THAT the Spring Drive is coveted by the Seiko and Grand Seiko faithful is not news at all — it has been one of many worst-kept secrets among the horology-afflicted for years now. Neither is the adoration for the Spring Drive GMT classified info.
The arrival of a Spring Drive GMT model garbed in an 18-karat yellow gold-and-blue outfit should only flush out Grand Seiko love in the open even more. For starters, this new Grand Seiko — the SBGE248 — is theatrical.
Defining the latest Spring Drive GMT is a gorgeous two-tone, 24-hour rotating bezel in blue and black that’s ringed on both inner and outer edges with 18-karat gold. Picking up the gold theme are the gilt on the five hands (counting in those for the GMT and power reserve indicators), as well as on the applied hour markers. Coating the hands, 12, 3, 6 and 9 indices, and the markers on the bezel is Seiko’s Lumibrite luminescent material. Inscriptions are in gold, too. A date window appears at 4 o’clock.
On the case, the gold crown matches the touches on the bezel. Here’s the thing, though: the metal bracelet stays in monotone steel, getting no center links in gold.
Meanwhile, continuing the blue on the bezel is a blue dial that, at least from photos, appears darker in hue. Wrapping over this is a 44-millimeter-wide case topped by a sapphire crystal cover that’s rated water-resistant to 200 meters.
Underneath the surface ticks — all right, “sweeps” is the more accurate term — the self-winding Spring Drive GMT cal. 9R66, which upon launch in 2006 became Grand Seiko’s first 9R Spring Drive movement fitted with a dual time function. This 30-jewel movement with a 72-hour power reserve can have its second time zone readout adjusted without it stopping, so it should not lose time in the process.
Speaking of which; besides its second hand’s ability to simply glide around the dial, as well as its impeccable finishing, the cal. 9R66 is also extremely accurate. Like to within a second every 24 hours, or even 15 seconds in the course of a month.
It’s stuff like this that makes Seiko and Grand Seiko love hard to keep a secret.