In the course of the previous yr or so, followers of Grand Seiko have been nicely handled. The numerous new and beautifully executed watches forming the Evolution 9 assortment have provoked some discussions and positively some gross sales too. And the 2 White Birch fashions, both the Hello-Beat Computerized SLGH005 or the Spring Drive SLGA009, have been a number of the most coveted watches within the latest historical past of the model. But, not everybody can be attracted by these gentle, intensely textured watches. However you don’t must really feel uncared for if the White Birch isn’t your factor. Grand Seiko has extra to supply, particularly with the “Lake Suwa” SLGA007, which is mainly the identical watch, sharing the identical qualities, however with a unique expression and dial color that might even make you flip your again to the silvery-white model.
Grand Seiko White Birch Spring Drive SLGA009 (left) and Hello-Beat SLGH005 (proper), each with a shimmering silver-toned and strongly textured dial.
I’m not going to lie; the Grand Seiko White Birch, particularly the Hello-Beat Computerized model launched in 2021, stays one in every of my favorite watches made by GS. Its darker counterpart, the Inexperienced Birch SLGH011, additionally made fairly an impression on me, however clearly, the silvery-white mannequin stays one of many model’s highlights. The identical goes for the Spring Drive evolution of this watch, offered earlier this yr, the SLGA009 – the latter someway toned down the shimmering impact of the dial and offered a extra structured, much less pronounced textured that addressed some complaints concerning the unique automated White Birch. And right here comes the principle challenge with the White Birch fashions. As monochromatic as they’re, they continue to be comparatively polarising and daring. The feel utilized to the dial of the SLGH005 is beautiful however to not everybody’s style. Some definitely desired one thing contrasting or one thing extra delicate with regards to the feel. I don’t even debate this and totally perceive that the SLGH005 and SLGA009 will be seen as a bit too unique for some.
However Grand Seiko someway addressed the issue even earlier than the Spring Drive White Birch got here in the marketplace, with a blue dial model launched in a restricted version, exhibiting a extra delicate texture, a extra traditional mixture of colors however nonetheless carrying the identical qualities and superior execution. The reply to that is named the “Lake Suwa” or the SLGA007.
Mainly, you’ll discover all the pieces that makes the White Birch a technically and visually spectacular watch. Proportions, mechanics, and ending are an identical, however some variations will be seen, primarily on the dial. Let’s dive into the main points. The case, which is made from stainless-steel, reveals nearly good proportions for a contemporary every day beater. The diameter is 40mm, the peak might be a tad thinner however stays affordable at 11.8mm and the 47.6mm lug-to-lug measurement makes it appropriate for many wrists. It’s a watch with a up to date really feel on the wrist, but additionally nice consolation and a sure informal magnificence. On my aspect, a minimum of, I can’t complain concerning the dimensions.
The case is an identical to the Spring Drive White Birch, itself near the Hello-Beat White Birch. However as we’ve seen right here, there are some slight variations because of the totally different actions and the way in which they must be encased. Now we have the brand new parts of the Evolution 9 assortment, beginning with a slimmer, extra curved profile for the case, which additionally ends in a decrease centre of gravity. The case nonetheless retains the traditional mixture of sharp angles, polished accents and brushed areas which have made GS well-known for the reason that late Nineteen Sixties, however right here it has been reworked with extra subtleness, extra discretion and extra modernity. There are extra brushed elements than earlier than, making the Zaratsu polished areas contrasting parts to dynamise the design. The big dial opening, mixed with a vertically brushed bezel with a flat prime floor, additionally enhances this up to date strategy to design. Altogether, the case is beautifully detailed, completely executed and neatly adjusted.
Nonetheless, concerning the case, the Grand Seiko “Lake Suwa” SLGA007 is a watch that’s simple to dwell with every day. The sapphire crystal has an environment friendly anti-reflective coating, the crown screws down, and the water-resistance is rated at 100 metres, which means that it’s a watch that you could simply put on on weekends. The truth is, the entire watch has a sure “luxurious sports activities” feeling, despite the fact that the bracelet isn’t built-in. This watch is, undoubtedly, one thing to think about if fashions just like the Rolex Datejust, the Oyster Perpetual 41 or the Omega Seamaster Aqua-Terra have been a part of your wishlist. Typical all-rounder watches which have sufficient magnificence to be worn with a business-casual outfit however which can be additionally acceptable throughout weekends.
What makes the Grand Seiko “Lake Suwa” SLGA007 distinctive is its dial. It’s, based on the model, impressed by “the calm waters of Lake Suwa that lies near the Shinshu Watch Studio the place the watch is made,” with a texture that paying homage to “the mild sway of the water floor of Lake Suwa, with ripples and shallow waves“. Opposite to the unique White Birch watch, with a powerful, definitely polarising floor, the dial of the SLGA007 is extra delicate and solely reveals its true nature in low-angled gentle. The “wavy” texture of the dial, in lots of circumstances (together with once you have a look at its straight), may be very discreet and blends with the remainder of the watch. The darker color can also be extra traditional, extra according to the normal codes of luxurious informal watches. Though it doesn’t pack the identical wow impact because the White Birch fashions, the Lake Suwa will certainly be simpler to dwell with. Plus, in all equity, a metal watch with a darkish blue dial just isn’t one thing that can be out of vogue quickly! The primary distinction right here is that you simply’ll have a pleasant texture to play with and never simply one other sunray-brushed dial.
The remainder of the weather are shared with the Spring Drive White Birch. As such, we discover the daring utilized, faceted and striated markers (the latter being one of many variations between the SLGA and SLGH fashions), a framed date window that’s wider and nearer to the dial’s edge and huge fingers with, as typical, beautiful execution combining brushed surfaces and polished bevels. Along with the blue color and the wave-inspired texture, the Lake Suwa additionally options gold-coloured accents on the GS emblem and the seconds hand, giving a discreet however welcome contact of color and originality.
Like most fashions within the Evolution 9 assortment, the SLGA007 is worn on a 3-link stainless-steel bracelet, principally brushed with polished accents and properly built-in inside the entire design. It’s closed by a traditional folding clasp, which is supplied with an 18k gold GS emblem. And sure, don’t anticipate a fine-adjustment system – please, GS, work on that.
The Spring Drive 5 Days Calibre 9RA2 (right here seen on the White Birch SLGA009)
Beneath the sapphire caseback is the latest Calibre 9RA2, made in home on the Shinshu Watch Studio. It depends on the model’s proprietary Spring Drive know-how, which merges the precision of a quartz regulation with the sweetness and perpetuity of an automated calibre. This Calibre 9RA2 is a considerable improve over earlier actions, such because the 9R6x structure. It improves all parts – measurement, efficiency, ornament and performance – and units a brand new commonplace for any spring-powered watch. The motion is slimmer but packs 5 days of energy reserve (vs. three days up to now) with twin barrels. It additionally incorporates a a lot quicker date mechanism and even higher accuracy (±0.5 seconds per day or ±10 seconds per thirty days). The Calibre 9RA2 additionally has enhanced rigidity and shock resistance because of the brand new structure of the gear practice. Lastly, the ornament has been redefined with frosted plates/bridges contrasting with the blued screw and the diamond-cut edges. And the facility reserve is now discreetly seen on the again, thus leaving the feel on the dial intact.
Availability & Worth
The Grand Seiko Evolution 9 one hundred and fortieth Anniversary Restricted Version “Lake Suwa” SLGA007 is now obtainable from retailers and boutiques. Will probably be made in 2,021 items and is priced at EUR 9,100. For extra particulars, please go to www.grand-seiko.com.