In 2019, Grand Seiko introduced a new case shape and design that evoked the lion, an emblem of the brand that graced the back of the very first Grand Seiko watch in 1960. The new design has brought an undeniably sporty dimension to Grand Seiko in the years since, but until today, only in the form of limited editions. With the announcement of a new Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT version in High-Intensity Titanium, the powerful shape inspired by the lion is landing in the Grand Seiko Sport collection as a regular production model for the first time. One of the hallmarks of the case shape is its sharp, angular, hairline-finished lugs. In addition to allowing the 44.5mm x 16.8mm watch to sit comfortably on the wearer’s wrist, they provide visual contrast with the Zaratsu-polished elements while evoking the forceful nature of a lion’s claw. The chronograph pushers feature a textured, concave surface so that they can be quickly and efficiently pressed. And comfort, balance, and a perfect fit are ensured by a high-intensity titanium bracelet with a slide adjuster. On the dial, the lion’s mane pattern conjures the majestic beast’s natural beauty, while dark red accents ensure that this sports watch remains, above all, highly legible and easy to use. This ease of use also applies to dark environments thanks to the use of green Lumibrite for the hour and minute hands, while the GMT display (both 24-hour hand and 24-hour scale) glows brightly with blue Lumibrite. The timepiece is powered by the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT Caliber 9R86, which ensures an accuracy of ±15 seconds per month. As a Spring Drive Chronograph, the watch benefits from a chronograph seconds hand whose smooth motion reflects the natural passage of time. This chronograph function, combined with a GMT and water resistance of 20 bar, means that the SBGC253 isn’t merely highly accurate and enjoyable to look at but also convenient for everyday wear. The finely decorated Spring Drive movement can be appreciated through a transparent case back, which has a subtle lion emblem on the glass.
The lion is the brand emblem that first appeared on the back of the inaugural Grand Seiko watch in 1960. The case was revived in a trio of models that Grand Seiko unveiled in 2019. The case underwent another resurgence the following year in the form of a sophisticated and constrained chronograph, the 60th Anniversary reference SBGC238. Fast forward 4 years and the most recent model from the Japanese brand is here to make a powerful statement, the new Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT SBGC253. Like its forefather, it draws its inspiration from the lion’s mane, ushering in a slick and potent design to the collection.
The bold, ultra-angular case is finished with brushed and Zaratsu polishing and it’s crafted from high-intensity grade 5 titanium. The case has a 44.5mm x 16.8mm size profile. The use of titanium as opposed to stainless steel makes it that much more durable in addition to being 30% lighter than a stainless steel equivalent. As with earlier editions, the case size and finishing are both substantial, have sharp edges, and combine polished and brushed surfaces. A fixed 24-hour bezel hosts a luminous scale coated with LumiBrite. With large pushers and screw-down crown, water resistance is rated at 200m.
The powerful Lion’s mane texture appears on the dial in ivory-white color. The lion mane texture projects the image of power and authority that the Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph GMT brand seeks to achieve in watchmaking, and perhaps already did. A 24-hour additional time zone with a separate 24-hour hand, a chronograph with central seconds, a 30-minute counter, a 12-hour counter, small seconds, a date, and a power reserve indicator are among the features of the dial. The large hands and applied markers are all coated in LumiBrite and the dial is sealed with a dual-curved sapphire crystal which has an anti-reflective coating. On a more technical side, it’s the Grand Seiko’s proprietary Spring Drive Caliber 9R86 that powers the watch. Visible through a sapphire screwed caseback, the 50 jewels movement is a column-wheel chronograph, has ±1 second per day accuracy and offers a 72h power reserve.