Earlier this month our inboxes and DMs were flooded with folks pointing us to one of the newest releases from Grand Seiko, the SBGX355. Not only are we huge fans of the original Snowflake (who isn’t?), but we were also surprised to see Grand Seiko was doing something with the same dial, in a different watch. They’ve flirted with the concept in the past but the Snowflake dial is almost so sacred, you could almost be certain you’d never see it flaunted on another watch of theirs–especially a watch without a Spring Drive movement. But here we are; the soft cool dial pattern without the smooth, quiet movement of the Spring Drive seconds hand. How am I supposed to ponder the slow passage of time over a snowy backdrop on my wrist now?
Ever since I had a chance to spend time with a similar watch—Kaz’s SBGV233—I’ve been a little more drawn to these time-only 9F quartz models. The titanium is just so pleasing to experience and it’s nice to see that Grand Seiko took the same approach with this 9F quartz Snowflake model. But the real kicker here is the fact that this new SBGX355 is actually 37mm in diameter, instead of the larger 40mm case you get with the current SBGA211 Spring Drive Snowflake. So what you’re looking at is a downsized and simplified version of the watch, which I’m totally on board with. If anything, the size of the original is what kept me doubtful. Not because 40mm is too big, but because the all-white dial makes 40mm look huge on the wrist.
Some might say that a ticking 9F quartz movement may take away from the original Snowflake experience. To me, I think this watch makes the experience even more attractive. With the exception of the blue teal, so many of these other 9F three-handers have such … basic dials and colors. I’m glad to see that the SBGX355 is injecting a little more variety into the lineup and we now have a more accessible entry point to the titanium “Grand Seiko Snowflake” without the need to dish out for the Spring Drive movement. I had almost completely dismissed the idea of possibly owning a Grand Seiko Snowflake but this release makes that a little more possible.
Grand Seiko SBGX355 Specs
|37.0mm (diameter) × 44.6mm (lug-to-lug) × 10.6mm (thickness)
|Grand Seiko 9F62
Just like with a Spring Drive movement, there’s something very special about the way a 9F ticks. It’s so smooth, so positive in its accuracy, and pleasantly over-engineered. It’s a special thing to those who are just into it and I think this will end up being a super popular watch in 2024. I’d almost dare to say that this watch exists as a perfect counterpart to the SBGA211 and you can have both in the collection if you’re one of those die-hard GS collectors.
Co-Founder & Senior Editor
Michael Peñate is an American writer, photographer, and podcaster based in Seattle, Washington. His work typically focuses on the passage of time and the tools we use to connect with that very journey. From aviation to music and travel, his interests span a multitude of disciplines that often intersect with the world of watches – and the obsessive culture behind collecting them.