GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review
Like Tree21Likes

Thread: GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 27
  1. #1
    Sponsor Timeless Luxury Watches's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    PLANO, TX
    Posts
    5,116

    GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

    Grand Seiko Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review





    Iíll be the first to admit that Grand Seikoís strategy with the Snowflake has always been, to put it charitably, mysterious to me. In creating the Snowflake, the brand found its first truly international hit and an icon that may one day rival watches like the Speedmaster or Submariner. Every other brand, like Tudor with its Black Bay, for instance, doubles down on these successes and creates dozens of versions of their recent masterpiece.




    But not GS. GS has only released a handful of different versions of the Snowflake over the years, and these have generally been slight tweaks, like gold accents on the SBGA259. This new SBGA407, then, along with models like the SBGZ001, represents a turning point for one of the most important dials available today.




    So whatís changed? Well, obviously, it has a new blue dial, although it sports an extremely similar snowdrift texture (as you would hope). But this new Snowflake is also slightly smaller, and slightly dressier than the original. Matching this more classic case, itís one of few Grand Seikos that comes on a strap instead of a bracelet. Perhaps the biggest change, other than the blue dial of course, is that the new SBGA407 comes in steel, not titanium. More on that later.




    First, letís get right to what most people really care about: the new dial. The blue, to my eyes (and camera) at least, is softer than in Grand Seikoís stock photos. By that I mean itís a slightly lighter, more subtle blue. It does a good job of taking on the hues that deep snow can sometimes resemble, but never approaches the rich, bright blues associated with glaciers. Suffice it to say, it remains a fairly under-the-radar look.




    Looking much more closely now, we can see the intricate snowdrift texture that covers the dial. Grand Seiko has, since its earliest days, been associated with incredible dial craftsmanship, but it was really the SBGA011 (today the SBGA211) Snowflake that captured the worldís attention. I suspect that people have an immediate connection to the Snowflake because the human psyche already has a connection to snow.




    When we look at a fine guilloche or sunburst dial, these too are quite complex and intricate, but they are also very abstract. Snow, conversely, is something that the human mind recognizes instantaneously. The Snowflake, either this SBGA407 or the SBGA211, therefore, succeeds because it is somehow more primal than most watch designs. It immediately has an association with everything you already like or donít like about the snow and all of its connotations.




    Or, alternatively, maybe itís just really pretty. Either way, just like the regular Snowflake, you do get a glimpse at some more traditional dial textures in the divisive power reserve complication. As Iíve already said a dozen times in my last Snowflake review, while I love power reserves, it would be nice if collectors got to choose for themselves. As the Snowflake collection expands, and it seems like it will, perhaps GS fans will get that option on some of these more obtainable models. This is perhaps signaled by the SBGZ001, the so-called Snowflake Maximus, which kicks out the power reserve entirely.




    The date, thanks to its applied frame, remains unobtrusive and easy to read. Because the white date ring is fairly consistent with the light blue (as opposed to white on a black dial, or vice versa), it doesnít bother me at all. I do wonder what it might have looked like with a blue date ring, however, but since watch brands in general seem absolutely determined not to color-match their date rings with their dials, I suppose weíll never find out.




    The hands remain stylistically identical to those on the SBGA211, and thank heaven for that. These are perhaps my favorite hands in the entire world of watches, and I wouldnít change a thing.




    The applied hour markers, on the other hand, have changed. Gone are the tapered markers at 6, 9 and 12, and in their place are rectangular markers. To their credit, they are more consistent with the other hour markers, and therefore less noticeable, all the way around the dial than the SBGA211ís, but Iíve always viewed the Snowflakeís hour markers as a masterpiece. Theyíre my favorite hour markers in the entire Grand Seiko lineup, so anything other than them, for me, is a bit of a step down. But tastes will vary, and Iím sure just as many people will prefer them to the SBGA211ís markers. Part of me is glad they changed them just to help make this a more distinct model.




    Overall, Iíd define the SBGA407ís dial as a variation on a theme, rather than as a rival to the SBGA211. On one level, it loosens up a bit, adding more than a bit of color. But on another, the more angular markers and classic case also contribute to a dressier appearance.




    The case is ever so slightly smaller than the SBGA211ís, 40.2mm versus 41mm, so if you felt like the original Snowflake was too large, the SBGA407ís probably isnít going to change your mind. However, itís stylistically quite different. The SBGA211 has a much sportier case, made all the more apparent with its bracelet and screw down crown.




    The Blue Snowflake, conversely, has a more elegant case, aesthetically similar to the original 1960 Grand Seiko. Unlike the SBGA211, its crown doesnít screw down, which I prefer in a dress watch like this, as it just makes the watch that much easier to set or wind.




    Itís also entirely polished, unlike the alternating brushed/polished surfaces of the SBGA211. This tends to compensate for its overall understated design a bit. Oddly, the smaller, dressier SBGA407 is also ever so slightly thicker than the SBGA211, 12.8mm versus 12.5mm. Thereís no way youíd ever appreciate that difference in real life, but it is a step away from the overall dressy direction the design is taking us.




    The changes in the case design play almost as much a role in differentiating how the watch looks as the blue dial does, but it also hides one of the other important distinctions, namely that the case is made of steel instead of titanium. This might annoy Snowflake purists, as ďbeing as light as a snowflakeĒ was one of the traits of the SBGA011/SBGA211 Snowflakes. Others, like me, however, have a preference for steel and donít mind a little weight in our watches. Steel tends to be more scratch resistant, offering a functional improvement as well. Whether using steel or titanium is a good thing is ultimately up to individual preference, but Iím certainly not upset by the lack of titanium here.




    One thing that hasnít changed is the presence of the extremely popular 9R65 movement, the core of the spring drive collection. This super-accurate mechanical/quartz hybrid has been found in Snowflakes since the beginning, and it doesnít seem like thatís going to change anytime soon.




    The 9R65 boasts quite a few advantages compared to other movements in this price range. For one thing, it has a 72 hour power reserve, but more importantly, itís exceedingly accurate. GS rates the 9R65 for 15 seconds per month, although most users experience significantly better than that in the real world.




    Perhaps its most interesting trait, however, is its lack of an escapement, the beating heart of a conventional watch movement. Replacing it is the glide wheel, which rotates in a single direction constantly, as opposed to the oscillations of a balance wheel.




    This results in one of the more fascinating traits of the spring drive, namely that the seconds hand is perfectly smooth, even under close examination. It is not the illusion of smoothness, as achieved by high frequency movements, but rather the lone example of true smoothness. The seconds hand glides completely silently around the dial, making for an oddly soothing experience. Perhaps no other movement more accurately reflects the passage of time better than the spring drive.




    Beyond these technical achievements, the 9R65 movement is quite beautiful to behold. Spring drives clearly receive the most aesthetic attention of all of GSí movements and are the ones youíll find yourself turning the watch over to look at more often.




    So thatís the new SBGA407, but it will inevitably be asked whether the SBGA407 is better or worse than the SBGA211. In my opinion, this is simply the wrong question. The SBGA407 exists alongside the original, and not as a rival, but as an alternative. The SBGA407 will be there to serve fans who want something dressier, something in steel, or something, well, bluer.




    Meanwhile, the SBGA211 isnít going anywhere. If you like it more, you can still get it, and if you already have one but find yourself wanting more Snowflake in your collection, the SBGA407 is there to fill that empty spot in your case. If I had to make a complaint about it, itíd be the price. It doesnít cost a cent more than the SBGA211. In fact, it costs exactly the same, $5,800. My question is why not charge at least a little less for a steel watch on a strap rather than a full titanium watch and bracelet. For those primarily concerned with value, then, I think the SBGA211 clearly has an edge.




    The SBGA407 manages to perform the delicate balancing act of being different enough to justify its existence, yet incorporating enough Snowflake DNA to warrant its namesake. Itís genuinely a great watch, and I hope itís the beginning of an entire line of Snowflake watches. The basis for the Snowflake design is just too good not to see at least a handful of versions in different sizes, colors, and metals to fit every need.

    If youíd like to learn more about the SBGA407 or pre-order one for yourself, please click here.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    4,498

    Re: GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

    The baby blue reminds me of a relative’s gender revelation party that I attended yesterday. It’s a boy!
    Last edited by T1meout; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:42.

  3. #3
    Member Nokie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    22,860

    Re: GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

    I like the light blue dial color, but not the oversized date wheel.
    "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped"
    Groucho Marx

    "The only reason for time is so that everything does not happen at once..."
    Albert Einstein

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    99

    Re: GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

    i can't name anything i don't like. beauty. i'd love it on a nice bracelet.
    ajbutler13 likes this.

  6. #5
    Member whineboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    1,554

    Re: GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

    Great writeup, thank you Timeless Luxury Watches. Of course all of your writeups are great .

    I like everything about this except the pastel blue dial. Not a fan of pastel watch faces, whether this or the Kabuki kimono watches, too feminine.

    I'd be intrigued to see what a navy blue Snowflake dial looks like.
    whineboy
    All mechanical, all the time

  7. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    589

    Re: GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

    I want this watch. Would be a great friend to my Golden Snowflake. Want it on bracelet (I live in San Antonio=hot!) and while I'm aware that is a long wait I might be willing. Can we confirm the WR? I've seen 30m and 100m for this watch; it is the elegance collection...

  8. #7
    Member bluedialer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,409

    Re: GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

    A black version of the Snowflake texture would be interesting, depending on if it showed the texture well enough. Would be like charcoal wood.
    Joe90 likes this.

  9. #8
    Member Covenant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    904

    Re: GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedialer View Post
    A black version of the Snowflake texture would be interesting, depending on if it showed the texture well enough. Would be like charcoal wood.
    That would be amazing, agreed.

    But bluedialler, commenting on a Blue Snowflake thread, wishing there was one in black? Doing that handle a bit of disservice :P
    Art is how we decorate space. Music is how we decorate time.

  10. #9
    Sponsor Timeless Luxury Watches's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    PLANO, TX
    Posts
    5,116

    Re: GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Covenant View Post
    That would be amazing, agreed.

    But bluedialler, commenting on a Blue Snowflake thread, wishing there was one in black? Doing that handle a bit of disservice :P
    Lol


    Quote Originally Posted by bluedialer View Post
    A black version of the Snowflake texture would be interesting, depending on if it showed the texture well enough. Would be like charcoal wood.
    I actually designed a dark gray Snowflake maybe a year ago when we were hanging out with Shinji Hattori. I called it the ash dial. Don't hold your breath on it becoming a reality though.


    Quote Originally Posted by jandrese View Post
    I want this watch. Would be a great friend to my Golden Snowflake. Want it on bracelet (I live in San Antonio=hot!) and while I'm aware that is a long wait I might be willing. Can we confirm the WR? I've seen 30m and 100m for this watch; it is the elegance collection...
    This particular case back says 10 bar, so I'm not sure if it might vary by region, but it seems that the ones here are rated for 100 meters.


    Quote Originally Posted by whineboy View Post
    Great writeup, thank you Timeless Luxury Watches. Of course all of your writeups are great .

    I like everything about this except the pastel blue dial. Not a fan of pastel watch faces, whether this or the Kabuki kimono watches, too feminine.

    I'd be intrigued to see what a navy blue Snowflake dial looks like.
    Thanks! Yeah, a dark navy dial would be very interesting. My only fear is that, because the snowdrift texture is revealed by shadow, if you go too dark it might obliterate the visibility of the snow.


    Quote Originally Posted by groooooove View Post
    i can't name anything i don't like. beauty. i'd love it on a nice bracelet.
    You can probably get an idea of what it'd look like as the SBGE225 used an extremely similar case.


    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    I like the light blue dial color, but not the oversized date wheel.
    Really? I love how easy it is to read GS and Nomos dates. What annoys me about GS' date is the hour long date change from 11 to midnight.


    Quote Originally Posted by T1meout View Post
    The baby blue reminds me of a relativeís gender revelation party that I attended yesterday. Itís a boy!
    I can totally see that. For me, it reminds me of my dad's old powder blue Stingray.
    groooooove likes this.

  11. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    NYC, USA
    Posts
    75

    Re: GS Blue Snowflake SBGA407 Review

    Great write-up! I especially love how light blue compliments the white date

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts