Japanese culture is only a recent fascination of the West—myself included. I have two Grand Seikos in my watchbox and Yamazaki 12 on my shelf. I adore both addictions. Japan has become so in-vogue in the last few years, however, that they’ve had to limit export. Yamazaki and Hibiki with age statements above 12 are not easy to come by in the US. Similarly, some of the best recent GS releases have only been circulated in the land of the rising sun. Case in point: this hi-beat GMT with a blued Iwate dial.
This model has all the GS intricacies. Its dial is, as one would expect, incredible. The original SBGJ201 Iwate dial was meant to represent the textures on the peak visible from GS’s Shizuki-Ishi Studio after snowfall. This model sports the same radial texture but in a midnight blue tone. The movement is a 9S86, their 36000 vph GMT. The case is a modern 44GS-styled affair, with healthy doses of re-interpretation. A display back lets light shine on its movement’s incredible finishing. There is nothing unattractive in its design. Nothing. This could truly be your one and only GS, you’d be sorted.
This example isn’t out-of-the-box spec. It’s been worn well. There are small knocks and scratches adorning the lugs. If that deters you, fair enough. Be warned: you aren’t going to polish anything out of a 44GS case. You shouldn’t anyway, but you can’t re-polish a Zaratsu edge as a mere mortal. Every watch will eventually reach this condition if enjoyed properly. My advice would be to buy in this spec and just wear the hell out of it. You don’t have to worry about it further. It comes with a full set documenting purchase at a Japanese GS boutique in Ginza.
Find this SBGJ231 here from Special Dial for 6650 USD.