Limited Edition Watch Series:Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Mens Watch

Limited Edition Watch Series:Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Mens Watch

It’s been a couple years since Swiss Seiko released its Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT watches that met a highly enthusiastic response. 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 inspiration taken from the surrounding countryside of the manufacture in northeastern Japan continues from the dial to the movement’s rotor seen on the back of the swiss classic watch.
Limited Edition Watch Series:Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Mens Watch
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 actually kept coming back to it. We went hands-on at that time with the SBGJ005 and the other Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT versions here. Very little is changed in the new models in terms of design and specs. We can expect the same stunning impeccable details and focus on practical elements, such as legibility, durability (100m water-resistance), and comfort – 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 a little special. 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.
Limited Edition Watch Series:Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Mens Watch

Grand Seiko’s mechanical 9S 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 bright colors of a vibrant sunrise, but more of a quiet, crepuscular image.

Limited Edition Watch Series:Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Mens Watch

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 to find a range of hues when seeing the watch in person, from different angles and in different lights. Textures and colors like these, along with the famously refined details Grand Seiko is known for, promise a dial experience that will keep the wearer interested for a long time. The rear of the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Limited Edition SBGJ021 watch shows another interpretation of dawn on Mt. Iwate.

For the 2014 limited edition, the titanium rotor had an anodic oxidation treatment to give it something like an aged bronze look. It was a particularly unexpected contrast to the dazzling finishing and polish found on most Grand Seiko movements and cases because the effect was muted and not particularly high-end looking – a stroke of wabi-sabi (different from wasabi) aesthetics in the design, perhaps.

Similarly, this year’s Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Limited Edition SBGJ021 also has a titanium rotor with anodic oxidation treatment, but this time achieving a striking gradation from orange to purple. Seiko emphasizes that the colors are achieved purely by oxidation and not by any coating or painting. They explain that, through electrolysis, titanium generates an artificial oxide film, the color of which varies and is controlled according to its thickness.