There is a design code at Grand Seiko known as the “Grand Seiko Style”, which is a set of nine principles that Grand Seiko follows that gives a distinctive look and is used to inspire every new creation. In 1967 the Grand Seiko 44GS was the first watch that embodied this very style and now 55 years later, it is being commemorated with the SBGJ255 a Hi-Beat 36000 GMT.
True to Grand Seiko with their design principles they each serve a function to the watch and based on legibility, comfort and the look of the watch. The first design principle is the double width index at 12 o’clock which emphasizes the vertical 12 to 6 o’clock line that aids in easy reading of the time. The hour markers are all multi-faceted rectangular markers to make legibility easier even in low light conditions. The bezel is highly polished with the zaratsu technique and has a clear ridge line between the top and slanted planes. The planes are also highly polished and two-dimensional surface which reflect light even in dim conditions which creates a sharp crisp visual impression. The crown is half recessed which is to guarantee comfort for all wrist sizes. The dial is flat to ensure the hour markers and hands are more prominent and enhances legibility. The hour and minute hands are multi-faceted and highly polished that catches and reflect any bit of light for better visibility. The sideline is curved which gives it an uncluttered outline that softens the overall impression of the case. Finally, the last design principle is the reserve slanted bezel wall and case side, this allows shadows to be cast and reflected that adds character and makes the watch look thinner and lighter.
Finally, the watch that honours all nine design principles and is a celebration of the 55 years of the 44GS is the new SBGJ255 Hi-Beat 36000 GMT. This new watch can be seen as a brand new and modern interpretation of the 44GS, as it first starts off with the distinctive case design. The case is 40mm and 14mm thick and made out of titanium and features zaratsu polishing and is water resistant to a 100m. As mentioned in the nine design principles the crown is semi-recessed and features dual-curved sapphire crystal and the hands the indices have Lumibrite on them. The dial has a very subtle texture which is contrasted beautifully with the GMT hand that is polished blue. The Calibre 9S86 automatic GMT movement that can be seen through the sapphire case back. It has a power reserve of 55 hours and has an accuracy rate of +5 to -3 seconds per day, and unique to this watch is the special rotor. The rotor is executed in gold-tone and has the Grand Seiko lion emblem and unlike the usual half rotor it features a full rotor.
The watch is limited to only 1,200 pieces worldwide and is set to release in January 2022, and will be priced at $8,500USD and will be part of the Grand Seiko Heritage Collection. I am glad that this watch features some design on the dial as I was a bit scared it was going to be plain white. I would love to see how that dial works in the light as often with Grand Seiko the pictures really do not do any justice with their dials.