Grand Seiko’s New Dress Watches Have Next-Generation Movements And Design

Grand Seiko’s latest dress watches seem like low-key, unassuming pieces at first, but they are actually quite the milestone. For starters, they are the first dress watches released under the Evolution 9 collection. Introduced in 2020, Evolution 9 was a refinement and modernisation of the brand’s key design language as expressed by the iconic 44GS case, which dates back to 1967. Until now, Evolution 9 was only applied to sports and sports-elegant watches, such as the renowned SLGH005 ‘White Birch’.

The new dress watches, SLGW002 and SLGW003, are very much recognisable as Evolution 9—the grooved hour markers and bisected hour hand stand out in particular—but has been softened and pared down here and there into something more elegant and minimalist. At 38.6mm in diameter, they are a mid-size option that sits well among the slightly reduced sizing of today’s dress watches. The textured dial is also white birch-inspired, but with a horizontal rather than vertical pattern as seen on the SLGH005.

Close-up of a clean white birch bark

In true dress watch style, SLGW002 and SLGW003 are manually wound. However, they are not equipped with just any manual winding movements—they are outfitted with Calibre 9SA4, a brand-new manual-winding version of the revolutionary 9SA5 Dual Impulse Escapement calibre that was first seen in 2020. A rethinking and improvement of the traditional mechanical escapement, 9SA5 is a self-winding high-beat movement that brought with it the advantages of stability, efficiency and robustness. Although 9SA4 shares many of its characteristics and components, about 40 per cent of it was redesigned in pursuit of the purity that comes with manual winding. The pawl—or ‘click’, in watchmaking terminology—and its spring have been carefully tailored to provide optimal, satisfying feedback during winding. In addition, the geartrain and other parts were rearranged for better efficiency—9SA4 requires some 15 per cent fewer twists of the crown to wind fully by hand, as compared with 9SA5. It is a slim movement, too, thus contributing to the watch’s overall thickness of slightly less than 10mm. A power reserve indicator is visible through the display caseback. Beating at 5Hz, 9SA4 has an 80-hour power reserve and is rated at +5 to -3 seconds per day.

Both watches are available starting in August. SLGW003 (RM49,400) has a case made from Grand Seiko’s proprietary Brilliant Hard Titanium, which is highly resistant to corrosion and scratches while being brighter than regular titanium. SLGW002 (RM223,100) is in rose gold, and is a limited edition of 80 exclusive to Grand Seiko boutiques. Both versions of the watch come with crocodile leather straps—of course.

Grand Seiko

Sign up for our Newsletters

Stay up to date with our latest series