In early 2021, Grand Seiko offered a watch that can develop into, no doubt, one of many model’s most talked-about fashions in a few years. And rightfully so, because the White Birch SLGH005 is an impressively lovely watch, with superior motion and superior execution. It additionally one way or the other turned the cornerstone of the newly developed Evolution 9 assortment. Earlier this yr, GS launched one other model, nearly similar at first but pretty completely different, the Spring Drive White Birch SLGA009. And to make it even higher, there’s been a brand new mannequin within the making, and that’s the actually enticing Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Inexperienced Birch SLGH011 we’ll be exploring as we speak.
The White Birch SLGH005 is a watch that we’ve already extensively reviewed right here, and likewise filmed right here. We’ve additionally reviewed its Spring Drive counterpart right here, the SLGA009, which feels at first sight to be only a motion replace however truly exhibits a number of variations on the dial and case in comparison with the basic White Birch. You’ll be able to learn all these articles first, simply to your personal tradition, however nonetheless, we’ll transfer again a bit on the subject so that you can perceive the place the Inexperienced Birch SLGH011 comes from.
The Grand Seiko Hello-Beat White Birch SLGH005
Behind all of those watches is one thing named Evolution 9, which is the model’s newest interpretation of the Grammar of Design. In 1967, the still-young GS model determined to placed on paper its design language with a collection of guidelines named Grammar of Design, outlined by a sure Taro Tanaka, designer of the model for a few years. Expressed on the 44GS mannequin, these guidelines would be the base for many subsequent creations. But, Grand Seiko needed to evolve and make its watches extra modern, extra in step with the present expectations. Therefore the creation of a brand new design language expressed underneath the title Evolution 9 – extra refined, extra ergonomic, higher centre of gravity, extra legible dials…
Grand Seiko White Birch Spring Drive SLGA009 (left) and Hello-Beat SLGH005 (proper)
The watch that can make Evolution 9 well-known to the world is, no doubt, the White Birch SLGH005. The principle subject of debate with this mannequin has been the dial, its pronounced silvered color and its spectacular detailed texture. However there’s extra to the White Birch, together with a brand new case form, an total extra fashionable feel and look, and at last an impressively technical motion with revolutionary escapement. This watch will later be derived with a brand new dial, nonetheless with the identical sort of texture, however now with a deep inexperienced color that gave the SLGH011 its title; the Inexperienced Birch.
The Inexperienced Birch SLGH011
The SLGH011 is mainly a distinct color utilized to the White Birch SLGH005. Whereas the Spring Drive version, the SLGA009, was pretty completely different concerning the feel of the dial, but in addition among the case’s proportions, the Inexperienced Birch is sort of completely similar to the Hello-Beat White Birch. And in all equity, there’s nothing incorrect with that (in any respect). What actually adjustments is the color of the dial, making this Inexperienced Birch a bit extra basic, a bit simpler to put on, and a bit much less placing.
Initially, the case. The Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Hello-Beat Inexperienced Birch SLGH011 is utilizing precisely the identical case as its silver counterpart, which suggests chrome steel and 40mm in diameter. Proportions are the identical too, with an 11.7mm top – not the thinnest watch, however nonetheless an effort in comparison with earlier releases of the model underneath the 44GS or 62GS collections – and a comparatively compact lug-to-lug measurement of 47mm, making it appropriate for many masculine wrists. You’ll be able to see the SLGH011 right here photographed on my 16.5cm wrist and on Robin’s 18cm wrist, and it feels enough in each conditions.
The case depends on the brand new Evolution 9 codes, that means a profile that has extra curves, for a greater ergonomy. Principally, the watch attracts a curved line from one lug to a different, thus following the pure curvature of the wrist. Additionally, the mixture of a lowered thickness and a centre of gravity that has been moved nearer to the again of the watch makes for a extremely snug and balanced case. New design parts additionally concern the bezel, thinner than earlier than, providing a greater view of the dial. The watch is topped by a box-shaped sapphire crystal, itself taking part within the visible slenderness of the SLGH011. But, with its screw-down crown and caseback, the Inexperienced Birch stays week-compliant, with its 100m water-resistance.
The ending of the case is, identical to with the White Birch, fairly spectacular. The flanks have a refine satin-brushed floor and an extended, fairly skinny polished bevel runs from one lug to the opposite, leading to a dynamic look. The identical mixture of ending is used on the bezel, with a elegant periphery and an higher floor that’s flat and vertically brushed. It’s fashionable, detailed, sporty but not overly current, making the Inexperienced Birch a watch to be worn on the workplace or throughout weekends. On its full bracelet, the SLGH011 is given for 178 grams, which is in step with most metal watches, however the pretty massive bracelet makes it balanced and the burden turns into neglectable.
The principle evolution to be seen on the Inexperienced Birch SLGH011 is the dial, which is impressed by the birch tree forests surrounding the Shizukuishi studio the place the watch is manufactured, however now in summertime (the White Birch was all about wintertime). The color is pretty discreet and provides its lush reflections solely after a more in-depth inspection. From a distance, the dial will seem darkish and nearly black – which, for the sake of every day wearability, is a constructive facet. Similar to the White Birch, there’s a powerful embossed texture on the dial, with a sure roughness to the decor. Aside from the color, there’s a notable distinction with the silver version, and that’s the method the dial performs with the sunshine.
On the White Birch, the silver color was extremely pronounced (nearly too current for some) and the dial extremely luminous, reinforcing the impact of the sample. On this watch, the darker color makes the aid much less apparent. Additionally, what was barely seen on the silver mannequin, the dial is definitely lined in clear lacquer to present it a flat floor (a necessity so as to print the logos and apply the markers). Right here, with the darkish inexperienced color, this impact is much extra seen, however definitely not disagreeable to the attention.
Different parts of the dial on this Inexperienced Birch SLGH011 haven’t modified in comparison with the White Birch SLGH005. The markers, bolder and extra current than earlier than, are a part of the brand new design language of the Evolution 9 assortment, alongside the bigger arms. The extent of execution on all parts is, as you’ve come to count on from Grand Seiko, merely beautiful. All parts are bevelled, faceted, textured and extremely embellished. The date window is framed by a metallic factor, making a counterpoint to the 9 o’clock marker.
No surprises both for the bracelet. The Inexperienced Birch comes geared up with a 3-link chrome steel bracelet closed by a folding clasp with security push-pieces – and no micro-adjustment. The bracelet measures 22mm on the lugs and about 20mm on the clasp. This relative width one way or the other participates within the visible enchantment of the watch, no less than in my books, and makes the SLGH011 a cushty piece. We’ve heard feedback concerning the truth that the bracelet ought to taper extra to the clasp, and even when I see the rationale for this grievance, I’ve by no means felt this to be a difficulty.
Mechanically talking, the Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Hello-Beat Inexperienced Birch SLGH011 depends on the fashionable and revolutionary in-house calibre 9SA5. There’s quite a bit to be mentioned about this motion, which will be learn on this in-depth article. Principally, the 9SA5 has a brand new high-frequency escapement geometry named Twin Impulse Escapement, working along with a free-sprung steadiness. The advantages are extra precision, higher shock resistance and extra effectivity. The general structure of the motion has at all times been reworked, with a thinner profile and two barrels for an 80h energy reserve. The motion is rated for +5 to -3 seconds per day. Lastly, the ornament is extra refined than prior to now, extra charming too with superbly designed bridges, skinny stripes, bevelled edges…
Availability & Value
The Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Hello-Beat Inexperienced Birch SLGH011 shall be out there for orders in Autumn 2022, solely from Grand Seiko’s on-line boutiques (Europe or USA). The worth shall be EUR 9,500 (incl. taxes) or USD 9,100 (excl. taxes). For extra particulars, please go to www.grand-seiko.com.