SBGE001 - My first attempt to write a watch review
I wrote this "review" in November 2006 shortly after getting the SBGE001. Due to the limited amount of text and excessive use of pictures it is probably more correct to call it a pictorial. Also it is more an unveiling than a review. Anyway I hope you will enjoy it.
This is my first attempt at writing a review (sort of) of a watch. I have read many great reviews over the years and even bought a couple of watches after some particularly brilliant ones (e.g. The Sinn 6000 review by Hippie.
There are a lot of pictures in this one, so I guess it might be appropriate to say it is more of a pictorial one.
The watch that made me want to try this is the Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT (SBGE001), which I won at a very fair price on e-bay a couple of weeks back. It is a truly magnificent piece, and it is my hope that the text and pictures below will do it justice and that you will find it interesting enough to spent a few minutes on.
OK, here goes.....
As you can hear already from its name it is a Grand watch in every way. Even the packaging is something extra. First the outer white cardboard sleeve with some nice wording...
Protecting the dark blue faux leather box (with even nicer text)...
This in turn is protecting the white, patterned silky paper...
that is covering the delicate royal blue suede box.
And finally inside you find the watch on a dark blue suede pillow (with a ribbon to keep it in place. Extremely detailed and well made documentation such as an instruction booklet, guarantee book, information on the Spring Drive technology and history etc etc
Some words about this time piece then. It is a rather big watch; about 44mm in diameter (outer edge of bezel), approximately 15mm tall from the back to the top of the domed sapphire crystal. Lug tip to lug tip is 51mm and the lug width is the awkward 21mm's. It weighs 125g on a leather strap and closer to 175g on the bracelet. Made of SS with nicely brushed and polished areas.
She's got a lovely back! And a nice signed crown.
The numbers (in an "oldish" font I just love) on the 72 click (!) bezel is covered with sapphire. I really like this, but this is also the one thing that annoys me somewhat, because in some light conditions there are just too much reflections making the bezel look almost grey. And she glows to.
Some might say that due to the fact that all the cardinal makers look the same it is impossible to say what is up on the dial at night. It is indeed not, over the 12 o'clock marker there is a dot that also glows:
The SBGE001 has the 9R66 movement. This is a spring drive movement with a 72h power reserve and a true GMT function (meaning that the regular hand can be re-set without stopping the watch). I believe the 5R66 movement in the SBDB001 (600m SD Diver) is the same only with a lower grade of finish. With the turning bezel you could keep track of a third time zone (so a perfect watch for my work as I need to keep an eye of the time in California, Hong Kong and Stockholm). Please note that Seiko put the even numbers on the bezel and the uneven on the inner ring. A very nice touch.
The bracelet is another source of joy. It is all SS with solid end links. It just reeks quality and it is truly a pleasure to let it slide between your fingers. It even tops the bracelet on the Sinn 6000 I had.
The clasp is signed and has a dual push button release which clicks like a safe.
Normally you adjust a bracelet just once. In this case I am happy that is the case as the links are held together with a pin and two minor screws.
I ordered a black croc strap with red stitching for this one, but I am not sure about the look as the lugs are quite tall and the holes are almost at the bottom of the lugs it leaves an irritating gap between the top of the strap and the top of the lug. Maybe I will get used to it? [I didn't, see spring 2008 update below.].
All in all, I am very happy with the watch. And, so far, I do not regret the fact that I had to sell six of my Seiko diver's to get it. Oh, I almost forgot the best part that won't show in any of the pictures; the absolutely non ticking motion of the second's hand, it is so smooth.
For more than a year I've been searching for the "ultimate" leather strap for this watch. Due to the massive structure of the lugs and the width of 21mm it hasn't been an easy task. No standard strap has been thick enough to suit the watch the way I want. To make it even more complicated I also wanted red stitching.
After trying a couple of places for custom straps I finally found what I was looking for:
ABP was able to make a strap exactly to my needs. They even had an option where you get more material at the top of the strap to fill out the lugs. The strap looks so good, almost like a fitted strap. ABP is not the cheapest, but well worth the money IMO!