Grand Seiko adds Spring Drive option to white birch watch family


Grand Seiko’s SLGH005, with a white dial textured made to look like the bark of birch trees surrounding its studio in Shizukuishi, Japan, was one of the best watches launched in 2021.

The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève agreed, presenting the men’s watch of the year gong to the three-hand automatic with date.


That watch is powered by the Hi Beat Caliber 9SA5, which offers a power reserve of 80 hours and accuracy of +8 to -1 seconds per day with normal usage.

It is selling today for £8,500.

Grand Seiko’s first launch of 2022 looks very, very similar, although we are told it is modelled on a different copse of birch trees near to the company’s studio.

It has the same 40mm steel case and bracelet, but inside the manufacturer has used a Spring Drive Caliber 9RA2 with 120 hour power reserve and accuracy of +/- 0.5 seconds per day.

Choosing the Spring Drive version means a saving of £400 off the price of the Grand Seiko White Birch Evolution 9 (ref. SLGA009), which can be pre-ordered today for £8,100.

It will go on general sale in February.

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  1. I’m not sure the phrase ‘upgrade’ is a fair term to use.

    Personally I’d view this new watch as a partner model with alternative movement technology to the High Beat Mechanical SLGH005. Grand Seiko use multiple movement technologies, covering Quartz, Spring Drive and Mechanical, all of which have different attributes and characteristics which will appeal to different people for different reasons. Some might argue that the greater accuracy of Spring Drive makes it superior, but in this case that would be comparing apple and oranges, as Spring Drive is a totally different movement technology to High Beat Mechanical. As an example, the most entry level quartz watch will be more accurate that any mechanical watch on the market, but you’d not describe those as an upgrade.

    From a price perspective, Spring Drive models are generally priced slightly under the High Beat Mechanical models, so this pricing would make sense.

    All that aside, I’m pleased that the White Birch aesthetic is now available with a Spring Drive movement option, a technology that to me is intrinsically linked to Grand Seiko.


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