on the surface of the lake. It really showcase the dynamic "nature of time" that's always moving and changing. It a constant reminder that we should always continue to push forward in our lives no matter the circumstances, good or bad, as time doesn't wait for anyone. It keeps on going like a sand-timer until the last second of your life in the earth. 

What do you thing of these models? If you have the chance which one will you choose?

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Both are great. I like the readability and pop of yellow from the blue dial a bit more, however.

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Both are top-shelf and I wouldn't mind wearing either. Everything about the Series 9 case suits me. As much as I dig the new 9SA5, SLGH005 scored 80% for me due to the dial looking too metallic and some odd quirks specific to the Shizukuishi studio. But then we saw the 9RA2 and these two dials.

The SLGA009 scores 98% and SLGA007 100% in my book. All the little finishes unique to the Shinshu studio, like the handstack cap and date window, just look cleaner. The dials are perfect. It's just the Minamo is a bit more vibrant and more perfectly captures a scene. I showed the SLGA007 to my 4-year-old son and he said without any prompting, "That looks like the ocean!" Anyone would say the same. The SLGA009 is a bit more abstract in its representation of a white birch forest -- I doubt anybody would just naturally guess that's the scene it represents.

But who cares? Art is subjective. Say what it means to you. If I had one, I'd just say it reminds me of fresh wind-rippled snow. It's really a more perfect Snowflake in my mind.

Granted I'm a bit biased as I'm wearing SLGA007, just barely got a reservation in with an AD during the second hour it was available. Sorry to say it would be tough to find one now without significant upcharge on the secondary market. If you have a chance to get one anywhere near MSRP, do it.

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I've seen the Lake Suwa and the automatic version of the White Birch in the metal and they are both great. I have not seen the Spring Drive version of the White Birch in person yet. However, from the photos, I much prefer the automatic white birch dial to the new one, although I acknowledge that some people might have the opposite take. I love the texturing and the pop of the silver color.

That said, legibility is key for me and in that category the Lake Suwa wins all day long. The watch is just so stealthy. You can't tell the dial has that texture until you get up close and there is a sheen to the color that will go very dark or bright blue depending on the light. The gold accents are fantastic too, very reminiscent of the seasons collection watch from 2020, the SBGH273. I also like that the Lake Suwa is a spring drive, which is the type of movement I would want in my Grand Seiko. 

With my money, I'd buy the Lake Suwa, but I wouldn't kick either watch out of bed.

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both are great but im not into gs with white dial, so lake suwa is my choice 🍺

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I actually went from owning a SBGA211 Snowflake to the SLGA009. Amongst the reasons is I felt this is closest we will get to a true spiritual successor to the Snowflake which I really adore but it just never felt quite right on my small wrist. The Evolution 9's case characteristics allow my wrist to carry it a lot better.

I do however like the point raised by @Brewer and @GoingTopShelf about it not being as intuitive as a Snowflake dial. And for that reason I think there's a lot to like about the Lake Suwa SLGA007.

Having said that, if you've not seen the SLGA009 up close, I suggest you do, the Shinshu studio really knows how to apply subtlety vs the Mechanical White Birch which was a bit too silvery in my honest opinion. I also did a short reel showcasing the SLGA009 so do take a look!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CaaaUE2hbwy/

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Yes!  They're both fantastic watches!  😜

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If I had to choose one over the other, I think I'd take the SLGA007.  As @GoingTopShelf mentioned, it's much more stealthy.  You can only see the wave pattern at certain angles, and so I find myself sitting around, contorting my wrist and arm around my head, just to make it glint, while I'm sure everyone around me is thinking that I must be having a seizure of some such.  The SLGH005 screams at your eyeball from any angle, from any distance.  So, in a way, the Minamo forces you to interact with it more?  

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HotWatchChick69

Yes!  They're both fantastic watches!  😜

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If I had to choose one over the other, I think I'd take the SLGA007.  As @GoingTopShelf mentioned, it's much more stealthy.  You can only see the wave pattern at certain angles, and so I find myself sitting around, contorting my wrist and arm around my head, just to make it glint, while I'm sure everyone around me is thinking that I must be having a seizure of some such.  The SLGH005 screams at your eyeball from any angle, from any distance.  So, in a way, the Minamo forces you to interact with it more?  

I agree with you and also own the SLGA007 and SLGH005. The are the best 2-punch Grand Seiko combo in my opinion :)

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After having the SLGA007 in my collection for a few months, and then seeing the SLGA009 at my AD, I am glad I purchased the Lake Suwa. The blue and gold really work together and the subtle pattern on the Lake Suwa is more pleasing than the muted birch pattern on the SLGA009, in my humble opinion. 

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For me it's the 007 by far. I get lost looking at that logo and how it looks like it's just floating over an actual lake. 

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HotWatchChick69

Yes!  They're both fantastic watches!  😜

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If I had to choose one over the other, I think I'd take the SLGA007.  As @GoingTopShelf mentioned, it's much more stealthy.  You can only see the wave pattern at certain angles, and so I find myself sitting around, contorting my wrist and arm around my head, just to make it glint, while I'm sure everyone around me is thinking that I must be having a seizure of some such.  The SLGH005 screams at your eyeball from any angle, from any distance.  So, in a way, the Minamo forces you to interact with it more?  

Wow! looking at the dial in real photos under direct sunlight (not those photoshop) really changes the look of both of them! SLGA007 really looks dynamic, like a myriads of waves going back and forth all I can say is WOW! Congrats for having both of them man! A grail watch for a new watch enthusiast like me.

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watchaddictwt

I actually went from owning a SBGA211 Snowflake to the SLGA009. Amongst the reasons is I felt this is closest we will get to a true spiritual successor to the Snowflake which I really adore but it just never felt quite right on my small wrist. The Evolution 9's case characteristics allow my wrist to carry it a lot better.

I do however like the point raised by @Brewer and @GoingTopShelf about it not being as intuitive as a Snowflake dial. And for that reason I think there's a lot to like about the Lake Suwa SLGA007.

Having said that, if you've not seen the SLGA009 up close, I suggest you do, the Shinshu studio really knows how to apply subtlety vs the Mechanical White Birch which was a bit too silvery in my honest opinion. I also did a short reel showcasing the SLGA009 so do take a look!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CaaaUE2hbwy/

Man that is such a beautiful watch! The dial in SLGA007 is more subtle and flat somehow and it also kinda remind me of wind blowing to piles of snow! A great one to have and a definite upgrade from the SBGA211 snowflake. TBH, I was also into the snowflake, however, I realize i didn't like the power reserve ruining the balance and the design of the hour hands that does not go back to the GS "Grammar of Design". Congrats on your watch man! that video looks stunning 💯!

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Brewer

Both are top-shelf and I wouldn't mind wearing either. Everything about the Series 9 case suits me. As much as I dig the new 9SA5, SLGH005 scored 80% for me due to the dial looking too metallic and some odd quirks specific to the Shizukuishi studio. But then we saw the 9RA2 and these two dials.

The SLGA009 scores 98% and SLGA007 100% in my book. All the little finishes unique to the Shinshu studio, like the handstack cap and date window, just look cleaner. The dials are perfect. It's just the Minamo is a bit more vibrant and more perfectly captures a scene. I showed the SLGA007 to my 4-year-old son and he said without any prompting, "That looks like the ocean!" Anyone would say the same. The SLGA009 is a bit more abstract in its representation of a white birch forest -- I doubt anybody would just naturally guess that's the scene it represents.

But who cares? Art is subjective. Say what it means to you. If I had one, I'd just say it reminds me of fresh wind-rippled snow. It's really a more perfect Snowflake in my mind.

Granted I'm a bit biased as I'm wearing SLGA007, just barely got a reservation in with an AD during the second hour it was available. Sorry to say it would be tough to find one now without significant upcharge on the secondary market. If you have a chance to get one anywhere near MSRP, do it.

I was unfortunately late in the watch game and the limited SLGA007 is out of stock, and re-sellers are upping the price for this watch. Still a grail watch for me but really happy for you to have these watches man! What a piece to add to your collection!

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Kharisds

Man that is such a beautiful watch! The dial in SLGA007 is more subtle and flat somehow and it also kinda remind me of wind blowing to piles of snow! A great one to have and a definite upgrade from the SBGA211 snowflake. TBH, I was also into the snowflake, however, I realize i didn't like the power reserve ruining the balance and the design of the hour hands that does not go back to the GS "Grammar of Design". Congrats on your watch man! that video looks stunning 💯!

Thanks man. It was hard to let the SBGA211 go. @Omeganut can attest as he helped a little bit in the continuous deliberations I had leading up to the decision. The Snowflake hands are quite nice given how sharp they are too.

Ultimately I do prefer the versatility of a white dial vs a blue dial, and I genuinely like how the SLGA009 addresses the complaints of the SLGH005 where the dial isn't as distracting and has a much more subtle execution. I do admit I am biased towards Spring Drive given how enshrined it is to the Grand Seiko mythos.

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Kharisds

I was unfortunately late in the watch game and the limited SLGA007 is out of stock, and re-sellers are upping the price for this watch. Still a grail watch for me but really happy for you to have these watches man! What a piece to add to your collection!

I think at 2021 pieces, it's still obtainable!  I saw one at the AD and was mesmerized by it.  I made it my mission to track one down, and once I put a call out there a few options appeared.  Hope you grab one!

I personally have the Lake Suwa glued onto my wrist because it's so versatile, but I will pop the white dial on for more formal attire.