The GS Snowflake, or reference SBGA211, is one of those watches that truly got to me. It doesn’t occur that regularly (as of late), yet now and again I am as yet deeply inspired when I see an excellent watch. I’ve been composing for Fratello since 2004 and the occasions that this happens is basically uncommon. Particularly when it concerns a watch that doesn’t have a similar sticker price as a modestly measured vehicle or a whole house. I think it has to do with the way that we see such countless watches each day and week, that the ones that really stick, are only a few.

Grand Seiko SBGA211 Snowflake

It was in October 2015, when I visited the Grand Seiko makes in Japan ( I announced about that trip here, with heaps of photos ). During one of the principal days, while visiting the assembling in Shiojiri, I saw the Grand Seiko Snowflake interestingly. At that point, there was still Seiko at 12 o’clock rather than today’s Grand Seiko (this changed in 2017), and this watch had reference SBGA011. Including a spring drive development (type 9R65) that makes the second’s hand clear as smooth as an electronic clock. There’s a little force save pointer on the dial also, at a somewhat uncommon spot.

From a distance, you can ponder what’s exceptional about this watch. It is all around constructed, perfectly formed hands, Spring Drive development (not a + for everybody) and made of titanium. This is maybe additionally what makes Grand Seiko fascinating for fans, you need to give yourself some an ideal opportunity to figure out how to value it. I regularly consider it a “loupe watch” or a watch for geeks, as you possibly begin to get what it is about when you study the watch under a loupe or see a show by one of their watchmakers. Dangerously sharp hour markers, absurdly cleaned hands and afterward there’s the Zaratsu (edge) cleaned case that is basically from another planet. At any rate in this value range, it is practically unbelievable. That’s all fine and we’ve clarified and expounded on it a ton of times, however what makes this Grand Seiko SBGA211 so extraordinary is, obviously, the dial.

Snowflake Dial

The Grand Seiko Snowflake is maybe the most valued model they have in their assortment, at any rate by the online community it is by all accounts the most loved execution. This is chiefly a result of the Snowflake dial, that is (additionally) made in-house in the Shiojiri dial workshop. The dial is develop from numerous layers, to make the finished impact of day off. As far as anyone is concerned, there could be no other brand that makes a dial with this Snowflake impact. Other than the white Snowflake dial, there’s more to it obviously. As we frequently expressed here on Fratello, the hour markers and hands are hand-completed and furthermore applied by hand (during a workshop this took me such a long time that eventually, I surrendered). Throughout the hour markers and hands are additionally checked by an individual to check whether it coordinates their quality principles, this is basically done by utilizing a little mirror. With the low creation number of Grand Seiko watches (a yearly amount of approx. 35.000 watches each year), this is as yet conceivable to do by hand.

As you can see on the picture over, the GS logo has additionally been applied, just as the casing around the date gap. The imprinting on the dial just comprises of the Grand Seiko brand name just as the “Spring Drive” sign in blue. This matches the blue smooth second’s hand of the SBGA211, that pivots so easily over the Snowflake dial. A delight to notice. At 8 o’clock, there is the force hold pointer of the 9R65 development. It has a 3-days (72 hours) power hold altogether, yet there is (fortunately) no scale on the indicator.

Titanium Case and Bracelet

The case and arm band of the GS Snowflake SBGA211 are made of titanium. Grand Seiko utilizes a focused energy titanium, that is more impervious to scratches and consumption than typical titanium. It is additionally 30% lighter than hardened steel, which is by all accounts a significant angle for individuals. Titanium is additionally preferred by the individuals who have a nickel allergy.

In the manufacture in Shiojiri, the cases get the renowned Zaratsu cleaning treatment, which gives the wonderful sharp lines and cleaned features on the case.

The case estimates 41mm in distance across and 12.5mm in tallness. It is a size that the vast majority will completely fit, additionally because of the smooth state of the case. Connected to it is a ‘Speedmaster’- style arm band in titanium, with cleaned joins combined with matt, completed connections. The crown is endorsed with GS, just as the collapsing fasten of the arm band. Snap on the pictures underneath for bigger versions.

Calibre 9R65 Movement

Although I wasn’t precisely a fan from the outset, as this Spring Drive development actually utilizes a loop, IC (Integrated Circuit) and quartz gem, yet subsequent to studying this development I really wouldn’t mind claiming a watch with one.

The Spring Drive instrument utilizes an electric speed control component rather than a mechanical escapement. The controller (Tri-Syncro) creates power by utilizing the force of the fountainhead. This power isn’t being put away (so no battery) yet burned-through promptly by the IC. The IC produces a reference signal that guides the electromagnetic brake controlling the speed of the wheel train. This creation, created by Yoshikazu Akahane (who died in the in the mean time), required 20 years to be created by Seiko. His desire was to build up a mechanical development with the precision of a quartz development, in which the Spring Drive system succeeded. Because of the IC (quartz) and Tri-Synchro controller, the watch is unbelievably precise. This innovation has additionally been embraced by Piaget and rumors from far and wide suggest that previously, various enormous Swiss watch marks likewise showed interest in this innovation from Seiko.

When precision matters to you, or love the ultra smooth development of a seconds hand on a dial, the Spring Drive is the best approach. It is said to have a precision of +-1 second out of each day on average.

Just like their mechanical developments (type 9S), the 9R65 has a similar degree of finish. “Côte de Tokyo” and decent sloping on the extensions. The rotor shows the GS logo, obviously. We got messages from a portion of our perusers who get some information about the adjusting expenses of these Grand Seiko developments and how troublesome it will be to have them overhauled or fixed external Japan.

The administration costs for a Grand Seiko watch with the Spring Drive 9R65 development is €430. Grand Seiko endeavors to have this done in three weeks, barring the term of delivery the watch to and from Japan. All things considered, in certain nations, Grand Seiko can do overhauling on watches with these developments also. Ask your neighborhood Grand Seiko approved vendor (or wholesaler) what the prospects are in your country or area. An outline of all Grand Seiko administration expenses can be found in this article we did some time ago . More about overhauling and administration stretches, as a rule, can be found here .

Why I Didn’t Buy The Snowflake

Although it was all consuming, instant adoration, eventually, I didn’t purchase the Grand Seiko Snowflake. It took me about a year to discover which model I precisely needed to have and the SBGA211 Snowflake was on my waitlist constantly. The dial is among the prettiest I have at any point seen on a watch, and I don’t even brain the force save marker on it (albeit not my inclination). The Spring Drive development is positively something I need to claim sooner or later, so no masterpiece there by the same token. The cost of the SBGA211 Snowflake is €6000/$5800 USD, which I accept is more than reasonable considered the craftsmanship that went into this watch and given the nature of the watch in general.

The case shape isn’t my best option however, as I very much want the 44GS style cases. Otherwise called the “Grammar of Design” as we clarified in this article . I think it is essentially somewhat more exceptional than the plan of the SBGA211 Snowflake however whatever floats his boat obviously. Then, or on top, is the way that this Snowflake is made of titanium. This material is just not for me, as I like to at any rate have the thought I am as yet wearing a watch. With the 41mm x 12.5mm measurement, you at any rate hope to see the watch on your wrist, however this watch is a lot (~30%)  lighter than comparative models in steel.

Would the SBGA211 Snowflake in steel, I may have taken another choice. On the off chance that the case would have the 44GS plan in titanium, that even may have chosen me in any case. Yet, it isn’t. My dread is that in the event that I don’t purchase the correct one – for me – toward the beginning, I get myself not wearing it at all eventually, or in any event, flipping it. I’m a sorry watch flipper, so I rather settle on an even choice. For this situation, it took me a year since I had the SBGA211 in my grasp again during the kickoff of the Grand Seiko shop in Knightsbridge, London and the hardened steel SBGJ201 model (Hi-beat development, steel, Mt Iwate dial). Eventually, I went for the SBGJ201 “Mt. Iwate” all things being equal, not in the last spot on account of the dial that seems as though rice paper because of its design. It is just obvious very close, as you can see underneath. On the main picture, there’s not a lot to see with respect to the construction of the dial, however the picture beneath that one gives you a superior idea.

This watch has its cons too obviously, as I was not explicitly searching for a watch with a GMT hand. Yet, eventually, that isn’t annoying me by any stretch of the imagination (neither would the force hold marker of the Snowflake do as such). The wristband is a similar style as the SBGA211 Snowflake, and I’ve commented on it in the past also. It isn’t actually my style, so I added a crocodile calfskin tie to this SBGJ201 simply like I would do as such with the Snowflake if the coin would be on the opposite side. Making the watch considerably lighter, once more. Putting these watches (notwithstanding which reference) on a tie truly puts forth the defense configuration pop significantly more. The lash on the SBGJ201 has been made by Peter from WatchAcc .

What Does It Take

The Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA211 is unquestionably something uncommon. Due to its hypnotizing dial, but since of the whole bundle. For €6000 you purchase a watch that has the equivalent – or surprisingly better – level of finish working on this issue, dial and hands as watches that are well over this cost. Here likewise lies part of the issue. These sort of subtleties are just noticeable when utilizing a loupe or when you in any event have the watch in your grasp, and not on your screen, print magazine or maybe even on two meters distance in an AD’s show. It is a watch driven by subtleties, specialized advancement maybe, and less by a plan that doesn’t contrast a lot (from the outset sight) from a Rolex Datejust or, maybe, a more value cordial Seiko Presage. That’s why I previously alluded to it above as “a watch for [watch]nerds” or a “loupe watch” and I don’t mean this as something negative, however it expects somebody to invest some energy in researching these watches very close. Deals are not driven by the name on the dial, it takes a smidgen more than that in this case.

If you contributed time and exertion to look at them face to face and very close, and still don’t see what makes these watches so exceptional, at that point they are essentially not for you. In the event that you do, you will be stricken by them and you will wind up visiting all sites covering Grand Seiko to find out more and see which one will suit you best.

Again, the cost of the SBGA211 Snowflake is €6000 and you can discover more data on the .