GRAND SEIKO SBGW005
My love affair with this watch began when I decided to look into the Modern Grand Seiko having exhausted most of the movements on the vintage side. It is important to remember that the vintage Grand Seikos were issued back in 1960, and had produced it's last piece in 1974; while the modern ones came out in the mid- to late 90's up to the early 2000s.
I had handled and owned most of the movements of the vintage pieces, from the classic GS 3180, also known as "The First" to my last vintage piece, the 6156-8040. It was after going through all these different vintage variants that I felt it was time to start looking and even considering the modern ones.
My search led me to the different Modern Grand Seiko variants and when I had already made up my mind with the SBGM001, being the very first Grand Seiko with a complication, a friend recommended the SBGW001-- the Grand Seiko piece that created a "ruckus" in Baselworld 1994(?). It was a lovely piece and I really liked it's clean, no-date dial, however, it was it's sister variant, which was introduced a couple of years after that really caught my eye. It had all the elements I was looking for in a classic Grand Seiko piece: (1) No-date, (2) manual wind, and (3) non-transparent caseback with an engraved lion, but had two added bonuses: (a) It came with a classic bead of rice bracelet (Ref. A00A111J0), which is hardly seen in any GS pieces, and (b) A blue second hand, which gave it a nice touch on the dial... it was definitely a love at first sight moment. A feeling I've never felt before. The bracelet gave the watch a very vintage vibe much like the bracelets of the 60’s and 70’s, while the blue second hand was the perfect accent on a medium-sized ivory-colored dial.
I remember getting compliments when i wore it for the first time, as it is indeed a very striking piece. The feel of each click as you wind the watch to start out the more than 45 hour power reserve, and the feel of the bracelet on my wrist did not disappoint. While the clean no-date dial allowed the blue second hand to sweep elegantly over its clean face.
Being one of the very first modern day Grand Seikos makes it an even more exciting piece to keep. A sort of modern-vintage piece that satisfies one's craving of having a vintage-looking Grand Seiko watch and a modern machine built from scratch, manufactured using it's own proprietary parts that can give its Swiss counterparts a run for their money. A challenge that Grand Seiko has been relentlessly been pursing since the early 60's, and a challenge, I believe they have already achieved with the issuance of the SBGW005.
It should be noted that after a couple of years, the SBGW005 graduated into the SBGW035 with a slightly upgraded movement, however, Seiko decided to take out the non-transparent lion engraved caseback and replaced it with the transparent glass case found in most modern GSs these days. I was a little disappointed with this move, because it took out that “classic feel” for a Grand Seiko, as the engraved lion has always been the symbol of a “better-than chronometer-grade” Swiss watch and the majestic lion symbolized it being the “King” of watches. Eventually, when the Grand Seiko brand decoupled itself from the Seiko mother ship and became a stand-alone brand, the 035 was further upgraded and "re-referenced" to the SBGW235, with the double-logo being taken out, and the stand-alone GRAND SEIKO brand standing alone majestically right below the 12o'clock hour marker.
My SBGW005 was produced in 2003 (May) making it close to “vintage” as it nears the 25 year cut-off consideration to be classified as “vintage.” From what I've heard, it has already been phased out and discontinued, making it an even more valuable and exciting piece to own. This particular watch has left my hand so many times. I Sold it once to a dear friend, but got “seller’s remorse” and bought it back. After getting it back just last February it’s been a constant companion ever since, and one that I can truly say will never leave my side ever again.