There has been an interesting shift in the last year or two around these parts. It used to be, whenever I featured any quartz caliber, opinion would clearly polarize about 50/50 in favor or stark opposition of battery-based timing. In recent months, not a single quartz watch has received anything but resounding endorsement. In all things, there is balance. While the early 2000s were still celebrating the preeminence of mechanical watchmaking, the 2020s appear more poised to consider timing in all approaches. In that light, one of the best values around has to be the GS 9F calibre. Throw a GMT into the mix and the levels of humble practicality are hard to resist.
Technically 9F86-powered (with a GMT hand), the SBGN005 was released in 2018 to little fanfare. There was a 800 piece SBGN001 limited edition, black dial SBGN003, and this 005. The fundamental tenets were that of a go-to travel watch that would be as unfussy as it was beautiful. The usual GS hi-beat case even slimmed down to 39mm with a thinner 12.1mm rise. Superb accuracy paired with a jumping GMT, the release has been a slow and steady grower on the upper-end Seiko enthusiast community ever since. That was particularly the case for this navy dial, which I always find myself envying as a few of my friends own one.
Now, the parallels to Rolex’s Explorer II do not require pointing. However, I’d like to make a case for this Grand Seiko and all jumping GMT watches. It is possible for a design to enter public consciousness to such a degree that it becomes a category. Land Rover introduced the SUV and no one would call the FJ40 derivative. I believe we are in that nascent stage in modern watch design, where more is possible than ever through modern manufacturing and categories are only just finding their footing. The dial, case, bracelet, handset, movement, are all entirely Japanese here. The sole exception being the bezel font, which is admittedly a bit Swiss for something so otherwise category defying. And its not like it’s an ugly font either. For a wholly unique watch, a little bit of familiarity is welcome to my eye.
This example has no serious condition detractors. The case is full, all unmolested. There is extremely light surface wear visible in a few spots, but nothing remotely worth noting. Its bracelet displays all the standard desk diver marks on its back, keep that in mind. But the price reflects that wear. It comes with a full set from a private seller @wristwearandgearshare on Instagram.
Find this SBGN005 here on r/watchexchange for 2400 USD.