New to GS - please help me decide
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  1. #1
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    New to GS - please help me decide

    I've enjoyed reading posts here on the GS forum and, after extensively researching the brand and seeing several in the metal at my local AD over the past couple of years, have decided to take the plunge. I'm torn between two models, though, and want to ask those of you who own Spring Drive and 9F your thoughts, please.

    Yesterday I visited my AD and physically handled the SBGA375...absolutely love the watch! Everything about it sings to me and I was ready to break out the credit card. My only reservation is I also like the looks of the new 60th anniversary 9F 2020 blue dial with blue ceramic bezel (SBGP015) that hits stores in April. My only real criteria is that the watch must have a blue dial. The SBGA375 is stunning, no doubt; although from pictures it looks as though the SBGP015 would be a real looker, too. Plus it's got 200m water resistance and is insanely resistant to magnetism (16,000 A/m). Then there's the issue of Spring Drive v. 9F. As someone who already owns several nice Swiss automatics, yes, the Spring Drive is mesmerizing to look at; yet there's something about the surgical precision of the 9F ticking each hashmark that is equally if not more astounding than the smooth sweep of the Spring Drive. The AD actually had another 9F in the case and, getting to see that tick in person, really floored me. In regard to quartz, I also like the peace of mind knowing that I shouldn't have the downstream maintenance/service costs associated that I would with Spring Drive.

    So if blue dial is my "must have," should I wait and see the SBGP015 in April and then decide between it and the SBGA375, or should I jump on the Spring Drive now? Because this is my first foray into GS, I want to make a sensible purchase because, let's face it, if I love my first, I know I'll buy a second, as our "disease" mandates. :)

    Thank you in advance for your guidance.

  2. #2
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    Re: New to GS - please help me decide

    Unfortunately, as usual, nobody can really tell you what to buy. There are no technical or objective facts that you are asking for that we can clarify or inform you of. This seems to be purely a matter of heart. Personally, I don't worry about service costs at all. If $500 every 5-10 years is a breaking point, I wouldn't be dropping $5k+ on a watch in the first place. Seiko isn't a company that is likely to go out of business anytime soon – if anything, Grand Seiko is becoming more popular – so I wouldn't worry about 9R65 parts becoming scarce either.

    My only advice is that waiting to see a watch in person has never been a bad decision. The SBGA375 will still be there in April. Wait a bit, think it over, and see what your heart says when you handle both of them in person.

  3. #3
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    Re: New to GS - please help me decide

    base2...great advice, thank you. You're right that I need to wait until April so that I can see the 9F in person. If I don't like it, like you said, the SBGA375 will still be readily attainable. I suppose that my question should've been more specific as to the virtues of Spring Drive v. 9F. The service costs aren't an issue; rather, I meant to convey that it would be nice to have an upscale watch in rotation that is worry-free. Thanks again.

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  5. #4
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    Re: New to GS - please help me decide

    Have a look at the SGP005 - it's like the SBGA375, only quartz and with an independent hour hand. I would personally avoid the limited edition for two reasons:

    1. Ceramic bezel. I'd be worried about shattering it... although I've had a watch with a ceramic bezel for 2 years, never babied it, and it's just fine. It wasn't a several thousand dollar grail watch, though.
    2. It's a limited edition. I don't like this practice and I don't want to encourage companies to keep releasing them.

    Also, 16,000 A/m is far from "insanely resistant to magnetism". The SBGX291/293 is resistant to 40,000 A/m, the Sinn 836 is resistant to 80.000 A/m and most modern Omegas are pretty much impervious to any type of magnetism (they were tested to about sixteen times what the Milgauss and 836 can handle, and Omega said they only stopped there 'cause they didn't have a stronger magnet). But that doesn't really matter, since magnetism isn't much of a problem for quartz watches for most people.

    That being said, if you love everything about the SBGP015, wait and get it.
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  6. #5
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    Re: New to GS - please help me decide

    Agreed, wait til April and then decide. In the meantime check out the SBGK005 if you can get your hands on it. Another amazing blue dial from GS.
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    Re: New to GS - please help me decide

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilliam View Post
    base2...great advice, thank you. You're right that I need to wait until April so that I can see the 9F in person. If I don't like it, like you said, the SBGA375 will still be readily attainable. I suppose that my question should've been more specific as to the virtues of Spring Drive v. 9F. The service costs aren't an issue; rather, I meant to convey that it would be nice to have an upscale watch in rotation that is worry-free. Thanks again.
    Yeah, as I'm sure you know, the quartz will of course be more "worry-free". Think of the spring drive as a mechanical movement, from a service and maintenance point of view. One thing that's nice about it is the accuracy is extremely good; my spring drive keeps time about twice as well as my most accurate all-mechanical watch, which is COSC-certified and already quite impressive in practice.

    Since you already know you'll end up buying both (true watch addict, I get it), I personally would recommend the spring drive first. It is unique to Seiko and that smooth sweep and smooth "glide wheel" are a wonder to behold.
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  8. #7
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    Re: New to GS - please help me decide

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilliam View Post
    I've enjoyed reading posts here on the GS forum and, after extensively researching the brand and seeing several in the metal at my local AD over the past couple of years, have decided to take the plunge. I'm torn between two models, though, and want to ask those of you who own Spring Drive and 9F your thoughts, please.

    Yesterday I visited my AD and physically handled the SBGA375...absolutely love the watch! Everything about it sings to me and I was ready to break out the credit card. My only reservation is I also like the looks of the new 60th anniversary 9F 2020 blue dial with blue ceramic bezel (SBGP015) that hits stores in April. My only real criteria is that the watch must have a blue dial. The SBGA375 is stunning, no doubt; although from pictures it looks as though the SBGP015 would be a real looker, too. Plus it's got 200m water resistance and is insanely resistant to magnetism (16,000 A/m). Then there's the issue of Spring Drive v. 9F. As someone who already owns several nice Swiss automatics, yes, the Spring Drive is mesmerizing to look at; yet there's something about the surgical precision of the 9F ticking each hashmark that is equally if not more astounding than the smooth sweep of the Spring Drive. The AD actually had another 9F in the case and, getting to see that tick in person, really floored me. In regard to quartz, I also like the peace of mind knowing that I shouldn't have the downstream maintenance/service costs associated that I would with Spring Drive.

    So if blue dial is my "must have," should I wait and see the SBGP015 in April and then decide between it and the SBGA375, or should I jump on the Spring Drive now? Because this is my first foray into GS, I want to make a sensible purchase because, let's face it, if I love my first, I know I'll buy a second, as our "disease" mandates. :)

    Thank you in advance for your guidance.
    Few thoughts.
    1. If I were to buy a single GS, I am 100% going spring drive. I agree that their quartz is pretty cool. Maybe only quartz out there to justify its price tag. However, nothing in the industry compares to spring drive, especially the 9F - it is not even close IMO. if you will own multiple references, then I do think that ceramic LE looks really cool. Otherwise go spring drive.

    2. If you do go spring drive, just note that as nice as the SBGA375 is, those polished lugs terrified me. I hated wearing my watch as it is a magnet for scratches and once you scratch up that case, you will never get it back. I sold it as a result.

    SPGA203 is more my style. Same holds true but much less polishing on the actual lugs and case. I felt more comfortable wearing that case style daily.

    3. Grand seiko bracelets are the worst in all of luxury watches. Minimal differentiation between them and 300 Seikos and no micro sizing. However, If you can’t find a good fit (too loose or tight),You can order an extra half link as they are actually slightly bigger then “half” so having 2 helps with sizing issues.
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  9. #8
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    Re: New to GS - please help me decide

    Isn’t someone supposed to tell you to buy both? I thought that was just agreed upon decorum for these threads. Jokes aside, if you’re contemplating the 9f, I think you need to see it in person. The bezel is a very odd choice in my opinion and that blue might be a little bit too vibrant and it’s luster might easily wear off. One thing I will say is I love all the complex case. That alone could tempt me to pull the trigger.

    The SD model is beautiful and definitely the more elegant of the two. I think you need to decide if you want a sports watch or a sporty dress watch? I own a GS with a sportier case and a 44GS with a polished case like the SD you are currently contemplating and the 44GS isn’t made for everyday wear in my opinion. I find myself not wanting to damage the case and babying it in ways that I never thought I would.
    If movement has any bearing, I agree with the above statement that SD is the more unique option and arguably quintessentially GS, but I am a huge fan of the 9f and the anti-backlash mechanism that makes the second hand a pleasure to watch.
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  10. #9
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    These are all thoughtful replies, and I greatly appreciate your collective input. For example, I hadn’t considered that the blue bezel on the 9F might be “too much,” nor that it may shatter. I have two divers watches (2018 Sub TT and 2019 Sea-Dweller) and I don’t worry about this; although if I stop and think, what has driven me to consider GS in the first place is the understated class they exude. So maybe this 9F edition is actually “too much.”
    I can’t stop thinking about the 375 I tried on yesterday, and your insight that, indeed, Spring Drive really is at the core of GS, has me strongly leaning toward that model. I think I’ll call the AD today and ask them to pull it from the case and hold it until I can pop in tomorrow - I’m that enamored with that piece.

    Also interesting about the bracelets being crappy. I’m a huge bracelet guy, and while many regard Rolex as the top dog for steel bracelets (myself included), I do wonder about that. I was sure to ask the AD, “all the links are solid, right? Even the end links? Are they predisposed to stretching?” etc. He assured me that they’re good, and it was comforting to see they use screws rather than pins, but the bracelet definitely didn’t feel as substantial as the Oyster. And then I think, “well hell, this is a $5K watch, not $10K+, so I need to be reasonable in my expectations.” Besides, that dial and polishing is downright watch ....

  11. #10
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    Re: New to GS - please help me decide

    From afar, never having owned any GS but have observed some of the vintage and modern pieces in the past. I blame it on a few reissued divers that got in the way otherwise I would probably have one by now.
    Anyway, taste varies and it’s for you to decide, but I love the classic GS44 grammar of design case. That alone would make my decision, and from what I see posted the vintage 44gs cases look amazing even with considerable light wear. The SBGP015, if I may borrow a quote from Erik’s SOTC, ‘is a little too Miami’ for me. Ok, maybe not all that just couldn’t resist but definitely wouldn’t get in the way of any other in the classic case regardless of movement and dial, as My first.
    From what little I can perceive, the dark blue dial of the SBGA375 almost looks black at times but shows a beautiful blue sunburst effect with light reflections. Very classy.

    Good luck.




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