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WATCH REVIEW Grand Seiko Spring Drive

Editor's opinion
79.5 / 100
The GS Spring Drive SBGA011 is a prime example of current high-end Seiko watches. Let's test this model which has discrete refinement.
Straight to the Point

Grand Seiko Spring Drive SBGA011

Ref.: SBGA011
$5,900.00 US retail price May 13th, 2010
  • a remarkable finishing
  • an innovative movement
  • the discreteness of the watch could be perceived as too clinical for some
  • no anti-reflective coating on the crystal glass
Brand Grand Seiko
Model name
Grand Seiko Spring Drive
Case material
Case diameter (without crown)
41,5 mm
Case diameter (crown included)
42 mm
Movement type
Base Caliber
Power reserve
Sapphire glass
Power reserve
Transparent back
Lug width
20 mm
Length from lug to lug
49 mm
Case thickness
12 mm
Strap material
Clasp type
Deployment clasp
Clasp material
Total weight
100 grammes
Retail price USA at May 13th, 2010
Comfort (/15) 15
Movement (/20) 15
Movement Optimisation / Garnishment (/5) 3.5
Ease of handling and adjustment (/5) 5
Movement control proceeded by the Manufacture / horlogical awards (/3) 3
Power reserve (/2) 1.5
Complications (/5) 2
Finishing (/20) 17.5
Dial finishing (/6) 6
Case finishing (/6) 5
Quality of garnishment / caseback engraving quality (/2) 1.5
Crystal quality (/4) 4
Clasp finishing (inner and extern) (/2) 1
Functionality (/20) 13
Diurnal legibility (/5) 5
Night legibility (/4) 0
Water resistance (/3) 1
Strap : ease of size adjustment + ease of substitution (/4) 3
Clasp : quality and safety (/4) 4
Additional items (/10) 4
Limited edition (/3) 0
Watch delivered with several straps (/2) 0
Quality of the watch box (/1) 1
Portability with shirtsleeves buttoned (/2) 2
Goodies included (/1) 0
Understandability of the brochure (/1) 1
Value for money (/15) 15
When to wear it ? At work, very discreetly...
Users opinion
like this watch
Do you like this watch?

The GS Spring Drive SBGA011 is a prime example of current high-end Seiko watches. On the classical aesthetic principles defined 50 years ago, Seiko varies its Spring Drive movement in a model which has discrete refinement.


A light watch with pleasing proportions

The watch looks like a dressed model showing pleasing proportions and a relative lightness thanks to titanium, which here has been well worked.

It is polished on the sides of the case and brushed on the top of lugs and the bracelet.

The case keeps the classic principles of the Grand Seiko and in order to adapt to the size of the watch, the lugs are quite long and deep.

The crown is screwed and is housed partially inside the case.


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An astonishing dial for the
Grand Seiko SBGA011

The dial of the watch is quite unique.

It represents the snowy mountain landscape of the Watch Studio in the Shizukuishi region, where the top models of Seiko are made.
It uses colours and textures which change in different light conditions, which pleasing to the eye but could be more so if the sapphire were treated with antiglare.

As often with the Grand Seiko, hour-markers are polished and applied, the date window is finely treated in the same manner and the Seiko/GS logos are applied on the dial.

And to finish it off, some additional literature is painted at the bottom of the dial, black for the Grand Seiko, blue for the Spring Drive wordingusing the blue of the second hand.


The dial represents the snowy mountain landscape of the Watch Studio in the Shizukuishi region, where the top models of Seiko are made.

Perfectly realized hands

This is the most surprising part of the movement: the seconds move effortlessly, with perfect fluidity.
As if to emphasize this specificity, the second hand is painted blue, adding much needed contrast to the dial.

The dauphine hour and minute hands are perfectly realized. The work of polishing on all surfaces and sharp angles of the bevels in x12 detail is enlightening.

The last component of the dial is the power reserve, located between 7 and 8am, a polished hand, under the guilloche dial : the package is well integrated and does not break the harmony of the dial.


The movement: Cal. Spring Drive 9R65

The Spring Drive movement that drives this model is the 9R65 automatic.

It has Seiko’s ultimate mainspring, in Spron 510, giving a range of 72h.

The Spring Drive technology, which today is still exclusive to Seiko, is a hybrid mechanical/electronic/electric movement : mechanical provides the driving force necessary for the hands and electronic provides control through tri-synchronous regulation, braking the unwinding of the mainspring.

The result is a very accurate watch (certified for 15 seconds of monthly deviation maximum) showing in its sapphire crystal engraved base a nicely finished automatic movement.


What to remember

The Grand Seiko Spring Drive is certainly a success.
Suiting those seeking a discrete and comfortable watch, manufacturing quality, innovation and modernity.

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