The Grand Seiko SLGH005 (RM38,000) is the Japanese watchmaker looking forward in the subtle way we have come to expect. Though most would be hard-pressed to tell, the 40mm steel case case is an updated version of the classic Grand Seiko case, though a bit more streamlined, a bit more faceted, and the flawless polishing emphasising the facets a little more than before. The visual updates are known as the Series 9 Design, and the brand promises it will be an important part of its future. The watch houses the Hi-Beat calibre 9SA5, which uses the new Dual Impulse Escapement that Grand Seiko debuted in 2020.
The intricately textured, shimmering dial is what gives the watch its ‘White Birch’ nickname. It is inspired by the serenely beautiful white birch trees endemic to northern Japan and which are plentiful in the area around the Grand Seiko studio in Shizukuishi. Combined with the razor-sharp polished hands that is a Grand Seiko calling card and a new type of hour marker design that lends an additional, dressier edge, it is a look that that remains true to the brand even as it incrementally moves ahead.