It’s been a couple years since Seiko released its Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT copy watches that were received enthusiastically. Then, black- and white-dialed models were accompanied by a limited edition with a striking green dial and orange accents. Now, Seiko is similarly releasing updated black and white models alongside a limited edition with a rich, earthy brown dial – and we know that Grand Seiko does dials oh so well. The theme and inspiration for this particular model are again taken from nature, as we have seen in some other Grand Seiko limited editions, and specifically Mt. Iwate, a prominent feature of the region where the watches are produced.
A lot of people were excited back in March 2014 by the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT SBGJ005 with the green dial and orange highlights – I, for one, have kept coming back to it. We went here. Very little is changed in the new models in terms of design and specs. We can expect the same level of detail and focus on practical elements, such as legibility and durability (100m water-resistance) – same 40 mm-wide, 14 mm-thick steel case. Also the same 9S86 movement beats at 5Hz inside, and we don’t need to tell you that Seiko’s “hi-beat” 5Hz (36,000 bph, hence the name) movements are at least interesting, if not a little bit special, even. They are the GMT version of the automatic 9S85 with a claimed accuracy of between -3 to +5 seconds per day (when static) and a power reserve of 55 hours.
Grand Seiko’s mechanical 9S fake watches are assembled, tested, and inspected at the Shizuku-Ishi Watch Studio in the city of Morioka, located in the snowy northeastern prefecture of Iwate. We are told that from the watchmakers’ benches, a view of Mt. Iwate is visible through the studio’s wide windows and that the colors of the dial and the rotor of this limited edition are inspired by the colors of the mountain at sunrise. This becomes a little more poetic when looking at the colors chosen because they are not what you may first expect to be the colors of a vibrant sunrise, but more of a dark crepuscule.
The dial itself at first looks like a deep purplish brown but reveals some speckled red or orange on closer inspection. At least, it appears that way to me in the brand’s PR images, though one can expect some variation when seeing the watch in person, from different angles and in different lights. Textures and colors like these, along with the detailing Grand Seiko is known for, promise a dial experience that won’t get old fast. The rear of the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Limited Edition SBGJ021 watch shows another interpretation of Mt. Iwate at dawn.