Sunday Morning Showdown: Beater Battle — Rolex Vs Grand Seiko Rolex Oyster Perpetual 114300 Vs Grand Seiko SBGH281 by Rob Nudds May 24, 2020 MIN READSunday Morning Showdown: Beater Battle — Rolex Vs Grand Seiko
In this Sunday morning column, two of our writers go head-to-head in an epic showdown for the ages. Strong opinions and hysterical hyperbole are welcome (so feel free to join in with the fun in the comments section below). And don’t forget to let us know which watches you’d like to see torn to shreds/effusively exalted next week. We’ll try and feature as many of our readers’ choices as we can. This week, we’ve got another head-to-head for you. Let’s see whether the Grand Seiko SBGH281 or the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 114300 emerges as this week’s working-class hero.
Last week saw a record-breaking contest ‘twixt Ben and me. We enjoyed it. And judging by the 3,600+ votes you, our dear readers, cast, you did too. It was still tied even after we’d passed the 3,000 vote mark. And, for a short while, the scores still read 50% apiece despite a very small discrepancy in my favor. As luck (for me) would have it, Rolex sent in the cavalry to save the day, and the Rolex Explorer II 216570 pulled away from the Grand Seiko SBGN005 for a 51/49 “win” to the tune of 72 votes (at the time of writing).
Wasn’t that fun? These close contests are genuinely quite exhilarating. And thanks to everyone who commented on the article and shared their opinions/stories about the watches in question. We love to hear from you, so please, keep that up this week.
…drop us a line with your suggestions and we will put them to the brain trust in Den Haag.
Since the format was such a barnstorming success, Messrs Hodges and Nudds have decided to put together a little series of big brand dust-ups for your amusement. We’re sticking with Rolex and Grand Seiko for the next few weeks, but drop us a line with your suggestions and we will put them to the brain trust in Den Haag.
This week we’re taking a look at some simple yet versatile timepieces. One slice of feedback we picked up on last week was that it might be a good idea to keep the prices in the same ballpark. As such, we’ve picked two models that retail around 6k for you to choose between. And now, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Last week was a rollercoaster result. And I appreciate the responses by our readership. Whoever you sided with, you shared your passion, and that’s what this is all about. This week, I am switching sides to Rolex. Before anyone points this out, please note, I have no allegiance to any brand. Between Grand Seiko and Rolex, there are equally watches I love, loathe, and some that I find frankly unfathomable. Maybe, we will be discussing some of these watches in the weeks to come…
…the Oyster Perpetual is the distillation of Rolex’s most acclaimed innovations into a single watch.
But for this episode of SMS, we are discussing some of the simpler models from each brand. The Oyster Perpetual is not just an entry point. It is the foundation upon which the whole professional line is built. Perhaps I am selling this short already. In reality, the Oyster Perpetual is the distillation of Rolex’s most acclaimed innovations into a single watch. Even the name wastes no time. Oyster — referring to the 100-meter waterproof case — and Perpetual — relating to the 360° continuously winding rotor.
…it is unmistakably a Rolex.
Normally, you would expect “Daytona” or “Submariner” following these three words. Without such embellishment, the Oyster Perpetual is pure Rolex. Supremely comfortable, beautifully proportioned, with a subtle hint of quiet luxury. While you do not get a safety clasp bracelet or Mercedes hands, it is unmistakably a Rolex. And, for some, that is more than enough. I am friends with owners that have a least one of each of the professional collection, yet frequently see themselves reaching for their trusty Oyster Perpetual.
Unlike a “traditional” Sunday Morning Showdown, I’m not going to spend (much) time ripping your argument to shreds and, instead, focus on why the Grand Seiko SBGH281 deserves your attention. But before I get to pitching this blue beauty to you guys, I want to say one thing: the Rolex Oyster Perpetual is boring. With the exception of the Cellini line, I can see decent arguments for every other Rolex family. Yes, the Oyster Perpetual is pure. Yes, it has the DNA of a trailblazer. But so do all the professional models. And this one, despite its sexy blue five-minute markers, lacks the requisite va-va-voom to grab me.
The SBGH281, however, grabs me as a really handsome option in the 6k region. Firstly, it is a limited anniversary model (which I think is a fair comparison to a technically unlimited Rolex given how quickly Rolex tends to move on from these more creative dial colors).
…ultra-refined understated luxury…
Secondly, it is the perfect example of the kind of ultra-refined understated luxury that gets Grand Seiko lovers going in the first place. It is an elegant watch, with a sumptuous blue dial, bags of watch-world-street-cred, and — and this is the best part — one of Grand Seiko’s top-drawer high-beat movements.
Yes, that’s right. For just €6,200 (€900 more than the €5,300 the Oyster will set you back) you can own one of 1,500 limited pieces, which just so happen to be fitted with caliber 9S85. It’s a barnstorming 36,000vph movement that blows the socks off the Rolex 3132. Not only does it have a higher train count (and thus a smoother sweep to its seconds hand), it has a power reserve of 55 hours (7 hours more than the 3132).
They are not necessarily an accurate reflection of real-world performance.
However, Rolex takes the accuracy title with its +/-2 seconds per day performance. On paper, the GS 9S85 performs between -3/+5 seconds per day. But let’s not forget those are the performance specs that brands aim to meet the lab. They are not necessarily an accurate reflection of real-world performance.
Look, temperature, atmospheric, and motion tests are conducted. And I’m not saying that performance certifications are worthless, a lie, or even an elaborate marketing ploy. I’m just saying that these brands have, for their own reasons, chosen where to set their goalposts. Ask anyone that wears a GS high-beat caliber daily. I’m sure they will tell you that they perform much better than that in real life. So even though the Rolex is pretty sure to be running within those tight tolerances when it first hits your wrist, there’s nothing to say the GS isn’t doing exactly the same (or better)…
And if you’re looking for a watch you can wear while play rugby, riding roller coasters, or relentlessly high-fiving your friends once social distancing measures are relaxed without suffering accuracy problems, the higher operating frequency of the Grand Seiko is going to really help… And, good grief, the finishing is preposterously good. But what do you, the Fratelli, this of these two beater beauties? Let us know your thoughts below!
(Re)Introducing the “Komfit” mesh watch band that once adorned the wrists of astronauts Partner Content April 13, 2020
Sunday Morning Showdown
The Rolex Explorer II 216570 takes on the Grand Seiko SBGN005. Which one gets your vote? by Rob Nudds May 17, 2020
Rate it or hate it? Whose side are you on? by Rob Nudds May 10, 2020
This week, it's Pepsi Vs Root Beer — what's your flavor? by Rob Nudds May 03, 2020
by Robert-Jan Broer September 18, 2018
by Robert-Jan Broer August 29, 2018
by Michael Stockton August 09, 2018
About the author
Rob’s first exposure to the watch industry was a part-time retail role for the Signet Group at the age of 17. An obsession with watches soon developed. Following an ill-advised BSc in Archaeological Science, he applied for sponsorship to undertake… read more
Watch reviews in your inbox.
Even when it’s not Speedy Tuesday.Original Article