Hands-On With The New Grand Seiko SBGP003 Quartz Watch A familiar Grand Seiko aesthetic featuring the brand new 9F85 movement by Jorg Weppelink June 26, 2020 MIN READHands-On With The New Grand Seiko SBGP003 Quartz Watch
Throughout the last couple of months, we have witnessed the great appreciation our readers have for the Grand Seiko brand. In our weekly Sunday Showdown series, many of the Grand Seiko models are incredibly popular. And there is more fuel to add to that fire. For 2020 we have seen a string of brand new Grand Seiko models as well as updated models replacing current models in the line-up. With the introduction of the new Grand Seiko SBGP001, SBGP003, SBGP005 models, the brand introduces three new regular models. All of them are powered by the new Grand Seiko 9F85 quartz movement. We go hands-on with the black-dialed Grand Seiko SBGP003.
In the last week of January, Grand Seiko released its highly anticipated 60th Anniversary models. One of the four released anniversary models was the Grand Seiko SBGP007 that Rob reviewed here. Although the watch brings a familiar overall aesthetic, it stands out because of its blue colored dial with a commemorative 2020 motif and the introduction of the new 9F85 quartz movement. Although I am still not sure about the pattern on the dial, the new quartz movement attracted my attention. And, as Rob mentioned, the overall quality and finishing are top-notch.
Only a week after the release of the 60th Anniversary models, Grand Seiko released another seven new models. All seven new models are permanent additions to the Grand Seiko Heritage collection. Three of them are Grand Seiko’s entry-level quartz three handers known as the SBGP001, SBGP003, and SBGP005.
These three new permanent additions are the replacements for the SBGV205, SBGV207, and SBGV239
Just like the SBGP007, they also feature the new 9F85 quartz movement. These three new permanent additions are the replacements for the SBGV205, SBGV207, and SBGV239 that feature the Grand Seiko 9F82 movement.
Grand Seiko Heritage Collection
The most significant Grand Seiko collection is the Heritage collection, and that’s also where the heart of the brand is for many enthusiasts. But scrolling through the collection can be intimidating. With around 40 releases currently on offer, all based on the iconic Grand Seiko designs from the 1960s, it can be useful to study the collection properly to find out all the nuanced differences.
The quartz three handers use the new Grand Seiko 9F85 quartz movement.
The thing that ties these seven new releases together is the use of the modern rendition of the 44GS case. And of the seven, two use the 9S85 hi-beat automatic movement. Robert-Jan reviewed them only a few weeks ago here. Two are the first non-limited quartz GMTs using the 9F86 movement, and the last three are the quartz three handers using the new 9F85 quartz movement. So there is a greater logic to be found here.
If we take a closer look at the SBGP003, it’s good to compare it to the SBGP007 that was released as it is part of the 60th Anniversary models. Comparing it to the previous generation SBGV207 is simple as it’s essentially only an update in movement. It’s more interesting to find out how Grand Seiko has chosen to differentiate the 60th Anniversary model from the regular version.
Both models feature the 40mm Zaratsu polished case in the famous Grand Seiko 44GS style. It’s a modern version of the legendary 1967 44GS case, so it’s not the same, hence calling it the 44GS style case. The case measures 46mm lug to lug, has a lug width of 20mm, and is 11.1mm thick. The watch is water-resistant to 100m.
The anniversary model is 0.3mm thinner than the new SBGP003.
Now, if we compare the SBGP003 to the SBGP007, there are differences. The SBGP007 60th Anniversary stands out due to its different color configuration, a rounder-shaped seconds hand, and the 2020 motif on the dial. And remarkably enough, the anniversary model is 0.3mm thinner than the new SBGP003. But that’s not where the differences end…
Two Different Bracelets
The SBGP007 60th Anniversary also has a differently finished bracelet from the new SBGP003. For the SBGP003, Grand Seiko chose to stick to the previous generation bracelet. The three-link design of the bracelet features contrasting finishing. The flanks are high polished, as are the shoulders of the intermediate links. The centerline of the intermediate links and the shoulder link tops have a brushed finish.
For the anniversary model, Grand Seiko chose a different finish of the bracelet. Only the flanks are polished, and the rest of the bracelet is brushed. But Seiko stuck to the finishing that was used on the previous generation models.
I like the more straightforward look of the anniversary model’s bracelet with its clean finishing better.
It’s purely a personal preference because many love the current bracelet because of its refined looks. I like the more straightforward look of the anniversary model’s bracelet with its clean finishing better. Would it be a deal-breaker? Definitely not. Both are impressive high-quality bracelets.
The 9F85 movement
As mentioned, the most significant update in the new models is the movement. The new 9F85 quartz movement is a follow-up to the 9F82 movement and introduces an independent hour hand. It’s a feature Grand Seiko fans have wanted to see for some time.
You don’t have to hack the seconds hand to change the time and lose the impressive accuracy.
With the introduction of the independent hour hand, wearers can set the hour by moving the hour hand backward or forwards in one-hour increments. The biggest advantage is that you don’t have to hack the seconds hand to change the time and lose the impressive accuracy you might have bought the watch for in the first place.
The SBGP003 is accurate to +/- 10 seconds per year. Those figures are identical to those of the previous 9F82 movement. For the SBGP007 60th Anniversary, Grand Seiko increased the accuracy of the same movement to +/- 5 seconds per year. It’s why the dial features a 5-pointed star — a symbol of this further refined accuracy.
Wearing the Grand Seiko SBGP003
The new SBGP-models come with three different dials. The SBGP001 features a sunburst champagne-colored dial, the SBGP005 has a sunburst dark navy colored dial, and the SBGP003 sports a black dial. The first thing that stands out when you put the SBGP003 on your wrist is how comfortable it is.
The size and the shape of the case are perfect on my wrist to make it a great daily wear. The excellent quality of the bracelet and the folding clasp are what we have come to know from Grand Seiko, making it a very easy watch to wear.
The second thing is the incredible contrast between the black dial and the polished hands and applied hour markers. Combined with the straight forward design of the dial, it creates perfect legibility. Next to that, it allows you to see the intricate details of the finishing of the markers and hands perfectly.
The incredible finishing also allows you to read the time well in low light conditions.
The incredible finishing also allows you to read the time well in low light conditions. As we know, Grand Seiko does not use any form of lume for its Heritage models, but in low light conditions, I had no trouble reading the time. The watch also features a date indication at the 3 o’clock position printed in white on a black date disc to be in perfect harmony with the dial, and it’s easy to read.
Overall I was very impressed when I put the SBGP003 on my wrist. It’s a very comfortable watch to wear, and the level of detail and finishing is incredible. Compared to the previous generation SBGV207, the new movement is a welcome upgrade. The independent hour hand is practical and allows you to enjoy the incredible accuracy of the quartz movement.
This brings us to the comparison to its mechanical brothers, the SBGH277 and SBGH279, that Robert-Jan reviewed. If you are strictly a mechanical watch guy, the choice is an obvious one. As Robert-Jan mentioned, for €6,200, the mechanical versions with a hi-beat movement are a very serious option for those who are in the market for a new daily watch.
But if you are looking for a watch that has the same Grand Seiko quality, an incredibly accurate quartz movement, and comes at half the budget, this could be a serious option for you. The list price of the SBGP003 is €3,300 making it a lot more affordable option I could see becoming very successful for the brand.
The sensation of wearing a Grand Seiko quartz watch beats a lot of mechanical watches easily.
Grand Seiko keeps making sure that its watches are accessible to a broad audience, and I love that. Sure the sentiment of a quartz watch is different compared to a mechanical watch. But I have to say the sensation of wearing a Grand Seiko quartz watch beats a lot of mechanical watches easily. That’s how good this SBGP003 is. For more info, visit the Grand Seiko website here.
Brand Grand Seiko ModelHeritage CollectionReferenceSBGP003DialBlackCase MaterialStainless steelCase DimensionsDiameter: 40mm, Thickness: 11.1mmCrystalSapphireCase BackScrew downMovementGrand Seiko Quartz Caliber 9F85, accuracy +/- 10 seconds per yearWater Resistance100 meters / 10 ATMStrapStainless steel braceletFunctionsTime, DatePrice€3,300WarrantyThree years of international warranty Watch of the Week
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About the author
Jorg has been working in marketing & communications for 15 years. He is specialised in developing brand strategy, brand portfolio, brand design and brand communications. Besides, he loves watches and the stories that make them worthwhile. He can be spotted… read more
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